Truth is Stranger than Fiction


A few night’s ago, I watched a “true crime” show on TV about some of the world’s worst wives.  I didn’t watch this show by choice.  My sister Michelle tends to be a bit bossy about what we watch, and she keeps a death grip on the remote, so I was stuck.  (Don’t worry; she knows I’m talking about her.  In fact when I read this to her, she laughed and clutched the remote a little more tightly.)  I don’t usually like these types of shows because they’re filled with negativity, and they make me feel angry.  But the plus side was that I woke the next day with an awesome new book idea!  Anyway, I digress.

The episode we watched was about a wife in Austria who owned and lived over an ice cream parlor.  She got fed up with her German husband and shot him.  She left him sitting where she killed him for six days until her new boyfriend expressed an interest in coming to visit, so she bought a chainsaw, hacked him up in the living room, then wrapped his parts in plastic and hid him in one of the ice cream freezers.  She told people her husband had moved back to Germany.

The boyfriend eventually moved in, and at one point, the woman saw him hugging a female friend.  She became livid and shot him that night, then cut him to pieces in the bedroom and added him to her freezer collection.

A few months later, she married and became pregnant.  Her freezer was full of man parts, and she needed the space, so she mixed the parts in concrete and stored them in the basement with the plans to later dump them in a lake.  However, before she got the opportunity to dispose of the limbs, the city was called to investigate a burst water pipe.  They had to go into her basement where they discovered the bodies, and at that point, she was finally arrested.

Now, although I’ve never actually killed anyone, when I saw this, I immediately thought of all the things the woman did wrong.  She should’ve moved the bodies to the freezer right away and frozen them before she cut them up so there would be less mess.  She should’ve used a hacksaw and not a chainsaw so it would be easier to clean and dispose of.  She should’ve disposed of the body parts immediately, preferably with lye or at a pig farm so there’d be no evidence.  People always get in trouble because they dig a shallow grave – they plan and plan to commit the atrocity of murder, yet they then have no patience to complete the job correctly, then they act surprised when they get caught.  If I would’ve read this story in a book, I would’ve assumed it was fictional, and poorly constructed fiction at that.  It was unimaginative and left a lot of open-ended questions.  But of course, it was not fiction, but fact.

What gets to me is when I hear of other writers who’ve written what I believe to be fantastic stories, then I hear how they were given a bad review because “their story is unbelievable.”  It’s just fiction, folks!  It’s supposed to be enjoyed, not picked apart.  

Case in point:  I recently read a review of a book I enjoyed wherein the reviewer said the grammar and writing prose was fine, but he over all didn’t like the story because a certain scene was “simply not believable,” and he couldn’t get it out of his head throughout the remainder of the book.  (Actually, the scene he referenced was mild and not what I would’ve even considered out of the ordinary, much less “unbelievable.”)  The funny thing was that the scene he referenced actually happened to me as well as numerous people who I personally know.  I thought it was a little comical that sci-fi books* about lands with two suns and people that are nine feet tall with blue skin and four eyes apparently are plausible, yet this author’s actual real-life scenario was not.  Oh, well.

(*I mean absolutely no offense to sci-fi authors.)

So now, tell me, do you have something in your life that is so far-fetched no one would actually believe it really happened?


37 thoughts on “Truth is Stranger than Fiction

  1. One Friday afternoon, I had an online meeting. On the second slide of the presentation, this happened: One of our cats had targeted the mouse cable for a while, suddenly jumped onto the computer mouse, hitting the left button. By doing so, the presentation was switched to the final slide: “Thank you for attending, have a great day, and good bye!”
    My “Oops, my cat jumped on my mouse!” was met with silence. 😦
    I continued the presentation, my cat was in the pouts.

  2. Yes, there have definitely been times when my life has veered off into the “stranger than fiction” realm – the point in which readers would have a difficult time believing. But that’s the amazing thing about life – it always has the capacity to knock you off your feet with surprises (good or bad).

  3. Ok, the fact that you know so much about how to dispose of a body without leaving a trace is just a liiiiiitle bit scary, Rachel! But good luck with the new story idea! Inspiration comes from the strangest of places, doesn’t it?!!

  4. Love this. Fiction writers would be better murderers than real murderers because we are supposed to know believable. 🙂 In the reviews I’ve got, I’ve had one person say that there are unbelievable amounts of food involved in a story about hatred and murder, and I really didn’t understand how that’s what the person took away from the book. You’re so right – no matter what you’re doing or watching, the scribbler sits on your shoulder all the time.

    • Isn’t that funny how some people get so stuck on one thing that they can’t see anything else? I hate it when that happens! It makes me want to beat them over the head and staple their lips closed so I can tell them what they’re missing! (Yikes, I’m on a bit of a warpath today, aren’t I?) LOL! 😀

  5. I thought I was the only one that nit picked at what a murderer did wrong…other than the crime itself. Heck, if you got to that extreme, you better committ. Lol. I’m not the only non murderous crazy out there. Whew!!! Thanks for visiting my blog. I’m definitely honored to be followed by a great writer like yourself. I look forward to learning from you. Please feel free to critique me on anything you decide to read. I’m enjoying your posts.

    • LOL! No, I actually nitpick murders and other crimes all the time! In fact one of my beta readers is a former police detective and I always ask her how realistic my crimes would be in the way I have them elude the police, and she frequently tells me I could definitely get away with them (not that I really would, of course). LOL! The shallow grave thing is the one that always gets to me. I look forward to reading more from you, too! 😀

  6. your explaining how you’d hide a body! Don’t tell us this or the word PREMEDITATED gets thrown around the courtroom..lmao.jk yeah some wives are totally sick. i use to watch snapped and never understood how women especially could stomach a murder they did… any way, nice post – in a weird way. LOL

  7. A lovely piece Rachel.
    What do you mean I’m not being paid!
    I met Jack the paint stripper you know.

  8. Interesting post–I occasionally watch 48 hour mystery shows and I don’t know why because some of the murder stories give me nightmares and stay with me for days. But I honestly believe that anything can be possible. I don’t have any personal stories myself, but my father does and I know no one would believe some of them, but he is certain they happened 🙂

  9. Erm… I’m sure there has been something in my life that people wouldn’t believe, but I can’t think of one right now. It probably has to do with some way I accidentally hurt myself, because I’m always doing that. Being the biggest klutz I know, I’ve hurt myself more often than most people believe. So maybe that.

    This post is awesome, BTW! I dissected a whole cadaver in grad school, and I loved to watch CSI: New York, so, of course, I plotted out the “perfect murder.” Sounds terrible, but with what I know about human anatomy, it could very possibly be done. (Though I’d never do it). Although, since I’m such a klutz, I’d probably fall into whatever grave/disposal method I’d conjured up and end up killing myself.

    Le sigh.

  10. Make sure Michelle reads your whole post and how wise you are about disposing the body parts, Rachel, and she’ll hand deliver the remote to you at precisely 8 p.m. each day.

    You have it down, my lady!

    Now, that is something how your true life events were too outlandish and your imaginative scenes were fine. I think you are submitting your work to the wrong judges.

    Finally, I, too, am not one for that two-moon stuff, but I love the wild imagination of Carl Hiaasen.

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