Virtually any literary work can be improved upon simply by including some aspect involving beliefs. What it actually equals is contemplating substantial questions, and truthfully searching for answers.
Countless authors try to do this, no matter what the style of literature may be. The challenge is to do this adequately, without seeming preachy or pedantic. Not many works of fiction maintain the ideal tone, and some of those that do sometimes go on to be considered as classics.
I have been learning and writing about religion and philosophy for well over fourteen years. As a result, I am certainly acutely aware of the intricate equilibrium between intellectual exploration and entertainment value. Both elements are important, but to really do well at accomplishing this, entertainment value is significantly more important.
Whenever a person is pulled into a riveting narrative, they may easily discover new possibilities that were otherwise off limits to them. To put it differently, a good storyteller is able to induce philosophical exploration in the reader without them even realizing it. And when you include a healthy dose of imagination, together with the different possibilities that it can bring, you have a great fantasy novel.
Regrettably, some authors take a heavy-handed approach. These writers have already decided to make a specific philosophical point, and bend the story with the goal of achieving this. Such an approach is a misstep.
But still a number of authors do just this in their novels. Very often they think that they’re being philosophical by taking this approach. But the reality is that there isn’t much true inquiry taking place in their novels. They have already reached their conclusions, and aren’t exploring fresh viewpoints. Rather, they set out from the beginning to persuade us that their perspective is the right way.
No matter what that is, I’m unwilling to characterize it as philosophy. It is more akin to spiritual fundamentalism, minus the faith. Actual fiction writing is focused on taking the audience on a trek during which they encounter the feelings that many of us undergo throughout the course of our lives. It’s not at all about demonstrating a point or being pendantic. That may be what activists and gurus do, not real authors.
The prime directive is to always uphold the integrity of the story. When in doubt, choose what is best for the story. If there is a theme, it should grow naturally out of the story itself.
It’s completely fine to get started with certain themes in mind, but the conclusions should never be predetermined. Otherwise the whole endeavor is contrived, and your audience will certainly perceive this.
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