Monday, May 2, 2011

That fiction authors need a creed

I was reading Matthew 13: 10-17 in The Message version of the Bible. The apostles asked Jesus, "Why tell stories?" I paid close attention to his reply because I've often been asked the same question and come up with nothing better than, "I enjoy it" which seems too self-indulgent to justify.

Here is what our Lord and Saviour said.

"You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever somebody has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories; to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they're blue in the face and not get it."

What a wonderful way of putting it. I'd always loved reading fiction but used to put it aside as a treat for my spare time when more 'important' work had been done. When I started writing, I assumed that others would be approaching my books the same way, of course. Now I'm trying to get into the habit of acknowledging that just because my work is targeted for people's leisure moments, it does not follow that said work is "light-weight" or frivolous. In fact, our leisure moments may be the perfect time when we are most receptive to those things of depth and significance.

I searched around to see if I could find a fiction writer's creed. When I couldn't, I decided to write my own. If you like to write fiction too, you are welcome to share it with me, if you like.


1) I will do all I can to stir readers' hearts, to create fertile ground for insights and understandings to flow freely to them from God.

2) I will study and ponder God through His Word and prayer, to keep a clean heart toward Him and stay sensitive to what I believe He would have me write.

3) I will offer my very best to make people smile, cry, laugh and enjoy every moment of time they've put aside to read my books.

4) I will re-write and edit to make the finished result as polished as it can be. I will accept the sacrifice of hard work and time involved.

5) I will continue to study the craft of writing, willing to learn more.

6) I will not focus on praise, money or recognition as a gauge of how I'm going. I will be content to be a spark of light where God has placed me, trusting Him to open doors.

7) Having said that, I will look out, being ever vigilant for opportunities to introduce my work to people through speaking events such as talks and workshops, or written words such as articles or guest blogs.

8) I will take setbacks in my stride as an inevitable part of the journey but I will not let them turn me away from my chosen path or cause me to give up.


  1. Praise be to God in heaven! What a beautiful piece of divine revelation. God has his fingerprints all over this post Paula and all over your work. It has really cemented to me what God has been speaking to me over the last few weeks regarding God inspired fiction. I can now read it with freedom and not feel guilt or shame as Jesus was indeed the master story teller!

  2. Amen to that, Nicole, and I echo your sentiments and thoroughly appreciate your feedback. Enjoying good fiction without the niggling is a liberating moment.

  3. AMEN to that! Thanks. XXOO

  4. Though I love to read fiction, I can't write it (strictly a non-fiction gal!) ... but I think your creed could be almost just as applicable to me. Thank you for sharing, this is a wonderful post xxx

  5. I love your Creed, and it aligns with what I've seen since indulging myself in Jodi Picoult novels in the past 12 months. She is obviously not a Christian, but in each one of her books Jodi raises intruiging 'religious' threads, which I have found worthy of searching out. I have even thought that the way her stories are spun it could well set a non- Christian on a search for truth. Now all we need to do is get Jodi Picoult to the foot of the Cross and still writing and we'd have the most exciting and thought provoking Christian novels ever written.

  6. It's a wonderful Creed, Paula. Of course, I'm not sure how well I would do on the last two. I guess I'll find out eventually! :o)

    I've always kept in my mind that I want my writing and art to be something that would be uplifting. Because I am aware of that dark place in me, I want to focus on something more hopeful, for myself and others.

    Peace and Laughter,

  7. I love your creed Paula. Beautiful/powerful words.

    Janet you and I should tweek it for non-fiction authors; I can't write fiction either!

  8. I always love Cristina's down-to-earth way of looking of things, which helps keep me motivated too. Those last two things are hardest for me too :) Maybe that's why I placed them last.
    I hope Janet and Narelle do make a non-fiction version. I love non-fiction and would like to read it.
    Girl in the Sun, you made some excellent points.

  9. Oh my! Your post had me dragging out my copy of The Message to read it firsthand. Thank you, Paula, that was definitely another God-incidence of encouragement.

  10. What a great thing to do! Getting those reminders in one place would keep me focused! Must copy for myself!

  11. Hi Charity,
    Please feel more than welcome to do so. Thanks for dropping by. A creed such as this is handy for keeping on course, that's for sure.
    Paula V

  12. Thanks for sharing this Paula. It's very insightful, a challenge and encouraging.

  13. Hi Linsey,
    Thanks for stopping by. I do think fiction authors need a creed, which I'm glad I can share.


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