Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Are You Serious?

How serious a person are you? Do you spend a large part of your day stirring up trouble, streaking past office workers in your birthday suit, or playing practical jokes on innocent victims involving poo?

This is something I've been pondering lately. No, not poo, but how serious my writing is and how serious I want it to be.

After starting off a short story that will most likely become a new novel, my writing has taken a more serious tone. At first it was something I resisted, but more and more I have felt the pull away from humour.

It was the last story I wrote that really set me off in this new direction. I'm sure it will take forever to get out there into the publishing world, so I won't talk about it in too much detail, but suffice it to say that it's a story about meditation in prison. The nature of the subject matter called for it to be a serious story, and any humour in there is to lighten the somewhat heavy load.

The surprising thing about this story is that it has given me more satisfaction than anything else I have ever written.

On only a moment's reflection, it's easy to see why: the story actually meant something. There is a purpose to it other than pure entertainment. Usually, that would be enough for me, and in fact most of the time I prefer pure entertainment. I want to escape from the real world into one that doesn't necessarily teach me something about life, but simply shows me a good time.

So the next novel I'm working on is going to follow a similar path. It will definitely take a more serious direction, and I'm hoping that along the way I can find something deeper in it.

After that, it's back to making fart jokes.


anne frasier said...

funny you should mention purpose. purpose ended up being a big part of the past several days. i visited my hometown, a town that peaked during the industrial revolution. i kept thinking, what's wrong here? and i finally realized the town no longer has purpose. i thought about moving back -- but i also need purpose. i want it to to be more than just a much cheaper place to live. that led me to my characters and a realization that they must all have purpose. even if they don't know it. and i think books with purpose at their core have more impact. but there's nothing at all wrong with a good fart joke.

Daniel Hatadi said...

Anne, you're making me think. It hurts.

Seriously, though, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

anne frasier said...

i think i was still high on dramamine when i wrote that. sheesh. it just made MY head hurt.

jamie ford said...

I met an editor this summer that talked about this. She said she became an editor mainly because she was a decent writer, but her books weren't too deep. They didn't have any importance to them. She didn't use the word "purpose" but I think it fit the discussion.

She also used the phrase, "I didn't want my book to just be another turd on the dungheap of Western literature."