By Dennis Mellersh
In planning the content strategy for your book, and in writing it, it is vital for you to write naturally. Learning how to write in your own voice, or naturally, is an important part of knowing how to write a book that resonates with readers.
One of the outcomes of not writing naturally can be a book, such as a novel, being overloaded with symbolism, or filled with moral lessons. Other results of not writing naturally can include plotlines that are too contrived, unrealistic dialogue and use of vocabulary, and an overall aura of pretentiousness.
If you make a conscious effort in your writing to include symbolism and moral lessons for example, it will be very obvious to your readers, and in all probability will result in their losing interest in your work.
Readers do not like to be lectured or preached at. Aside from that, such devices make your work appear clumsy and amateurish in the best case, and boring in the worst case.
Extended analogy and metaphor can be effective literary devices that you can use in your fiction, but if your force it and try to hit people over the head with your “symbolic” or “moral” message they will rebel and probably put your book aside to “read sometime later” or abandon it altogether and not finish reading it.
One of the reasons that new writers are prone to overuse symbolism and moral lessons or “message” in their writing may be because of the way that many of us were taught in school (particularly high school) to “explain the “intent” of the author in terms of their use of symbols and other literary devices to convey their “message”
However, often as not with good fiction writers, there was not a deliberate, calculated intent on the part of the writer, unless you consider subconscious artistic creativity to be “intent.”
With this background emphasis in the teaching of literature, students then assume they must deliberately include a lot of literary devices in their writing, or it won’t be considered worthwhile, or “literary.”
In fact, a conscious effort on the part of a writer to be literary usually results in a book that is not enjoyable to read. The author is trying too hard to be “literary” and the result is overly obvious and writing that is dead-on-arrival.