Preaching is when an author gets up on a literary soap box to unload his or her personal beliefs on unsuspecting readers.
For the most part, those writing books are spot on. Here’s why:
4 Reasons Not To Preach In Your Novel
- It turns readers off
- It breaks author/reader trust
- It doesn’t help the story
- It’s not the right medium (this is a novel not a sermon)
I’d go as far as to say that sermonizing in your story alienates your reader base and virtually guarantees bad reviews, lost fans and lower future sales.
So, with that said, where possibly could be the best place in your novel to put your personal beliefs?
No, not the acknowledgements. (But that’s hilarious)
Not in the back matter.
None of the following 3 places either:
3 Places Never To Put Your Personal Beliefs
- Protagonist’s mouth
- Anywhere obvious
Where’s the best place, then? Is there even a place?
Actually, there are several, but one place in particular is the very best. And it just happens to be my personal favorite.
The Number 1 Best Place In Your Novel to Put Your Beliefs
The number one best place in your novel to put your personal beliefs is….
…your antagonist’s mouth.
- It’s unexpected – Who will think you’d use the bad guy (or girl) to promote your opinions?
- It’s hidden – It isn’t obvious so it slips under the reader’s radar.
- It’s effective – Because it’s unexpected and not obvious, it works like magic.
- It’s good writing – The scariest antagonists are the ones we understand.
Example: In my novel, Wicker Hollow, I let my antagonist, a fallen angel, spout some of my personal beliefs. One reader even said, “I actually agree with some of what the fallen angel said. And I don’t think I was supposed to.”
I had to smile.
The Summary: If you absolutely must put your personal beliefs into your stories, place them in your antagonist’s mouth.
Writing a book? This free resource can help.