Often I am asked why I write fantasy. What is my motivation?
This topic came up at a Dragoncon convention in Atlanta several years ago. I was a panelist in the young adult literature section, and one of the other panelists pontificated that it was wrong to insert themes or morals into a story as a way to influence behavior. Supposedly authors have no right to exert such influence or to use their writing platform to preach. Stories should be morally neutral with no absolutes so readers can “decide for themselves.”
I countered that there is no such thing as moral neutrality, and an attempt at fostering such relativism is, in itself, a way to influence behavior. It preaches that values are subjective, and such a sermon leads readers to believe that all behaviors can be justified. And that results in corruption of mind, body, and soul as well as the culture at large.
Also, if authors write with intentionally influential themes, readers are still able to decide for themselves. No one is holding a gun to their heads.
If an author writes with no purpose or no thought about affecting the moral landscape of our culture, I see no reason to read that author’s work. It will be have no impact intellectually, emotionally, or spiritually. Readers will close the book and forget it in short order. It might be heart-thumping, but it is the literary equivalent of a sugar rush. It builds nothing, and it might even tear down.
In order to explain my purpose in writing, I put together this video narrated by my lovely wife, Susie. Enjoy.
Comments and questions are welcome.
Categories: Writing and Publishing News