A "Message"?

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
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Vin Howard
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Re: A "Message"?

#16 Post by Vin Howard » Sun Jun 29, 2014 9:23 pm

Laniessa wrote:Wow. That was... really good feedback, haha. Thank you all very much! It's interesting how the answers differ. I'll keep all of this in mind!

Essentially, though, memorable stories usually have some sort of subtle message in it, but it's not necessary (for some people)? And that there's usually some sort of subconscious message within the story, based on the writer. I hope I'm reading all this right?
I think the most important thing for a writer is to be honest, both with himself and with his readers.
I'm the type of writer who wants to write so other people can see the characters that I've made up, along with their worlds and lives, not a writer who wants to make a statement of some kind.
Then that is exactlythe type of writer you should be. If you worry about adding a "message" in order to make your story more "attractive," you'll be betraying yourself as a writer, and that might show in your work.

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Re: A "Message"?

#17 Post by Greeny » Mon Jun 30, 2014 10:28 am

Vin Howard wrote:Then that is exactlythe type of writer you should be. If you worry about adding a "message" in order to make your story more "attractive," you'll be betraying yourself as a writer, and that might show in your work.
I strongly disagree with this statement. It is the writer's choice whether or not their story can have a message.

I only believe that your message, if there is one, should not ever take precedence over proper narrative pacing/character development/realism. To put it simply, heavy-handed messages do take away from the story. Subtle ones, however, don't necessarily.
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Re: A "Message"?

#18 Post by SecretWeaponCoffee » Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:32 am

A message is vital.

"Message" is probably a misleading term. Stories almost always contain a number of hypothetical questions and the way characters respond to their problems is an indirect exploration of those questions. As the embodiment of a series of values they are representatives who play off against each other in order to argue the qualities of their chosen beliefs and methodology, and their difficulties and triumphs, both through conflict and resolution, are intended to provoke the reader into considering the merits of the ideas they represent. The environment can similarly produce meaning through symbolism, as can the plot through use of theme. All of these factors tie together to produce a story which not only is entertaining and illuminating, but has a veiled argument beneath the surface intended to exemplify possible solutions to human concerns, concerns which, if the writer has done his job, will be shared mutually between reader and character. For example:

1) Is it possible to be so committed to the destruction of evil a supposedly good character is actually the truest evil?
2) If all systems inevitably slide into disorder when left unmanaged, is chaos inevitable?
3) If progress comes at a cost to its opposite, is change ever necessary, especially if all distant consequences are unknowable?

It's your work. As others have said, the artist always has absolute authority over his medium. But if you want your story to be substantial and meaningful, it will always contain some kind of message, however subtle.

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