I will admit this freely: I hate a preachy book. You know the kind. The book that just bleeds with not-so-hidden messages for the reader. The book that condescends to the reader, the author making sure you know he/she is so much more educated than you on the topic.
It even happens in romance books. I read a book years ago by an author who I won’t name ( and never read again!) whose secondary character was basically a doormat and let every person in the book walk all over her because she thought that’s how she deserved to be treated since she was a bastard. All through the story, her internal dialogue droned on and on about how she was unworthy of ever finding love because of this. In the end, she winds up alone and caring for the heroine’s two children. The life lesson I took away from all that drivel, and the one I really think the author intended: bastard children don’t deserve happiness.
Yeah…that’s why I’ve never read anything by this author again.
When I set out to write a book I don’t automatically think about the life lessons that should be incorporated into the story. For me, I think the story itself and how the characters move in and out of their lives, should decide this. Looking back on my books I can objectively say these have been the basic life lessons I’ve written about:
- Trust is earned. Every day. (First Impressions)
- Everyone deserves a second chance at love. (There’s No Place Like Home, The Voices of Angels)
- You can’t be all things to all people and you are stronger when you let people help you (Cooking with Kandy)
- First Impressions aren’t always the correct ones (A Kiss Under the Christmas tree)
- Forgiveness is a gift (3 Wishes)
- Family is more than just the people you are related to (Skater’s Waltz)
I don’t preach in my books. That’s not my job. My job is to entertain the reader. If the reader gains any insight into her own life, or sees parallels within it from the storyline, then that’s a good thing. What isn’t a good thing is if I’ve insulted the reader by presenting a situation or a problem that may be comparable to something in their own life, and then telling them this is how the situation should be solved. No. Not gonna happen.
Life lessons are important. No one is denying that. I just don’t want to get slapped in the face with it when I read. And, I also don’t want to be the one slapping!
I’m sure the other authors in this blog hop are just chock full of life lessons, so why don’t you hop on over to their sites and see who they handle writing these lessons in to their own books.
7 responses to “Life is a lesson unto itself”
I don’t like preachy stories either. Sounds like you have lots of life lessons!
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Love this post, Peggy! And I agree. Authors, save the preachy rants for your Facebook posts!
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All 6 of your points are very good ones and ones I think I’ve touched on to some degree. I’m not preachy and never think that deep when I’m trying to put together a story. Heck I needed someone else to tell me if I had lessons in my book and then as I tried to write about the tips she gave I had to make sure my post didn’t sound preachy after the fact. LOL No two people are alike and therefore no two people will handle situations in the same way.
I agree completely.
Like you, I would never read a “preachy” author’s work again. I read to escape from the real word, not to learn a lesson!
I like 2 and 4 and use them often in my work. Thanks for sharing!
Great lessons! I enjoyed your post!