I'm an aspiring author

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I want to write a novel… But I’m not sure how to do it right.
I want ti to be somewhat scripturally/theologically sound, but as it is a fantasy novel, it’s going to be taking a lot of artistic liberties. I just don’t want to end up writing stuff that’s heretical since I’m still new to the Catholic faith and am not officially catholic… yet.

Are there resources for authors who want to write novels that are theologically sound? Can I post my premise here?
 
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Lurker:
I want to write a novel… But I’m not sure how to do it right.
I want ti to be somewhat scripturally/theologically sound, but as it is a fantasy novel, it’s going to be taking a lot of artistic liberties. I just don’t want to end up writing stuff that’s heretical since I’m still new to the Catholic faith and am not officially catholic… yet.

Are there resources for authors who want to write novels that are theologically sound? Can I post my premise here?
the people here are really helpful… those who post. But this IS the internet. If you are writing, you might not want to post things before they are published. I would say if you have a theological question, or are taking a theological stance, you would post that. Otherwise use your Catechism and the Catholic Answers site as well as some other apologetics materials to be certain that you aren’t being heretical and perhaps get a priest’s assistance as you go along. Just my two cents. There are over 5000 members and all of the ones who post are incredible, and I’m sure all of the ones who are registered are equally incredible. But the internet is still open to anyone.
 
Hello there fellow writer. 😉

I too am working on a fantasy novel that is seeped with theological and spiritual ideas (messages). In my opinion, since it is a novel, its permissable to write about your point of view about theology. No one really has a perfect understanding of Church doctrine, save Jesus himself, who admitted that we would never understand fully (cf. 1Col 3:2, Mat 13:10), and it is also important to remember that all doctrine is only a reflection of which it speaks, which is God Himself (i.e. trinity). Therefore, christian truth is a living person, i.e. Jesus Himself. 😉

Follow your heart. If you’re ever in doubt, look into it. But don’t let your fallibility get in the way of being creative. It may also help to present it with such tact the your readers see your messages as, ‘hey look at this…’ instead of ‘THIS IS THE WAY IT IS’. Besides, it has been done many times before - C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc.

Remember too, that being a ‘heretic’ means to ‘set aside’ or ‘divide’ your beliefs from the The Faith, and promote them as truth instead. You don’t sound like a heretic to me, and I doubt you’ll give anyone that impression even if you write something incorrect. You would just be…incorrect. 😃 Being wrong - ok, being stubborn - not ok. 👍

Good Luck!
 
Just don’t be preachy! It’s a common mistake of Christian writers to basically quote Scripture for 300 pages and assume that, because of their deep sincerity, God will CERTAINLY get your book published. Bad, preachy literature with a good message is still terrible literature.

Look up Flannery O’Connor, though. She’s a good Catholic author. She had some good things to say about Christian writing.
 
Thanks for the encouragement and advice. 🙂

I’ll take it to heart and try to keep writing. 🙂

Now I just need to stop sounding like I’m ripping off my favourite authors and find my own voice…
 
Hi Lurker,

I, too, am writing a novel and would be glad to answer any of your questions. Unknowncloud said it well about being heretical. If you remember what that means, then Catholicism affords you the opportunity to explore the faith from many differerent angles of your creativity to seek the Truth. Creating stories that do this is extremely powerful.

Montanaman also added something important: don’t be preachy. I believe if your story is apparently Christian or Catholic, then you may have crossed the preachiness line.

Email me if you have any questions or seek further advice at cgillespie[at]speroforum{dot}com - I’ll try to help!

Also, check out Barbara Nicolosi’s website. She helps Christians write for Hollywood which is today’s premier story-maker. She offers a lot of great advice.
 
Just post here as much as you can, and then organize it as your own personal blog, and then print it out and “bam!” - there’s your novel!

Nobody’s be able to follow it, but that’s their problem… 😃
 
God Bless you all!!!

We need more Catholic writters! Especially novel writters to counter this BS by authors like Dan Brown and the left behind series that openly and unabashedly bash the Catholic Church. Just don’t sink to their level. The problem with these authors is tht they write really good books that ARE page turners. You have to be able to capture that essence without resorting to cheap gimmicks to appease your audience…like they do.

Read Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Chesterton, and other great Christian authors.

I pray for your success.
 
Writing that is scripturally and theologically sound? What a concept!

(Should be a wide open field, as I don’t think Karl writes novels.)

JimG
 
I want ti to be somewhat scripturally/theologically sound, but as it is a fantasy novel, it’s going to be taking a lot of artistic liberties. I just don’t want to end up writing stuff that’s heretical since I’m still new to the Catholic faith and am not officially catholic… yet.
You must have been living a cave for the past 5 years. Umm, Tolkien? As noted by a critic I saw on EWTN one night, there are no explicit relgious references either. As a former catholic, one of the few things I appreciate about the religion.
 
So crates, I’d like to comment on your comment but I don’t understand exactly what you mean about Tolkien…

But, if your saying what I think your saying, that is - Tolkien didn’t write anything explicit about religion? I would agree. No, he didn’t write anything explicit, but what he did do was make parallels via metaphores. For instance, the ‘ring of power’ as the ‘enlightenment’ (enthronement of the ego) and Sauromon as industrialization, etc, etc. IMO, that is exactly what makes a good fantasy writer, someone who can take what is real and portray it in a different light that allows you to see the real thing even more clearly - Jesus was the master of this kind of creativity. 😉

PS - I’ve always been atracted to the idea that Frodo was a device of Tolkien to portray the human person in conflict with his own conscience, a conscience guided by God’s grace, and troubled by ‘what he must do’ for the ultimate good. i.e. - Faith = Victory.
 
I just want to make a comment. I, too am an aspiring author and I’ve actually had a few things published in recent years (only a few in very obscure places—but credits are credits!)

Anyway, I found a website by accident: www.writing.com

Check it out if you are interested in writing. You can post your work, other people (lurkers even!) can review it and you can set the visibility according to different levels…registered users…registered authors…preferred authors…moderators…or everyone who passes by. You can advertise your portfolio, there are contests and even discussion forums.

I actually found my voice as a writer there and had it not been for that site I actually never would have published the things I did. I did not recieve payment, but I did get credit and maintain the rights to my work.

I would encourage people who are interested in writing to visit the site…it is very family friendly and there is a lot of help with research, criticism (constructive), etc. to help one become a better writer.

Good luck with your book, Lurker!
 
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UnknownCloud:
it is a novel, its permissable to write about your point of view about theology. No one really has a perfect understanding of Church doctrine, save Jesus himself, who admitted that we would never understand fully (cf. 1Col 3:2, Mat 13:10), and it is also important to remember that all doctrine is only a reflection of which it speaks, which is God Himself (i.e. trinity). Therefore, christian truth is a living person, i.e. Jesus Himself. 😉
Er… I think there’s room for disagreement on these points.

I think you have misread the quotes you set forth. They do not stand for the point you are trying to make. Deuteronomy 29:29 is more representative of your point, but it still misses the mark. While we are worldly - in this world, and not in Heaven before God - we do not have the capacity to fully understand God, but we can certainly understand His Church’s doctrine. For example, we accept that our Holy Pontiff has a perfect understanding of Church doctrine, that he communicates this to his bishops, and that they communicate this to their priests, and so on. While there may well be personal failures along the way, we believe it starts out True.

It is absolute acceptable that, in a novel, you’re free to create whatever theological viewpoint you choose to advance your story. But endorsing such a created viewpoint and/or portraying it as Catholic or superior to Catholicism would be heretical, and I believe that is the nature of your warning (just want to be clear on that).

Best of luck to both of you on your novels! 👍
 
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JimG:
Writing that is scripturally and theologically sound? What a concept!

(Should be a wide open field, as I don’t think Karl writes novels.)
Well, some people think I write fiction. :rolleyes:

Anyone who is planning to write a novel with religious underpinnings has my best wishes and my free observation: Most “Catholic” novels written in the last decade have been awful; a few have been good; not a one has been first-rate, so far as I’m aware.

As a rule, the more overt the religious component, the worse the novel ends up. (There are a exceptions.)

I have in mind a few works I won’t name but that you’ll have heard of. If these novels hadn’t been purchased by pious people who have no literary taste but who are desperate for “safe” reading, they wouldn’t have made it to a second printing.
 
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Lurker:
I want to write a novel… But I’m not sure how to do it right.
I want ti to be somewhat scripturally/theologically sound, but as it is a fantasy novel, it’s going to be taking a lot of artistic liberties. I just don’t want to end up writing stuff that’s heretical since I’m still new to the Catholic faith and am not officially catholic… yet.

Are there resources for authors who want to write novels that are theologically sound? Can I post my premise here?
Some classes in creative writing certainly wouldn’t hurt. Also, if you’re going to really write something with depth, you need a mentor who is theologically grounded and literarily well-informed to be your guide/proofreader/critic. I am a writer and have had to get used to editors being much more objective than I. What you think is good may not be, merely because you’re too close to the writing to make that judgment. When you get to the point of publishing, a good Catholic publishing agent would help more than you can imagine.

If you write something that would be pleasing to Jesus, I don’t think you’ll have anything to worry about. Ask Him to help you write what He wants people to read. Trust Him to guide you.
I wish you the best…may the Holy Spirit be your guide!

Mary

👍
 
You also might check out www.writersmarket.com. There is also a hardback book by the same name, WRITERS MARKET
that can be found in any of the larger book stores. Again, God bless you in your endeavor.

Mary
 
so crates:
You must have been living a cave for the past 5 years. Umm, Tolkien? As noted by a critic I saw on EWTN one night, there are no explicit relgious references either. As a former catholic, one of the few things I appreciate about the religion.
Tolkien is one of my literary heroes! And he was very Catholic in his writings. The Silmarillion has a wonderful account of creation that is (at least in my mind) VERY obvious in its relationship to traditional Christian/Jewish stories of creation.

Although Tolkien never really talked too much about religion in his novels, the deepest themes are there for all to see. 🙂
 
Er… I think there’s room for disagreement on these points.

I think you have misread the quotes you set forth. They do not stand for the point you are trying to make. Deuteronomy 29:29 is more representative of your point, but it still misses the mark. While we are worldly - in this world, and not in Heaven before God - we do not have the capacity to fully understand God, but we can certainly understand His Church’s doctrine. For example, we accept that our Holy Pontiff has a perfect understanding of Church doctrine, that he communicates this to his bishops, and that they communicate this to their priests, and so on. While there may well be personal failures along the way, we believe it starts out True.
Yes, there is room for disagrement, which in effect only enforces my original point. First of all, I meant to quote 1Corinthians 3:2, not 1Colossians 3:2 - that was a typo. And my point was simply to say that theology is imperfect and it is an aspect of our faith that has many perspectives. Our Faith is certain yes, I agree - in that we are certain about the Church and God’s revelation - but this is essentailly mysterious, thus, Jesus spoke in parables to point our souls to God, and Paul taught gradually (as the Church does), because God’s revelation is lofty to our minds. ‘Lurker’ stated he/she was a beginner, that’s why I quoted those passages. Beginners are allowed some room - both to grow and to make mistakes. It is a rediculous notion to expect someone to be perfectly informed before writing a novel that expresses one’s faith. I quoted those passages to assure ‘Lurker’ that he/she doesn’t need to have a perfect understanding to be faithful, as opposed to being a heretic. The apparent misunderstanding was perhaps an accident of word economy, or maybe, I too am still an infant that can only drink the milk of the Faith. I am a Catholic and I am proud of it - I submit my will to God and my mind to Rome, and in Jesus, I believe in eternal life with Him.

I think it is a matter of common sense in which we are thrashing about like a dirty rug.
 
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