Politics to Further Story vs. Story to Further Politics. Difference?

Hi Jim,

I’ve read through your blog and have followed some of your work. I wanted to ask though… in numerous posts, you talk about politics and social commentary being used in pretty much every outlet and how it’s destroying escapism. I recently read one of your books, Magnifica: The Last Enchanter. Throughout it, your protagonists deal with being in a mixed relationship at a time when elves aren’t highly thought of. You fairly explicitly tackle racism in this story.
I’m not criticising your work, I actually liked the story, but I was hoping that you could reconcile your words here online vs. what you put into your story. Do you see this as hypocritical? I hope you don’t think I’m trying to attack you, I’d just like to get your position and logic on this.

Thanks,
Burke.


Hi Burke,

Great question and thank you for picking up Magnifica. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it. Don’t worry about it, I don’t offend easily. In fact, it’s a very understandable question and perhaps one I should have done a better job clarifying sooner.

If you go back through my posts, I’m less worried about politics being included in every facet of our lives, as much as I am it being included in places where it really isn’t appropriate.

Consider for a moment; If you’re a company, is it really a good idea to put a political message into your advertisement, especially if it’s one that is highly divisive and contested?
While you’re fully within your rights to do so, it may not be the best business decision on the planet. This is something that Budweiser and Pepsi discovered the hard way.

When it comes to stories like Magnifica, I think there’s a stark contrast between a sociopolitical theme being used in a story to further the plot and a story that uses the plot to further a sociopolitical theme.
After reading the story, ask yourself… if there was no bigotry against elves, would the story of Toby’s and Lia’na’s relationship be anywhere near as interesting? Would they have even had a chance to build a relationship?

That’s not to say that the other way can’t work as well. One of my other stories, Divinity, was essentially just that. It was meant to be a critical commentary on the leadership of the church and the dangers of organized religion.

That being said, in both cases, the story takes priority over the political message. Yes, they exist in the story, but they don’t bring it to a screeching halt. In too many stories these days, we see characters going out of character and stories being stopped so a character can get on a soapbox and preach. In other cases, character personalities that have existed for a long time, are suddenly changed.

You said that you liked Magnifica, right? How would you feel about the story if, years from now, someone else obtained the rights and created a sequel where Toby essentially became an adulterous sexual abuser and Lia’na turned into a shotgun-wielding, weight-lifting, foul-mouthed, bad-ass who then turns on him, kills him, and at the end of the story, get’s on her soapbox, says that rape is bad, and then accuses large groups of people of being no better than rapists simply because of a difference of opinion?

I guarantee you that most of the people who’ve read Magnifica would throw that book across the room if they finished it at all. Why? Because one, chances are some of the readers are the people that the writer equated with rapists. Two, because that is completely out of character and arguably the least likely way they’d turn out after Gravestalker.

Now granted, this is a bit of an extreme example, but similar situations have taken place in comics, literature, and movies, and it’s only getting worse. Characters, good stories, etc. are all being sacrificed to push a narrative as hard as possible. That is where my problem lies and that is what I’m wholeheartedly against.

I hope this answers your question, but please don’t hesitate to reach out again if you’d like to discuss this further.

Readers- I’m interested in your opinions as well. Please feel free to leave a comment and keep the discussion going.

Thanks!



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

One thought on “Politics to Further Story vs. Story to Further Politics. Difference?

  1. […] ‘toxic’ fanbase problem, I’m right there with you. This also lends credence to my argument that politics can ruin a story if that is the focus. Anyone who reads my posts knows that I try to keep things apolitical with the exception of two […]

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