I’m really looking forward to today’s guest post and am thrilled to be able to share it with you all!
Author, Roy Huff has pondered the question of whether fiction should reflect current issues, or offer an escape, and has kindly agreed to share his thoughts on the subject with us.
First, let’s have a little look at the latest book (book 4) in his Everville series…
Blurb: Everville: The Fall of Brackenone
Amazon link: Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone
Now, to find out Roy’s thoughts on a subject that is particularly intriguing to me in our current circumstances. I have been wondering whether we are soon to see a glut of new fiction featuring quarantine lockdowns, or whether authors will continue to represent the world in which people shop without masks and hug their grandchildren freely.
Over to you, Roy… Should fiction books reflect current issues, or offer an escape?
The short answer is that it depends. There is a saying: “Don’t should on me.” Fiction is very much like that. I think telling or asking what someone “should” do implies that there is only one answer. The truth is that there are many answers, and it’s all in the execution.
All writers imbue their work with life experiences. It’s where writers find inspiration, intentionally or otherwise. One can be intentional and attempt to capture the present moment, the politics, the worries, and fears. But even in escapism, writers scribe those words through the prism of one’s own life.
Writers can use different strategies to publish and market. One strategy is writing to market. This includes studying the markets that are underserved and writing to those specific tropes. One would need to study the demographics and what that demo wants, but that doesn’t guarantee someone will read it.
Another strategy is just to write what one loves or what one thinks. That can be either politics or escapism. I tend to think that books that are overtly preachy and scold readers tend to underperform, but that doesn’t mean writers shouldn’t write them or that they couldn’t do it more effectively.
I personally try to avoid direct political confrontations, but it’s nearly impossible to avoid politics completely. Words are like clothes. They make a statement regardless of whether you intend them to or not. And readers’ experiences color their perception of those intentions.
I’m an optimist. I’m sure pessimists out there would take issue with my view, especially in light of current events. But I think having a balance of different views and a diversity of opinions adds to the conversation and allows everyone to find something to read and consume what fits them personally.
I think when answering the question of whether one should write about current events, it first helps to answer why one is writing in the first place. What is the purpose? The approach one takes will be informed by that purpose. If one wants to affect social change, that can be addressed in the story either overtly or subtly. If one wants to publish a ton of books, one might consider attempting to connect with the readers’ emotions, which may or may not include current events. If one simply writes for the love of it, then it honestly doesn’t matter.
As a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I like my politics to be about the world in the story and less about real life. There is definitely an element of escapism there. But I also like seeing an optimistic vision, which is absent in much of the dystopian fiction. This combines both my optimism and desire for escapism. And it doesn’t have to be either-or. It’s possible to do both.
My own optimism is reflected in my epic fantasy Everville series and will be reflected in my upcoming book, Seven Rules of Time Travel. It has a healthy dose of escapism with a sufficient dose of reality.
Amazon link: Everville: Books1-4 Boxed Set
After overcoming significant childhood adversity, he moved to the islands and hasn’t looked back. He’s since earned five degrees, trained on geostationary satellites for NASA’s GOES-R Proving Ground, and written numerous bestsellers.
He stumbled into writing, but what he didn’t stumble into is his love for all things science fiction and fantasy. Later, he contributed a series of fiction and non-fiction books as well as widely shared posts on how to design life on your terms.
Despite early challenges, he embraces optimism, science, and creativity. He makes Hawaii his home, where he creates new worlds with the stroke of a pen and hopes you’ll come along for the amazing ride.
Everville: The Fall of Brackenbone – FREE – 18th-22nd June 2020
Everville: Boxed Set Books 1-4 – $0.99 US & UK – 18th-24th June 2020