1. Narwhal
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    Narwhal Member

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    Writing Fiction with "Philosophy"..

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Narwhal, Jan 27, 2008.

    What are your thoughts on writers who make heavy reference to, or draw from, their personal philosophies and political / religious / social beliefs in the context of fiction ? Examples of this "method" would be Orwell, Huxley to an extent, Ayn Rand most DEFINITELY (I'd say she typifies the idea, haha), and etc. I've been struggling to "decide" on a story or route to take for writing (with some length / substance) and I realized that the easiest way for someone like me (read: opinionated) to write is to make the underlying themes relateable to me, and even important to me. I spend a lot of my time thinking about the nature of reality (subjective vs objective), and to ME, it's a very interesting subject. I'm curious as to how you folks feel about fiction that relies or atleast draws from that sort of "well".

    As far as general plot goes, I've got a few concepts kicking around but nothing I'm completely attached to just yet.
     
  2. Gloom Kitty
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    Gloom Kitty Banned

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    I'm actually reading a book that has a page or two of that between chapters at the moment. I don't think it does any harm to the prose as long as it draws together with the theme or has some connection to the plot
     
  3. Shreyass
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    Shreyass Senior Member

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    And people with a philosophy behind the writing are usually much more likely to get inspiration.
     
  4. Stinger
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    Stinger Senior Member

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    Not that every great philosopher is a great writer, but every great writer is a great philosopher. Specially in our time modern movement is 100% based on philosophy.
     
  5. Gloom Kitty
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    Gloom Kitty Banned

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    I most certainly agree with that
     
  6. Shreyass
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    Shreyass Senior Member

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    Moi agreeth.
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the end, there are three basic reasons to write:

    To Inform
    To Persuade
    To Entertain

    Often a piece (be it fiction or nonfiction) is a combination.

    What is being discussed here is to persuade. In writing fiction, trying to persuade readers to a certain point of view on an issue or two can be tricky, and risks alienating the reader. Even those that agree with what is being supported or encouraged through the characters and plot can be put off if it is heavy-handed or interferes with the entertainment value of the fictional piece.

    This is not to say that it cannot be done, or shouldn't be tried. Often the main theme, or even a subplot in the overall story can present/put forward an issue.

    Writers of fiction do draw on their experience and world view (as well as that of others) to create the stories and worlds of their characters. It couldn't be otherwise.

    I guess I'd say that when writing fiction, it's a balance. Don't let the message get in the way of, impede, or overpower the story. If it does, consider writing essays or opinion pieces on the topic instead--unless the fiction is targeted at a particular or receptive audience.

    Terry
     
  8. andycerrone
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    andycerrone Member

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    It would be hard, if not impossible to not tie your own philosophic beliefs into your own writing... it's human nature to add a bit of your own faith (or lack there of) into what you create. The stronger views of this without being about the actual philosophical matter would be like stated above as well as Kerouac, Ginsberg, Swift, Lowell, among many others. Writing about what you feel passionately about is the best thing you can do, it will evoke feelings that would be out of grasp in any other subject. I've been testing the waters of adding a bit more philosophic depth to some of my work that I feel is bringing a clearer distinction between characters and also is allowing me to develop more to the pieces than the pieces themselves.
     
  9. Stinger
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    Stinger Senior Member

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    The point is philosophic writing is not for persuation. Most of the times writer fails to know the philosophy him/herself.

    A work without meaning has no value.
     
  10. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In response to Narwhal's original question, including religious, political and social beliefs in the context of fiction, and referencing Orwell for example, I believe persuasion is part of the equation. And I think with the works of those authors I've read, I suspect they knew the view (their perspective) they were putting forth in their fiction.

    On the other hand, what a reader comes away with, or feels is important or relevant, or if the reader's outlook/attitude/belief is changed is a separate issue.

    Terry
     
  11. Stinger
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    Stinger Senior Member

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    But a true author has no way but to put his believes into his work.
     
  12. Narwhal
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    Narwhal Member

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    I think that's true, but there are many stories that don't reaaally .. "mean" anything. I'm not saying they're GOOD, but there are a lot of stories and books which are just stories, and that's not a bad thing; compared to Rand's works.. well, it can be down-right COMPARABLE, lol. I loved Atlas Shrugged but I will eagerly admit that she took the pedantic preaching thing too far (60 page speech? for the love of God, we get it..).

    BUT, I do love reading books that ring with a strong sense of "logic" or belief (whether or not I agree with the belief and train of logic), and I was curious to see if I was alone or if this is something much more difficult to pull off than I currently thinkg..
     
  13. Sophronia
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    I think including some sort of philosophy or religion into a work of fiction is quite a creative thing to do, since, to me (this is an opinion, and not necessarily a fact -.-) it can add more detail and background to a story, character, etc. This is especially so if the story happens to revolve around a certain belief or philosophy.

    I include tons of philosophy into my fantasy stories (usually implications of Christianity heh), although it doesn't refer directly to any god in our world. I have yet to write a book that doesn't include any religion, although I find it hard to do so, especially when I want to explore a fantasy culture. What culture doesn't have some sort of philosophy in it?

    Hope I was helpful.
     
  14. lordofhats
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    lordofhats Contributing Member

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    Some form of philosophy or ideology ends up in a story no matter what you do. I can write a story about a white guy and black girl who fall in love in the 1940's and write it simply because its a good opportunity to show a great deal of drama, emotion, and a intriguing time period in US history. I could have no other goal other than that and someone will attach a message to the story's contents.

    I noticed years ago that christian themes and elements appeared in my stories without my even realizing it. It took me five reviews to even notice. The philosophy finds its way in there whether you mean it to or not.

    Philosophy has a place in a story but I would never water a story down in favor of it (Starship Troopers *cough cough*). Stories are what they are, stories. Write it, and let the reader attach meaning to it.
     

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