Characters Who Lie

Question: If a character has no qualms with lying left and right, whether for his own benefit or for the sake of others and constantly thinks one thing but says and acts in accordance to another, is there a way to portray that more realistically?


Answer: Just have them tell the lie the same as an honest person tells the truth. I think that is pretty realistic. We all know people like that.

Of course, it makes a difference whether you are writing from that character's point of view or someone else's. If you are writing from that character's point of view, then you may show his dishonesty through his thoughts as he justifies to himself why he says the things he does.

If you are writing from another character's point of view, then you have an interesting game to play. At what point is the liar found out? To what extent is the main character taken in, and for how long? Or is the liar's reputation already shot when the story begins?

Lots of fun can be had with this type of character. And the great thing about habitual liars is that they learn to be so convincing. In the case of sociopaths, they may actually believe that what they say becomes true just because they say it! Or they may say the lie because they like to see people's reactions and afterwards convince themselves that the lie was justified or in the other person's interest.

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