Sunday, April 4, 2010

Moral Dilemmas in Fiction Writing

Have you ever written a story, or a poem, that you just feel might be pushing the edges of what is good or true?

Have you ever faced a moral dilemma with your writing?

I know that I've heard the "pushing the edges of humanity makes your writing fresh and brilliant" school of thought before, but I find that I disagree. Sometimes I read things at short fiction sites, written about pain and suffering, that don't really seem fresh, or brilliant. In fact, they leave me with a sick feeling in my stomach, a bad taste in my mouth, and a strong desire to run to my Bible for a good word.

So, it would seem that I wouldn't ever come across a moral dilemma with my own writing.

However, that just isn't true.

I write poetry sometimes that focuses more on the pain of a moment in my life, and less on the rising hope that pulls me out of that pain. One poem I wrote like that was published last year. I just didn't really think when I submitted it. I still like that poem, but . . . I wish I had added something more to it. Something that actually proclaimed the reason for the hope that is in me - Christ's loving sacrifice for my sins and His Resurrection.

Today, as I published a link to my flash fiction story, "Enough to Do" on my facebook page, I pondered the overall affect of that story. I know what I wanted it to "feel" like at the end . . . but I don't think I quite got there.

In fact, the story feels like a huge "Xena:Warrior Princess"-cliche the more that I read it. There just isn't enough of Jesus in it.

Then there is the dilemma I face just in writing "action" scenes - how much violence should there be in a story? How much should I portray? I've seen some violence, and know just how ugly a little bit can be. Sometimes I think to truly show the amazing grace of God, we need to show the suffering that comes without it. However, I think there is a limit to what is readable, and a limit to what we can/should write when we portray a fallen world and a perfect Savior.

What do you think? Have you ever faced those moral dilemmas with your own writing?

By the way, here's the link to my story, "Enough to Do" at Every Day Fiction.
Enough To Do

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Oh I hear you. I'm actually experiencing that dilemma at the moment. How do I tell what happened with feeling and taste. I guess those are the times we pray for help. I don't have another answer.