Ellen Renner has relayed an interesting question asked of her on a school visit. "Do you ever tell the truth?" Her answer was apparently, "No, I don't."
I am sure Ellen is a truthful person and that her answer related to her writing. She was saying, "No, the story that I write is not real." In that sense the story is a lie - but it might also be the truth. It might actually need to be the truth.
I think good writing actually needs to be about the truth, even if the characters themselves are lying and deceiving themselves, each other and the reader I think there has to be some underlying truth there - or the writing will not be believable.
We can perhaps look on all creativity as a lie. When we create something we are saying something like "this is true", "this is what it feels like", "this is what it looks like", "this is the way it is or was or will be" but what it is like for us and what it is like for someone else can be two very different things. There will be two lies and two truths, or perhaps even more than that.
(When someone writes a piece of music there is what the composer hears in his mind, there is what is written on the page, there is the way it is interpreted when it is played, there is what is heard - and all those things are different and will go on differing.) The writer is writing from their experience of the world and that is unique, the reader is reading it from their experience and that is another uniqueness. If you are being read to (and this is probably why I do not like being read to) then there is also also the interpretation of that reader. It is why I find the film interpretation of any book so difficult - someone else's interpretation of the book comes between me and my understanding of it.
I think writing has to be about a special, legitimate form of lying and, more importantly, about telling the truth so that others can understand it.