Jul 11 2008

A few questions for opinionated authors

Published by at 4:07 pm under Commentary,Politics,Writing Articles

The authors that try to present political or religious opinions usually confuse their opinions with insights. How is your message different from what people have already heard about abortion? For example, your readers have already heard many people chant “abortion is good” and “abortion is bad.” Is your story just another voice in the chorus or will it actually add something? Why will anyone care about your opinion? Do you have any unique perspective on the subject material? Do you have relevant professional or scholarly experience? Are you personally affected by the issue? Etc.

Most attempts at persuasion are ineffective because the writers don’t know very much about the field. The people that read a book about a political subject are usually well-versed about the subject. You have to be even more knowledgeable than they are. Can you add anything to the perspectives of your readers? If your background is only as deep as what you’ve read in newspapers or heard on television, you probably don’t know enough to impress readers (let alone persuade them).

Selling political opinions is particularly tricky in fiction. You’ll probably modify real-life events to fit into your story, which is fine if you’re just writing a story but can be problematic if you want to convey a real-life political message. If the story is too fictionalized, the propaganda comes off as a bad joke. For example, The remake of War of the Worlds was supposed to be an allegory about the US invasion of Iraq. If you fictionalize the story too much, it will lose any real-world persuasiveness.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “A few questions for opinionated authors”

  1. Anonymouson 27 Sep 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Hello, I’m Natalie and I’m fourteen-years-old. It seems writing is a lot more than characterization >.<. Not to get personal with myself or anything, but all my life Ive noticed about the lack of care people have shown others, especially those who don't know you at first but are supposed to (like a social worker, teacher) should I write about that? It's something that's been bothering me. And how families should stick together. :/ but I'm not sure if readers will like that.

  2. B. McKenzieon 28 Sep 2011 at 6:07 am

    “It seems writing is a lot more than characterization.” Well, the characters have to have interesting things to do. One possible obstacle is overcoming people that should be helpful but, for whatever reason, are not. For example, maybe a teacher doesn’t have time for a particular student because he/she has been assigned too many students or is burned out on teaching. (Pension systems discourage teachers from leaving even when they are sick of teaching, so some teachers stay on for financial reasons even though they are happy there). Maybe the social worker is more focused on other students for whatever reason (for example, maybe other students are more desperately in need of help) or maybe the social worker is busy plotting world conquest or something. (Hey, it is fiction)

  3. Natalieon 28 Sep 2011 at 10:43 am

    I know characters are important, but I’m saying there’s more to it. I’m a bit confused, I don’t know what my theme should be >.<. How do I know what theme I should use. I was also thinking about the theme of how families should stay together. But I don't know how should I pick a theme? I thought writing would be fun but it's a lot of rules.

  4. Grenacon 28 Sep 2011 at 12:22 pm

    “I thought writing would be fun but it’s a lot of rules.”

    It is, it just takes a while to get used to the ‘rules’. Most likely, the first draft will always ignore said rules and the revision process is the place to slap ’em back on. I’ve heard many writers say that.

    Think of the main message you want to send to people with your story and that’s basically the theme. If you can’t think of one, you could look up a list of themes used in writing to get some ideas.

    I’d also recommend that you think about whether or not you want to explore the world of writing. If you find that you aren’t really getting any enjoyment out of it, then it might not be the right path for you. There’s no use in doing something you don’t really want/like because the end result will reflect that.

  5. Natalieon 28 Sep 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for the advice Grenac, to tell the truth I’m not in to the world of writing yet. Right now I just want to write a story I’m proud of and would want to share with others. (still with all the elements) Is it okay if I want to write for that reason?

  6. Grenacon 28 Sep 2011 at 2:38 pm

    In my opinion, I wouldn’t recommend writing if you’re forcing yourself to do so. I’ve seen people write even thought they don’t want to and it reflects on their work. As long as you enjoy the process and you really want to, that won’t be a problem.

    You can write for whatever reason you want, I’m just throwing that out there for consideration. Please try your best on your project C:

  7. Natalieon 28 Sep 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Cool, I will. I have these characters (villains actually, who try to be heroes but fail miserably) if I don’t want to write about them? What else could I do to get them known? Should I give the idea to someone else? (sorry for the questions…)

  8. Grenacon 28 Sep 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I would think that if they were your characters, you’d like to write about them. My suggestion if you don’t would be to work with them until you find something you want to write with them. If you can draw, you can draw them and share.

    It all boils down to what you want to do and what you think will work.

  9. Yochananon 20 Feb 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Can I write about a character whose ideology I do not agree with? I find myself tsundere towards the opinions of Ayn Rand, capitalism being most of the dere. If I have my resident Objectivist/protagonist be the voice of reason half the time, will it look like a reverse ad hominem on my part (glorifying)?

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