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Scott Lax Blog

Should Writers Have a Sense of Justice?

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, at some point you'll face the question of whether you should have a sense of justice about the world in which you write.

Since you possibly come here for advice I'll give it: Yes, you should.

Twain, Dickens, Toni Morrison, Milan Kundera, Ernest Gaines... they and many others have a sense of justice in their writing. You can tell a great story and still have a moral center -- even if the story is raw and violent. You can tell it through poetry; through children's, middle grade or young adult fiction; through essay and nonfiction; through short story or novel. Whether from a religious or secular point of view, that's your business. Even if you're simply out to entertain, at the heart of your work there should be conviction...in something. (Even existentialism.)

The world isn't always a pretty place. Writers should have the courage to speak out and up against injustice, in whatever form they choose. And if you are serious about writing with heart and conviction, you'll need courage.  Read More