Recently, in the course of writing to a friend about my writing, I began to think seriously about why I am writing stories. I could have written my autobiography instead, but I have “been there and done that”. I don’t even like to read stories that take me back to…oh wait, that is not the topic of this post.
- I think more than anything, I want to be different from other writers. That doesn’t mean I think I will be better, just different. I don’t know if I can accomplish that, but that is one of my goals.
- One of the main reason I want to write stories is because I want to live in a fantasy world. Let’s go for honesty, here. There is really no better way to do that, then to write my own stories. Sure, I can read other people’s stories, but sooner or later I get upset with the direction the story takes me, and many times it turns out to not be such a fantasy world after all. So, that doesn’t accomplish what I had picked up the book for in the first place.
Now, however, I need to qualify my fantasy world. If it is to be a fantasy world that I would wish to live in, then it has to have certain things.
- The most important being God. I don’t wish to live in a world, fantasy or otherwise, where there is no God. The God of the Bible suits me fine.
- Of course it has to have some old-fashioned romance, hopefully with characters that don’t make me want to strangle them for their stupid choices.
- One of the things I most want in my fairy tale world, and usually it is totally lacking, is an old-fashioned mindset. I am not talking about just putting in some time period dialogue. I want the characters to have the same kind of thoughts and feelings that people used to have. At least as old-fashioned a mindset as the story would require. And definitely enough so that my grandparents (who were born before the turn of the century) could have sat down to drink coffee or tea with the characters in the story and they would have been like, “Yeah, I know where you are coming from.”
Now that I have written one complete novel, I realize that it is very hard to separate my faith as a Christian from my writing; I don’t think it can be done.
I have read books by non-Christians and their mindset very much influences their characters views on issues and their character’s relationships. It would be impossible for me to create realistic characters that were divorced from my personal views and feelings. However, I might insert a character who expresses a view contrary to my own. If I do so, it is more because I want to pose a question that might need to be answered outside of the realm of the story, for the reader.
I have decided that I don’t need to use my books to teach doctrines. I can present a situation in my book; it might even be a true-life situation that personally happened to me, like in one of the chapters in my book Dear Tiz. I can present a scene and let the readers draw their own conclusions. I don’t always have to provide an answer for every question. Sometimes it is better for a book to pose a question in such a way that the reader is moved to find out his/her own answers by doing some extra research. This is the same thing I would wish for my sons. That they seek out for themselves as to what they believe.
I have always had an inquisitive mind, and I am glad that my father, who is a preacher, told me what the different views regarding certain doctrines were; how they varied, and then told me to study things out for myself. Sure, he told me what he believed, but he didn’t leave it there. He specifically told me that I had to search the scriptures for myself in order to make it real for me. I am so glad that he did this, because it is precisely those points of doctrine that I have personally studied, that has made me a stronger Christian. I know what I believe, do you?