Wednesday, 4 June 2014

A Creed for Fiction Authors




Over the last couple of years, I've been sharing this creed I wrote with people when I think about it, and over the last week, I've been feeling it in my heart to share it on this blog, along with how the idea came to me.
Once when I was reading Matthew 13: 10-17 in The Message version of the Bible, the significance of what was said seemed to spring off the page. The apostles asked Jesus, "Why tell stories?" I paid close attention to his reply because I'd often been asked the same question and come up with nothing better than, "I enjoy it."

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 had been taught 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.
FICTION WRITER'S CREED

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.
*****

Paula Vince is a South Australian author of contemporary fiction, set mostly in the Adelaide Hills, where she lives. She believes that a well-told story has its own particular power to touch hearts, and loves to read as well as write. 

23 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Paula. I agree wholeheartedly and applaud you for putting to paper what many of us feel about the gift God has given to us. As you've implied, if Jesus - the very Son of God - could tell stories, then what a wonderful example for us to follow.

    I think I shall copy this and place it in the back page of my bible. I will try to memorise the gist of it whenever anyone says why fiction?

    God bless all your efforts dear girl!

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    1. Hi Rita,
      Thank you, and I'm so glad you're going to do that. It's so easy to forget that we're simply using our gifts to follow in the footsteps of the Master storyteller, without a bit of a tangible reminder every so often.

      And so many people do ask, "Why fiction?"

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  2. This is wonderful, Paula. What an encouragement to us as writers. Like Rita, I'm going to copy this and put it somewhere prominent to remind me. Thank you and God bless

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    1. Hi Carol,
      Thank you. I know that, like me, you know from first hand experience that writers do need encouragement. Something to keep in front of us probably does do us good.

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  3. Love this creed Paula. An encouragement to all writers of fiction.

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    1. Hi Dale,
      Thanks also for the encouragement you give to other authors so often.

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  4. Wow, that is so beautiful. It goes to the heart of why we write. It's what makes us different as Christian writers. We write because we are vessels for God's word. What an honor we have been given. Thank you for this lovely reminder Paula.

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  5. Hi Susanne,
    I think you're right, although we are all so different in what we write, we are all alike in being vessels, and those words Jesus spoke from Matthew speak to us all.

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  6. Love it, Paula. And I'll never forget the first time I heard that scripture. Jo-Anne shared it at a Word Writers' Fair and it lodged fair and square in my heart. What an encouragement your post is.

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    1. Hi Andrea,
      It's as if He said it especially to encourage fiction authors and storytellers, isn't it? I'm so glad they asked Him that question.

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  7. Love it, Paula. There are many great values for writers. I think I'll print it out and put it into my notebook. That way, when I'm writing, it will be there.

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  8. Hi Elaine,
    I'm glad to think you'll do that. Yes, our work contains a lot of different aspects. I think we really need a creed. I was surprised when I searched and didn't find anything else like this.

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  9. Thanks for listening to God and putting your creed on this blog, Paula. I remember when you initially shared this and also remember sharing those verses from Matthew's Gospel at the Writers' Fair, as Andrea mentions. But it's really good to be reminded of it all again and to check how I'm going now with that creed. God bless!

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    1. Hi Jo-Anne,
      Yes, the thought of sharing it here, this week, just popped into my head and stayed there, so I went with it. Sometimes this sort of prompting takes us by surprise, doesn't it?

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  10. Hi Paula,
    May I have your permission to add this article and Creed to my book review blog? You have this Creed from a Writers POV and I have this from a Reviewers POV:

    http://christianfictionreviewguru.blogspot.com.au/p/about-me.html

    I would love to add your article and Creed to this page in my blog.

    This Creed is wonderful and captures what I have found in Christian Authors. I have a passion to support and encourage Christian Authors through my review blog, especially new authors and this Creed will be further support from me to those who visit my blog, both authors and readers alike.

    Regards

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    1. Hi Peter,
      Certainly, I'd be happy for you to do that. In a moment, I'll pop over and visit your blog. It sounds very encouraging for all who have a passion for good books, in whatever role. I'm pleased to think this creed will be taken further than I could take it.

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    2. Thanks Paula, Appreciate this, it is now added to my blog.

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  11. Hi Paula
    I remember you sharing this creed - last year I think - on a US blog. I thought it was great then and think it's great now. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Hi Jeanette,
      Yes, it was Elaine Stock's blog, and it went up last winter when it was freezing cold like now, if I remember correctly.

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  12. "That's why I tell stories; to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight."

    That's beautiful, Paula. Love it. Thanks for sharing your writer's heart. I'm sure your longing resonated with all of us. :)

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    1. Hi Dorothy,
      Yes, what a beautiful way he put it. I like Eugene Peterson's translation in The Message too. It just hit the spot perfectly.

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  13. Wow, I've never read that verse in the Message version before. That's awesome! Puts a whole new spin on why I love to write.

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  14. Hi Jessica,
    I was excited when I first read that passage in The Message version too.

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