I did something different this time in my latest Ask You (I ask, you respond (to Green Embers) : Below the Surface). I did not comment back on any post individually. Here is why. I got so many excellent replies and I felt each stood on their own and needed no feedback from me. I decided what I would do instead is make a follow up post so you could all see the comments from people you might have missed. Thank you all for participating! If you haven’t yet commented but still decide to, I will add your comment to this post.
What are your feelings on Poe’s stance?
Do you feel blatant messages in stories wrong?
Do you feel that all stories should be meticulously plotted out?
I think that it depends on several things:
1. The type of writing being done
2. The target audience for your message and
3. The level of complexity of the message itself.
I personally feel that using analogies, allegories and the like are good ways to convey complex and often multi-faceted ideas and concepts. Taking something hard to explain and explaining it by comparison to something everyone understands will not only allow you to reach more people with your message but it allows you to do it with fewer words. This also serves to maximize the number of people who will read it because many people will not take the time to read something that is too long winded. I also feel that using plain language and being as direct as possible is much better at conveying meaning and ideas than flowery language and too much artistic or poetic obfuscation.
I don’t know enough or haven’t read enough to fully comprehend his stance.
There are times when I like blatant messages in books. It satisfies the part of me that likes to slot things into black and white. But sometimes I read these amazing authors. Who leave subtle messages throughout their narration. One that adds up to the end message, which isn’t blatantly stated. Makes me feel like i am part of a secret society, that to have understood the underlying message, you had to have read very carefully. You know what I mean?
I’ll get back to you when I write a book. But if I was to start writing a book, I would like to know where my story was going. But I wouldn’t plan it out to the last degree, because at the end of the day, my characters are live people to me. The decisions they take, the choices they make, should all come to them and me at the same time. I loved this question you put to us. Thought provoking, smart and deep. Nicely done!
if blatant messages in stories were wrong, then all fables would be wrong. A well plotted story is always a pleasure but often characters take a life of their own.
I agree that a good story should be one you can read over and over again, finding something new every time you read it.
I think that every single story that has ever been written; whether fiction or non fiction is tinged with the opinions and beliefs of the author. Anything can be analyzed and mean something other than what the author meant based on the perception of the reader. If blatant messages were wrong advertising would be dead.
I don’t feel qualified to really have an opinion on this (but I’ll give it a go anyway, LOL!). My only point of view is necessarily self-referential and I find that often the writing I do that is most effective from the perspective of people responding to it and often seeing things in it I hadn’t thought of, is often the writing I would have least expected that response for…hence why I feel ill-qualified to comment, LOL! I just think that writing is such a mysterious and often unconscious process – at least it is often for me. Having said that, if i start with a discipline about using a particular poetic form – say a sonnet or a villanelle for example – I do find the very structure helps the writing emerge consciously in ways I didn’t think of originally simply because of the necessity to follow the structural rules…so there is an argument for more conscious writing as well and perhaps in that way more specific defined themes emerge.
Didacticism is inherent in all writings. We always learn something from the author’s view point.
Meggie Rodgers says:
in my personal writing, often the undercurrents appear without intention – the surface i plot out, not necessarily meticulously, though i don’t think that would matter. the beauty of storytelling is that it always has layers, and getting out the surface, however carefully calculated, will naturally reveal these layers that may not have been first and foremost in the writers mind
Thank you all for your excellent responses!