n. pl. phi·los·o·phies
1. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.
2. Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
3. A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry: the philosophy of Hume.
4. The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.
5. The disciplines presented in university curriculums of science and the liberal arts, except medicine, law, and theology.
6. The discipline comprising logic, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics, and epistemology.
7. A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity; an underlying theory: an original philosophy of advertising.
8. A system of values by which one lives: has an unusual philosophy of life.
Although I have read a lot of books (and enjoyed them) with no clear philosophy of life in their plots, it's not what I like to write. Philosophy has been a major interest of mine from as far back as I can remember. Why do we do what we do? What would be better? If we follow this path, where will it lead?
Even an action story, like Luck of the Draw which is set into the world of rodeo, has a philosophy of life within its pages. When men and women live life on the edge, might they not more than others, stop sometimes to consider what makes it worthwhile? Well, not all of them and that's why a book has different characters to juxtaposition ideas with how they are lived.
Frankly I'd find it boring to write any other way. Sure a writer can put together a plot with some characters, have this and that happen, but in the end-- why?
Well there is make money as a possible goal but that wouldn't be rewarding enough for me. No, what I like to do is come up with a plot that interests me, set of problems, intriguing characters, good love story, but put within ideas regarding life and how we benefit (or not) from certain actions. The problems in that story will determine the themes of the philosophy.
This doesn't have to come out like a lecture. It just requires a few characters that think about more than making money, physically surviving, having sex, or finding adventure. IF the characters are also looking for meaning in their own lives then it's not hard to find places to put that into the book.
It's not only not hard but it's extremely rewarding as a way of writing. Now whether it finds readers, well that's a whole other problem. For me, philosophy belongs in good fiction.
Excerpt from Luck of the Draw:
She remembered then a quote by Tagore, one she’d memorized. ‘Let my love like sunlight surround you and yet give you illumined freedom.’ The words fit this situation for what it’d be like if she loved Billy.With some man, someday, she’d learn to love that way. Love but don’t hold too tight. Even if she had thought she loved Billy, he’d not have wanted such words from her, not now. She would though share it with Jean someday that she knew she had been right. Jean might blame herself for the accident, but she would be wrong to do so. Nick had made his own choice.If she had loved Billy, she wouldn’t let her love box him in, try to change him into something he wasn’t. She would not let love do that to her either. This wasn’t the right time for such words to Jean or Billy. It was how she wanted to live, but the knowledge was new to her. She had to live with it for awhile to be sure she could really follow that road.