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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Faith in our Writing: How Much it Too Much?

When I first stepped into this industry back in 1999, one of the mantras I heard over and over and over again was “don’t preach” in your stories. We can start out so “zealous” for the Lord that it’s hard NOT to preach. So where is the line between just enough and too much?

I just finished reading Ted Dekker’s “Saint.” If you haven’t read it yet, I won’t give anything away, but I do want to point out that the entire book centers around a specific faith issue and yet, not once does he mention the words Jesus, Christ, Lord, Church, Salvation, Born Again, etc. This book is an excellent study on how to tell a story within a story, get your point across and never be accused of “preaching” to the reader.

Now, I’m going to compare this example to Randy Singer’s “The Cross Examination of Oliver Finney” which is all about Jesus, Christ, Lord, Church, Salvation, Born Again, etc and yet… YET…he does it in such a way that you are so caught up in the story that you don’t feel preached at. There’s a reason for that. You aren’t being preached at. Exactly. J It’s an excellent book and I highly recommend you read it, but the point I’m trying to make is that you can go to either extreme in your writing. A lot of Church talk or none at all and still make your point.

So it isn’t the amount of “Church talk” you put in your story that makes it preachy. It’s how you use it.

How do you come up with the right balance for YOUR story? The best way I’ve learned is just tell your story and don’t worry about the “sermon” that you have in mind. In fact, forget the sermon, forget the faith issues, forget the preaching. You are there to tell a story. Tell it. And you know what will happen? Your faith will become a part of the story. It has to. It’s part of who you are.

Wanda Dyson


Blogger Deena said...

Amen! I don't like to read a book feeling like I'm being taught something, and the story is merely the vehicle for the lesson. I've read many lifechanging books, and when the faith is genuine, it shines through the pages, and I get it.

4:19 PM  

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