On Writing:Tell it Real

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).

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to On Writing:Tell it Real

  1. Preach it. Going over to JDL’s place to read but had to throw out some kuddos here first. And amen again and again.

  2. really a wonderful discussion and beautiful to see into 2 hearts that love truth & light.

  3. jacksonp73 says:

    I like the sentiment behind ‘writing it real,’ but i wonder how we define the ‘real.’ Often I find that when people of the Christian faith speak of the real in reference to writing what they mean is something grittier than they’re accustomed to, maybe w a few curse words thrown in for good measure, or characters who dare to have thoughts or actions typically incongruent w the christian faith perspective. It’s like fiction slumming. The plot points often involve a melancholic moment, and the most common adjective to describe the characters is broken.

    But there are a many moments in life that have nothing to do w brokenness. So why do our imaginations go there so often when we want to write real? And where does magical realism fit into writing it real?

    • sethhaines says:

      I agree 100%.

      Sometimes I feel like there is a tendency toward either devotion or grit, both of which may fall on the spectrum but are not necessarily real. And I think your analysis is spot on.

      And this magic of which you speak? Yeah… We need to talk about this. What are you doing from 4:15ish-5:00 on Friday? I know a coffee shop where we once hung out with the hamster.

  4. Janet says:

    I believe that when we speak the truth and truth being Biblical of course whether it is liked or not that we love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s