Preachy Fiction

Posted on February 25, 2012


I recently read a novel that hit a discordant  note, or two, with me. Once that tone was struck, I found myself super sensitive towards any hint of author agenda. The story, which had once been interesting, fell flat, smack into a long-winded tribulation of preachiness that sanded my teeth and I hated the rest of the novel. Every flaw became blaring. Even now, I couldn’t name a positive plot twist. Why?Am I really such an ogre as all that? Maybe, but I want to analyze preachy fiction anyway, mainly to keep it out of my own prose.

Q- Did the author break the “show, not tell”  rule.

A- Not in that instance. New discovery: A writer can preach in the storyline and be just as irritating.

Q- Was it because Chance disagreed with the author?

A- I did, but I’ve disagreed with authors before. This was different.

Q- Was the prose sermonic or preachy?

A- Actually, no. That’s why I’m surprised by how strongly I reacted.

(I’ve found this method of analysis better than going to a psychologist.)

Q- Get down to specifics. What was so offensive?

A- The best I can figure is I had an overwhelming sense of unfairness. Say, a writer hates something or someone. They then write that the person/thing did something stupid and caused the annihilation of the human race. Seems to me, the author was trying to get the reader to hate that person/thing as well, or at least to see how stupid the person/thing is. All that seems underhanded and frankly (sniff), I felt resentful at the attempt to manipulate me.

Q- Don’t you think an author can write whatever they want?

A- Yes, of course.But why did I hate the rest of the book?

Q- Because you’re an ogre?

A- sigh. You’re probably right.





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