1. JavaMan
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    JavaMan Senior Member

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    The "Problem of Evil"

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by JavaMan, Jul 20, 2008.

    In many novels, the philosophical, religious, or sociological problem of evil is hinted at. When a writer creates a plot, should we feel like the appropriate type of intellectual where we give advice on how to solve some aspect of that problem? Are we illusionists or do we offer escapism when (I'll admit, it's ideal) the plot is resolved with a happy ending? Should the best plot simply teach a lesson, perhaps in a light and funny way?

    I'd like to see your opinions!:D
     
  2. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    I dont like plots that teach a lesson. I like stories to be stories, and nothing more. To use your
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I don't try to teach lessons. I'm not arrogant to thing I have all the answers. I won't deny trying to make people think about things for themselves, though.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    of course not!... why should we?... unless we're compelled to by some personal sense of morality, we can also write stories just for the entertainment value alone... and what on earth is an 'appropriate' type of intellectual, anyway?... and who gets to decide what kind is appropriate and which are not?

    there's no 'we' there... there's just each individual writer's own raison d'etre... and who says the 'ideal' ending is a happy one?... the ideal ending for any story is whatever one fits the story best and works well...

    why 'should' it?... and whose 'should' is to rule?... and how can a tragedy, for instance, teach a lesson in a 'light and funny' way?... all fiction isn't and shouldn't be 'light and funny'... nor have any lightness or humor in it, unless it's appropriate to the premise, plot, or characters...

    you seem to be thinking in absolutes and neat little boxes, when writing good fiction is about avoiding all of that, at all costs...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think it's rare for a writer to have a message he or she wishes to convey. But the writer should deliver it as a subtle spice in the fiction feast, not pounded in with a five pound sledge hammer.
     
  6. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I see nothing wrong with us, as writers, conveying our opinion to the solution of a problem within society. However, we must also recognize our own potential for error and should be very humble in assuming we have the answer to such problems.

    However, in regards to problems within society, I think it's better to have the the author make the reader question the problems, their involvement in the problem, and their own ideas for a solution themselves, as a reader, rather than the author proposing the solution.

    I would also agree with maia in response to the latter part of your post. There isn't a right way or a wrong way to do it. Sometimes escapism, a happy ending, teaching a lesson, or having a "light and funny" story is the best method for the author, the plot, and the characters produced. Other times it might not be (for that story or for that author). That being said, there's no right or wrong way to go about these questions or incorporating your opinion into your writing.
     
  7. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I'm kind of puzzled by the question. "Should"? I think a story should do whatever its author wishes it to do, whether it's to teach a lesson, or to just entertain--whether the plot has something to do with the problem of evil or not. Whether the author is successful or good at accomplishing a story's purpose or not is another matter entirely, but I don't think there's any hard and fast rule of what all stories "should" do regarding such issues. Stories have so many purposes that one could never give a definitive "should" answer. :/

    Sorry if I misunderstood, it just seems phrased kind of oddly.
     
  8. JavaMan
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    JavaMan Senior Member

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    Thank you all for the replies. They were all insightful.

    What I meant by 'should' was really a desire on my part based on my sense of morality. It's just that I'd hate (God willing) to have something published that didn't do some 'good' - whatever that means. Know what I mean?:redface:
     
  9. Neo
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    Neo Member

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    Best way is a moral dilemma. Present the reader with a character who does bad things but in the end it helps do some good, bad things like murder, rape, stuff like that, which makes you really question what is right. And try to tie religious themes - blatant ones - into it.
     
  10. Scribe Rewan
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    Scribe Rewan Contributing Member

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    If your book gets published then people will read it. If they read it, most of them will enjoy it. You will have made people happy for a period in their life, maybe it would be their favourite book. What more good does one need to do, than bring happiness and enjoyment to people who look for it?!
     
  11. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Authors and writers have been using the written word to teach moral lessons and answers deep philosophical questions in the disguise of mindless entertainment since man could pick up a pen and form a sentence.

    Do what you feel is best. if you think telling your story about the "problem of evil" and providing your own personal viewpoint into the work as the "Truth" of the situation will make for a good work and a good story that others will enjoy, then do it.

    This is done constantly by authors and writers. comic books, novels, plays, songs, movies and the like are riddled with creators using "fiction" to "tell the Truth" (As best they know it). (Paraphrased from "V")

    So have fun, write a good story and make your point. Tell you what, I enjoy the "Problem of Evil" discussions, so if you want me to proof it for you, let me know.
     

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