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M Is For Message

For the Blogging From A to Z Challenge I’m doing you all a huge favor and filling you in on the 26 Things To Hate About Writing.** I’m hoping by the end of April, I will have convinced all of you not to indulge in the wild insanity of becoming a writer. If I can save even one person from offering themselves up in sacrifice to the mad and fickle word gods, I will have done some good in this world.

Check out each letter’s post here.

MESSAGE

As if writing isn’t hard enough, I found out you can’t just write stuff and not have it make any sense or be connected to anything in reality at all. It turns out most stories need to have a message, or a theme, which conveys something to your readership. Whether it’s an allegory about treating each other with kindness or a message as simple as “don’t drink six bottles of Pepsi in a row,” stories are richer and more compelling if they have a message. Well, I’m soooo sorry literary world, that every single one of my stories is really just about how evil spiders are. Is that not deep enough for you? I can add cockroaches in there, too.

It turns out that most stories have a message built in, which comes from constructing your plot. Yet, still:

– You may struggle to figure out what your overreaching message is, and not be able to clearly define it at first. Pro tip: it’s probably about the evil, crafty sneakiness of spiders.
– You may find spots in your story that don’t support your message and are out of place. Whatever. We all have that one friend who says they like every living creature but still step on spiders.
– If your message is too heavy-handed, it’s going to feel like a sermon. Tell a story, don’t preach. Unless, of course, it’s about you know what and how they just roll up in your house like they pay rent and chill on your pillow.

One of the worst things about writing is trying to artfully and subtly weave a message into your story. It’s often called the theme, and it’s important, and it’s how you connect to your readers and it says a lot about what you care about and wish to convey to the world. Stories are almost always a message. A message you should stock up on Raid and be ever-vigilant, for they are silent and insidious, and they think it’s really funny when you scream and run like that.

Here’s a fun exercise to help you out: re-read this post and tell me what the main theme is. That’s right, it’s how much I hate writing.


**Disclaimer: If you haven’t figured it out, these posts are pure satire and simply a humorous way to vent my writing frustrations. No offense is intended to anyone. Please, become or continue being a writer. It’s awesome, I swear. It’s super…duper, awesome…heh heh.

Megan Morgan View All

Urban fantasy and paranormal romance author.

35 thoughts on “M Is For Message Leave a comment

  1. You have such a firm grasp on this concept even though I have deciphered the real meaning of your theme: you want us all to quit so you have no competition, right. I mean telling us all to quit and walk away. I see the genius.

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  2. Message? What madness is this?
    The story has to have a message? No, listen, first you said there should be characters. Then you said there should be a plot. The you said there should be grammar. Now you’re sayong there needs to be a MESSAGE???

    I really think you’re making this too complicated. I’m sure that a few well chosen words are more than enough to be called a story.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – 1940s Film Noir

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  3. I am so totally with you there on the spider theme. Over the past week we’ve had about a year’s worth of spiders knock on the door. I open the door, don’t see anyone there, and that must be when they crawl past me dragging their webs and all.
    The theme or message of any story always has some hint of spiders, I’m sure. And it always bears repeating. But no illustrations. I hate pictures of spiders almost as much as the real thing.
    Seriously though, good “message”.

    Donna Smith
    Mainely Write
    MK IT SO

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    • It must be because spring is here. Spring is my favorite time of year EXCEPT for the part where every creepy crawly thing with too many legs comes out of hiding to enjoy the weather–usually in my house!

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  4. And here I thought the message was “I really really REALLY hate spiders.” 😛 (Personally, as long as they’re not poisonous and therefore a threat to me and my furry babies, I don’t care how many of them hang out in the house…paying rent would be nice though…oh that’s right, they earn their keep by killing the other bugs, which is why I let them stick around.)

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  5. Fuck a message. I write a story, so readers can read it, and philosophers can “decipher” what it is I’m really trying to say.

    My nickname on Eve Online was “Immortal Bard”. I think it’s a fitting name for me.

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    • A message usually arises from a plot though, whether we’re trying to put it in there or not. Our characters are always struggling for something, and that usually translates to something we all recognize in the human condition.

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      • A message inevitably forms from any plot one puts forth. But I personally feel that a message shouldn’t be a goal of the author, as it might take away from the plot itself. Focus on just telling the story and let the readers from their own meaning from it.

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