February 7th, 2013

wolf eyes

My tweets

  • Wed, 16:09: Forgot all about the "genetic anomaly" part of the brain cancer my char was trying to cure. Whoops. This is why I #amediting.
  • Wed, 16:33: @dianapfrancis Welp, I now have a room for #MisCon. Good thing I called today; they don't have many rooms left.
  • Wed, 19:24: @dianapfrancis I'm really looking forward to it. I just wish I had a 4K-word story for the workshop. Apparently I can't do "short" anymore.
  • Wed, 20:36: "Zombie rabbits are attacking our house. It must be Tuesday." I love this story. #amediting
Guri praise the Lord

Writing religious characters in SF/F...

NanoPals on Twitter today asked, "How does religion play into your worlds? Do you allow your personal beliefs to flavour your work? Wha do your characters believe? What kind of book do you prefer to read - one that heavily includes personal faith or one that shies away from a characters viewpoints. Do pious characters bother you if they stray too far from what you personally believe?"

I'll duplicate my comment there and expand on it. It's not like I'm doing anything else, like editing, right now anyway.

Depends on what I'm writing, really. I write mainly short stories, and I've done five (out of 27) that have overtly religious characters. Three of them have recognizably Biblical angels and demons as major characters. And, yeah, that's my own Christianity bleeding into my fiction, but I still try to make them their own and not my mouthpiece. Preachiness is annoying, and so these characters are still PEOPLE in their own right with their own opinions, shaped by their experiences and their own beliefs--beliefs that don't necessarily line up with my own.

I also realize going in that these stories are hard sells in any market. They're too Christian for the secular market and not Christian enough for the Christian market (because of subject matter and some salty language)--and two of them are over 15K words and under 20K words long, and the third LOOKS like a standard "guy sells soul to devil" story, even though it's not--so they're stuck in a kind of limbo of unsaleableness.

But the beauty of the current system is that, once I've exhausted the paying markets, I can self-pub them and maybe they'll find their own market, you know?

I have also written stories where the internal theology in no way reflects my own, and many, many where religion isn't even a thing except for the occasional startled or mournful "Oh, God." It really depends on what the story needs more than anything else.

When reading, I'm fine with characters and worldviews that don't reflect my own beliefs, as long as the story is internally consistent and tells a good tale. The trope I despise above all else, however, is the one-note Stupid/Evil/Stupidly Evil Christian Character. It's boring, it's lazy, and I do my level best to subvert it on a regular basis by writing good-guy religious characters when the story calls for something like that.

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