I read a review for Mirror yesterday which was positive for the most part (in fairness, the reviewer also had a couple of negatives) and also mentioned a few metaphors in the writing. The funny thing is I didn't intend any metaphors let alone the ones the reviewer found. This subject came up over at absolutewrite a few weeks ago - writing metaphorically and to what extent the writer wants to insert a message in their story. I've been thinking about it since, and then reading the review yesterday which metioned the same point made me consider what I write and what might be behind the blood and the screaming.
For what it's worth, I very rarely have a message in anything I write. For one, I think it's quite hard for a lot of writers to have a message that's subtle enough to not get in the way of the most important part of the the book - the story. And for two, I'm not too interested in spreading any particular message. I'm not a stroky beard type writer (despite having a beard); I'm not one for preaching at people, and I'm not a writer who thinks telling stories makes me important.
Put simply and perhaps naively, I like telling stories. That's it. The big secret in 99% of what I write. I write for the sheer joy of making stuff up and hopefully entertaining people. Whether that entertainment comes in scarying them or grossing them out or giving them time with characters they care about, it's all good to me. As long as the reader enjoys the book, I'm a happy writer.
Plenty of authors believe they have a message to spread to their readers. That's up to them, of course. It's not me, though, and I don't believe the majority of readers want to receive any message in their fiction. They want a story and characters to take them away for a few hours or days. And if they're reading a horror story, the chances are they want fictional horrors to stack up against their own horrors and say well, at least things aren't as bad for me as they are for the people in this book.
Basically, if you give me some of your time (and a few quid, of course), I'll tell you a story. Deal?