writers tips

Writers Tip #55: Don’t Lecture

writers tips

Great tips for soon-to-be great writers

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Today’s tip: Don’t pontificate

This is a tip from Writer’s Digest, one I agree with 100%:

Don’t use your fiction story as a soap box for your beliefs. It won’t work. Readers will get turned off. Worse, if they disagree with you, they’ll leave nasty comments on Amazon and scare other readers away. Readers buy fiction to be entertained.

You don’t have to lecture to get your ideas across. Think of your cross section of friends. Are they all like you–Republican or Democrat? Do they all believe/not believe in global warming? Do you still like them? Sure, because you probably avoid politics (and religion and money as mom recommended) and enjoy the person they are. Do that with your characters.

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4 thoughts on “Writers Tip #55: Don’t Lecture

  1. I do to. I’m always sorely disappointed when bloggers I’ve grown to love try to teach me their politics so I do everything I can to avoid it. I even gave one of my blogs over to political machinations, just in case I couldn’t resist. Not surprisingly, it’s the fourth best of my four blogs. Thanks for the visit!

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  2. When I’m wearing my editor’s hat, I run across quite a few manuscripts in which the author has taken the soap box approach. My comments to those authors always include the reminder that the goal of every novel is to reach the widest readership possible, and yet by using a/some character(s) to preach about an issue or ideology, the author is automatically causing readers who are on the other side of an issue to turn away from that particular book.

    Also, novels that center around a controversial topic-of-the-day don’t have any staying power. As soon as that topic has been replaced by the next hot issue, that novel will no longer have any relevance, even to those readers whose points of view might have been in line with the author’s.

    And, as you said in your post, fiction lovers are looking for entertainment and escape. They get enough controversy from all of cable’s talking heads, the political bloggers, etc. Writers who want to express their opinions should craft their words as editorials or essays or post those comments on blogs that encourage dialogue on that particular issue.

    Thanks for the post, Jacqui!

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    • As you say, if we agree, it’s OK. Otherwise, it’s blustering. I’ve read quite a few authors who do this so I was glad when Writers Digest came out against it.

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