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simonalexander2005
12-15-2012, 11:05 PM
Hey,

So this won't be a topic for everyone, but for those here who have faith in God (or Gods) - how does that affect what and how you write? Does being a Christian or a Muslim or a Buddhist limit the topics you write about? Do you feel that you have to have a moral in the book that fits with your beliefs?

For me, I am a Christian (follower of Jesus, in practise and not just culturally), and so it makes a difference to my life - but I'm still working through what difference it makes to how I write. For example, I love the writing of Lewis and Tolkien and can see the religious themes, but I don't think every book written by a Christian needs to have that emphasis.


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caveat: Please don't say negative things about other people's beliefs or start arguments here - I'm interested in how your faith affects your writing, not proving or disproving people's beliefs.

Mr Flibble
12-15-2012, 11:38 PM
So this won't be a topic for everyone, but for those here who have faith in God (or Gods) - how does that affect what and how you write? Does being a Christian or a Muslim or a Buddhist limit the topics you write about? Do you feel that you have to have a moral in the book that fits with your beliefs?

It doesn't really.
No. Why would it?
Nope.

Gosh, I'm helpful today, aren't I? Your or my personal beliefs only affect our writing as much or as little as we allow. In my case, my belief that anyone showing interest in becoming a politician should be incarcerated immediately may show through occasionally... and probably a LOT more than my spiritual beliefs. :D Perhaps, if you read every one of my books, and used a really good comb, you might be able to hazard a guess as to what they are (I think anyway....I suppose I have no way of knowing for sure!)

quicklime
12-16-2012, 12:10 AM
my faith is not necessarily the faith of my character, and I've never bought into the notion it is my duty to "witness" in all I say and do. So it doesn't affect anything I write.

Siri Kirpal
12-16-2012, 03:45 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

At the moment, every book I've written has had Sikhism in it somewhere. It's unlikely I'd ever write a book that extolded the virtues of haircutting. (A Sikh no-no.) But I've considered writing books that had nothing whatsoever to do with my religion.

Write what you're given to write. If your faith is part of it, that's good, if it serves the book. If it's not part of it, that's good, if it serves the book.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Rubay H.
12-16-2012, 04:06 AM
Do you feel that you have to have a moral in the book that fits with your beliefs?

Hi Simon,
I'm also a practicing Christian and have wrestled with this question many times.
Do I feel I have to write that way because of my beliefs? No, but it's just how it naturally plays out in my writing. I've even tried to not write about anything 'Christian' before and still end up writing things that are centered around themes such as Love, Hope, Forgiveness, Redemption, Mercy (common themes) and I write really pulpy stuff about Ninja and biker gangs so...*shrug*


For me, I am a Christian (follower of Jesus, in practise and not just culturally), and so it makes a difference to my life - but I'm still working through what difference it makes to how I write. For example, I love the writing of Lewis and Tolkien and can see the religious themes, but I don't think every book written by a Christian needs to have that emphasis.


I agree. My opinion is don't worry about it and just write.* What you believe will come out in what you write whether you want it to or not. (I don't mean explicitly, but thematically.)
Just let it flow. :)

*There's also the matter of the personal nature of our faith, our daily walk with Him and prayer. But as I've gone along in my journey both in my faith and writing I've found myself more surprised by the freedom I've found than any sense of restriction.

Good luck!

Mr Flibble
12-16-2012, 09:49 AM
themes such as Love, Hope, Forgiveness, Redemption, Mercy

To be fair, there is no Christian monopoly on these themes! (perhaps there is in how, precisely, they are handled)


My opinion is don't worry about it and just write.*
Yes.

dangerousbill
12-16-2012, 10:36 AM
Hey,

So this won't be a topic for everyone, but for those here who have faith in God (or Gods) - how does that affect what and how you write?


My first attempt at a novel was a literary disaster, but the process of writing it helped me resolve a number of personal religious issues. I can't think of another way this could have happened.

Rubay H.
12-16-2012, 10:42 AM
To be fair, there is no Christian monopoly on these themes! (perhaps there is in how, precisely, they are handled)


Agreed. I didn't meant to imply there was a monopoly. :)

Mr Flibble
12-16-2012, 05:04 PM
Agreed. I didn't meant to imply there was a monopoly. :)

I didn't think so :) -- but it is interesting to me how those themes would play out from authors of different faiths (if they consciously decided to use their faith in their writing. Not in a Christian Fic etc type of way, but just knowingly using them)

crunchyblanket
12-16-2012, 05:48 PM
I don't have a faith to speak of, but certainly my personal, political and ethical beliefs do have a tendency to colour what I write. I try hard to make sure I'm not preaching, though. Nobody wants to be the next Ayn Rand. Nobody sane, anyway.

shadowwalker
12-16-2012, 06:22 PM
I don't think I've ever overtly included my religious/moral beliefs in my writing, but I think it does tend to come through in how my good guys and bad guys are developed. What I write about is also pretty much open; the only thing I won't write is straight up porn, but I'm frankly not sure if that's because of my religious/moral beliefs or just personal taste.

kkbe
12-16-2012, 06:53 PM
I'm still uncertain. I think that's why so many of my characters are uncertain, trying to find their way, screwing up but muddling through and even the worst of 'em have at least a shred of decency. . .

Polenth
12-16-2012, 07:40 PM
My own beliefs aren't what my characters believe, but it does tend to impact them having beliefs. I don't write religion-is-evil stories. Or suppose belief will disappear in the future because we have nifty robots. It also makes me more concerned about getting the details right when it's a real religion, as I know how I'd feel if it were my beliefs in the story.

NeuroFizz
12-16-2012, 08:11 PM
I write fiction. And I try to portray situations that exist in society, or have the potential to be believable to readers in that regard. Not everything that happens in society is going to align with my personal beliefs and values, but I'm not writing about me. I'm not trying to interject my beliefs or values into my stories. I'm just trying to make them believable to the readers. Themes may emerge from the stories that reflect some of my beliefs or values, but that is not the initial intent, or even the conscious intent in some cases.

I write from experiences, from observations, and from extrapolations and imaginations of my personal choosing. I do not write from a soapbox, nor do I let my personal soapboxes shape or limit my fiction writing..

Phaeal
12-17-2012, 06:07 PM
On the other hand, it can be the cri de coeur that lifts a novel into greatness. See Bleak House, for example, in which Dickens' beliefs live in everything from imagery to the direct authorial address that follows Jo's death: a real thunderbolt from the pulpit.

Belief in something, religious or not, explicit or implicit, intentional or accidental, hot or icy -- belief at least in the possibility of communication -- is necessary to a living novel. Does the novel that believes in nothing exist? I'm afraid it may, and I'm afraid it's dead, or perhaps never alive at all.

Susan Littlefield
12-17-2012, 06:27 PM
Simon,

Love your question!

I am working on my synopsis and query for my current novel, which is just about ready for submission to agents. Once I'm done.....

I go back to working on novel No. 2 that has many religious themes I grew up with and how they've impacted my MC's life today, and not in a positive way for her. But, she does learn many things.

As for myself, I don't think my spiritual beliefs actually play into what I write. I allow the story take over and just become a story.

Buffysquirrel
12-18-2012, 02:13 AM
Far as I'm concerned, there's a wall between my beliefs and my characters' beliefs. They're allowed to believe things I don't. I have no interest in using fiction to convince people of anything beyond "this happened (even though it didn't" and "these people are real (even though they aren't)". You can prove anything with fiction, so why bother?

backslashbaby
12-18-2012, 02:38 AM
In my novel WIP, I do skewer a certain type of religious person (it's satirical). It's more about hypocrisy there. I don't skewer the tenets of my personal faith, which are very general and pretty universal, mostly. So I do treat one kind of 'religion' as a bad thing, and I struggle with that.

I can't help it, though. I think that does come from my faith. The kind of hypocrisy I'm spotlighting is just too obnoxious, and it runs so counter to my beliefs. JMHO, of course!

Very hypocritical, obnoxious, irritating, overbearing nit-picker religious folks be warned! But I do still love you :)

Gravity
12-18-2012, 03:36 AM
I came from a hardcore atheist background, but became a born again Christian thirty-plus years ago (the details of which I won't bore anyone here with; wrong thread).

My first four novels were written for a Christian readership, my next one--The Radiance, an SF work--less so, and with Pitfall and going forward I'm moving into the general market.

That said, because my faith permeates every part of my life, in some ways that faith becomes interwoven into the themes of my stories. Not that they're Christian polemics; far from it. But at the end, as dark as they are, some manner of hope remains. It has to.

For me, that's simply how it is.

Mr Flibble
12-18-2012, 05:11 AM
My own beliefs aren't what my characters believe

Quite often mine aren't either (I've written devout Catholics and die hard "fuck religion" atheists and I am neither)

But I can't say that my own views never leak in. I mean I try hard for them not to. But that doesn't mean it doesn't happen, all subtle like. I think that's bound to happen (maybe even in just the stories you feel like telling, it may have an influence) My views in say...love..or validation of women...leak in. That may not be part of my religion, but it IS part of who I am. It's bound to at least tinge what I write.

It doesn't mean it has to be the focus. Or even be obvious.

I kinda touched (*cough* okay not just touched)on this thread here (http://events.www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=221460)


Who and what we are becomes part of what and how we write, even if it's so subtle it would take archaeologists to figure it out. Your characters are filtered through you even if they are not you. It's the good thing - and the scary thing.

Lycoplax
12-18-2012, 06:57 PM
People who want to find allegory will find it, whether the writer intended it or not. Hell, C.S. Lewis never planned for Narnia to be an allegory until one of his friends looked it over and said he thought it was one. Then Lewis rolled with it from there.

I like inventing my own worlds, my own rules, and by extension, religions and deities. I have a nondenominational Christian faith, myself. I wouldn't say that my writing is allegorical, but I'm sure anyone who read it looking for allegory would find something.

On the other hand, we all write from what we know, and parts of ourselves filter into our work. When I do install religious figures in my stories, they tend strongly to be of two polar opposite camps; the great, powerful, corrupt Church, and the humble, individual servant of the people. (I had a bad time with organized religion growing up)