A few weeks ago I was told an absolutely incredible story. One of those stories that makes you immediately want to go out and tell it to everyone you know.
Which, over the next few days, I did!
The person who told me this incredible story heard it from her friend, who had in turn heard it from someone. A couple were engaged to be married in the summer, in the wonderful Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. (For those of you who don’t know, Alnwick Castle is Hogwarts). They had picked the date, everything was booked, and they couldn’t wait to be married.
One day, the couple received a phone call from Alnick Castle, asking them whether they wouldn’t mind changing the date, as there was someone else who wanted to hire the castle on the same day. The couple, understandably, refused. Invitations had already been sent out, everything was already organised for that date. Changing now would mean a lot of upheaval and stress, not something you want on the run up to your wedding.
The next day, Alnick Castle called again. They offered to pay for the couple’s wedding reception if they agreed to change dates. A generous offer, sure, but again the couple refused.
Another day passed, and another phone call came. This time, the couple were offered their whole honeymoon payed for, on top of the original offer of the reception. The couple were incredibly flattered, of course, but again they refused, a little more hesitantly this time.
There was yet another phone call. Alnick Castle explained that the other people were adamant to have Alnwick Castle on the date in question, and so they made a final offer to persuade the couple to change the date.
They offered to pay off their mortgage.
You guessed it, the couple finally gave in. Wouldn’t you?!
Who would be willing to pay for all of this, just to get a specific date?
Yes, the Beckhams, that’s who. David and Victoria wanted to throw a Harry Potter-themed party for their children at Hogwarts Alnwick Castle, and they had to have that date. And when you’re the Beckhams, you can pay other people’s mortgages to get the date you want.
Sorry to disappoint you all, but the story is completely false.
As amazed and excited as I was when I first heard the story, and believed it, I was disappointed but also intrigued by it when I discovered that it wasn’t true. After all, it’s so unbelievable, why had I been so quick to accept that the story was true? I got really excited about telling others the story, relished in their reactions of disbelief, and watched as they, like me, got excited about it and spread the story to others.
What I think we can take from this story, and why I wanted to write about it here, is that I think writers can learn a lot from this tale. It is an almost perfect example of a well-crafted tale, and my hat goes off to whoever originated this story that has spread so much and caught people’s imaginations. The incredible nature of what happens in the story, of celebrity excess and wealth, and of the dream situation of having your wedding reception, honeymoon and mortgage paid for, make the story relatable, exciting and shareable.
“Fiction is the truth inside a lie.” – Stephen King
This wonderful quote from King neatly sums up why this story is so well written. It is a fictional tale, created upon a total lie, but it is so well-crafted and well-realised that it is a story that completely takes us away, it makes us want it to be true, and it makes us want to tell other people.
So, the lesson?
If you want to write really great stories, you better get really good at lying. Learn to lie so well that your lies become true.
Did you hear this story? Are they any other incredible stories which you have heard that turned out to be made up? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!