Working Faith into Fantasy

This week I am participating in an Indie e-Con. Check out the rest of the posts by other authors here. There are a lot of good posts about writing different genres.

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Fantasy is one of my favorite genres to write. I would like to share some tips on working faith into fantasy. This may sound easy, but it can be a little tricky. It can be easy to end up making the book sound like a sermon instead of a real life interaction.

It may be tempting, and easier, to have your characters quote a lot of Bible passages. I don’t recommend this because it will end up sounding unnatural. Most people are not likely to go around quoting passages word for word through their daily life. Some probably do, but if you have your characters do this, people will likely complain that it is either preachy, or unrealistic. You don’t want your fantasy novel to sound like a sermon. Once and a while you might be able to get away with having your character look up a passage in the Bible and read it, but be careful to work it in so it sounds natural.

What I have found to work best for me, is to refer to Biblical truths. You can even use questions and statements about scriptural principles in your character’s thoughts to work them into your stories. For example:

Jason grabbed his arm where the bully had hit him. Didn’t God want him to show love to his enemies? That was almost impossible to do at this point. “God help me forgive,” he prayed.

Another important part of writing faith into fantasy is, don’t make all the characters perfect Christians. Give the characters doubts to struggle with. If they never struggle with doubts, readers will find the story to be unrealistic. You might say, “but a certain type of strong faith is very realistic in real life.” I agree and I have written realistic accounts in fiction that I have seen in real life, but sometimes real life occurrences are seen as the most unrealistic in stories. If you are trying to weave a real life story of great faith into a book and you don’t mind the criticism, then go for it. You may not get as many good reviews, but maybe you are more interested in getting a certain message across. That is fine too. I am just recommending that if you want the majority of your audience to find your story realistic, you may want to make your character struggle a little more with his or her faith.

Here are some examples:

More likely to be seen as unrealistic:

“A boy has been tormented by a bully who did something that nearly caused him to die. The boy immediately forgives the bully who did this to him because he knows that God wants us to forgive and that vengeance is God’s to deal with. The injured boy also completely trusts that God works everything out for his good and there is nothing to be gained by having an unforgiving heart toward this bully.” While this will more likely be seen as unrealistic, I have seen this forgiving attitude and strong faith in God in real life. So if you are like me and want to tell a story like this because you found it realistic, then go ahead and write it. I think it is great to have these stories out there.

More likely to be seen as realistic:

“A boy has been tormented by a bully who did something that nearly caused him to die. The boy knows God wants him to forgive, but he can’t see how he could ever do that. The injured boy is frustrated with God and doesn’t know how he could ever allow something like this to happen to him. He thought God loved him enough to protect him.” Now, if you take this rout, I recommend having him eventually learn to forgive the bully and remember that God was always with him and that allowing this to happen does not mean God doesn’t care about him. I personally would not want to end the book without making the right truths about God come out in the end.

So, these are my tips on writing faith into fantasy. Have fun writing your adventures!

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2 thoughts on “Working Faith into Fantasy

  1. As a reader, I absolutely fall into the camp of finding things preachy if the faith aspect is not carefully done. Even in non-fantasy genres. I also like characters who struggle with the things I struggle with, because I can relate to them.

    I agree with all of this. Great post!

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