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Nov. 2, 2015

Fiction That Wows Your Reader (Part 4)

Don’t Preach!

If you’ve gone to your share of writers’ conferences, you’ve heard that little ditty a zillion times. Don’t preach!

Okay, don’t preach. Butwhat does that mean? Don’t preach!

As writers with opinions, and I’ve never met a writer who didn’t have one (or “agendas,”) we all have “messages” we’d like to share with our readers. But how does a skillful writer share his message, his beliefs, his ideals, with the reader without offending him or turning him off on page one? How do you impart your underlying theme in the story without coming right out and saying something like, “God is love”?

Is it wrong to try to win your reader over to your side by sharing your beliefs? Absolutely not. That very goal is the reason most people write. They want to share something they feel is vitally important to the survival of the human race. Wars have been won, and lost, by the printed page.

So how does a writer share his beliefs without preaching? A skillful writer weaves the message into the story so that the characters portray the ideals, or lack of them. The reader, watching the action of the main character, then observes the author’s beliefs in action as the character either exemplifies or struggles with the underlying theme.

Let’s look at some examples of “preaching” versus clever weaving of the message into the context of the story. The first examples of preaching are lousy writing on my part. The second examples are taken from some of my published work:

Preaching:

“Children need to work around the house, not only because their parents need the help, but also because when the children are older, they’ll know how to take care of their own homes,” Bimbo told Heathcliff.

Weaving the Message into the Story:

“Chores, including the house and the barn – washing clothes … mucking stalls are important. But you’re not a lonely island out there by yourself,” Mr. Chambers reminded Skye. “It takes all of us to run this place. It’s just part of maintaining a home. You’ll be glad when you’re older that you learned how to do these things.”

Yeah. I’m the luckiest girl in the world! Skye stewed inside.

 

(from A HORSE TO LOVE, KEYSTONE STABLES BOOK ONE)

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Preaching:

“God is love, and He is ready to forgive anyone who will believe in Him, no matter how bad they’ve been,” Bimbo told Heathcliff.

Weaving the Message into the Story:

Skye turned back to the altar, and her eyes focused on the cross, the symbol of God’s love that meant absolutely nothing to her. This God, whom she didn’t even know existed, loved her? As rotten as she was?

She stumbled to the altar and knelt at the cross, sobbing out her pain and despair.

(from A HORSE TO LOVE)

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So there you have two simple examples of how to rid your writing style of that pesky preaching.

Take a good look at the book you are reading at the moment and see how the author has handled his theme or underlying message. It might become clearer to you now than ever before.

Remember, weave the message into your story; have your characters experience the thrill, or the pain, of living with your ideals or beliefs. The reader will observe the action and reaction of your characters, and from your book, he just might decide to embrace the ideals you hold so dear.  You don’t need to preach to get your message into your reader’s heart and mind. Just write from your heart in a clever way, and your message will come through loud and clear.

Next time, we’ll discuss writing plots that are “outside the box.”

 

Marsha (Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers Tips) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

Montrose Christian Writers Conference http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

 

(More Shameless Promotion)

 

A HORSE TO LOVE

Keystone Stables Book 1

 (Book 1 in the Keystone Stables Series)

Nasty foster kid Skye Nicholson meets her match when she goes to live at Keystone Stables. There she meets Mr. and Mrs. Chambers, her new foster parents, and a gorgeous show horse, Champ, all who help Skye face her greatest fears.

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