Whether or not you openly subscribe to a particular belief system or philosophy, your worldview will seep into your story. Identifying that worldview in your stories helps you create deeper, more authentic themes (even in light fiction) as well as connect with a tribe that resonates with what you’re saying.
Worldview is the second step in figuring out your P.U.S.H. (Passion, Underlying Worldview, Self-Motivation, and Happiness Quotient).
Worldview: your core beliefs which influence every decision you make. Religion/philosophy, innate personality, physical limitations, and life experiences all influence your worldview.
Worldview is everywhere. It’s like The Matrix, only it’s real. We’re all constantly walking around with our own set of worldview glasses, filtering every piece of data and every experience through our personal glasses.
Here are some ways to identify your worldview in your writing–and use it:
1.) Who are your normative characters? Often authors will create a character who says things they would say or whose values they agree with. Who is that for you?
2.) What issues do your characters conflict over? Which side do you agree with? Or do you see both sides? Which side would you ultimately choose?
3.) Hit the hot button societal issues. What are your feelings towards including violence, sex, diversity, etc, in your story? Going a little deeper, what are certain issues or representations you would never include in your storytelling? What are representations that you are particular about how they are portrayed?
4.) What is your morality? What do you consider good? What do you consider evil? Where is the line drawn in your stories? Why do you draw it there? Are there possibilities of forgiveness?
5.) What are your agendas? Causes or beliefs that you are passionate about–either for or against. Acknowledge them. Acknowledge the life experiences, parts of your personality, and/or physical limitations that contributed to your passion. Your awareness is your strength. You can choose how much or how little of your agendas you put into your stories, but you can’t control and use (or not use) something that you won’t admit to.
How does this work to connect with your audience? Consider your genre. Figure out the general worldview of fans of that genre, as well as the genre conventions. This can be very helpful in sorting out marketing problems ahead of time.
For instance: your chosen genre might be expecting you to deliver an element that clashes with your worldview. Therefore, you could work hard on a book that you are passionate about, but that book might not get sales because it isn’t delivering what readers want/expect.
Among your options:
- Problem-solve a way around the clash
- Hop to a different genre that’s more compatible with your story
- Create a new subgenre that you’ll need to attract readers to
- Be fine with getting low sales, but putting your worldview out there and hitting your niche.What you choose depends on the other parts of your PUSH and what you value most as a writer.
At the same time, hitting parts of your worldview that mesh with the genre conventions and expectations is almost like magic. You’ll create themes that you care deeply about, as well as resonate with your readership. This makes for timeless stories.
Whatever way you choose to use it, knowledge of your worldview is necessary, potent, and powerful in creating resonant stories and reaching your tribe.
What about you? What’s one issue or topic you love to address in stories–or refuse to address? Why?