The real world sometimes intrudes into the world of storytelling. That's okay, though. Storytellers have got a fix for that. Several fixes, actually. This is usually known as "artistic license".
Listed are some of the methods used to massage factual events into ... something interesting.
Going from most-factual to most-fanciful:
- Real Life
- As close to the truth as possible with available resources and information
- Minor aspects have been changednote but the important facts are unaltered.
- Roman à Clef: a dramatized depiction of events with changes to obscure specific identities
- Biography à Clef: a biography of someone in the Roman à Clef style. Often used to depict particularly controversial figures or for legal reasons.
- Dramatization actual events are recreated in a way that minimizes creative liberties and/or acknowledges its own inaccuracy
- Docudrama: Actual events are depicted with Artistic License filling in gaps and spicing things up
- Truth in Television
- Sidelong Glance Biopic: a real person's actions are witnessed through a fictionalized or invented Supporting Protagonist (or more than one). Often used to present conflicting historical accounts, combine many fragmentary accounts, and/or provide a vehicle for pure storytelling while sticking close to the facts.
- Freakier Than Fiction: the facts already stretch Willing Suspension of Disbelief enough that the need for a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer leaves little room to exaggerate.
- Viewer-Friendly Interface
- Major aspects have been altered or invented, but the core events and situation are true.
- Based on a True Story (the typical usage of the term)
- Docu Soap: Follows the lives of real people, but may exaggerate or invent drama to keep things interesting
- Ripped from the Headlines: The story was inspired by the news.
- Patched Together from the Headlines: Multiple aspects of this story were inspired by more than one real-life story.
- Possess passing connection to reality
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The story is essentially an exaggerated account of real-life events.
- Twisting the Words: Someone gets in trouble when an innocent statement they've made gets warped into an incriminating interpretation.
- Manipulative Editing: Editing footage to make it look like something that didn't happen actually happened or that someone said something they actually didn't.
- Worked Shoot
- Not completely untrue
- Completely made up story featuring true things
- Allegedly true