Q: Have you ever consciously written a ‘message’ story? Was it easier or harder than usual?
A: I have occasionally written ‘message’ stories; although I generally feel that any stories should have something to say when it’s deemed complete. But there is a difference between teasing out a theme and point of view from a story during revision and going into the writing process with a particular message in mind. I think in some ways writing to a particular message can make the writing easier because you can infuse scenes and characters with aspects that build on the message and that can be easier than trying to edit them in after the fact (for me, I find it makes for fewer darlings that need to be killed later on). But unless I have the bones of the story and the theme both established ahead of time, it does sometimes shift the challenge from the editing process to the initial writing as I find sometimes I have something to say but lack the details necessary to say it in a fresh and interesting way.
Paul A. Hamilton’s story “Oven Game” will be published on Friday, 18 August 2017.
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