Hello to all who have decided to follow along as I post for 21 days straight as part of our church fast. As you can see, each entry is numbered as a particular day, so if you are reading this and the title above doesn’t say Day 1, then you should stop now and go read from Day 1, or take a peek at Day 2 and pick a topic you are interested in. Thanks for being brave enough to join me.
Day 8! Wasn’t sure it was going to happen, given the storms we had around here. Our power was out overnight and estimated to not be back until late tonight. Thankfully, it appears that Georgia Power was fairly conservative with their estimates, so this post will go out on time, which you know already, because your reading it now…aren’t you?
If I was brave enough to include anyone else besides my wife as a beta reader for my books, you would see a common pattern in my writing, whether it is my science fiction stories, my action/thrillers, my fantasy novel, or the others I have started. You would see that regardless of the background circumstances, one of the key elements of my works is relationships.
Duh, you say…all books are fundamentally about relationships. Without relationships, books are dull and characters are uninteresting. Why would I read a fiction book that did not include relationships of some kind? Relationships define characters, determine how characters react to circumstances, and become motivation for the main plot of the story. You can safely argue they are essential to any good story.
For me, as the author, there is more to it than that. I get to explore, in my head at least, and sometimes on the page, relationships that I’ve never experienced. I can write about brothers (I only have a sister). I can write about terrible parents (my parents are/were wonderful). I can write about love triangles, sacrificial relationships, codependent couples, lost spouses, whatever strikes my fancy and contributes to the story.
It’s not a requirement that I experience these things for real, just that I can dive into them in my head, and, thankfully, remove myself from them when I’m done writing about them. It’s another method of experiencing things I’ve never experienced, and frankly, probably don’t want to experience, in most cases.
Who would want to be the man or woman who loses a spouse, or the person whose parents were terrible, or that person stuck in a love triangle, codependent, or otherwise abusive relationship? But how much do eager readers gobble up those experiences in the form of fiction? We can look at the astonishing sales statistics for everything from the Twilight series to the Fifty Shades of Grey series and see how popular these pursuits of broken relationships are. Why?
We can ask fifty different people and get close to fifty different answers, but the bottom line is escape. Escape from this day-to-day life, which for most may not have a lot of excitement in it. This life may not be exactly what they envisioned and they are looking for…excitement? Catharsis? Escape? Romance? A redemption story? A happy ending? Something else?
As with all human pursuits that disregard God, some of the things these readers hope for are only ever fiction. They’re not becoming a vampire to love and live forever, or attracting the attention of a ludicrously rich love interest. However, within the will of God, we can get both of these things, if not exactly the same form as the rest of the world expects.
Our Christian life, lived within the will of God, will result in eternal life (thankfully, not as a vampire), and will connect us to the God to whom everything belongs, because he made it all. We might not gain access to all of that here in this life, but there are far better riches we inherit.
Am I saying that reading fiction is wrong? No, no, no no! There are great stories out there that will enrich our lives if we take the time to read them (or watch the movie), but realizing that the greatest story ever told, that of God and his redeeming love for us, is actually true should remain foremost in our minds as we enjoy the fruits of man’s writing labors.
Thanks for reading to the end! Tomorrow’s post returns to the Christian life, as i mentioned previously, diving into the differences in our plans and God’s plans.