August 2022 Featured Article
Have you ever wondered why authors write the stories they do? Or why some authors seem to avoid certain topics? I can’t speak for all, but a question I saw in a reader group recently got me to thinking about why I choose to write the books I do.
Please note, this is my personal story. I can’t stress that enough. I don’t speak for other authors, nor am I saying that other authors shouldn’t write the harder stories. We all have our place. We all have our calling.
The comment that caught my attention basically pleaded with authors to write the hard books. The books about teen pregnancy, drugs, pre-marital relations, abortion, etc. Because teen girls will search out books about those topics written from a secular point of view and they need books about the same topics written from a Christian perspective.
While that might be true in some cases, I wanted to argue that not all teen girls will seek out those books. As a teen, I lived in a very secular environment. While I had easier access to secular books than Christian, I deliberately sought out the few Christian books I could find and read them repeatedly because when I sat down to read, I wanted a reprieve from the world.
So, not only is it untrue that all teen girls will seek out those sorts of books, there’s also another consideration. And that is: does the author feel led to write those kinds of books?
I certainly don’t.
Will I in the future? I can’t say because I don’t know what the Lord will lead me to do two, five, or ten years down the road. I do know that right now, I’m not comfortable writing harder topics, and that’s for one simple reason.
I live the stories I write. They play through my head like a never-ending movie. I feel the emotions of my characters. I laugh. I cry. Occasionally, I feel like throwing things. And I have to know what the characters went through in the past so I can make them feel the way they do now.
That same writing process is true no matter what I write. So to call authors out for not writing the hard books is to say that authors are avoiding having to live through teen pregnancy, the effects of substance abuse, abortion…
Can you see where I’m going here?
Again, I’m speaking only for myself, but to say that authors need to write those sorts of books is to ask us to picture every single event that brings our characters to their point of redemption, or their happily-ever-after. Even if the event happened behind closed doors.
Because to get the scenes just right we have to know how those characters feel. We have to watch those continuously scrolling reels as the story plays through our heads. We see it all. We feel it all. We live it. And I personally, cannot justify writing those kinds of books.
Yes, those situations are real. Sadly, they happen every day. And yes, there are some authors who are called to write those kinds of stories, and I admire their dedication to their calling. For myself, I can’t. Because I know I’d be filling my mind with images that will play back on a continuous loop for weeks on end.
Instead, I write stories that I trust will edify and build the reader up. Stories that will provide the sort of entertainment I longed for as a teen. Clean entertainment that wasn’t spoiled by the realities of the world around me.