that sounded better in my head
Hi, I'm writing a story at the moment. I have a strong Christian background and many of my friends at college are Christian. However, the themes in my story are about the ugly parts of people (bloodlust, greed, lust, etc) and my main characters embody that. The end moral of the story is a good one that's rooted in Christianity's main teachings, but in the rising action it gets pretty dark. When my friends and fam read it, I'm afraid they'll be disturbed or at worst horrified. Should I censor it?
Anonymous

If you’re going to censor it or tone it down, don’t bother writing it.

Really.

There are plenty of religious publishers who are actively looking for new talent, and if you feel that sort of writing is good for you, then that’s great! There’s always a market for it.

However, based on your description, it sounds like your brain is telling you to write something else, and when a writer gets a calling, the writer should chase it down the rabbit hole, or not at all. Writing about “bloodlust, greed, lust, etc.” doesn’t make you a bad Christian. The purpose of religion isn’t to pretend the world doesn’t exist. I happen to know quite a bit about the Christian faith because that’s how I was raised, and I’ve read The Bible front and back, and it’s filled with all the things. Incest, lust, murder, fratricide, talking snakes, people running around all naked, coming back from the dead, getting nailed to crosses and things. I’ve yet to meet the book that is trippier than The Bible.

All of that being said, as I was raised Christian, I was surrounded by people who told me that Harry Potter was the devil. I know the anxiety of being torn between what is considered right in the eyes of my peers, and what is right for the story. That’s why, when I was as young as ten, I chose what was right for my story, and I hid my writing and kept it private. Over the years, as I wrote, I tried to force in morals and themes that would please my religious peers, but they didn’t fit.

I say all of this not so you’ll do as I do, but to let you know I understand where you’re coming from. At the end of the day, your book has no religion. Unless you are writing a nonfiction about religious teachings and morals, no book you ever write will have a religion. Things like morals and deeper meanings are best left to the reader to interpret, and that kind of heavy-handedness has no place in fiction—unless, as I stated above, you are writing a religious story for a religious press; in that case, people know what they are getting and they want it. But no reader wants to read a story that is manipulated against its will to appease your Christian peers. The author’s job is merely to present the story as it is destined to be told. If you feel this strongly that you cannot do that, then don’t.

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    THIS POST. I so relate.
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