What is Fiction For?

Today’s Friday Guest Post is by Lewinna Solwing.  You can visit Lewinna at her blog.
About Lewinna: I grew up in Maine, but I have lived now for several years in the Pacific Northwest–sea to sea.  I’m a Christian fantasy author whose life consists mainly of my day job as a massage therapist, my spiritual practice and reflection, and my creative endeavors: writing, art, and music.

I’ve been writing novels and stories for years, but only in the past year did I decide to invest in revising, editing, figuring out my platform and intention as an author, and “go public” with my books.  I’ve always been fascinated by aliens, outcasts, monsters, and dragons, so they tend to appear with some regularity in my books, struggling to find their place in the greater cosmic metastory.  Themes of power, love, forgiveness, letting go, surrender, renunciation, and seeking the absolute truth are also prominent ones in my work.  I’m also interested in various world mythologies and religious cultures, and the ways that they reveal and echo eternal truths.  With all of this I hope to present enjoyable stories that exemplify thought-provoking and God-centered characters, values, and solutions to problems.

Some of my major inspirations are J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, who sought to write books that explored the potential of fantasy world creation and narrative without straying from their service to higher spiritual values and questions.  Another inspiration to me is a good friend of mine, Bryan Davis, author of the series “Dragons in Our Midst” and several other Christian fantasy adventure series.  I very much admire his dedication to using his stories to show and teach transformational spiritual values.
What is Fiction For?

The world is a vast and complex place.  People and circumstances create events, actions, reactions–empires are born, empires fall–knowledge is burned, lost in the terrifying hallows of ignorance, preserved by a few determined individuals, teachings clutched close and spread again to bring the spark of human dignity and creativity to a society where people hunger for a higher meaning–over and over these cycles continue, the backdrop for the true drama–the drama of the human soul.

This is, truly, what we write stories about.  We are writing about the drama of the human soul–painted in a thousand colors, explored in minute experience and situation and world.  Dozens of themes that touch our hearts and minds hint at this drama.  As writers, we aren’t unlimited–we carefully choose what stories, characters, and worlds we want to use in the service of expressing a particular theme, giving our readers an angle into the mystery of this human drama.

One can, fairly quickly, exhaust the interest of a mundane, material event such as how cheese is made, or why the sky is blue, or how to write a nice and engaging blog post that will attract your readers.  Add the element of soul, though–mystery, magic, and all that we yearn for beyond the world–and you have a timeless theme.  And that timelessness will remain, continuing to refresh the minds of readers for as long as they are reading.

Even if we lived in a world–and some of our fiction characters do–where war is everywhere, people only live to be 20, or there are no fruits and vegetables left, we can still tease out and show that mysterious element.  Even (or perhaps especially) in the most degraded or horrific situations, the clear lines of the transcendental power of the human spirit can break through in the most awe-inspiring ways.  Our stories have conflict and intrigue so that we can wait and see, with bated breath, if that spirit can still break through.  We long to know that it is more real than all of the horrors the material world can throw at us.

Whether we are exploring themes of freedom, independence, love, humility, power, temptation, integrity, or the human potency to make a difference by his or her actions… we are showing that transcendental spirit, and in a good story, we are showing it in a way that inspires it to manifest in situations in the real world.  Our fiction is not (or shouldn’t be) just for entertainment or for maintaining the status quo.  Let our art increase our very humanity–and then we may find the world around us as refreshing and engaging as a good story!

Do you have any thoughts on this topic?  We’d love to hear your comments.

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4 Comments

Filed under About writing

4 responses to “What is Fiction For?

  1. I am 100% with you here! Fantastic post, Lewinna! It is the kind of thought that simultaneously makes me more confident about writing fiction and quietly aware of the responsibilities inherent when you do so.

  2. Pingback: » The Halfway Point BE EnSouled

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