Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: July 2017

Greetings, Bearers!

Just as an addition, I want to make clear that my references in my previous post concerning sacrificing story for the sake of politics doesn’t run just one particular way.  Matter of fact, let me give you a few different examples of this sort of horrid SJW writing that kills stories. Note, by the way, that these are not bound to one particular political or social viewpoint: it’s ALL bad because it becomes about the ideology and not the story.

Alongside Night

Canadian Bacon

An American Carol

Again: write a good story, folks.  It’s ALWAYS about the story.

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

Before getting to the heart of my post, I wanted to let you know that Bastards’ Road, my short story set in the Game of Thrones universe, has been posted to  Click here to check it out and please support this cool site!

Okay, on to my post. While this is not something I haven’t talked about before, I’m going to make a fairly strong statement about it now, and make it clearer than ever.  If you are a writer, and you want to write a great story, do yourself and all of us a big favor: write a good story.  What I mean by that is that the purpose of the story is the story.  It’s meant to entertain, to take your audience on a rollercoaster ride on a track of plot, character development, action, and emotional contact. After their eyes finish skimming the last word on the last page, the people who read your work should be setting it down with the satisfaction of having read something that they loved, much like a person who sits and eats a perfectly portioned, perfectly flavored meal. They should have loved the story, should have loved each high and low that you took them on, and they should have eagerly anticipated the climax while being reluctant to get there because they’re enjoying the ride so much.

In a nutshell, it’s about a good story, period. It’s ALWAYS about a good story.

But when you sacrifice telling a good story for the sake of exalting your worldview or your politics, or because you want the story to be more about your ideology than the composition and construction of characters that are colorful and fully developed, you’re killing the story.  And you shouldn’t be surprised when somebody doesn’t like that.

The joy of the story comes in the putting together of something that weaves creativity with a point of contact that reaches as many people as possible.  Take, for example, the Beatles song “I am the Walrus” written by John Lennon. Lennon basically wrote the song because he learned that a teacher in his old school was having students analyze the lyrics to Beatles songs, which inspired him to put together the nonsensical and gibberish-laden piece now immortalized as one of the more popular tunes on the Magical Mystery Tour album.

By his own admission, Lennon was just having fun with it. The song isn’t about anything. Yet when combined with the musical orchestration and other little “surprises” in the song supplied by the Beatles and George Martin, the song is now one of the Beatles’ most popular.  Why? Because it’s a well-crafted song, not because the lyrics have any “deep, hidden” meaning to them (Sadly, even though Lennon himself indicated that the song is ultimately about nothing, there are still “intellectual” people who refuse to take his word for it and insist that there is more to the song, thus ruining it via literary deconstruction).

Now, Lennon–who in his later years was certainly more politically volatile and outspoken–could have simply written something more straightforward about the whole matter in a more activistic manner and put together lyrics that would have been a bit more poignant (for a more extreme example, see Guns ‘n Roses’ “Get in the Ring”). But Lennon didn’t.  He made it about the song and the enjoyment of artistically crafting a well-composed piece. And while he “addressed” the matter of lyrical analysis. He did it in a way that still made it about simply sitting down to listen to good music first. Lennon did not sacrifice good music for the sake of an issue; he wrote good music and in the process dealt with the issue in his own, humorous way.

In another manner, the same thing could be said about J.R.R. Tolkien and his epic “Lord of the Rings” series. Tolkien despised allegory, preferring “applicability” instead. Tolkien’s characters, plots, and themes might have had applications which could have been used (my particular favorite being that of the One Ring and its application to the lust for power), but the story of Frodo’s trek from the Shire to Mount Doom is just that: a story. Tolkien essentially wanted to take people on an adventure, not primarily to make a point about war or politics or society. If there was any influence from Tolkien’s political or religious beliefs (he was, after all, a devout Catholic), it was more or less incidental to the point. The point was the story, not the commentary on societal issues that might or might not be gleaned from its elements.

What this comes to is the modern idea that everything has to be seen through a political worldview. This has come to light especially in the last few years, in light of the fiasco that was “Gamergate” and the release of the horrendous Ghostbusters reboot which generated controversy, and now arising again with concerns about the female Doctor being introduced in the upcoming Doctor Who series and the characterizations put into play in the new Star Wars films (I’ll include links on these below, in case you’re not familiar with what’s going on in each of these).

Now here’s the crux of the matter: hold whatever political or societal viewpoint you wish: it’s a free country (and I hope a free place where you live if you’re outside of the U.S.).  But when you turn your story into nothing more than a propaganda piece for your politics or worldview, or when you’re so attached to your worldview and politics that you think your story will suffer unless you stuff your worldview in there in such a way as to emblazon it across every key facet of your plot and character development, you will almost always inevitably kill your story and lose your audience.

As I’ve already run much longer with this post than I had intended, I’ll cut it short and leave the video links below to explain more.  But the point is that you as an author must RESPECT THE STORY FIRST. You must make your story good, make your characters good (not necessarily morally, but appealing), make your fictional world good, and all will work out.  But if you refuse to do this, if you refuse to alter your story in a good way because it may impede on your politics or activism, if you create a story, a movie, or a video game dominated by the fear of the “politically correct,” or if you refuse to respect the source material if you’re captitalizing on an already established scifi or fantasy world, then you’ll get what you deserve, and that’s negative press for turning your opportunity for creativity into a political sermon.

So there.

Whew! I hadn’t planned on writing that much, nor did I intend to make it quite so negative at the end.  Be that as it may, sometimes you have to be negative in order to bring about a positive result, right? 😀

Okay, back to work.  In the meantime, check out these links below my sigline for futher thoughts. They illustrate the problems you get into when you make your agenda more important than your craft.

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean

Greetings, Bearers!

Just coming up for air in between writing projects (I’ve been going pretty gung ho with it, which is in part why I have not put any new posts up lately) and wishing a happy Independence day today to everybody (belated by three days for my Canadian friends).

Okay, back to work, not just writing, but cleaning up for a party.  Enjoy, folks!

See you in the Vein!

J. Dean