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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Author Insight: Message in a Novel

Do you feel like it is important for a book to have a message?

"I grew up in the 1980s, when "message" books were very popular. I was not--and am not--a fan of them. Why should a book tell you what to do? Aren't you your own person? Can't you think for yourself? Of course you can. (in case you can't tell, I despise message books!)"- Elizabeth Scott, author of Grace.

"I think a  book needs to have a POINT. Which is different from a message." - Heidi Kling, author of Sea.

"I think it's more important to tell the story you're trying to tell than anything else.  I subscribe to the Mark Twain method - any symbolism or deeper meaning in my books is totally accidental.  I just want to tell the story I want without feeling like I have to impart wisdom at the same time." - Scott Tracey, author of Witch Eyes.

"No, I feel like it's important to write the book that you want to write and not to write what you think people want to read. I think if you follow your heart, there will always be something to learn from each book." - Danielle Joseph, author of Indigo Blues.

"No, I suppose I don’t—but that said, I feel like it’s nearly impossible to write anything that doesn’t. How would you do that? What doesn’t have a message? Narrative always has some sort of meaning, doesn’t it? Whether the reader or the writer puts it there? I’m an aesthete; if the words are beautiful or moving or vivid, that’s message enough for me." - Margaret Stohl, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"Not a message, not like a fortune cookie or a proverb that I can take away.  But I think it's important for any narrative, whether a book or a movie or a poem, to have a point or an insight to offer in exchange for the reader's time." - Swati Avashti, author of Split.

"'Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.' - Mark Twain. I tend to agree with him." - Karen Kincy, author of Other.

"When I was younger, I never liked books containing heavy-handed messages, and so I definitely don't try to incorporate messages when I write.  I do think my books tend to have themes, which kind of shape the story and hold everything together." - Brenna Yovanoff, author of The Replacement.

"I like to explore themes while I write a story—but I don’t want to hit anyone over the head with a specific message" - Bree Despain, author of The Dark Divine.

"A lot of people believe that 'messages' in books are pretentious, but I like when there are stories within a story, something to get me thinking deeper about what I’m reading. It’s fascinating. All the books we study in literature classes have deeper meanings to them, so this seems natural to me." - Courtney Allison Moulton, author of Angelfire.

"I’m an entertainer. I don’t try for messages. That doesn’t mean my stories don’t have them, but I don’t look to insert them." - Diana Pharaoh Francis, author of Bitter Night.

"I don't think it's necessarily important that the author sets out with a particular message in mind, but I do think it's important that the reader is able to find one that resonates with them by the time they've finished reading the book." - Mindi Scott, author of Freefall.

"It's an essential facet of the books I write, but I don't universalize that. There are different books. I love, say, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. What's the message in that? I mean, other than 'Don't Panic' of course." - Diana Peterfreund, author of Rampant.

"No. I write because it's fun and I enjoy it. And I want other people to have fun and enjoy reading my stories, too. Life can be hard and painful no matter what age you are, but it's particularly trying when you're a teen. I just want to offer a way to escape for a few hours. I want to provide readers with a fun group of friends they can always count on---even when insomnia is in full force, it's three in the morning, and everyone else is asleep.  I want to give readers an interesting, exciting world that they can get lost in." - Anastasia Hopcus, author of Shadow Hills.

"Not necessarily. I love all kinds of books—some with messages and some without—and both types number among my favorites. But an example of an author who seamlessly weaves a message (the importance of wildlife conservation) into every novel he writes and still manages to be phenomenally entertaining and never didactic is Carl Hiaasen. I would read anything by him." - Michelle Hodkin, author of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

"Personally, I love a book that has a message, especially one that makes me question my reality, like Hunger Games. So even though 'didactic' and “preachy” are no-nos, I do like books that make the reader think/question/act." - Kristin Tubb, author of Selling Hope.

Stop byThursday to find out if the rest of the authors feel like it's important for a book to have a message.
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1 comment:

  1. Nice post! I like books with a point or a theme. But they don't have to have a message to be interesting. I guess the best "message books" can weave a message in without loosing my interest - something like To Kill a Mockingbird.