What a loaded question. So I’ll start off simple and chip away from there.
I write to tell a story. I write to entertain people and to cement ideas that are whirling about in my head. I’m not here to make a point. I’m not here to put some subtle allusion to society, to politics or religion or war, into my novels. If that happens on its own, or someone sees it that way, so be it.
But I am here simply to tell a story.
Some people want to make a point, and I admire that. Deeper tales knitted into something light are necessary to get you thinking. I certainly have opinions on things, some quite passionate, but I’m not the type of person to shove them into my book just to get someone to notice it.
I firmly believe that, unless you’re in a comfortable situation with people you know, you shouldn’t discuss politics or religion. Too many tempers can flare too easily. So I avoid that.
My stories are all fictional. Super fictional. They’re fantastical adventures in lands that are of my own creation. I do like to include politics and religion in my stories, but they are made up politics and made up religions and are put into the story to create depth and plot, and to give the characters more facets to their personalities.
As for deep emotional meanings, I can’t be bothered for those either, as per the old adage, “Why did the author make the curtains blue?”
Maybe the author has blue curtains and saw them when he was writing. Maybe he likes the colour blue. It doesn’t have to be a metaphor for depression.
If someone asks me one day why I made Aisling’s necklace a leather leaf and blue jay feather, and asks if it has deep personal meaning or hidden metaphor, my answer will be simple:
I have the same necklace, sans the feather. I have a long necklace with a leather leaf pendant and a leather tie. I wear it frequently. Seemed good enough to me. As for the blue jay feather, I think blue jays are pretty. Thoughtful, yes?
Some things I do give meaning. Sometimes by accident, and sometimes on purpose. Meanings of names are very important in Purity; Caitlyn means pure, hence her nickname. Fane’s names are allusions to Dracula, the devil, and royalty. And quite by accident, Aisling means illusion, which is rather appropriate to the story – however, this didn’t come about on purpose at all. I had read a short story for class and the author’s first name was Aislinn. I liked it, but went for the more traditional spelling.
So I do like meanings. And I do like having thought-provoking things put into reading material. That just doesn’t mean I do it.
I have constant ideas and I get inspiration from everything around me, and I have to act on it or I’d explode. So I write because of that. And I write because people seem to enjoy these stories. I write to entertain.
What does everyone else do? I know most people want to entertain to some degree, but do you add more to your stories? I’m curious to see how other people go about this process.