I'm currently still at the early stage of writing, and I may be facing too much freedom than what is helpful.
One of the results of that is: I'm very uncertain of when should I use the story setting to reflect, express, or discuss a motif, and when should I use characters or plot events to do that.
For instance, if I want to discuss the problem of goal-oriented way of thinking (that people can't seem to function without a goal, even when a definite goal is impossible to formulate, or when the means is more important than the end, and so on), I could either:
- In the story's setting, introduce something that magnifies this topic. For example, introduce something that allows each character to reach their goal easily, with no regard for the process. Try to build a plot from there.
- Or, make the plot of the story follow the character chasing his goal, confronting the contradiction in his own actions, and realizing the problem in his view.
- Or, write two or more characters, each embodying one side of the argument on the topic, and make the result of their value clash with each other.
I know it's probably a very situation/context dependent thing, and it depends on whether a certain approach fits well with other motifs in the story, and also which motif is more important than the other, and which do I want to elevate to the position of overarching theme.
Sorry for the question being perhaps too open-ended. This problem has been bothering me for a while, and I'd really appreciate any sort of discussion or answer. Thanks.