Thoughts on Writing.

Talking to Lee last night, here are some things that I know:

  • When you sit down to write a story, you should ask yourself “Why?”

  • If all you’re trying to do is entertain someone, that’s good but probably not honest.

  • If you’re trying to “make people think” by telling them your opinion, that’s not a story.

  • Everybody hates the story that’s about rape or abortion or God or whatever–about one thing in particular.

  • Unless…it’s a good story.

  • What makes a good story is that there’s something at risk.

  • Including your own opinion.

  • If it’s a story that’s just your opinion, and you never make your opinion at risk, you’re just preaching.

  • Even if you’re preaching that preaching is bad.

  • Nobody wants to read a story about “God is good.”

  • But people might read a story about “God is good. God is all-powerful. Evil exists.”

  • There’s this Esther Friesner story, whose title I can’t remember, about abortion.

  • She’s said about it, “People tell me they’re not sure after reading the story whether I’m for or against abortion. That’s what I was trying for.”

  • So if your story is good versus evil, you have to make both sides strong enough to win.

  • Or whatever.

  • Because if it was a foregone conclusion, you shouldn’t have written it in the first place.

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