Monday, April 4, 2011

What is Your Purpose In Writing?


" Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody, not greatly at fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest."~Jane Austen

The above quote basically encapsulates my style of writing. All my favorite books are ones that inspired me, encouraged me, and made me forget my own problems and my own trials in a beautifully woven story. I am a cheerful, merry-hearted person most of the time. I read for enjoyment. And I don't know about you, but I don't enjoy reading books about dark, scary, depressing, or miserable lives. True, a dangerous scene has amazing potential for turning a dull book into something extraordinary, but I prefer real dangers like historical battles or other such things. I just can't make myself like the books dealing with murder or abuse or guilt or misery. Well, I should correct that statement. Some books, especially ones by people like Charles Dickens, do have dark scenes. They do deal with misery and guilt and things like that. But they don't stay there and wallow in it. The characters move on and their issues are dealt with.
I am not saying that I like "prunes and prisms" books. Far from it. Pollyanna irritates the Dickens out of me! (No pun intended ;) I did not ever connect with Elsie Dinsmore. These books are not bad and it's not as though they are not well-written.
The popular, modern style of writing is to choose a tormented person as the protagonist (main character) and dwell in their disturbed mind and lives for as long as possible, and then dump you at the end of the book with a highly disturbing ending.
Okay. So I am stereotyping, and I haven't personally read anything like that, but I have read snippets of "great novels" in my writing book, and that is the general idea of the modern novel, as far as I've been able to tell.
I gather that the thinking behind this is to give readers a character they can relate to. And I can only scratch my head. Really? Because I wasn't under the impression that prisoners were the main source of avid readers in society. Maybe I'm wrong. They probably have a lot of time on their hands and would appreciate new stories.
But in all seriousness. Is it really worth "relating" to a character to spend hours reading a dark, depressing book? I cannot think that is profitable. Of course, my life has been "easy" compared to many people's. I have been homeschooled, and raised in a distinctly Christ-loving home. I have both my parents, and a passel of brothers and sisters. :) I live out in the countryside, surrounded by my loving family. And so I cannot relate to the popular main characters in modern fiction. I don't understand their depression and tormented minds. It isn't pleasant to read, and it isn't uplifting to read, and there I stand.
In short, guess each author writes for a different purpose. My purpose is to convey my love of literature in a new and wholesome way to my readers. In a way that honors God's standards. In fact, Jane Austen's words fit my style pretty well.
Think all the classic books known and loved by children for generations. Think stories that stick in your mind for decades. That's what I seek to write, because that is what I love. So in closing, I'd just like to encourage each of you as writers to settle on your purpose for writing. Mine was said largely by a beloved author of over a hundred years ago:
" Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery. I quit such odious subjects as soon as I can, impatient to restore everybody, not greatly at fault themselves, to tolerable comfort, and to have done with all the rest."~Jane Austen

3 comments:

Abigail said...

An excellent read! I'm with you!

Leanna said...

sorry I haven't been on your blog in such a long time! I tend to forget about blogs, as I don't keep up with my own very well. Interesting post, as usual, Rachel. I don't like depressing books either. Did you ever read The Children of Hurin? It's J.R.R Tolkien and I think some of it was done by his son Christopher. It was one of the worst books I ever read. I despised the main character. But you know what was weird about it? I hated the book every step of the way, but I could NOT put it down. That's Tolkien for you, very captivating.

Leanna said...

that sounded really contradicting, but it's true, I really hated it and I really couldn't put it down! :-)