Sunday, January 11, 2015

Purpose in Writing: To Entertain, Right?

Purpose in Writing

Why have a purpose in fiction writing? The only purpose for fiction is to entertain or inform, right?
Well, what if there is another purpose for writing a story?

I’ve blogged about this topic before because I teach this topic to my students of Writing. I teach it as “Author Purpose” and also Theme in Writing.

But what is meant by purpose? Most teachers will say:

  • To entertain
  • To persuade
  •  To inform

What if there is more to it than that?

Writers of fiction often desire to put a theme in their stories. Why? They just might have something to say. They might want to use their words to convey a message or truth about life. They might want to share with the reader how to overcome an obstacle.

  • Dickens wrote fiction to inform about the plight of the poor.
  • Orwell wrote fiction to warn about the consequences of big government.
  • Chopin wrote fiction to inform about women’s lack of rights.
  • Alcott wrote fiction to inform about the lack of education for minorities.
  • Capote wrote fiction to shock and afflict the comfortable.
  • Hughes wrote fiction to inform about the culture of African Americans in 1920s.
  • Lewis wrote fiction to entertain children but also to inform them about God.

Writers might have another purpose other than to entertain or inform. They just might want to encourage, inspire, educate, empower, plead, ignite, or shock their readers into action.

We were created by a God who chose to communicate to His people through words…the Logos. This intimate relationship was expressed in writing:

The Bible.

This book of books contains many themes and many forms of writing:

  • Historical
  • Poetry
  • Songs/hymns
  • Narrative
  • Biography
  • Letters

...all with one purpose: to bring us to Him.

Because we were made in the image of God, we, too, long to communicate through words.
So, our words must matter.

Sure, there are some writers who write only to sell books and make money. More power to them. I won’t lie. I love it when I sell a book. I love it when I see a student of mine reading one of my books!

But we writers write to be read.

And when our stories are read by someone…we matter.

Christians writers of fiction have an extraordinary opportunity to communicate through our writing. We have the chance to truly encourage, inspire, heal, comfort, convict, and empower with our writing.

Do we do this? We should.

We should take advantage of this chance to leave an impact with our words. I have learned many lessons in my life. I long to teach lessons because I am a teacher. I try to use my stories to teach life lessons because God has shown me so much in His word. I want to share. I want to encourage.

I want to give back because I am a writer.

Yes, to sell books and make money is an underlying purpose to my writing, but I also give away many books each year. I give them away because I want my words to be read.


To entertain
To inform
To persuade

These are considered “Author Purpose” in writing, but writers shouldn't be boxed in by these definitions.

Writers need to look deeper.

Dig deeper.

What is the purpose of your writing? What is that message or truth about life that you wish to convey to your reader?

Exactly why do you write?


No comments:

Post a Comment