Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Unavoidable Truth of Fiction

The Unavoidable Truth of Fiction
by DiAnn Mills

Novelists understand fiction is truth. Story enters our minds with a moral or spiritual premise. Sometimes characters enter our brainstorming stage first with their uniqueness, strengths, weaknesses, challenges, flaws, and a specific goal. Other times a plot sails into our minds and we search for specific characters to learn and grow from the trials ahead.

In seeking truth you have to get both sides of a story.
Walter Cronkite
No matter how the planning stage begins or evolves, truth is king. Without it, we fail miserably in the arena of entertainment. What reader wants a hero or heroine to sink into the pits of tragedy and never rise again? Good overcomes evil—always. The hero or heroine will sacrifice much, but their efforts will be rewarded.

Truth defined is a belief system that an individual holds as a fact or a state of reality. In the world’s culture, that is determined by a personal evaluation of a set of circumstances. Writing from a Christian worldview means God’s Word is our go-to source for our values and priorities.

What does that mean for the fiction writer? It means we create story that triumphs in God’s good overcoming His definition of evil. It’s subtle, so we can reach the unbeliever with a solid, enjoyable story without pounding Scripture into the reader’s head. We do this by having a character show his or her beliefs instead of declaring them.

How is this accomplished?


1. Cursing is an often debatable technique to reveal authenticity. But haven’t we all heard foul language? Why not write: he cursed or she swore?

2. Graphic violence, which means violence for the sake of showing the degradation of the human mind. I write suspense, and I include brutality. But I refrain from glorifying the worst of behavior.

3. Sex is a part of human nature. But I’m not interested in viewing it on the written page. We can’t deny our emotions, but we can react and respond according to God’s principles.

4. Show how a character is a multilevel and fascinating individual. Convince the reader that the character solves problems according to today’s culture of from a Christian worldview.

Fiction is truth. We use a principle that indicates how our story will twist and turn and eventually honor our faith. For the believer, he/she gets it. For the unbeliever, he/she may be inspired to seek out why the character was different.

Go writers! Truth reigns!

Story - Truth in Action

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; the 2015 president of the Romance Writers of America’s Faith, Hope, & Love chapter; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and International Thriller Writers. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on any of the social media platforms listed at www.diannmills.com.

5 comments:

Maggie Brendan said...

Great post, DiAnn! I'm disturbed at how far some authors of Christian fiction are willing to write into their novels. I'd rather let the readers conjure up in their own mind what goes on beyond the bedroom door.

DiAnn said...

Maggie, I agree. In addition to not writing what's inappropriate, the reader wants to be part of the adventure of story!

Tessa Emily Hall said...

These are great tips!

This is one reason why I prefer writing for the CBA rather than the ABA: I'd rather not "show" these dark areas in my writing. It is important to portray reality in our fiction, but this can still be accomplish by "telling", just as you mentioned. =)

Thank you for this!

Tessa
tessaemilyhall.com

Michelle Connell said...

I heard somewhere that the difference for us as Christians in our writing is that we can portray those kinds of things (evil) but that we don't glorify it.

DiAnn said...

I love the conversation! Thank you so much! When I'm writing, I think - "Jesus is standing over my shoulder. Is he happy with me? Glorified?"