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How many of you are writing with an agenda?

I don't necessarily mean a political agenda. Your agenda can be good, like making people happier, or teaching someone some of the lessons you've learned in life. Anything that you want to say that isn't plainly the story itself?

I find myself more and more conscious the further I get in writing a novel or a short story I start to think about how to get the reader to internalize the "message" if one may be so pretentious.

So, how many of you are trying to say something/have an agenda, and what is it?

Writing | 👁 1670 | Posted 2018-03-07 | Share on Facebook | Twitter | Google+

| Modified: 2018-03-07 | Author:

30 Comments

paulwrites 2 years ago

I want to make money. A ton of it.

ANewAccountOnReddit 2 years ago

My non-agenda is to make likeable characters and put them in interesting situations. My political agenda is to show how nationalism and religion are linked. I'm not demonizing anyone's religion or patriotism, just showing how I think they're related.

malicas 2 years ago

I personaly think any story should have some kind of message in it. Like, what's the point of writing it? Just to tell the story? Even if I just find an interesting idea I want to write I always add a meaning in it. That's the reason I even started writing I think - I wanted people to change their minds because of what I write.

SpecimensArchive 2 years ago

I just write to entertain. It's a story about superheroes, after all.

Jhall12 2 years ago

My magic system is a low-key metaphor for OCD that represents intrusive thoughts and obsessive overthinking. My hopes for it are to show people how one can learn to live with the disorder, as well as teach people the true realities of what it entails. OCD is more than just wanting to wash your hands. SO much more.

curiousdoodler 2 years ago

Not at first but a message usually develops as Im writing and I dont try to stop it. I think the message is subtle if I allow it to develop naturally rather than forcing it from the beginning.

samblackmoon 2 years ago

I do feel that there's a message with every story I build. I don't know if the personal philosophical observations that I put in my stories could be called an agenda. Maybe a personal agenda, perhaps?

ryooan 2 years ago

The ideas for stories I get most excited about are based on agendas, or at least on cool ideas. My agenda is usually to make people think about the ideas that fascinate me. For example, my first novel that I'm working on editing right now is science fiction set in the near future, and the idea is that technology has been invented demonstrating that humans are predictable and therefore have no free will, at least in the sense that many people think they have free will. It's a popular idea in philosophy, but not so much among the general public, and aside from writing a fun and exciting story my goal is to get more people to think about it. My favorite stories are ones that make me think, and that introduce fascinating ideas in an interesting way. That's my goal, speculating on the future of technology, privacy, and free will in a way that is hopefully somewhat new and interesting to the reader. So I definitely get what you mean about internalizing the message. It can be tough trying to share fascinating ideas without being too in your face about it, especially when your whole story is based on that idea.

TalonTheWolf 2 years ago

Reminds me of a quote by Brandon Sanderson (I think?). It was along the lines of The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.

TalonTheWolf 2 years ago

I just remember how I felt as a young kid (and still as an adult) escaping into the world of all the books I read. If I can achieve that with at least one person, Ill feel accomplished and happy.

_MGE_ 2 years ago

That first part I definitely get, cause I do the exact same thing. Start out with a message, explore it in writing, discover the depth of it, which is usually far greater than I anticipated at the start. Usually end up having to go back and re-writing most of it to accommodate the new more refined 'point' if you will.

EldritchAutomaton 2 years ago

Don't people always have an agenda when they write? I mean, you are essentially saying something in your writing ALL the time, whether consciously or not. For instance, I wrote a grimdark fantasy story about a girl with necromantic powers who watches her family get slaughtered by the ruling religions that be take her vengeance. After awhile, looking back on it, I realized I was projecting my own frustration and current views on religious organizations in general. That was mainly due to many years of being forced to attend such institutions, and a deeply rooted resentment that I had festered over time. So while I didn't really intend to write a critisism of organized religion (in my own way), it just happened because it came from within. So therefore, I wrote an agenda, though it was more a byproduct of the story rather than the actual point. I just wanted to make a really interesting, dark fantasy story.

RobertSparkles 2 years ago

A theme, agenda or message should evolve naturally from the story. Stories crafted with a specific agenda (or direct allegory) in mind are often inferior (not always, of course) and come across as heavy handed and condescending. Themes can help you focus your narrative, but ultimately it should be up to the reader what message they take away. Multiple interpretations of characters and themes will keep a reader actively engaged in the story.

RainaElf 2 years ago

In that vein, my agenda is to get the voices out of my head.

GriminalFish 2 years ago

personally, I avoid writing with an agenda. I write for the sake of the story and the characters and the world I've crafted. The same thing goes for allegories, I avoid them as well.

Onikame 2 years ago

I really just have a head full of stories and characters, and write to vent all that pressure. Then, if I put a little thought into the writing, and there's potential for it to feed my kids, well then that's worth the extra effort. As far as my actual stories are concerned, there's never been any kind of point that I'm trying to make anyone think about. Though I'm sure I slip little nuggets of wisdom in there

threebitsofquiet 2 years ago

My agenda has always been to get the reader to live a second life for a moment. Thats why I read, and now thats why I write. I used to think I read for the characters, or the plot, etc. And while I certainly can, 99% of the reading I did as a kid was purely to live another life. I cant tell you how many unenjoyable/badly written/awfully boring books I read as a kid because it introduced a certain time period, setting or just way of life that I adored. I read books to give me ideas. A book with a good idea could stick with me even if I didnt like the book itself. I hope to do that, but with good writing.

_MGE_ 2 years ago

That is very well put, and I hope those thoughts of yours stay locked away for as long as possible.

Spraymon 2 years ago

The first few thoughts for my novel 'antagonism of certain groups in nationalism'. As a "sci-fi" novel set on a small colony on an otherwise empty planet, there is no ethnic hate, only class and religion. For example, the church is dualistic, similar to many 'heresies' which existed in Medieval Byzantium. The doctrine was created long before the story starts, but it's used as justification for the hatred of a certain group of people who split from Imperial authority. The message faded as I developed the story, adding new characters, conspiracy (the religion is being pushed to create unity among a people, and a false binary of 'us vs. them' forming), intrigue ('I need to protect my people'), struggle ('I want to go to the Capital but my father left the Empire, they'll hate me'), conflict ('I want the war to end but working for peace is working for evil') and generally adding color to the story. I still try to explore the idea, but more the effects on the main cast rather than as a major plot point or agenda.

8legs7vajayjays 2 years ago

I always have a goal in mind, but "agenda" may not be quite the right word for it. The novel I'm editing now, I wrote with the intention of bringing hope and guidance to other young assault victims. The novel I'm writing while I should be working on editing the other one (yay procrastination), I write with the goal of capturing some specific emotional experiences that I might otherwise forget. The short story I'm working on (procrastination on the procrastination, it's fun), I am writing with the goal of emotionally processing a traumatic incident that happened to me.

Stony_Bennett 2 years ago

I have one agenda. I want my reader to enjoy what I write.

Pjpenguin 2 years ago

I tend to start off without an idea of the metaphor and whatnot Im putting in. But as I write I discover what it is and turn into the skid if you know what I mean. Double down and go back to work it in with slightly more intention. However Im about to write something that is heavily about the idea of gender roles being a restrictive thing in culture. So that I am definitely going into with more of an idea.

[deleted] 2 years ago

Well, I have themes in all my writing it helps me know what to write. I'm fairly pretentious, and I think my writing is better focused and more meaningful and robust and it also makes me feel good when I craft a particularly clever or well-hidden metaphor in my writing. To give you an example that might embarrass myself, I was recently considering suicide so I wrote a short story about a girl talking to her best friend about suicide. I wrote that story, and then when I was reading it back I realized what my brain was actually wondering was about whether or not the material world makes any difference and the answer in my mind at the time of writing was no. So I edited the story back to refine that point, and I ended up with a story I liked, which was short, concise, well written, and thoughtful. I understand writing can be used as entertainment but for me, my agenda from start to finish was to understand myself and to understand the world the way my brain understands it, from conscious to subconscious, and to share those reflections. To me, writing is like a religious practice, and religious practices without messages or meanings are just weird and illogical actions.

[deleted] 2 years ago

If I may ask how do you write like that? I always find that my writing tends to lack focus and meaning unless I have some sort of message or point I'm trying to get across or work through with my writing. What is your writing process like?

_MGE_ 2 years ago

Do you avoid your own biases on purpose then? A lot of anti war novels don't preach "war is bad" but exactly show what you lose. While a pro war novels often show what you lose, but counter balance it, and export a lot of the heroism. Do you make a conscious effort to ignore your own views on each matter?

_MGE_ 2 years ago

It's a romantic standpoint, one which I find myself often sort of skirting on and avoiding--though not always, but certainly in some of my writing. On the suspension of belief, do you feel like that's your duty as a writer, more than your agenda? Is that not what most writers attempt to do. I guess it can be both, really.

_MGE_ 2 years ago

So it's never intentional?

Intangible2017 2 years ago

I find myself writing with an agenda--it feels like my agenda is to get the reader to suspend belief enough to exist in the world I've created, and usually this world is one where love triumphs over all. I find it impossible to write an unhappy ending in my larger works, because I hate the idea of perpetuating hopelessness to the world.

BNBatman 2 years ago

The only agenda I have would be whatever personal beliefs and biases I hold that seep into my writing.

RuroniHS 2 years ago

I go in with the agenda of having the opposite of an agenda if you will. I don't try to have a specific message, but rather show the interaction of various philosophies and the consequences of acting on them in various situations. You won't get a message like "war is bad," but you will see that war can cost you your loved ones. The question, rather than the message, becomes "was it worth it?" You won X but lost Y. I think making the reader think about something is more interesting than telling the reader what to think about something.


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