Writing fiction is a fairly new experience for me…
and I’m surprised how much I’m enjoying it.
To this point, with the exception of one children’s book (it’s kind of like Dr. Seuss, only not as good), I’ve leaned heavily on my pastoral ministry experience, and the teaching gifts that go along with it, to produce non-fiction, instructional books for Christians. You can see everything I’ve created so far, here.
So, why would a pastor/teacher turn to the realm of fiction?
Isn’t fiction just entertainment?
Isn’t it just a bunch of made-up stuff?
Isn’t it an escape from reality?
How could someone who believes he’s been called to teach the word of God waste his time writing fiction?
The reason I’m writing fiction stems from an observation I’ve made about myself, and my own life, in relation to the power of the written word.
Here’s what I’ve discovered…
Many people who have rocked the world for good have known this to be true.
Martin Luther King, Jr. told stories of the “dreams” he had of a just society.
Charles Dickens has long been one of my favorites because he used the power of a well-crafted story to penetrate the calloused attitudes of his day, with hopes toward seeing change come about.
And the Master story-teller, though you may not think of Him in this light at first, is Jesus Christ. He used the power of parables, using everyday, common things, to pull His readers into a place of contemplation about spiritual truth that had the power to change their lives for eternity.
Jesus was a fiction writer, in that sense. He cloaked truth in the clothes of everyday life, and in doing so, gave people a desire to consider things on a deeper level.
That is an example I want to follow.
Why do I spend my time writing fiction?
Because I believe that stories, filled with engaging characters, like Hon, Gerrard, Silas, and Camille, are adventures that reveal to the reader that there is a story going on in real life, a story that is greater than they are. It helps them to see that they are players, participants in that story, the story of God’s work in the world.
The things that happen to the characters in my stories are the same kinds of things that happen to my readers. Loved ones die. Love springs to life between two young adults. Babies are born. Tragedies happen.
I believe that the way that my characters respond to those types of “made-up” events, good and bad, help readers consider how they would respond to the same events that happen in their lives. The struggles my characters have with faith, trust, and hope, while living in a very broken down world, push readers to face their own struggles with the same things.
A good story is able to touch the heart in a way that causes it to engage with the important concerns of real life in a fallen world. In that way, the “made-up” scenarios and people become real examples for us, showing us both wise and unwise ways to deal with the hardships and joys of life.
That’s why I’m writing fiction (besides the fact that it’s fun for me).
I want to create personalities and situations that make real people deal with real life, in a real way.
I’m curious what you think. What value do YOU see in fiction?
Feel free to leave your comments below…