Wednesday, September 20, 2006

So You Wanna Be a Writer?

Here is the advice of Larry Woiwode--in my opinion one of the great prose writers of the late-20th/early 21st-century:

"Some readers by now are looking for my theory of the way to produce Christian art or write Christian fiction, since theories are what people believe govern the world. They don't, and I have none. I am working out my aesthetics (and perhaps salvation) with each book--with this one--and each book poses unique problems. But I can assure you that you will not begin to form your own aesthetics or way or writing unless you first belong to a church that teaches you fellowship and unity within Christ, and then begin to see writing as your daily humble job within that community. . . .

"The time has come for Christian artists in their communities to begin building that City on a hill again,and I hope that one young student, or even a middle-aged one, will understand what I'm saying and perhaps at this moment sense the stirrings or a first novel. If that student takes scripture seriously, he should know that the more he immerses himself in a particular communion and comes to understandthe ways in which each person within it is essential, the more distinctive and original his writing will be. And I hope that some young woman has begun to visualize her lifework, a shining series of interlocking narratives that will provide the material to repair some of the buildings of the centuries-old tradition of Christian writing. These were left unfinished when the writers of my generation turned aside to imitate our culture rather than turning first to the community that always should be available in Christ."

Larry Woiwode, Acts (Harper Collins, 1993), pp. 74, 75-76.