Where’s the Passion?

JackIsOurHero When I read fiction, I try to guess the author’s passions.  Or on which side he stands regarding issues in his story.

That happened last month when I read The Appeal by John Grisham. It was tremendous fun to look for clues concerning his personal feelings about the two sides of a fictitious legal case and the events surrounding it. Like seasonings in a gumbo, his political sympathies (he is a former Mississippi state legislator)  flavored the plot and the characters–exactly how I like it to be in a novel.

Whether I agree with the opinions of a fiction author or not, or align with his causes, I expect one or more of his passions to be revealed in his story.

I can usually distinguish between a story element carefully researched (but neither loved nor loathed) and one the author has experienced that has deeply affected him. And fiction is so much more exciting when the latter happens.

In my debut novel, Bird Face, it will probably be obvious to readers that I love dogs and creative people. And as I’ve gotten to know my Scriblerian partners on a personal level, I’ve learned of their passions, which I see woven into their manuscripts.

What love or loathing have you incorporated into a piece of fiction you’ve written, and how did you do it? Is it subtle or obvious? Whether flash fiction, short story, or novel–soon to be published or a work in progress–please share and feel free to mention the title.


13 thoughts on “Where’s the Passion?

  1. Even though authors are generally warned against preaching, there is an equal danger in plain, straightforward apathy


  2. I consider myself a cheerleader for abstinence and renewed abstinence. My passion for the subject is explored in my YA novel “Pieces of a Life”, as yet unpublished. The story’s characters hold widely varying views on the subject, as do people in real life. My intent is that readers will draw their own conclusion that saving sex for marriage is the wise choice.


    • You’ve mentioned something that’s important to me as a reader–having characters present more than one side and allowing the reader to choose. It’s like when an author makes the antagonist not all bad, and the reader can decide for herself whether to like him a little–or at least feel sorry for him. Thanks for giving readers a glimpse into your passion and your fiction, Beth.


  3. I don’t usually set out to include a strong theme but you are right in how they tend to creep in if the author feels passionately about them. My stories tend to incorporate unique culturals, thinking for oneself/going against the flow, equality/fairness, actions>consequences>think before acting. It’s not something I’ve paid much attention to in the past but I’d guess since these themes always somehow weave into my stories, I must feel pretty strongly about them. 😉


  4. Alright, Cynthia, I have to ask. What passions do you see in my writing? I’m VERY curious to know. LOL


  5. Pingback: The Scriblerians | Looking back and moving forward

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