English class, writing class, literature class, if done poorly, can be the most boring class next to math (I hate math :P). If you were in junior high or high school, or still are, you might be all too familiar with this:
Why did the author write the story?
This question, even when I was a teen, really irked me. As a writer, I say, “Well, why not? There is no deep meaning to writing a story where the protagonist is an anthro cat.”
I did not write that story because I want to advocate for Cat’s Rights or anything. I did not write that story because I wanted to be a cat someday and this was the first step to getting used to talking like one.
No, I just thought it would be kinda cool 😉
On another note, however,
I do know some stories, especially in literary fiction, did have a reason as to why the author wrote them. Maybe they wanted to teach people something. Maybe they wanted to bring awareness to a disease. Maybe they wanted to impact the world with their writing.
There are actual reasons.
I just don’t think most authors really think about them. They might think about it afterwards like during an interview.
Author: Yeah, yeah! You know, that’s exactly why I wrote the book. (Actually, I realized I could make that my reason after you mentioned it. I have never thought about it before, but I will make it seem like I did.)
Now, those are serious reasons. Very serious.
There are reasons which are not serious and, if you say these in your class, you will certainly get scolded. So, let’s keep this between us 😉
Why you ask? Why not. The author wrote the book just because. Stop digging for some awesome deep philosophical answer because you’re not going to find such treasure here. Nope.
The idea is cool.
Why you ask? Well, the author had a cool idea and decided to expand on it. ‘Nuff said.
It’s an experiment.
Why you ask? The author was writing and decided to add thirty twists to the plot just to see how it would go. Guess it went well. yay! 😀
Because the theme is awesome.
Why you ask? Well, the author loves writing stories in that theme (e.g., Victorian Era, steampunk, murder mystery, vikings, etc.). Let the author do what they want to do. Stop reading into it so much
Because the market didn’t have one.
Why you ask? Well, at the time the market didn’t have a book like that and publishers were fighting over each other like gladiators as to who was going to publish the book. Now the theme has turned into a cliche, but who cares? It’s a cool cliche.
I’m lost in Tangentville…
What were we talking about?
Oh yes, does it have a deep meaning? Most often not.
So, why do teachers ask you “Why did the author write the story?” ?
Well, they need to grade you on something, obviously. And, seems like a good question that can spark debate among the students. Yeah, I would ask that question too, if I were a teacher.
But then I’ll say, “Well actually there’s no reason, but let’s pretend there is 😉 “