But as a Christ-following story-teller, I confess that writing authentically is sometimes difficult. After all, shouldn’t our stories reflect the character of Christ? And if this is so, how do we deal with doubt, pain, seedy characters, or precarious (if not embarrassing) predicaments? Are we allowed to write in a way that renders the world as it is, or should we soften it, make it more palatable for our parents, priests, and fellow parishioners?
This morning, I have the privilege of discussing writing with Jennifer Dukes Lee. A while back, Jennifer asked me whether I’d consider joining a pool of writers to share a piece of writing advice with her readers, and I reluctantly accepted, knowing that perhaps my advice might push folks to the edges of their comfort zones.
I’ll say it simply here: write it real. There is a wide world out there, and if we do not do it the justice of describing it accurately, will our writing be believable? If the writing avoids tension, conflict, or opposing view points, will it resonate with the reader? If we write a world that is completely within the bubble of do-right Christian living, are we minimizing the power of the gospel, the power of the seeker and saver of the lost?
I’ve tried to deliver on my own advice in pieces like Bremmer’s Loss, and Rattlesnake Beans. Both stories relate to power of the gospel to seek and save. Amber’s Love Songs series is another good representation of writing it real. Are the stories uncomfortable? Sometimes. But what good story doesn’t involve a bit of discomfort before the resolution?
Join me at Jennifer’s place for a more in depth discussion. And in the comments (here or there) feel free to tell us those writers who you think write it real.
I’ll go first: I love me some Flannery O’Connor (here’s to you Chris Thornton).