Truth in Fiction: an Extraordinary Look at Real Life

The wife was awakened in the middle of the night and rushed to the kitchen. Investigators were waiting and told her that the plane her husband was piloting went missing off the radar. He, along with all the passengers, perished.

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Image credit: Michael Fousert, Unsplash

Anita Shreve wrote her novel in 1998, years before the missing airliner Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Fiction can’t be fake and appeal to a reader. I learned this during a comedy writing class I took with Danny Simon, the late brother to the late great American playwright Neil Simon.

Some element in any genre must relate to the reader, an experience they find in their own lives. Even science fiction. I’ve been writing a detective series since January 2015 with Lon Casler Bixby and it struck me that crime fiction can illustrate truth and even give hope in resolving conflict.

Here are 2 scenarios from our Tom Stone detective stories which are written to entertaintain and not just “teach” a lesson. But in crafting the stories, I found 3 truths that surfaced.

The Importance of Home

This is a scene from Tom Stone Nitty Gritty Christmas. My wife and I have adopted out of foster care and are familiar with group homes. I believe kids want a loving home environment, even if they can’t articulate it.

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Tom Stone: A Nitty Gritty Christmas

Background: Tom Stone and his partner Jake Sharpe are handing out gifts on Christmas Eve at Ivy Acres — a group home in the San Fernando Valley, just north of downtown Los Angeles — and Stone comes across a boy who catches his attention:

The second excerpt is one that parents will identify with. In Tom Stone: Sweltering Summer Nights,

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Background: Detective Tom Stone founds his high school age daughter visiting the marijuana dispensary of his nemesis. Toward the end of the story, he is able to speak with her.

Experiences that the reader can relate to illustrate truth in fiction without being preachy, but authentic. Memorable characters and a well-written story line bring that truth alive.

Don Simkovich, MA, is co-authoring the Tom Stone Detective Stories. He also creates content for businesses and ghostwrites books for professionals.

Visit the Tom Stone blog here.

Visit Don’s page on

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Don is co-author of the Tom Stone Detective novels on Amazon and writes content for businesses. Visit /

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