Monday, October 22, 2012

Writing 101: Writing a Message

Not all stories are mere stories, something to entertain you. Some strive to teach some lesson, perhaps make some moral standpoint, maybe brighten up your day. When you're writing a message, you have to walk a delicate line and maintain a certain balance. Otherwise, I'm just going to get ticked, and other readers too.

Getting the Point

There's nothing wrong with embedding a message into a story. In fact, lots of books have been extremely successful by doing this. People like learning a little something, and having their spirits lifted. But at the same time, they also want to be entertained. When you're writing a message, you can't over-write it.

What I'm saying is, don't hit me over the head with it. If you're continually spelling out your message, you're just being repetitive (and repetition is boring). The message has to be faint, subtle, so carefully placed that I'm not really sure if there was a message there. I read a book once where the author related inspirational stories in gigantic monologues, then went on to repeat and sum up the message I was supposed to get to end each chapter. Each message was a joyous and inspirational one, but each was getting pounded into my brain with each and every chapter. 

You can't force-feed your message to your readers, and you don't need to give it to them in multiple ways to make sure they're getting it. It has to be faint, slight, something that supports the story. The message shouldn't be the story.

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  1. I agree with this, the message should be the story but the story should contain the message.

  2. That's a great way of putting it! Thanks, Hannah.