My journey with God has certainly has its ups and downs, from a whirlwind conversion experience in 2014, to entering the monastery, to deciding to leave religious formation nine months later.
Now, my fiction is NOT, in explicit terms, Christian fiction. I write sword and sorcery fantasy, most of the time in an action/adventure vein. It certainly doesn’t cloyingly force religious themes or work to convert anyone. That’s not what fiction is for. Any fiction aiming at that is NEVER of real quality.
However, the writing process DEFINITELY has made me come to understand some things about how God relates to us that, I think, most people probably learn through parenting.
LEARNING THE HARD WAY
Every decent writer understands that character drives plot. They’re their own people. They’re “gonna do what they’re gonna do.”
You, as the author, can’t just MAKE a character do something that is, well, completely out of character for them–not if you want a readable, cohesive, good story.
And if you’re writing believable, relatable, honest characters, then those characters are going to make mistakes. And you, as the author, have to let them.
There are times when your heart is almost breaking as you realize what your beloved character is going to do, and the mess it’s going to create. You find yourself thinking, “You’re going to make me teach you this the hard way, aren’t you?”
But that’s how it goes. There is pain and suffering that they just won’t avoid, even though you’d like to spare them that. Because you won’t force their hand.
They have to make their own decisions.
I think it’s often like that with God and us.
CHANGING THE SITUATION
As the author of a character with “free will,” so to speak, the only way to force his hand is to act outside of him and change his situation.
- Give him more or less information. This can impact the choice a character will make.
- The the part of the story when a choice needs to be made.
- Change exterior circumstances: the location, the people who are around, the weather…
As a writer, these are all tactics we can use to try to manipulate (for lack of a better word) our characters into making the choices we want (or need) them to authentically and logically make.
I think God uses these tactics on us, as well–always for our good.
I have NO doubt, whatsoever, that both when and how I entered the monastery, and when how I left it, were acts of providence that inspired me to trust how God was acting in my life and not to grow disheartened or despairing.
After all, I was there nine months to the day: a gestational period, if ever there was one.
And now, I’m getting second editions out of the trilogy that I wrote back in grad school that is so dear to my heart . . . the trilogy I took down from Amazon before entering the monastery and never thought I would work with again.
It all starts with “The Crimson League: The Fight for Hope” releasing June 15!
Find out more about release or read an excerpt from the novel.
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