Trust – Five Minute Friday (a day late again)

Flanner O'Connor stampI’m participating in the University of Iowa MOOC, How Writer’s Write Fiction. MOOC, is an acronym for “massive open online course.” Many, such as this one, are free. Flannery O’Connor (whose picture will be on a stamp) studied writing at the University of Iowa’s Writing Workshop and I’m honoured to be in such great company. My hope is that the course will help me develop the complexity of characters and situations in my work-in-progress-but-nearing-completion book, Loved As If.

I went into the course with a great deal of fear and dread. How can I trust my work, which proceeds from a solid Christian worldview, to those who have little or no grounding in Christianity? How do I trust that what I write will even speak to those whose initial points of reference are so antithetical to mine? For some time, anxiety has buzzed just below the surface: What is God expecting of me? How can I possibly deliver? Won’t this be like university where I had to find ways to write about faith without mentioning any actual experience of faith?

I find God is only expecting me to do my best. Thus far, the instructors, mentors, and other writers perceive my work not as religious but as writing. Some may get it, others not. But they respond to well-written characters and situations. Two weeks in and I’ve already discovered that I can express a character’s anxiety or joy or anger without using adverbs (anxiously) or telegraphing action (she felt joy rise within her and said…) or being the narrative voice that explains what the characters are doing (“I hate you!,” she screamed in anger.) What matters is that I can trust God even when He sends me into hostile territory.


On Friday (and occasionally Saturday if Friday is filled with an excess of other activities),100s of bloggers set a timer, write for 5 minutes, and then post the results over at Kate Motaung’s blog, Heading Home. She provides the prompt on Thursday evening. We don’t edit or concern ourselves with whether our writing is flawless or worthy to be seen. We expose our incomplete, unpolished thoughts and words to each other and our readers and tweet them with the hashtag #FMFParty. Join us.

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  1. In the end, it doesn’t matter what instructors or editors or publishers think of your work; their technical input can be useful, but God’s your Muse, and if they don’t like it, it’s their loss.

    I wrote “Emerald Isle” as a story of Catholics, and was told that for it to sell in the “Christian” market, the characters would have to be evangelical (as was told that anything Catholic wouldn’t sell in the secular market either). This was tough to do, considering they were all Irish, and that some were members of the IRA.

    Well, I did that…but it wasn’t the work it was supposed to be.

    It’s under submission to one more agent. After that, if I live long enough, I’ll self-publish the thing, and let the marketplace decide.

    1. Thanks. You’re so right, God is my muse.

      By the way, you might try Tuscany Press and there are probably other resources. If you’re interested, email me through this site and I’ll share the information I’ve gleaned.

  2. I love this and love reading books that have hints of Christianity and belief at their core, but the point is still to tell a story. Thank you for sharing your process. Now I want to take that course, even though I don’t write fiction at this point in time.

    – Stopping by from FMF,


    1. I highly recommend the course and am writing a fictionalized memoir which is not solidly under the “fiction” category. Even so, the course is very helpful.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Hi! Hopped on here from your comment on my blog. It’s always a great comfort to know that we have a God who can be trusted. I am looking forward to reading your book. God bless you. 🙂

  4. Good for you! It makes me sad that religious people are looked down upon so often. I did have a lovely experience with a Wiccan friend. As she drove a group of us down a twisting mountain road and encountered deer, she asked for us to send out positive energy. Not feeling that sort of “power” applies to me, I offered to use my eyes for spotting the animals. Without skipping a beat, she said, “Darla, your power is prayer.” I happily prayed and we obviously made it through safely. Best wishes!

Tell me what you think. Thanks.

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