Hi! I'm Joe, and I'm a writer.

Fiction is about individuals

published2 months ago
2 min read


First, I just want to say a big thank you to the people who responded to last week's email about what kind of content you're interested in from me. I got so much great feedback!

The most popular responses were "writing advice" and "the business of being a writer," which I guess makes sense considering many of you know me from The Write Practice, the writing community I founded in 2011.

But I also heard that many of you would love to know more about me personally: about my family, life stories, and even the occasional food/beverage photo. Needless to say, most people were a little wary about the idea of political and religious content, which I understand!

Going forward, I'll try to share a smattering of those things, with an emphasis on writing advice. I'll also try to differentiate it a bit from what we're publishing on The Write Practice. If that doesn't sound like something you're interested in, no hard feelings. Hit the unsubscribe button at the bottom of this email. Hope we can connect again in the future.

Writing Tip: Fiction Is About Individuals

So many writers want to write novels about things, for example the benefits of therapy or religion or about why some people are jerks.

Or they want to write about groups, perhaps even society as a whole, what works in society and often what is wrong with society.

I get it. Who wouldn't want to your stories as a way to tip the scales, to influence people to better ways of living, to a shared worldview.

The problem is that fiction rarely works like this. Sure you have books that have a point of view, like George Orwell's Animal Farm or Kate Chopin's The Awakening or even C.S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia to an extent.

But even then, the focus is first on the story, on the real problems faced by the individual in the story.

Fiction is about individuals.

Fiction is not about groups, not about things. It's first about a person.

But by focusing on the story of a person, you get a chance to tell the story of the soceity, even humanity itself. The individual becomes representative of the group.

It's fine to have a point of view, but you need earn the right to share your point of view by telling a great story.

More on this in my Youtube coaching video published this week.

Photos From the Week

I made some delicious lamb shoulder steaks, cooked with rosemary and garlic. The steaks were great, but the sauce I made afterward needed more acid. Will have to experiment more with this.

Have you been having more dinner parties lately now that the pandemic is winding down? I feel like my family is in major social catch-up mode, and while I'm enjoying seeing the people I care about, I also miss the days of no social contact outside of my family. The struggles of being an introvert!

Anyway, we had friends over this week and splurged on the Massachuessets diver scallops to the right. They were incredible, and along with a good bottle of wine and great conversation, more than made up for giving up my anti-social evening.

These guys. This was a tough week, to be honest, full of cranky, post-time change whining from all members of the family (myself included). Moments like this made up for it, though. Grateful.

Alright folks, that's it from me. Have a great weekend, and see you soon.


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