Tweet of the Day: Writing Excuses 6.26: Mystery Plotting
Sometimes an author wants to send a message through his writing: evil doesn’t pay, slavery is bad, never shop on a Black Friday, you know, the usual. He could weave the message into the plot were in the character(s) learn about the message and its myriad interpretations, nuances and complications.
Or they can drop an anvil on the readers head.
As you can see by the tittle, this trope is several metric tons of option B.
Subtle, it ain’t.
All too common in spec-fiction. Entire universes are constructed to make a point. But even if the ether of the world does not conform to the author’s ideas or ideology, he can still manipulate events, dialogue and characters so that they drop said anvils like a squadron of B-29s dropping A-bombs on Japanese cities.
Case in point: David Weber.
In the second book of his Honor Harrington series he raises several political straw men just to prove that the middle of the road course in politics (which the MC favors) is always right and that everyone is an extremist prone to foolishness at best, atrocious war crimes at worse. Even when said straw man is right, as least as far as the arguments are concerned, but comes off as such as bastard even in the face of overwhelming evidence that you can’t help but cheer when he gets his ass kicked.
Then the headache from the anvil that fell on your head kicks in.
Pass me the aspiring, will ya!
Not to say that some anvils need to be dropped, but that’s a trope for another day.