Why do people write fiction? by Frank J. Fleming
For one reason only: It’s a great medium to indoctrinate people with your political views. An author only feels like he’s done a good job with his story if the reader either goes away having the correct views or becomes very angry that the author made fun of his wrong views, as making someone angry is the next best thing to converting them to your side (or maybe even better).
I’ve worked awhile writing for The Babylon Bee (which is all about indoctrinating people with extreme right-wing views through news stories designed to fool people), writing for IMAO, and writing novels, so I know a lot about indoctrination. My latest novel, Superego: Fathom, seems like a fun action-adventure about a psychopathic hitman trying to save the universe, but it’s really about making sure everyone holds my view on tax policy.
But indoctrinating people with your fiction isn’t easy. You have to be subtle. That’s why I have a few great tips to help you manipulate your reader without his or her knowledge.
TIP FOR USING INDOCTRINATION IN YOUR FICTION
Use names to manipulate. One easy way to manipulate your reader is with the names you choose. For the characters who disagree with you, give them names people naturally dislike, like Chad. No one wants to be on the same side as someone named Chad. Another name people naturally dislike: Hitler. So for a character representing the side you disagree with, the best name is Chad Hitler.
For those espousing your views, make sure they have nice, strong names — like Frank. Everyone loves Frank.
Make the people who agree with you really cool. Another way to subtly influence the reader is to just make everyone who agrees with you really cool so the reader wants to be like your characters. For the characters who have your politics, make sure they’re ultra-good at everything (marksmanship, rocket science, disco dancing) and never fail. Also, insert details that reinforce how cool those characters are, like mentioning they’re wearing sunglasses and leather jackets and always give thumbs up and say, “Ayyyy!”
Mention drool. A favorite subtle manipulation of mine is to mention drool when a character says something I disagree with. People associate drool with not smart opinions. For example:
“Just because Die Hard is set at Christmas,” said the drooling Chad Hitler, “doesn’t make it a Christmas movie.”
See, you probably read that and said to yourself, “There’s something about that opinion that doesn’t seem very smart.” It’s the mention of drool. You can also throw a “duh” or two into the character’s speech. People also associate saying “duh” out loud with bad opinions.
Have everyone who disagrees with you meet a gruesome death. It helps reinforce how bad the opinions are of people who disagree with you if they all die in particularly graphic ways, such as being crushed by a safe, getting hit by a bus, or just exploding for some reason. This will get the reader to say to himself, “I guess that’s what happens to people who believe those things.” Also, if you were really good with your previous manipulations, the reader will be happy to see the character get the gruesome death he deserves for his bad opinions.
Have a long speech followed by stunned silence. It’s important that at the end of your novel, you have one of the cool characters (wearing sunglasses) give a long speech — maybe ten to twenty pages — reinforcing all the things you believe. Now, in real life, after you give a speech like that, people will instantly try to pick it apart or, if online, respond with an unflattering meme. But in the world of your novel, which you control, you should mention how everyone who disagreed was stunned silent by all the smart points of the speech and have them not respond at all, because the speech was just too smart to respond to. And as the bad guys are stunned silent, have them get hit by a bus (see previous point).
I hope you found these tips helpful. Make sure to check out Superego: Fathom. I think afterward you’ll find you suddenly have really strong opinions on progressive tax rates.