Making an Impact With Our Writing

In Practical Tips for Writing Popular Fiction, Robyn Carr writes, “It is important to know what type of book you are writing, what it is mostly. Different types of novels are meant to accomplish different things. Some are meant to scare, others to thrill or provide vicarious adventure, some should fill the reader with desire. The impact of the story is consistent with its genre. To write a superior novel, the novelist needs a course to follow, a map to lead the way. You must know where you are headed, and what you are doing, and why this works.”

The impact I’ve always hoped for with my novels is shock that such things happen, perhaps fear that they such things could happen to any of us, and a dash of cogitation or at least a soupcon of second thoughts about how one views the current state of affairs. The irony, of course, is that we seldom can change anyone else’s views, so those who are aware of the truth will not be shocked because it’s nothing they haven’t heard before, and those who are not aware of the truth will not be shocked because they will assume the books are entirely fictitious.

Still, I add cupfuls of history to the cauldron when I am stirring up a story, in hopes that some people will see a bit more of the truth, yet I’m not sure what, if anything, that will accomplish. If we truly are living in a controlled society, there isn’t much we can do whether we know the truth or remain blissfully naive.

In case you aren’t familiar with my novels they all fall under the heading of “conspiracy fiction.” I wrote what I knew (from studying secret histories, not from first hand experience), partly to create the impact as stated above, and partly because it would have been a shame to let all that research go to waste.

So, what are you trying to accomplish with your novel? What is the impact you are hoping to make?

8 Responses to “Making an Impact With Our Writing”

  1. Joylene Butler (@cluculzwriter) Says:

    I hope after readers finish my novels that their attitudes toward certain types of people, despite their race, creed or religion, will change.

  2. stephenlesliefrance Says:

    I totally agree with your wise words with the addition of one amendment – “The irony, of course, is that we seldom can change anyone else’s views” – you are correct about people’s views, but if you can reach readers before those perceptions become fixed, you possess a fighting chance.

    This is why I write Young Adult Fantasy. The direct didactic approach is problematic as most of the younger generation do not relish education, but if you can subtly teach basic morality and principles through the fun of fiction, you are onto a winner – carefully craft your prose so heroes and benevolent characters are respected and antagonists and malevolent forces are despised. At the very least, that’s my intention with my seven book series.

    Nice post.

  3. knightofswords Says:

    Other than hoping a story is entertaining and, perhaps, includes some food for thought, I usually hope that readers will see something in my characters’ struggles that gives them ideas that might be helpful in their own struggles.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      The impact you wish for your stories is consistent with your genre of quest stories or the hero’s journey. And the hero’s journey certainly gives one a map for the journey! Which reminds me — I need to check out the information on your website about the heroine’s journey. I’m wondering if my grieving woman novel should be a heroine’s quest story rather than a hero’s quest.

  4. Rod Marsden Says:

    In my latest novel, Desk Job, which will be out this year I am attempting to get people to rethink what is possible when it comes to discrimination. Anyone can be discriminated against and anyone can do the discriminating.

    Sometimes do-gooders get it wrong. Some years ago a high school principal decided to ban the minute of silence on Armistice Day because there were now Turkish Australians in the area. Well, lots of people were unhappy about that decision including these Turks. They wanted their children to have that minute of silence with the other children. The idiot principal no doubt though that the minute of silence had something to do with celebrating war. In fact it has everything to do with celebrating peace and praying for an end to world conflict. In sticking up for the Turks the principal was in reality discriminating against them. Sometimes we can see how hell is paved with good intentions.

    Desk Job takes place in an office where there is discrimination caused by those trying to eliminate discrimination. It is a crazy, funny and at times tragic place. People are people. If you are even handed with everyone then that is usually the best way to go.

    I tackle my novel with some reverence toward Lewis Carroll who understood the absurd that was around in ordinary life in the 19rth Century. I also look to Franz Kafka who knew all about the absurd in the office in the early part of the 20th Century.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Sounds like a fun book with a serious message. Your story about discrimination reminds me about a town who wanted to buy a new fleet for their police. They decided to buy American (USA), but it turns out that the USA brand of car was made in Japan, while the Japanese brand they turned down was made in the United States.

      • Rod Marsden Says:

        Yep, if you don’t do your research you can get it wrong even when you are trying to be soooo right!

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