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Thursday, October 14, 2010

More Author Insight: Message in a Novel

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

" I don’t think a message is something that should be obvious. You should take something away from every book you read, not have it thrown on you." - Leah Clifford, author of A Touch Mortal.

No, though I think it can be great when a book does. But it's sort of like movies - I enjoy a good talking animal flick as much as a deep meditation on life and love in film. It's the same for books." - Daisy Whitney, author of The Mockingbirds.

"I think it’s important that readers take whatever message speaks to them most.  Stories are filtered through the lens of experience so a flexible, even ambiguous message is usually more interesting and forms a deeper, more personal connection than something really clear cut." - Jen Nadol, author of The Mark.

"Yes. But a message should be more than just an idea, concept, or cause. It should be a living human experience. Something so vast, so distinct, that it can only be communicated in something as vast and distinct as a novel. Otherwise, just write an essay or post it on your blog." - Jon Skovron, author of Struts & Frets.

"Not necessarily. I think it’s important for your characters to have goals, dreams, moral codes, etc., but, in my opinion, I’m first and foremost a storyteller." - Wendy Delsol, author of Stork. 

"A book without a theme is just an LONG informational packet." - Rebecca Maizel, author of Infinite Days.

"When I begin a book, I never aim to convey a specific message though I do think that stories can be (and often are) the vehicle for deeper messages. In my writing, if a message is communicated, I want it to arise organically from the story, the characters and from their various situations and interactions." - Kelly Creagh, author of Nevermore.


"Not necessarily.  I like books with messages, but I like books without just as much. As long as its entertaining, that's whats the most important part." - Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF.

"Sometimes, the message is the journey of the characters, and while it may or may not have any relevance to your personal life, the connection you make with those characters while they take their journey is what you will remember most about the book when it’s over." - Dianne Salerni, author of We Hear the Dead.

"Yes, in the sense that I want to take something away from a book and that I hope people can take things away from mine. No, in that I don't think the book should be written just to convey a message. A good book comes by its message naturally, through the characters, the plot, etc." - Ally Condie, author of Matched.

"Books that hammer you with a Message should be defenestrated. Okay, not The Lorax or The Velveteen Rabbit… but anything for an audience older than 8. Of course you have things to say as an author, but let your story’s universe unfolding be the message. If you can sum up the message in fewer words than the book contains, it’s not nuanced enough." - Phoebe Kitanidis, author of Whisper.


"I think that the best books have a message, but never know what that message is. My favorite books speak to me personally, but may not say anything to another person - they are wonderfully subjective." - Lia Habel, author of Dearly, Departed.

"I don’t know if I would phrase it that way. Some books have a clear message or messages, while others explore themes. I think novels should have a theme, or something they are attempting to explore or define. But I don’t think every book has to have a clear-cut message, and I find it problematic it comes across in a very superficial or preachy manner. Beautiful CreaturesBeautiful Darkness have several themes or messages, but the central message is to be who you are!" - Kami Garcia, co-author of Beautiful Creatures.

"A message? No. I dislike fiction when it feels like it’s trying to teach me something or get an agenda across. It makes me feel distanced and it’s a constant reminder that the characters are not real. But I do think it’s important that a book has an underlying theme that’s deeper than just the plot points in it." - Denise Jaden, author of Losing Faith.

"With my books, I have a message, although I like it to arise naturally from the story. But I don't think it is necessary for every piece of writing to have a message--sometimes it's just for fun.- Jennifer Hubbard, author of The Secret Year.

Be sure to stop by Tuesday to learn what the authors think is the most difficult type of relationship to write!
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