Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group

Happy IWSG Wednesday! I have a bit of a rant for you, followed by a bit of encouragement.  Looking forward? I know you are! (rolls eyes).

I have been thinking about this for a few days now, and thought IWSG might be a good time for discussion.  What is your story about? No, no, not the plot or the story you're telling me.  What is the deeper, earth shaking, implied meaning that will lift me up on solid moral ground?

No idea? Good.  It just astounds me how much time writerly types spend sitting around talking about this.  (I imagine a whole lot of white haired men with glasses and pipes sitting around sipping latte's and pretending they don't live in their cars.)  I really hate to see a story picked apart in these analytical terms.  What is the morale of the story.  How does this paint a parallel of this complicated societal question? 

For the love of Pete people, why can't a story just be a story?! You know, a book... something you read for FUN.  If I wanted to talk about politics and philosophy I'd go back to school.  Gah.
One really good example of this- and this one really gets my goat- is when people start talking race/culture.  If a book has too many white people it's picked apart.  If it's got some cultural's picked apart.  What was this white author trying to say when she wrote this black character? Well... maybe it's some sort of huge moral dilema.  Or maybe... just MAYBE the character just wanted to be black.  I don't know how these analytical types write, but for me nothing is that pre-meditated.   The story I'm working on right now has a main character with Japanese heritage.  What am I trying to say with this? Nothing.  I just dreamed up (literally, dreamed) about this character and this story and guess what- he's Japanese.  So what? Sew buttons.   (Sorry, worked a ten hour day and it does things to my brain.)  He's a cool character.  Interesting.  ENTERTAINING.  He just happens to be part Japanese. That's it.

Now, I'm not a published, best selling author.  But I do read.  A lot.  The moral of THIS story: Write something to entertain me.  Write a story I enjoy reading, something fun or in some way rewarding and emotionally satisfying.   Do that and I'll buy your book.  Write something just to make some sort of point, and you get no such guarantee.  In fact, I'll steer clear of it like the plague.

Be yourself.  Write your story with a sense of wonder and entertainment.  Enjoy!


  1. Gaaaaah... SERIOUSLY...

    I totally don't sit down and think, "What deep message do I want to bring across?" ;) I just want to create something that immerses the reader into a different world... where it's entertaining. Fun. Magical. But it's a struggle, because I feel like I won't be successful unless I have that element... I don't know. We'll see. Great post.

    And new follower! <3 <3 <3

  2. Sometimes I do try to over analyze things, but I also like writing solely for entertainment sake. It all depends on the storyline. The most important thing is that your writing is solid. Then they could knock themselves out looking for hidden subtexts. Julie

  3. I just write for enjoyment! If anyone sees a deeper meaning in my books, trust me, it's not there on purpose.

  4. I mostly write the story for the story's sake, but I think these kind of themes do kind of slip in.

    I wrote a space opera about a theocratic colony facing a crisis, and I focused on a few of the characters in it and how their choices affected the colony as a whole. No overarching theme, right?

    Then a friend told me it was excellent commentary on the struggle between personal faith and doctrinal faith. I pushed back, saying, "No, it's a story about this girl and her father caught up in... yada yada."

    But then I started thinking about the book I'd written, and yes, it does talk a lot about personal faith and how it comes into conflict with doctrinal faith. I had simply been too close to the story and the characters to see that's what I was doing. I certainly had not started out with the intent to give my opinion on that religious conflict, but when I look back on it, I did indeed give my opinion on that subject.

    Maybe we all do that and it simply takes time (or some scruffy, latte-drinking, homeless critic) to see the theme take shape out of all the little threads that make up our tales.

    But what do I know? I just the writer.

  5. I totally agree with you. I was an English Lit major in college, so I understand (and love) novels with deep, earth shattering meanings. And I love reading books like that. But I write novels for kids about superheroes, and I think that has value too.

  6. Thanks guys. You all rock! Glad to know I'm not the only one who just writes to entertain. I have seen things in my story in retrospect, like Dan said, but I think that's all just interpretation. If someone gets a certain theme out of the book, thats great but generally never my purpose. Things slip in, but I don't think it should ever be a purposeful thing or it risks feeling forced or preachy. Best of luck to everyone in their endeavors! Thanks for stopping by :)

  7. I tend to agree with you--I write romance, a genre that is constantly dismissed as not being 'literary.' What's so wrong with that? If my stories make people happy and entertain them, I'm happy. I pick my favorite books based on the story, not the literary devices used to tell them. Glad I'm not the only one! :)

  8. Hear, hear! I agree with you 100%! Reality's rough; I need me some escape and enjoyment!
    Some Dark Romantic

  9. Well said! I read for fun and to relax, not to unearth some deep meaning of life. Great post!

  10. I don't set out to write a particular theme, but one (or more) usually comes out as I write. :) Great post!

    IWSG #170 ...until Alex culls the list again.

  11. I agree with a few of the other posts that it doesnt have to be one or the other. Characters can just be who they are, but there can be a theme of meaning to the writer. But the caveat to that is, it cannot interfere with the story. What's happening and the characters have to be in the foreground, theme and all that other stuff should be the framework the author chooses to place in the background, and in some cases, chooses not to place at all.

    Thought-provoking post. (Late posting from a IWSG member)


I'd love to hear your musings :)