The Story Serves The Reader Part 1
I believe the story should serve the reader, and I’ll tell you why. First, let’s look at a real life account. In these cases I believe the story should serve the reader by informing, bringing interest which is different than entertainment, sometimes also bring entertainment when appropriate, allowing the reader to form their own opinion.
This doesn’t mean the writer doesn’t have an opinion, or even that they can’t express it, but the line between fact and opinion should be clear. If a journalistic work, then it should be as completely void of opinion, as much as humanly possible. I lean to the old journalistic school on this matter personally. If not a journalistic work, share your opinion but I would recommend to be clear as to where the facts stop and opinion begins.
If the story if fictional, it should also serve the reader. It too should inform, bring interest and entertainment, which as I said are different, and in some cases depending on the subject matter also provide a moral. To clarify, a moral is not an opinion, but a moral lesson such as the tortoise and the hare. People from all walks of life, religions, and backgrounds can agree on consistency.
There are tools a writer can use to help the story serve the reader. As an example, in a mystery the clues are presented for the reader, even if the writer is allowed a little slight of hand in the process. What a mystery writer should not do is to write in such a way that even Agatha Christie herself couldn’t solve it by reading it.
One important way of the story serving the reader is by never talking down to them. That, in writing is one of the most serious literary offenses that can be made. No one, at any age, wants to be talked down too. They can be taught, informed, and critiqued, but being talked down to will typically not be tolerated by most readers. Let’s touch on some more ways tomorrow because serving others is one of the most important things you can do as a writer, or as a person.