Something to say?

By Madman · Jan 26, 2024 · ·
  1. Must a writer always have some underlying message in their fictional works? Or can they exist as mere entertainment and information?

    I don't know.

    Personally, I write to entertain and bring people to another reality, another universe. But even if I don't consciously implement messages, they are still there. In the shadows of my words.

    There is a suicide in one of my works and it seems portrayed like a pointless death. So, is that my eternal message about suicides?
    Not at all.

    I hold no judgment. I am a writer, not a judicial servant.

    Even though I can interpret things from my own texts, it shouldn't be up to me to do so. That should be the work of the audience.

    Is the work of the audience also to interpret me, based on my texts? I suppose I don't have much of a say in that.

    Whatever the message and interpretation, just know, that I don't know anything.


  1. ps102
    Saying something is almost always my focus, even back in the days when I wrote Sci-Fi and Fantasy.

    But it isn't necessary. Some people just want to enjoy an exciting story that employs all kinds of thrilling story techniques. Others just want to read a story that focuses on the struggles of life or a character.

    That gap in focus is a topic of discussion between literary and genre fiction. The two aren't mutually exclusive though and I really do think that the best of books are done in good balance.

    You should write what feels right to you. I know you love Sci-Fi so just write Sci-Fi. You don't have to carry a particular message. But your most devoted readers might very well draw one from somewhere.
      Set2Stun, Louanne Learning and Madman like this.
    1. Madman
      Balance sounds good. Sometimes I do have an underlying message that I hope will reach people, but most of the time it's just words for the sake of escapism.
      ps102 likes this.
  2. Louanne Learning
    I think with everything we write, we say something, even if we did not know what we intended to say at the start. Every single story "says something" - it's in the way we craft the characters and the narrative arc. As humans, we all have something to say and writing a story is one way to do that. We might start with theme, we might develop it as we go. But a story is communication. Bonus if it is entertaining, too!
  3. Set2Stun
    This is an interesting topic! For myself, it really depends on the story. Sometimes I do have opinions on things that I want to express through fiction, but if I look at my work as a whole, the majority of it is mostly to entertain readers who consume the same kinds of stories as myself. Deeper meaning, up front or as subtext, certainly isn't a requirement. I can't stand overly-preachy prose. I say, present the material objectively and let me come to my own conclusions. A skilled writer will be able to steer the reader to their point without bashing it over their heads. Like you say, it should be up to the audience.

    I'll add that one of my favourite things about reader feedback is when they pull some hidden meaning in my words that I never intended, but actually makes perfect sense in every way to the character(s) and to the story. Makes one wonder if it's the unconscious mind at work, or if the reader is more insightful than the writer !
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