Thursday, November 15, 2012

Persuasive Fiction

I recall a time in high school English class in which we studied "persuasive writing" or "argumentative writing."  We were given a controversial topic--often something important like whether taking sodas out of vending machines would really stop childhood obesity--and then were required to write an essay arguing for or against.

I would argue--aha, you see what I did there--that everything we write is persuasive to a certain extent.  Even descriptive writing can be persuasive.

I shall define at this moment, like a good English student, that "persuasive/argumentative writing" is not as linear as arguing for or against an idea but rather writing that tries to persuade the reader or make a point.

As a result, my statement that something like, "The light bulb in the room dimmed, then flickered, then went out," can be persuasive doesn't sound as silly. (See?  That is why it is important to define your terms.)  As a fiction writer, that statement is trying to persuade the reader that the room is spooky or what have you, depending on the context.

A story is persuasive because as an author, whether you do it consciously or subconsciously, you're trying to prove something to you reader.  This is often interpreted as the theme of the story.

Therefore, a story is a vessel in which to try and convey your ideas to readers.  Albeit a much gentler method than straight out debate, I think it is important as a write to understand the power each individual word/sentence/paragraph has.  Each element is an example of persuasive writing and is working together toward describing a bigger idea, which is ultimately a piece of the writer's heart.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

So This Is Love...

"So this is this is love."

It's a song familiar from my childhood.  My sisters and I used to watch Disney's version of Cinderella over and over and over again. (Click here to hear the song.)  Cinderella and Prince Charming dance, staring deep into each others eyes, and sing this song to each other in perfect harmony in their heads...or they are ventriloquists and can sing without moving their mouths.  (I always thought the fact that they weren't singing aloud odd as a child.)

Even though we know Cinderella is the epitome of fairy tale, movies such as these define love as moments of emotional bliss with another person.  Often times, subconsciously we are longing for these fleeting moments, and when they flee, we're desperately trying to experience that emotional high all over again.

You don't hear the strains of "So this is love..." while you're putting fresh sheets on the bed at 1:00 a.m. for your exhausted husband who has conked out on the couch after a long day.  You don't hear melodic birds twittering in the bathroom when you remind yourself you don't need to be right and apologize.  You don't feel the butterflies of first love in your stomach when you spend time with the in-laws, even though no one is speaking in English.

Too bad.  Maybe a little romantic music would make those things easier to do.

I doubt anyone would truly admit that their idea of true love is dependent upon fairy tales and Hollywood movies, but if we truly look deep down into the thoughts behind our actions, what ideal is guiding our decisions?

Even in myself, do I see myself yearning for something that seems authentic but is really just a moment of emotional bliss.  Love is really defined by the moments when you would love to do the unloving thing but you do the loving one instead.