Saturday, May 18, 2019

Purpose in Writing

Purpose exists in every writing whether it is a reminder note, a letter, a grocery list, an essay or a fiction story.  

Non-fiction’s purpose is usually evident. Sometimes a fiction story's purpose is not recognized by the reader, but often the story's genre indicates the purpose. In any type of romance, it is about finding love and a life partner. Mystery stories are about finding the crime's perpetrator. Science fiction is often a warning about today’s problems and how they might affect the future. Fantasy is often about a utopia that isn’t one. Are these the only themes? No, not by a long shot, but most stories must have a purpose. That purpose is often unwritten but one the reader relates to. This usually begins when the main character is introduced and goes on to show his or her encounters and personal growth which extends into a satisfying or deserved conclusion.

When my daughter-in-law arrived from Russia, everyone, including me, asked: “What is it like there?” She answered, “It’s just like here.” Her answer affected my perception. I write science fiction and fantasy and have just completed a historical coming out in August, and I always keep that premise in mind. Wherever the story takes place, people are just like here and now. Humans haven’t changed that much over the eons. Anthropologists are now even proving how Neanderthals possessed many of the characteristics we have today. Why is this important to purpose? Because readers must empathize with characters to engage with the story.

In a Psychology Today article author Thalia R. Goldstein, Ph.D., stated about actors' characters: "
What’s interesting is we don’t think space cowboys are real, or that there are fairy tale characters come to life and living in present-day Maine.
But, the actors may still be confused with their characters, because in the end, it’s the interpersonal story that we care about—the relationship among the characters’ personalities and objectives." I think Goldenstein's view is true with a novel's characters, too.
I think most of my stories evolve around this. I write about characters in other dimensions and time and about the problems they face and how they solve them as well as exploring possibilities of human capabilities in the future. And my historical? It is in a time and place few are familiar with, the beginning of the Carolingian era in Europe. Again, it's about what the surroundings were like, but the characters remain very similar to today's perception.

Please visit these authors' blog and read their viewpoints on this topic:

Skye Taylor
Victoria Chatham
Beverley Bateman
A.J. Maguire 
Fiona McGier
Dr. Bob Rich


  1. I have read very little about the Carolingian Empire. You must have had to do a lot of research for this. I really enjoyed this topic.

    1. The Carolingian Age is part of the Dark Ages now known as the early Middle Ages. In high school history classes I was taught little went on, not like the Greek, Roman, and Renaissance eras. That is not true, but yes, I had to do a lot of research.

  2. A point well made - that mankind possess the same traits, in different cultures and different ages. And making one care for the character in the book is what makes the book enjoyable and worth spending time in.

  3. As usual, I agree with you. Even when the characters are entirely different from humans, the story comes to life if the reader can emphasise with them. And a story isn't memorable unless it relates to people's experiences.
    I've read Rhobin's new historical work, and it's excellent.

  4. If you don't care about the characters, there's no reason to read about their lives. The best stories are studies in human nature, and how we respond to the trials and tribulations of life. I like happy endings, because they seem so rare in real life.

    Great topic, this month!

  5. Interesting post as usual, Rhobin. I agree wherever the story takes place, people are just like here and now. I hadn't actually thought of that before. I'll keep it in mind from now on. Beverley

  6. I love when novels/stories are able to transport me to something amazing and still have the human touch. Like a character staring out at the colors of a nebula because of course that display of light would make a person pause.