This Article differs from other articles on related topics in that it focuses broadly on including specific details to establish an overall sense of reality. In contrast, in his article, This is Not the Whole Truth, Professor Steve Johansen discusses those details that can ethically be omitted; this Article, however, is about which select details to include rather than to omit. Although some articles have focused on details regarding specific objects, such as an obtuse object or an endowed object, this Article covers a wider category of details that applies throughout the narrative as opposed to details that surface only at discrete points. With respect to that wider category, some articles discuss verisimilitude—although that is not the whole focus of those articles. Finally, in his upcoming article, Professor Chris Rideout of Seattle Law School will discuss the important related topic of mimesis—the process of creating verisimilitude with respect to character. Unlike these other articles, this Article focuses on specific techniques used to establish verisimilitude overall in fiction works and in legal narratives.
This Article illustrates how attorneys can make their true stories actually appear to be so by using some of the same techniques that fiction writers use to make fiction seem real. Part I of this Article provides a brief overview of Applied Legal Storytelling. Part II explains the concept of verisimilitude and outlines some of the traits of the concrete details chosen. Part III provides examples from fiction and from law, analyzes those examples, and makes comparisons and distinctions.
Cathren Page, Stranger Than Fiction: How Lawyers Can Use Fiction Techniques to Create a Sense of Reality in Legal Narratives, 78 La L. Rev. 907 (2018).