I began my writing career intent on assuring that my Christianity showed up clearly in my writing. In devotionals and inspirational articles, this worked well. In my first published short story about a young boy who gave his cloak to Baby Jesus at His birth, faith fit beautifully.
But as I ventured into book-length historical fiction, the intentional insertion of faith sometimes came across as contrived. As a beginning writer, I did my best and my first books were relatively well accepted, but I had much to learn (we always have much to learn).
F A I T H. . .
As time passed, I learned more about creative writing and the unacceptability of forced theme, so in my next project, a cozy mystery, I endeavored to include no outward signs of faith. To my surprise, I realized that no matter what I write (or say or do), my faith will show up on its own, most often through the characters themselves. This, I learned, is called my worldview. I admit to being a slow learner, but this was truly a revelation for me. Everything I write filters through my belief system and life experience in specific ways.
Although we, as writers, need to take care how our worldview comes through in our work, we should not fight against ourselves. In fact, I have discovered much about myself through my characters and how they react to particular situations. This discovery has given me hope that I too could respond positively to challenges and tests, as some of my characters have done.
Whatever our level of faith, it needs to be allowed to dwell in our stories in order to make them real, authentic. We can’t write anyone else’s story, but we can write ours best if we give ourselves honestly to the creative process.
H O P E . . .
I have been very blessed in my life, so writing fiction has given me the opportunity to give back in hope and encouragement, no matter what genre I choose. It’s a constant learning process, not just of writing technique but also of self-discovery and personal growth.