…a literary journey
I didn’t think so, until someone I trusted pointed it out to me in a few different stories I am working on. I’ve had the greatest fortune to recently find a critique partner that gets me, gets me writing and most importantly, speaks the truth. We’re thousands of miles away – she’s in New Zealand, and I’m in Florida, USA – but our email correspondences have become my favorite time of day. I’d honestly given up on finding this type of friendship / partnership, so when I saw the same word applied in her critiques to a couple of different stories I’d sent her, I took it as a sign that I needed to check myself. That was the point of finding someone whose opinion I trusted; if I wasn’t going to try to find cracks in my style, then there is no point of having a critique partner, is there?
I spent a few days researching online a lot of different philosophies and opinions on didacticism. I needed to fully understand what the word truly meant, and to learn why it was a weakness in fiction writing. Here’s a simple explanation in relation to writing:
intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive:“a didactic novel that set out to expose social injustice”
As someone whose stories are often based in social issues, I quickly saw that it was a definite possibility that my voice was coming across louder than my character. I also read that it’s not uncommon to find this in first drafts of stories. Now there are wonderful examples of writings that have this term applied to them – think Aesop’s Fables or even Animal Farm. But was that what I was going for? NO. While I have strong opinions when it comes to many issues, I don’t want to force them on my readers. I’m old enough to know that there will never be a time when we all agree on the most important and sometimes controversial subjects of the day. That doesn’t mean I shy away from these topics in my writing – it just means that I need to do two things:
I will always write the stories that move me, but I will also make sure not to dilute their enjoyment with indoctrination.