A writer acquaintance and I discussed our craft tonight. We explored among other matters the calling of our craft. Why create, and for what purpose?
In my clear moments I understand that I am to write to please but one person, and that is God. How presumptuous this sounds. Yet, to deny the nature of the calling would be the greater sin. My friend must write as only she can write. We each bring a signature to our writing. We must be true to that. Our styles arise from our different personalities and experience. We each have different unanswered fundamental questions that life is asking us. We seek the answers through the backdoor of imaginative writing — she through historical fiction and I through speculative fiction. These are just different doors to enter past and future worlds that may yield some answers.
I believe each writer is called to write the story only she or he can write, and to write it foremost for the Glory of God. How strange this must sound to agnostic or atheistic artists. It has an embarrassing ring a 1950s Billy Graham crusade. But our truths are often embarrassing. This one is mine, and I am neither embarrassed nor ashamed.
I would never present a story as a sermon or theological argument. The work is just the work. The good story is bled through with unanswered questions rather than dogmatic answers. The story will ask implicitly: “What does this mean to you?” The writer too in the writing discovers answers to questions percolating in her soul. Yet, the writer’s meaning is seldom the same meaning the reader takes from the story. That is as it should be. Fiction is not a lab report. Rather, the story is about characters examined in the laboratory of the imagination. The experimental results are open to interpretation.