Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Social And Political Trends Do Not Make Your Story Better

Keeping your story relevant to today's society is certainly important. Making sure the language and setting is something your readers can relate to is a positive. However, recently, I have seen a ton of authors pushing this a bit too far and, instead of making the story relevant, the stories become a bit too forced. Please understand that I am, in no way saying to not write stories that include these ideas. If the story calls for it, then use it. However, adding these elements just to make your story relevant is defeating the purpose. Let me explain.

I recently read a New Adult novel where the premise initially sounded great. But then things fell apart. She had to add into the story the best friend who was gay, a "me too" piece to the storyline, and she had to make these characters VERY multicultural. The cultural element was fine since this was part of the main plot of clashing cultures. However, she pushed these elements so hard, the cultural elements became stereotypical, cliche and almost comedic (and I don't think she wanted it to come across that way).

A lot of this comes back to a post I made earlier about everything in your story needs to advance the story. Making a character a certain ethnicity or with a specific sexual preference, or adding a plot element out of today's headlines, just to make your story "current" is not going to help it.

I would also add that if you think of your story in terms of a query letter or pitch and find that you are spending more time talking about these random elements and not about the story is a good sign you might be off track.

Again, I am not saying to NOT use these. I am simply saying, these elements do not make your story better. These are simply "part" of your story.

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