Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Take It on Faith, Belief and Unbelief in Writing

Belief matters in writing
In writing and matters of faith, it's easy to go to one extreme or the other: be heavy handed, or avoid the subject. Yet, what characters believe about the workings of their daily lives is a reality, so why not consciously address this spiritual aspect? It's a great way layer their personalities and deepen your writing.

One way to explore the spiritual dimension of your characters is get at the "why" of their decisions. Each day, people make choices that range from whether to stay married to a cheating spouse to which way to walk to the pharmacy. The man married to the cheating spouse may stay with her because he believes divorce is wrong, or because she's the breadwinner. The elderly woman who walks to the corner pharmacy a different way each day may believe it's bad luck to use the same route twice in a row.

Of course, other factors such as finances, age and culture enter into decisions, but so does what characters believe and why they believe it. So take the advice of Japanese director Akira Kurosawa: "To be an artist means never to avert your eyes." Don't be afraid to go there.

Tip: Consider a story you're writing where the main character must make a major decision or a minor that will change the course of his or her life and the story. Explore the underlying reasons for his or her choice.

For more on spirituality and writing, visit Adele's Blog, and "A Writer's Unexpected Emotional Journey."

Happy writing!

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