Monday, March 2, 2015

Good News and On The Writing Side of Life

Good News

Ronnie Polaneczky To The Rescue

A young couple had lost 13 days of work waiting for the reliable and ever-efficient technicians from Comcast to arrive, but to no avail. When A news columnist, who is used to hearing complaints about Comcast service or lack thereof, was so touched by a young couple's story that she took desperate measures. Ronnie Polaneczky called CEO Brian Roberts's 92 year old mom.  

The couple had their service the next day. This is double good news: someone cared enough to step in and help strangers, and Mom still rules!

READ MORE



On the Writing Side of Life

Last week I visited SARAH FOSTER'S blog and read her post about symbolism and getting messages out to others. 

I'd just been having a conversation with someone who knows me quite well, and he said, "Your books are all about who you are and what you believe in." I think I said something like, "You're nuts." I can be subtle once in a while.

But Sarah's post caught me up short. That guy who knows me, knows me, I guess. Because when I thought about each of my books, they did have messages about things that are very important to me. It has just taken me a while to figure all of that out. And here I thought I was simply telling stories.

What I hope is that my work never moralizes. I'd hate to be accused of using my writing as a soapbox. Didactic writing is a bore.


I've just started to shred an old manuscript and set it free from some very self-conscious prose. So this was a chance to think about the underlying messages this story might have. I was surprised to find one of my lifelong philosophies dead center. I've always loved to see justice in our world, and this story will be all about finding it, even after death. I'm a romantic at heart, and if you can't have your justice in this life, then I think you deserve it afterward. It's never too late. 

What about your own stories? Do they have your philosophy at their core? Have you read books that you recognized their underlying message, but appreciated it because it deepened the story? Any favorite books with messages? 


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My Quote for the Day

"Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself." Elie Wiesel

42 comments:

  1. Called his mother! That's awesome.
    I know my values are represented in my novels, but they are not morality tales.

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  2. Sometimes we're not even trying to put a message into our stories, but they pop up anyway. I think it feels more natural that way, since it's more subtle and you aren't forcing it on the reader.

    Thanks for the shout out! :D

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  3. I do think that writers tend to chew on their own unique themes that fascinate and disturb them. Nothing wrong with that--only if, as you say, it becomes didactic. One of my pet themes? Corruption of power.

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  4. Mm, scratching my head thinking. Yes, I guess my philosophy/beliefs are in my writing. I don't preach a message (I hope) but I write what is on my mind.
    Love the story about calling the bigwig's mother. Yay for moms.

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  5. Cable and Internet companies are awful.

    My series has a message of optimism and do the right thing. A lot of it was influenced by my moral standards, but I've been told the Christian themes don't bonk anyone over the head and are subtle.

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  6. I'd love to have heard the call from the mom to her son!

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  7. I think all books feature a message of some kind, which isn't a bad thing, IMO. Depending on how they're handled, those messages can actually give a book more weight and help it stand out in a good way...

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  8. I doubt your stories could be preachy if you didn't realize their messages. Awesome that they turned out important to you. And loved the good news at the top of your post.

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  9. Love the Comcast story. We gave them up for a reason. Your story sounded familiar to me. My very first published fantasy novel received a review from someone who talked about the underlying message and I was taken back. But she was right. There it was. I guess who we are sneaks into our stories.

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  10. What a great story!

    And I think a lot of books have messages or something the author believes in, but as long as it's not shoved down someone's throat in a really obvious way, I think it works. :)

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  11. Yes...my values and morals are represented in my book -- but like you say, I never want it to come across as preachy or heavy-handed. :)

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  12. Isn't it strange how sometimes our subconscious tells our story? Even when we don't think there are certain hidden messages buried beneath our words, after rereading them, we find ourselves going... "Wow, this does really reflect some of the beliefs or sentiments lying within my heart."
    Good luck with your new manuscript, Lee. Like you, I believe in justice in our world, especially with everything going on today. Looking forward to reading it someday!

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  13. My stories do have some of my own philosophy and world views (aka opinions) in them. I've read a lot of fantasy and sy fy (spec fic) that carries differing world views and find I like those books a lot. They never give answers, just disclose differing views. Makes me think. I try to do that with my women's fiction writings. I think it is hard not to add a bit of our own personalities and opinions in our work. As long as it is not judging or overwhelming to the plot concept, then it probably makes the story stronger and more appealing to readers.

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  14. Called his mom? Love it, but she best be getting an unlisted number now!

    I had the discussion with a friend when I first started writing. She wanted to write stories that had deeper meanings...me? I just wanted to write stories. But then, as I began writing, I realized there is no separating myself and my core beliefs in my stories. Like you, I like justice and happily ever afters, hence my Cinderella type stories (love that you said that! I hadn't thought of them like that!)

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  15. Yay for Mom ruling her CEO son! Brings back my faith in humanity if not Comcast.

    I think we all promote our beliefs. We cast behaviors we don't like in a bad light and usually make our heroes/heroines share the moral judgments we have (unless you're specifically writing an anti-hero). But the thing is not to be "messagy" with it. If that's heavy handed, the readers often run away!! I don't think you're "messagy" and I love the belief system your protags have. And I'm too old to run anyway...

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  16. Great story about how the 92-year-old mother had to take control of the situation. It's hard not to include our own beliefs into our writing. No matter what we write, people are always going to wonder how much of our characters are based on ourselves in one way or another.

    Julie

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  17. Moralizing in a book turns me off completely. I'm okay with getting the author's world view in subtle and thematic ways, absolutely no problem with that, but when I feel I'm getting preached to I shut the book.

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  18. I think if our writing is honest we are telling something about what our basic outlook on life is. And even if we are not being honest in our writing I still think we reveal something. Writing is an extension of our thoughts and how can we not let a bit of who we are slip through now and then?

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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  19. Moms rule! :) I do think, to some extent, that our writing does reflect who we are and what we believe. I've always said writing is therapeutic even if you don't think you need the therapy!

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  20. haha mom gets the job done. There is always a little of us in the writing I'd say. As our beliefs shine through somewhere along the way.

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  21. Moms know how to get things done. ;)

    My first book, I had a reviewer talk about how what my vamp MC faced was similar to racism. I honestly hadn't realized it when I wrote it.

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  22. Go, Mom!
    And, yes, I have messages in there - some of them open, by choice, and some of them under a layer of wrapping. The oddest one came out in a poem that I thought was doggedly literal, but had a symbol in it all along.

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  23. It's who you know in this world... or who you are able to contact. Great story.
    I know the messages I write are present, but they are subtle and necessary for the plot.

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  24. I think anyone who writes a story has some deeper meanings in there because it often can be done without that intention. Many don't want to preach because the reader would place the book down. I think of To Kill A Mockingbird" that has a great story but has so much depth to it and it is seen through the eyes of a child

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  25. That's a great quote. I wish people would do this during rush hour. I see people all the time running crosswalks while safety patrol is trying to get kids across the street in on piece. C'mon people, a little self control and safety first.

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  26. I think you must put something of yourself and your experiences into your writing. Probably sometimes without trying, so it becomes subtle. When I think about my own writing I definitely like conflict resolution and happy endings.

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  27. love the colour change of your blog, C.lee! I'd only put the lighter brown in the main post background and move the darker brown into the background of the layout so that the text would be easier to read :) So, just switch the colours :)

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  28. Hi Lee - did you change your colour .. I never noticed - I see Dezzie did!

    I can see your books have messages and points for all readers to consider - which I hope they do. I on occasions in my posts do similar - though sometimes working across the continents .... the wrong concept can be taken up - so I could definitely do more .. but err on being careful.

    Great about the Comcast story .. wish there were more people I knew with ties in to big companies!! Cheers Hilary

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  29. I love the "good news" section of you blog. :) And hooray for moms making things happen!

    Yvonne

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  30. Last summer I had a terrible time getting my Internet up and running. I should have called the CEOs mom. I love that!

    I think my books have messages, but I'm kinda stubborn so I may not see what those who are close to me see.

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  31. I'm happy to be done with Comcast forever. We watch shows online through the networks, Hulu, and Netflix, and that gives us more TV than we need.

    The fun thing about writing fiction is that we can say a lot in our books about our worldview...obviously, the story comes first, and we don't want to be preachy, but I agree with others, our viewpoints come out even when we don't plan for them to. Not a bad thing!

    I found you through the A-Z Blog Challenge list. Nice to "meet" you.

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    1. Thanks for your visit, Nadine. Hope to see you again. Do you know that your profile isn't available? Just wondered. If someone wants to contact you via your blog, they can't.

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  32. I enjoyed reading the good news. Yay for moms! They rock!

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  33. I enjoyed reading the good news. Yay for moms! They rock!

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  34. Sometimes we subconsciously do things. Our writing, for example, can reveal what we really think. Readers have pointed out things in my work I didn't even think of, yet, I'm the writer.

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  35. Thanks for stopping by CollectinTexas Gal...your visit is appreciated as are the points well taken in this post. Thanks for sharing Sarah's link...I enjoyed her thoughts on writing as well. It takes a lot of courage to set one's prose free...particularly with life long lessons at the center. Perhaps a re-do is in it's future with a message about learning from setting a life long lesson free.
    That's a bit of a 'history writers' philosophy...history and life long philosophies are bound to be repeated...just sayin'. Again thanks for visiting. Looking forward to your AtoZ writing.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
    AtoZ 2015 Challenge
    AyJay's wHooligans

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  36. I think it can be almost inescapable to write about the things we believe in, at least in a small way. It's where our passion begins, along with the drive to finish.

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  37. I would never go with that company. The ones I've been with aren't perfect, but they do well for me.

    My beta readers see common threads between my manuscripts. I get chills when they mention them.

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  38. Can you give out Comcast CEO's mom's phone number? And while at it, how about the Mom of the President of AT&T? :)

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