Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: realism

Do Creative Writers Have Social “Responsibilities”?


“Some fiction writers feel that their job is to record life; maybe do it with some creativity, but capturing what exists and rendering it is their prime function. I, almost violently, disagree.”

That quote is something I wrote in January in a post called, What’s The Writer’s Job? ~ Recording Or Creating?.

I also wrote, “My firm belief is that fiction’s proper purpose is to help humanity raise its sights, improve its situation, and strengthen its resolve to make life really matter…”

I do a bit of analysis in that post of “…a character who’s a day laborer, beats his wife and children, and discovers he has terminal cancer.”

It wouldn’t be hard to find material to create many characters who suffer as much or more than that day laborer, his wife, and his children. That material is all around us

But, if you’re the kind of creative writer who draws their inspiration from the world as it is, is it a truly creative act to merely copy those circumstances in proper language with enough fictionalization to hide identities?

To me, that would be like a painter who works assiduously to copy a garbage dump so faithfully the viewer gets sick from the smell.

Later in that post I linked to, I said, “I’m not trying to advocate some sort of sterile, moralistic fiction. We still need a damn good read and we don’t need a book telling us how to live our lives. Still… Showing the reader that even the worst conditions can hold some promise for improvement, even if the characters fail miserably to attain that promise, is, to me, a job that fiction writers should always be working to master.”

Really, are people who have the knack of creativity here only to copy reality?

What are the “moral” or “ethical” opportunities in a creative work?

What is the creative person’s “responsibility” to society?
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