POLL! Writing Goal: Wealth & Fame OR Social Change?

I believe a clear writing goal has a profound impact on the quality of the stories you produce.

Someone gave me practical writing advice a while back, and I find it’s still simmering in my brain. He said, “If you want any sort of writing success (especially starting out), your main characters have to be under the age of 30. Society, as a whole, is not interested in the lives of older characters.” As much as I’d like to argue with this, my advice giver wasn’t exactly wrong. A quick glance at the majority of today’s movies, books and magazine covers seems to verify his claim.

This got me thinking: What exactly do I want to accomplish with my writing? Do I want to acclimate myself with the current conditions of society in hopes of getting rich or do I want to trade in measurable success for the opportunity to evolve a social norm?

There’s no glamour that comes with being a “pusher” for social evolution. I may never see the day when main characters in their 40’s, 50’s and beyond are celebrated equally across society for their beautiful and exciting lives. Only the person who happens to be at the “tipping point” of the social evolution push will reap the rewards, but that doesn’t make the efforts of the thousands of forgotten “pushers” any less important. How great would it be if Millennials could enter their mid-life years and be comforted by the idea that the most exciting times of their lives didn’t end in their twenties (as today’s books and movies seem to suggest). :slight_smile:

What’s your main writing goal? (Consider both your conscious and subconscious writing goals. I mention this in a post below).

  • Wealth & Fame?
  • Social Change?
  • Community Building (such as fanfiction or minority groups)?
  • Escapism (humor, fantasy, a break from life’s harsh realities)?
  • Personal Evolution?
  • Educate?
  • Other?

0 voters

My favourites include Langdon series written by Dan Brown, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot series written by Agatha Christie. All of the characters I said above are above 40s and ahem world wide best-sellers ahem

Maybe when they say character under the age of 30, usually that’s when humans have exciting experience and experimenting with their lives, in short, ‘exciting plot’. But when they reach above 30 it means the characters will start talking about the meaning of life, life lessons, etc, and more careful at what they’re doing because characters under 30 (from what I’ve seen) are rather careless. And the number of people who are interested in these kinds of plots is as the same as the number of pre-teens who understand what responsibility means, say, 1:10. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be successful, definitely not easy but definitely possible.

Personally, I found stories, with the MCs are above 30, are interesting.

Did I just underestimate pre-teens? Yes, I did lol sorry not sorry for that

2 Likes

There are definitely exceptions–I was merely speaking in terms of majority. :slight_smile:

It seems the 30’s are being incorporated into the mainstream as a “still exciting age decade”–the new 20. I think there’s hope!

Maybe my real question is how we define “exciting and entertaining” in our society??? Surely being inexperienced and careless isn’t the only place where excitement can be found, because that would feed into the idea that lives are “generally” no longer exciting after the age of 30. I need stories to help me break through these kind of mental barriers–stories that say “20’s are just the trial run, honey–the real fun begins later on in life!” Hahahaha. :wink:

True, but those best sellers started somewhere too, don’t they. Just like J.K. Rowling with her famous rejected Harry Potter manuscript I know HP is under 30, it’s just an example lol

Well, society is always mainstream, and they define exciting and entertaining as 50sog. Hmm. . . as the for the stories that break the barrier, what about Eat, Pray, Love?

There’s one on Wattpad which I like, but I forgot the title. It’s Gwynneth (the MC name) or something :joy:

I didn’t vote, yet. Radio button means we can only vote for one, Y/N?

I can think of reasons not listed.

What about To encode information? That was the premise of the work Hamlet’s Mill: that some specific stories are used to encode information in an easier to remember form.

Or, what I often think: to be understood or to find my tribe. I do feel like when I find those few readers who really get my work I will have found my people. It’s a means of connecting. Not sure if that falls under the community or personal evolution.


But to discuss the under 30 topic: I do agree that as a broad generalisation this is true.

But I also think it’s gradually becoming less true. I mean, apart from the examples of Agatha Christie characters @mitalyas mentioned, consider the name actors in the baby boomer generation who aren’t as compliant as the generation before them. They are more like “Where are my MFing movie roles!?” And we get action movies (action movies!) starring guys in their 60s!

I think it’s only going to change more as we go.

Yes. of course there will continue to be a vast demand for youth-centric media, but there will also be an understanding of more niche and minority markets and more diverse representation of characters, both generally and diversity of age.

Reluctant to buy a book from anyone that exclusively writes for wealth and fame. It will likely show up in their work.

And it’s generally a bad idea, as almost nobody makes riches off their work.

1 Like

I “think” this is sort of what I meant with educate–to use your story to teach, whether directly or indirectly. There are many stories where I feel like I’m learning indirectly about something–for example: learning how corrupt governments function despite a traditional government not being present in the story. I’m not sure if that’s the same as “encode information?” In any case, that indirect form of teaching is also what I meant with “educate.”

This is exactly what I meant for Building Community. Being a voice for a specific group of people–whether it be One Direction fans or the ex-wives club or raising an autistic child or dancing naked on the hood of cars. Hahaha. :slight_smile:

I understand, but I’m not sure if that seems the same from my point of view. The way you just described it sounds like I’d be saying I’m like a speaker or authority or like authentic voice for a group, as opposed to just one among a group. Slightly different.

Guys have always fared better in entertainment, it’s more the female characters that struggle. A wealthy 40-something CEO?? Most will go with that. But his female lead is likely under the age of 30. It’s a start, though. :slight_smile:

This is why people like Helen Mirren are so precious.

No, no, no–that’s not what I mean. Your voice (as spoken in a fictional story) is something that resonates and speaks to a certain group. You wouldn’t necessarily be speaking for them or be an authority on the subject. Although–you could be. There’s many different possibilities in the gray area of community building. :slight_smile:

1 Like

LOVE HER! We need more Helens…

I think it’s also fair to mention conscious writing goals and subconscious writing goals might be vastly different.

Consciously–I’d like to create entertaining stories that stretch social boundaries (mainly in regards to ageism).

But subconsciously, I wonder if my goals are in sync. There are times when I start writing and my “teacher mode” suddenly jumps in. Before I know it–my story starts sounding like a boring college lecture, completely sucked dry of any entertainment value. It would seem, in this case, my subconscious goal is to educate.

There are also times when I’m imagining/daydreaming about my future life as an entertaining writer that stretches social boundaries. Am I picturing women shaking my hand thanking me for broadening their possibilities as a middle-aged woman? NOOOOOOO!!! I’m picturing myself in a stunning designer dress and a fabulous pair of heels at my book’s movie opening! In this case, it would seem my subconscious goal as a writer is to find financial success and fame.

I think becoming familiar with all these “pulls on the goals” from both conscious and subconscious levels can help a writer focus their attention and energy towards their “truest goal.” (Can you tell I minored in psychology? hahahaha).

Needless to say, I find myself working on mindset adjustment at the moment (just read a fantastic book on the subject). I think it will help me in my future writing.

1 Like

My main goal (both consciously and subconsciously) is to write to amuse myself.

It’s a way to pass time and it’s a hobby for me.

So, in a way, you could say I’ve already accomplished my goal yet it’s still ongoing.

2 Likes

I love this! I remember in high school (when we passed paper notes instead of sending texts), my friends and I would write fan fiction about each other. At the time, I’m not sure if the term fanfiction even existed. It was a long time ago since the boy band we were writing about was New Kids on the Block. hahahaha.

In any case, we wrote simply because we had a blast writing and enjoyed making each other squirm with our sexy tales. It was like winning the lottery to see your best friend’s eyes pop out of her head when she read the sexist part of the story on that piece of college ruled paper! (THANK GOODNESS a teacher never snatched one away from us!).

I did go back and vote for the ‘community’ one, but I wish I could vote for something like ‘All of the above’. Maybe I should have said “other”.

I do write to find my people, as I commented above, but I also consciously write to provoke thought. I’m aware I write fiction, but I think by presenting an idea within fiction, whether the idea is a truth or obvious fallacy, it causes the reader to think on whether they agree with the interpretation or not.

So, like, if I write fiction about ancient alien type characters, it’s not necessarily saying I want others to believe these theories. I actually want people to question our deep history and just be more curious about what happened and write their own stories about it.

Provoking thought can count for both the education and social change goals, I think.

Like, I can write about “Fantastic Racism” as a commentary on real-life racism between humans. That falls under ‘social’.

Also, every time allusion or reference is used, that can fall under ‘community’ for some, but it can also be ‘education’ when someone goes to figure out why another work is mentioned or quoted.

I know that I learned a lot about literature back-in-the-day because bands in interviews would talk about the books that inspired their lyrics. So then it’s like a book inspired a song that inspired a book…

I also, of course, wouldn’t mind some merchandising money or to yanno, get paid for my writing. So that’s ‘wealth’.

2 Likes

Girl–in honor of you–I’ll add “all of these equally” as a choice and I’ll change the question to “What is your main writing goal?” You’re so right–there can be several different inspirations fueling a goal. I have a “main goal” (social change), but I’d be lying and/or living in an unrealistic bubble if I thought that was my only goal. I mean-------I can see that designer dress and super cute heels as clear as day! Hahahaha. :wink:

1 Like

Dang it! It seems as though it won’t let me adjust the poll, but your request was noted. :wink:

1 Like

I voted other because I write for fun. That’s my only goal, to have fun doing it. I don’t seek fame, I don’t seek to be published (though I admit I’ve been editing a couple books to maybe try but don’t realistically expect it to happen), don’t seek to educate or cause world change, I just write because it’s fun. Simple as that. If my stories entertain someone, great. If they happen to inspire someone, even better. But at the end of the day I write them because I enjoy them. To me that’s all that matters, that I enjoy what I’m doing.

2 Likes