I’ll be honest: religion does not often feature prominently in my stories. I suppose because my own faith is very personal to me, something I don’t always feel comfortable voicing in public. That makes me something of a coward, I guess, but I neither want to invite criticism for my beliefs nor have to engage others in why I believe x or y (but not z). But, as I’ve delved more deeply into the humanity of my characters, I’ve come to realize that they can’t all be just like me. That goes for their ability to be close to the divine as much as it does for their attraction to the darkness.
I’ve always been able to separate myself from my darker characters, the antagonists and villains. Because, while they can be enormous fun to write, I don’t consider myself capable of some of the despicable things they do. Or, I don’t like to consider myself capable. But even my “good” characters have maintained a distance from religion and faith that I think isn’t necessarily indicative of who they can or should be.
Religion is complicated, though. For me, more so than sex, violence, or any other characterization point. Why? Is it because I don’t want to dictate my beliefs to readers? Because I don’t want to be “outed” as being religious in a community where intellect is valued more highly than faith? I don’t want either of those things, to be honest. But I also can’t deny the power of prayer in my own life, so why should I deny it in my stories?
The link below will take you to another “Finding Mister Wright” free-write I did yesterday (~1400 words, 5 pages). I didn’t mean for it to preach anything to anybody. I simply had a notion about the Marshall-that-was that I felt deserved a bit of exploration.
I’ve been putting these in PDF form because I think it should be your choice whether you want to read or not. Not for any sensitive material, but because I know so many of my blogger buddies are on hiatus or simply don’t have the time (or inclination) to read a longish short story that probably doesn’t help them keep to their schedule. 🙂
Do you find your characters represent you, most of the time? Or, do you use them to investigate differences in opinion? Something in between?