Lost In the Message

   When writing fiction, tell a story, do not try to convince a moral, political, or philosophical view to the reader. I've always felt conflicted with this piece of advice. There is hardly a piece of quality writing without an idea being pushed. When we get down to it isn't that all what books are, thoughts? Like other aspiring writers, I imagine how my imaginary best-selling novel will affect the hearts and minds of my readers in my dreamy little head. On a not too distant cloud is getting published and other generic writer fantasies, that others would find utterly drab. So idealistic Mandy sets her goals high and aims to change the world with her fantastic writing. Then she looks down for a moment and sees that piece of advice mentioned in the first sentence and begins to get concerned.

   Just recently it dawned upon me what this chunk of advice was saying.  I was convinced that it was suggesting that a story shouldn't express a point of view or share some sort of moral.  However, this is not what it meant.  It meant that during the writing process don't try to bog down the plot with lecturing prose or skewing the dynamics of your story just to make it fit for some nice philosophy.  Write the story and the rest will follow.  I was listening to speaker once who brushed over this subject.  She suggested that if you are so intent to get your idea across, write and essay instead.  By trying to argue a point through a story you can be weighing it down instead of developing it into something spectacular like the way you see it.

   A story needs to speak to the heart of the reader, and the way of doing that is through its characters and a plot.  The characters in your story may well experience conflicts and their solution to the conflict may express a wonderful message: don't do drugs, persevere, love overcomes all, politicians have no soul, the key to happiness is within you, ect..  That's great because that message is being shown and not simply told.  I believe a powerful message can be artfully implemented into a story.  Just don't get so caught up in a message that you forget about the story.

Have you ever heard similar advice? What do you think of it?

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