After Reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

Are there any questions?”

Yes, actually. All of them…all of the questions, but personally, I believe being left with questions is good. Last weekend, I finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale and was left with “Wow, just wow”.  Dystopian fiction at it’s finest, the novel took me on a journey I could not readily predict, which has become increasingly rare as I have grown older. While I truly enjoyed the many aspects of this book, what struck me most was how it left my brain overflowing with questions that were applicable to the real world, but those questions were not the ones I would have expected from such a book. As a writer reading, that aspect of it was its most impressive.

How do I get my writing to prompt real world, pertinent, subtle questions? Questions that are not overtly rhetorical and manipulative. Not “what if” questions – those are preachy. Not comparative questions – those are surface level and a mostly meaningless mind exercise. (Though exercise is rarely worthless). But rather personal questions about personal reactions in personal moments. Questions about personal decisions and their impact; questions about personal motivations. Those are the questions that make a difference in lives.

Thank you, Miss Atwood.

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