Tag Archives: nonfiction

Plausibility and Capability

               I have an idea. I’m not sure that it’s a plausible idea, but it is an idea. I’ve considered trying to publish an anthology of the poetry, short stories, and nonfiction pieces I’ve written. However, I’m concerned that there might not be much of a market for that sort of thing. To my knowledge, it certainly isn’t very main stream, and pulp fiction, in general, is most popular with teenagers right now. The novels I have written or plan on writing are usually geared towards a young adult audience, although I have considered writing for adults, and the anthology would probably appeal to them more so than teenagers. Since I am technically not an adult quite yet, I feel that perhaps I should gain some experience before writing a fiction novel for adults; I don’t want to be presumptuous and act like I know about topics when I really don’t have a full grasp of them. It’s a similar issue with historical fiction; I have several ideas there, but to write a historical fiction novel properly, you have to do the research, and I simply don’t have time for that with school (which, as it’s a college prep school, frankly takes up far too much of my time), social activities, family, and friends. Thus, goodbye to that idea until after college.

               Another problem I have is negative capability. John Keats defines this as a writer’s ability to step outside his or her perspective so that he or she can passively receive inspiration. According to some literature theory, a good writer should practice this technique so that his or her message doesn’t overwhelm the rest of what the piece has to offer. I know this, and I want to employ it, but here’s the catch: I am a Christian. I harbor no ill feelings towards other religious beliefs, but I cannot help how I feel about mine. Sometimes I write characters that are blatantly anti-God, and sometimes I write characters that are ambivalent; other times, I write characters that are Christians. It simply depends on what the situation calls for. However, in certain scenarios, I feel that I cannot help but bring God into the story; I’m not trying to preach to my readers, but it feels wrong for me to leave Him out of a situation in which my worldview believes that He is inherently a part of. For example, how do I explain accepting the questions in life to which there are no answers without God’s sovereignty? My mother has been ill with a brain tumor for five years. Without God in my own life, I don’t know how I’d deal with that; there would be no sense to it, just suffering. When my characters face similar tragedies, and I need them to cope and carry on in order to resolve the conflict, I have issues with believably making them do it without biblical support. This is a real dilemma because I want to stay true to my vision, but I also don’t want to alienate readers. Furthermore, I want to be a good writer, and that often depends on how others perceive the quality of my writing. I believe that there is a difference between popular writing and good writing; they are not necessarily the same thing.


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