I have read the advice "tell the truth" on many occasions, and struggle with the idea of sharing my deepest, darkest secrets with others (even those who don't particularly care, but just wish to be entertained by a good story).
When I read Stephen King's excellent book on writing, I had to ask myself if I could publicly reveal the low points of my own life with such frankness, and unfortunately, I admit that I couldn't. Having said that, Stephen King's story made me realize that 'the truth' isn't necessary about me, it's simply about 'the truth.' It's about human nature; the hopes and fears that live within us, and that niggling meanness that most of us manage to suppress in the name of good taste and decency.
I found it fascinating to read that Stephen King had been accused of being foul-mouthed, a racist and cruel to animals, among other things, I'm sure. The author would apparently reply to critics with the sentiment, "it isn't real, you know." But what a compliment!
Rust Hill's, Writing in General makes the following comment: "Slick (popular fiction) partakes of the daydream; quality fiction partakes of the night dream." This is such a simple concept, and a good one, I think, for differentiating between 'making stuff up' and 'telling the truth.'
The following exercises aim to revisit the ideas of weeks 1 and 2, that is, to suppress the inner and outer critics so that we might tell the truth. (If the idea of first person narrative is too personal, try writing in third person).
Exercise 15. Study your reflection in a mirror for a minute or two and then write about what you see, using whatever style you wish.
Exercise 16. Write a short piece based on one of your fears, physical or psychological (or both).
Week 9 will return to the technical basics by looking briefly at Point of View.