The other day a coworker said to me, "You know, you don't talk much, but what you do say is profound and really means a lot to people."
I was absolutely shocked that anyone would think I'm profound. Or that I don't talk much, actually.
It would be wonderful if I felt profound. I wouldn't have trouble coming up with blog posts, because I'd just take it for granted what I had to say would be interesting and worthy of someone's time. When I sat down to write a scene or a chapter I wouldn't worry that what I was writing was too shallow or stupid. I'd automatically know that it had the depths of knowledge and experience and would impact readers with its mighty theme.
Isn't that what we want as writers?
To impact our readers? To tell a story that has meaning?
There seems to be a perception that genre fiction is not "thinking" fiction - literary fiction is where the thinkers go. But I don't think only literary fiction writers want to be profound. Don't we all want to share a bit of our understanding of the world with others, and hopefully make a connection with them or help them see the world in a slightly (or maybe not so slightly) different way?
Personally, I don't think there has to be an either/or in genre fiction. We can write meaningful (profound, even) stories wrapped up in suspense, fantasy or science fiction. After all, some of the most profound short stories on the human condition I've read have come from science fiction writers. It's this belief that causes me to stop and pause and rethink every plot point and turn of phrase.
I've been enjoying Art Holcomb's Rule Book and Improving Your Fiction guest posts over at Storyfix. He explains how by deepening the character arcs of our characters, we deepen the meaning of the story. He has some very usable writing tools to help writers bring their stories to a deeper level.
I haven't been able to really utilize the charts and questions he poses. Hopefully, after completing the homework that goes along with the posts, I'll feel profound enough to quit second-guessing every thing I type and feel confident to just tell the story.
How do you deepen your stories? Do you have a favorite resource/book that explains how to create a profound story?