Some of you may have noticed (while most people probably did not) that I didn’t manage to get a post up yesterday. This would be my first skipped day in over a month, due to social engagements that threw my otherwise placid, undisturbed, and admittedly boring routine completely off the track, but happily so. Today’s still a little off; this is much later than I usually like to post, but it’s time to get focused back in on the game, especially since I may be taking a weekend hiatus for Comic Con in Chicago.
A discussion was had (well, many discussions, really) about something that got me thinking, and that’s the concept of politics or statements or grand schemes of humanity infused into fiction. I can’t imagine there are many writers out there who would say that they wouldn’t want people to see the real world reflected in their work, be it general fiction about the real world or the more alien forms of science fiction, fantasy or horror. I remember saying something to the tune of “If the work doesn’t somehow relate to something, it isn’t much worth its salt,” and I believe that, but I also don’t think it’s as applicable to my own work as I would like it to be.
Of course I’d like to do for fantasy what science fiction is known for doing so well, holding up a mirror to society, reflecting it back in a way that seems futuristic and strange, but really is some sort of cautionary or moral tale on how we live our lives today. Do I do it that consciously? No, not really. Because I realize that, why I ultimately want to be that sort of writer, most of my drive is simply in telling a good story. I want the reader to be entertained, and if they can take something even more than that away from the pages, that’s even better.
Do you tend to write from more of a perspective of sending a message? Or are you mostly in it to tell a good story? Have you found a good balance of including both, or do you sometimes find it tricky? What do you prefer to encounter as a reader? I’m curious on other perspectives in this respect. I think I’m probably a big “story first, moral later” type….just as long as the moral gets a chance to burrow itself into the underlying themes of the story.