Hello fellow BOOKWORM’s. Today’s post comes courtesy of guest author Eric Trant. In the following post, Mr. Trant discusses writing about topics that contradict your deepest beliefs. The author gives some useful information about how to successfully make this transition and keep your writing believable. Below that is a summary of Mr. Trant’s latest work “Wink”. Read, comment, and most of all enjoy.
Is it possible to write somethingthat contradicts your deepest beliefs? I mean, something that really flies in the face of those instincts that form your core being, your spirit or soul or your lack of one or your karma or energy or whatever it is you call it in your system of choice, because whatever your choice for religion (or un-religion), it is not just part of you, it ~is~ you. Now, can you write something that is ~not~ you?
For instance, let us start with the Atheist, whose core belief system is that we are material creatures no more mysterious or complicated than the bubbling fizz of your Diet Coke. To them we can be reduced to a chemical
reaction initiated at conception and terminated at death, and there is no before or after the reaction, only during. They are in philosophical terms called Materialist Reductionists, because they believe there is nothing outside the realm of material things that can be measured with physical devices and studied with physical science. There is no un-physical or spiritual world to the Atheist.
Now, can this person who believes only in material
things write a book about ghosts and spirits? Can they abandon their belief system and introduce God and gods and angels and demons and supernatural, immaterial beings?
Let us now consider the Christian, for no other reason than that is my system and is the one with which I am the most familiar. There is this set of rules associated with Christianity that vary between sects but more or less remain the same for the vast majority of believers. We embrace this mixture of physical and spiritual beings, that in the present sense we are physical, but there is a second and non-physical world beyond this one that is not subject to the rules of the physical realm. In philosophical terms we are categorized (as are most religions) as Dualists, meaning we believe in not one, but ~two~ worlds, that our nature is not simply a chemical reaction, but is a mixture of a physical and non-physical presence.
Can this person betray those beliefs and write a story void of spiritual elements, that relies only on science (materialism) to solve the riddles of the universe? What about writing in an opposing religion, for instance a
Christian whose hero employs witchcraft, or who is embedded in a world full of Pagan creatures such as trolls and fairies?
It all comes down to this — can you suspend your disbelief? That is what you are asking of your reader, that they suspend their disbelief, and they will sniff out your insincerity if you cannot suspend yours. Part of this is allowing your characters to be themselves without imposing your beliefs upon them. The other part is achieving enough of an emotional separation from your
story and characters to allow for a full suspension of your disbelief.
I find this is easier if the worlds are far-fetched. For instance, I don’t think writers of any faith, whether that be in God or science or spiritualism or materialism, have trouble writing high fantasy or futuristic sci-fi. These are so far removed from our daily lives that the suspension of disbelief is placed many levels beyond where any of our core beliefs lie.
That changes if you are writing realism, which is where I base my fantasy stories. I have to distance myself
from the characters and let them express their own beliefs with as little interference from my own as possible. I may not like their beliefs, but I must resist the urge to belittle or degrade them, because many of my readers will side with my character and not with me. In other words, my belief system has nothing to do with the story.
While I do not believe it is possible to entirely separate your beliefs from the story, it is possible to achieve enough of a separation to warp the story into something that is not immediately recognizable as your core beliefs, and may in many ways contradict your deepest faith. You simply need to suspend your own disbelief and allow the story to be what it was intended to be, which is fiction-based written entertainment.
What about you? How do you suspend your disbelief when writing fantasy? How do you keep from imposing your beliefs on your characters?
This is Eric’s Bio
Eric W. Trant is a published author of several short stories, including “Apple Tree” and “One Small Step,” and the novels Out of the Great Black Nothingand Wink.
Eric is an advocate for organ donation and lost his 18mo son in May of 2012. Eric and his wife courageously donated their son’s heart, kidneys, and liver. The couple went on to begin a foundation to support organ donor families. Eric speaks openly about this emotional journey on his blog and the topic of organ donation is very close to his heart.
Find out more about the author by visiting him online:
Author website: http://www.EricTrant.com
Author blog: http://diggingwiththeworms.blogspot.com/
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eric.trant.9
This is the summary for Wink (#WINK)A moving, fast-paced and incredibly emotional story about love, friendship and transformation.
In this thriller set in a rural Gulf Coast town, Marty Jameson finds refuge in the attic from his mother’s abusive rages. But only during the day. At night the attic holds terrors even beyond what he witnesses in his home. With a family made up of a psychotic mother, a drug-dealing father and a comatose older brother withering away in the spare bedroom, Marty feels trapped.
Next door, wheel-chair bound Sadie Marsh obsessively watches Marty’s comings and goings from her bedroom window, despite her mother’s warning about the evil in that house. Evil which appears to Sadie as huge black-winged creatures.
Marty, emotionally torn by the violence and dysfunction in his family, is drawn to Sadie and her kindly mother. But if he is to save his new friend from the supernatural horror threatening them all, Marty must transform himself from victim to hero. And to do so, he must first confront what lurks hidden in the shadows of his attic.
Wink is a thriller that captivates readers and leaves them longing for more. Trant is a talented author whose character descriptions go far beyond the physical.
WOW (Women On Writing) is advertising a chance to win a free copy.
Paperback: 275 pages
Publisher: WiDo Publishing (May 7, 2013)
Twitter hashtag: #WINK
Wink is available as a print and e-book at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.