One of my biggest hopes is that, as a writer, I will be able to influence others. There are so many things I want to say, and my ability to write gives me the voice I need to reach others. But how I say it matters, too.
I write nonfiction. I write about autism, about differences, about parenting, about special education. I write about all these things that are important to me. And I do reach people writing about these things. But the audience I reach is naturally limited. It’s not just limited by my platform; it’s limited by my readers’ interest. Some people are interested in these subjects; others aren’t.
Sometimes, though, the messages we most want to share and the people we most want to reach are those we are least likely to reach with a straightforward advocacy, or persuasive nonfiction, piece. Sometimes the best way to reach people is to give them something they want, but incorporate something they don’t necessarily expect.
Authors of fiction do this all the time. It’s called theme. They put together a good story, a motivating and captivating story, but weave in a theme that invites readers to think, to feel, to open themselves up to something they might not otherwise consider.
Both are forms of influence and both are important. Our world has been shaped by both fiction and nonfiction. Our world is better for the contributions of writers who sought to use the power of words to make a difference.
So, if you have a message you burn to tell, try fiction or nonfiction or both. Just remember, the purpose of fiction is to tell a story. Having a point is all well and good, but you better have a story or making your point through fiction is pointless.