[[quoteright:350:[[Disney/TheLionKingOneAndAHalf http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shot638.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[-"Dear, I don't remember it quite like that."\\
"Mother, it's a ride! It's poetic license! An artful recreation!"\\
"It's a lie."-]]]

->''"See, Dad doesn't think the decompression would tear open a hole that big in such a small plane, but obviously Dr. [=McNinja=] lives in a world that operates like a ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' stage."''
-->-- '''Chris Hastings''', ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' [[http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/14p17 Ch 14, p 17]] AltText

''Creators are allowed to be inaccurate if the inaccuracy serves the story better than accuracy would.''

In a nutshell, the writer is aware that some parts of the show are inaccurate. The history is wrong, or the science is off, or something else. It's easy to assume that the writer didn't bother with research. But they may well have. Often they know that what they are writing is off, and wrote it anyway. Sometimes, it's because [[TheCoconutEffect it's the way it's always been done in show business]], and, even if they themselves know the truth, the audience [[RealityIsUnrealistic still wouldn't believe it otherwise]]. In some cases, the research couldn't be done because information was lacking, so the artist made an educated guess.

It's about [[AnthropicPrinciple putting the story first]], TropesAreTools and all that.

Telling a good story is what is most important in fiction[[note]] (unless you're [[{{Postmodernism}} PoMo]] in which case storytelling also can also take a back seat to playing semiotic language games)[[/note]]. Plus, whoever first said "truth is stranger than fiction" didn't know what they were talking about.[[note]]It's actually the first part of a longer quote by Creator/MarkTwain; the full quote is, "Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."[[/note]] If some things have to be fudged for the sake of a good story, then they will be fudged. If things have to be sped up to stay interesting, they will be. These are changes to ensure EmotionalTorque.

However, this is a double-edged sword. For the license to work, the story has to be good. A bad story will often look worse for its inaccuracies. There isn't a complete consensus, of course, about which stories are on the right or wrong side of SturgeonsLaw. Another major downside is that this trope often used negatively in an AuthorTract, usually to construct a StrawCharacter or deliver a [[StrawmanFallacy straw argument in favor of, or against, something]].

The license also doesn't allow ''every'' kind of inaccuracy. People still expect characters to be consistent. This cannot be used to excuse CharacterDerailment or ContrivedStupidityTropes. It also doesn't excuse [[DanBrowned false claims of accuracy]]. It will allow violations of ExternalConsistency, and sometimes GenreConsistency, but usually not InternalConsistency.

When reading about artistic license on a page, keep in mind that TropesAreNotBad. Someone listing an event of artistic license does not mean the work or use of this trope was bad. Pointing out artistic license is not bad-mouthing a work. If an entry seems especially snarky about it, [[Administrivia/RepairDontRespond You Could Always Edit It Yourself]], making it a little less snarky.

Writers, be warned: Using too many of these or taking one to illogical extremes can tug at the audience's WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief.

See also HollywoodStyle (various forms of artistic license), GarnishingTheStory (in that adding to the story is the primary reason for inclusion), ThePowerOfIndex (an element is much stronger than it would realistically be), and RuleOfIndex (where the license is from how cool/funny/scary/etc. something is).


+ ArtisticLicenseAstronomy
+ ArtisticLicenseBiology
+ ArtisticLicenseCars
+ ArtisticLicenseChemistry
+ ArtisticLicenseLaw
+ ArtisticLicenseLinguistics
+ ArtisticLicenseMedicine
+ ArtisticLicensePharmacology
+ ArtisticLicensePhysics

%% Tropes: %%
* AcousticLicense
* ArtMajorBiology
* ArtisticLicenseAnimalCare
* ArtisticLicenseAwards
* ArtisticLicenseEconomics
* ArtisticLicenseEngineering
* ArtisticLicenseFilmProduction
* ArtisticLicenseGeography
* ArtisticLicenseGeology
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety
* ArtisticLicenseHistory
* ArtisticLicenseMartialArts
* ArtisticLicenseMilitary
* ArtisticLicenseMusic
* ArtisticLicenseNuclearPhysics
* ArtisticLicensePaleontology
* ArtisticLicenseReligion
* ArtisticLicenseShips
* ArtisticLicenseSports
* ArtisticLicenseStatistics
* ArtisticLicenseTraditionalChristianity
* ArtisticLicenseUniversityAdmissions
* TheCoconutEffect
* CommonHollywoodSexTraits
* FontAnachronism
* JustPlaneWrong
* JustTrainWrong
* RealityIsUnrealistic
* SadlyMythcharacterized
* SadlyMythtaken
* ScienceMarchesOn
* SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale
* SocietyMarchesOn
* TechnologyMarchesOn
* ThingsAreMoreEffectiveInHollywood
* WritersCannotDoMath