Will your Stories make a Difference?

November Flash Club Winner.

Could You Be Our Next Guest Booker for Pop-Up Submissions?

Not open for further replies.

Paul Whybrow

Full Member
Jun 20, 2015
Cornwall, UK
When writing a novel, I pause now and again to read through what I’ve penned looking to see if the subtext I was going for is working. Also, I look for unintended messages that aren’t desirable. I realised the other night, that the criminals in my WIP were coming across as masterminds, as not one of them had encountered problems in their lawbreaking or personal lives. I immediately made them more inefficient and neurotic! :confused:

I chose to write in the Crime genre as it lets me tackle anything that’s happening in society. Thus, I’ve looked at illegal immigration, human trafficking and slavery, prostitution, gun-running, murder as entertainment on social media and in the press and how crime statistics are massaged with unsolved crimes written off to make a police force look better than it is to get further funding.

Drugs are a contentious issue. It’s impossible to write a 21st-century crime story without mentioning them. I attempt to go beyond the simplistic stance that all drugs are bad otherwise they wouldn’t be illegal, but all medicines are good as governments have approved them. For example, the magic mushroom psilocybin, which when taken creates auditory and visual hallucinations similar to dropping a tab of LSD, was made illegal under UK law in a hasty decision in 2005. It was deemed a Class A drug placing it in the same group as crack cocaine and heroin.

My third Cornish Detective novel opens with a murder victim tripping out on magic mushrooms, which she’s inadvertently taken in tea offered to her by New Age revellers celebrating Litha – the summer solstice. My detective is surprised that a 70-year-old escapee from the mental health system should die while high but reflects on the stupidity of the law. He’s in the process of creating a wild garden and has psilocybin 'shrooms' growing around the pond, along with puffballs and field mushrooms. More than enough to make him a supplier were he to dry them.

Banning things makes them desirable. Recent medical trials have shown psilocybin to be effective in treating depression, more so than conventional drugs. He's gone through three years of depression himself recently and would have preferred a quick and natural cure.

Are “magic mushrooms” beneficial for mental health therapy?

Giving my readers a nudge in such ways might make them think differently.

How will your stories make a difference?


Ann Patchett - Wikipedia

Without intending to, but after analysis, I’ve noted my novels give out the following messages:

1. Marriage is not the be all and end for a woman; there are other options that give a woman a reason for being.

2. The Church is fallible, but Christ isn’t. The Church is made up of a hierarchy closed in itself and will defend its own (religious) at all costs, even if it means covering up evil, because it has a misguided view of what true loyalty is.

3. Most lay-people side with love and goodness, in spite of this set-up, because it is Christ not the religious who protects the Church, hence, its faithful.

These three elements are present in all my four novels, and I certainly didn’t consciously plan to include them.

Thanks for posting this thread @Paul Whybrow, I may not have come to this understanding of my work if you hadn't done so. :writing-hand:
Last edited:
Not open for further replies.

November Flash Club Winner.

Could You Be Our Next Guest Booker for Pop-Up Submissions?