anghara (anghara) wrote,

Flycon panel - question (and answer) 3

Question 3 -- Well, how about the one in the panel description? How
do you negotiate between fiction and commentary, especially when a story
seems to be commenting on something that you can relate to on a personal

I can tell “commentary”. I can recognise “soapbox”. And nothing turns me off faster.

You – the author you – are welcome to your own personal opinions. They may or may not be the opinions of your characters (in fact, if you’re really good, odds are that they AREN’T). But whatever opinion is on the table, you will please refrain from proselytizing me on the subject. I don’t particularly care to listen to the Jehovah’s Witnesses earnestly preaching salvation-or-damnation on my doorstep. Why would you suppose I would put up with it in the pages of a book?

Of course, all of that falls away if the book is overtly dealing with a kind of situation where a character is faced with providing a justification for their own motivations. Some “deep background” might be relevant here. But the key is to keep it to the character’s own POV and not to turn the occasion into an opportunity for turning the reader from the Great Unwashed into one of the Chosen…

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