Preaching to the reader

I’m currently taking a class in sustainability from Coursera.

When I signed up, I wasn’t sure whether I’d do any of the work, or just watch the lectures. But it turns out that one of the ways to earn a certificate in the course is to do a final project. And the project can be anything.

Enter my message story.

I already had a world sitting around, with one short story done and a novel planned, that takes place in a future Earth where people have drastically changed their lifestyles to help the planet recover from what (at least in the fictional universe) people did to it in this century. So I’m taking some of the topics from the course and addressing them in fiction, to explore how that society changed and how people’s lives were affected by the upheavals.

Tonight, I have to turn in a small sample of the story. I’ve only written a few snippets. Since it’s just the first draft, I’m letting the characters have the most awful dialogue. “As you know, Bob, if only those early 21st-century Americans had given up their cars, we wouldn’t be in this mess.” It’s boring and expository and preachy.

The really fun part will be after I get this draft done (I finally figured out the plot today, hooray) and go over it with an eye to making it a real story and not just a class project. Most of this preaching will have to go. For one thing, who wants to argue history with their colleagues when there are angry farmers to…persuade?

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