Do you think I should leave political commentary out of this story? - Page 2


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Thread: Do you think I should leave political commentary out of this story?

  1. #11
    IMO if you're going to do something like that, follow the maxim 'show don't tell'. All my books are about something, government oppression, religious intolerance, and so forth, but I tell the story from a character's POV without undo preaching. Again, IMO, readers don't want to be lectured, they want to be entertained.

  2. #12
    I can agree with the comments above regarding a particular political take being alienating to some. But you say you are putting much of it as reporting by news channels, it would seem unnatural for at least some of them not to have a political take on things. Perhaps can make that so that it is not a single take, depending which channel is doing the reporting. Put it outside the story and your hero, who is simply getting on with his job.
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  3. #13
    Oh well I could also write it so the news is just reporting what is happening without any personal opinions from the newscasters as well, if that's better?

    IMO if you're going to do something like that, follow the maxim 'show don't tell'. All my books are about something, government oppression, religious intolerance, and so forth, but I tell the story from a character's POV without undo preaching. Again, IMO, readers don't want to be lectured, they want to be entertained.
    Oh okay, but how do other stories have people give opinions in the media, and it doesn't come off as lecturing, such as the movie Natural Born Killers?

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Oh well I could also write it so the news is just reporting what is happening without any personal opinions from the newscasters as well, if that's better?

    Oh okay, but how do other stories have people give opinions in the media, and it doesn't come off as lecturing, such as the movie Natural Born Killers?
    How do the stories in the news impact him personally? When I was a kid, we heard about the Vietnam war all the time - the death toll was posted on the news weekly, but they stopped doing that because it was depressing. None of that had much effect on me, but when a friend was killed over there it became real.

    He was on leave in Saigon, having a beer in a bar with his friends, when a Vietnamese kid tossed a grenade into the place. The politics of the war were too complex for most everyone to grasp, and as it is these days, the opposing sides traded what amounted to soundbites as insults that did little more than show our ignorance. We live in a gray world and insist on arguments that are either black or white.

    How does the decisions of political figures effect his life? That's the 'tell' IMO.

  5. #15
    My wife and I watched an excellent movie last night from 1970 called In the Heat of the Night, starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger which was extremely political. It was about racism in America--particular in a small, backwards southern town. But it wasn't the politics that made it a good movie; it was the interesting characters--all of whom had some good traits and some bad, like real people.

    That's the problem with a lot of movies today: the characters aren't believable or relatable, which is why they're boring.

    So, you can incorporate politics into your novel, but if you want mass appeal, you need to have a good story and interesting characters.

  6. #16
    Oh okay thanks. I feel that the story and characters are about as good as they can get probably. I just thought that maybe if I add the politics of the premise on top of it, maybe it will be a good bonus as well maybe.

  7. #17
    Part of the reason politics can be a mistake in fiction is that people removed from the political context miss the emotional significance. Say we reach a point in history where there aren't any discernible races within the human species (which won't ever happen, scientifically speaking, but I digress.) No one from that era will understand on a snap-emotional level that a casually racist comment is meant to characterize someone as flawed. Not without significant study and thought, anyways. That's a pretty extreme example, but there are more practical ones. For example, as a kid, I missed a lot of the 'evil' characterization of the Witch in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because I wasn't familiar with the Christian sexual ethic (and sexuality in general! Though the 'white, except for a very red mouth' line scared me reasons I definitely didn't consciously grasp as a ten-year-old) As an adult, some parts of that book hit home a lot stronger purely because I understand on a factual level what strains of philosophy Lewis is pulling from.
    Dead by Dawn!

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Oh okay thanks. I feel that the story and characters are about as good as they can get probably. I just thought that maybe if I add the politics of the premise on top of it, maybe it will be a good bonus as well maybe.

    I would say you are probably overextending your reach at that point. Sometimes things are best kept simpler.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

    *

    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!





  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by ironpony View Post
    Oh okay thanks. I feel that the story and characters are about as good as they can get probably. I just thought that maybe if I add the politics of the premise on top of it, maybe it will be a good bonus as well maybe.
    That does sound rather like spelling things out, which usually comes across 'preachy'. If it fits with the story, like an odd in character comment, maybe, but otherwise leave it.
    Visit my website to read and connect to my 'soundcloud', where you can listen to stories songs and more
    Hidden Content

    A thread of links useful to writers wishing to learn
    Piglet's picks. Hidden Content

  10. #20
    Oh okay, but how do other movies be preachy, and still be good though? What are they doing to be preachy the right way, if that makes sense?

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