Challenge yourself to write ‘dramables’

In the hands of a gifted writer, stories become extended parables, layered with symbolism and meaning that examine the many questions of human existence. While maintaining the best qualities of escapist literature, such stories transcend escapism in quality.

I call them dramables – or dramatic parables – and have read them in many genres…science fiction, historical fiction, westerns, mysteries, even romance. The author merely must choose not to write to the lowest common denominator by believing that a space battle, political machinations, a violent fight, solving a murder, or a torrid romance will be satisfactory enough.

Indeed, a space battle might become the event in which a young pilot tussles over issues of cowardice and sacrifice. Political machinations set in ancient Rome could explore the ethics of modern American politics. A violent fight between two Old West ranch families offers a young deputy the chance to learn how hatred whirls from a spark to an uncontrollable firestorm. A murder could be the basis for examining the nature of perception and reality. A torrid romance allows the characters to examine the issues of loyalty and duty and its affect on society.

Writers should not pen dramables simply because they are more “artful” or more “intellectual” but because doing so fulfills the promise that writing can fulfill. Why be satisfied producing chocolate box art when you can do so much more?

Genre stories that lack any deeper meaning than escapism at their best are overly sentimental and inoffensive; at their worse, they are bland and cliché. That’s not the kind of novel or short story you want to write. Your writing talent deserves more respect than that.

And so does your reader.