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.

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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2 Responses to Influence

  1. acflory says:

    Well said Stephanie! Fiction can be incredibly persuasive – if done well. I find that when I care about something deeply, my emotions tend to ‘leak’ into whatever I am writing about but I try very hard not to let the leak become a flood because I know that the story and the characters must come first. I also know that my leak will be far more effective if it is subtle. Less is more in every sense of the word.

  2. Good metaphor. I tend to use a color metaphor. We want our beliefs and the themes we are writing about to color our fiction, but we don’t want to smear the paint on so thick it obscures the structure and lines that make the picture.

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