This is based on a Stephen King article I talked about in “Everything You Need to Know.”
King states that to be a successful writer, you should write to entertain. Here he delves into the perception that entertaining fiction can’t be serious or vice versa. He lists a host of authors he thinks would be surprised by the notion of separating entertaining work and serious works. His only qualification for combining the two is that “your serious idea must always serve your story, not the other way around.”
This makes me think of the old saying “Art imitates life.” Life isn’t always serious or always entertaining so why would writing fiction, a form of art, be any different? If I’m completely honest, I don’t think I’ve ever thought serious fiction wasn’t entertaining or that entertaining fiction couldn’t be serious. Maybe I don’t see the two as exclusive concepts because I read a wide variety of things. Or maybe my definition of being entertained differs from those who think of the two as mutually exclusive.
When I want to be entertained, I look for a story, a place, a character or cast of characters, or something similar that grabs my attention. Whether it’s a movie, TV show, or book, I want to lose myself while I’m watching or reading.
I want to be there with Thelma and Louise when they are gunning toward the edge of the cliff.
I want to <knock,knock,knock> Penny, <knock,knock,knock> Penny,<knock,knock,knock> Penny.
I want to be in the asteroid that takes the Jesuits to an alien planet.
If I think about my day job, or laundry, or something other than the story on the screen or the book in my hands, then I’m not being entertained. I’m not in that story and no matter if it’s serious, funny, or whatever, it failed to entertain me.