Sunday, November 20, 2011

Politics in Fiction: Do's and Don'ts

Some beta readers for my novel Blood Flats
recently asked me about some of the political themes I explored in the book. This got me thinking about the issue of politics in fiction in a more general sense, and some of the mistakes that many authors (both liberal and conservative) make when attempting to score political points via a story. 

In this video, I discuss some concrete examples from Stephen King, John Grisham, Ayn Rand, and Orson Scott Card:

One thing I left out of the video is a an example of a popular novelist who is politically oriented without being ham-fisted about it. For this prize I nominate Jonathan Franzen. I recently read his novel Freedom (which got very mixed reviews among readers on Amazon, incidentally.) Not everyone liked Freedom. I did. 

While Franzen is an unabashed liberal, his characters of both political stripes are complex, flawed human beings---not simply cardboard cutouts of good guys and bad guys.