Alphabet Blogging: O is for…


A few years ago, I wrote about how it’s difficult for me to be real and open in my writing. Not much has changed since that post. It’s still hard for me to be transparent in my writing, and I know that affects the sincerity of the writing. When I write without openness and sincerity, my words feel wooden and my characters are as interesting as cardboard.

A couple of days ago in church, however, I was again reminded of the importance of being open. During Bible study, my pastor shared how a friend witnessed to others by first admitting to his own personal struggles. He did this to show people that he wasn’t one of (as another friend put it) “those Christians”, the misconception of a prideful believer who thinks he/she is above everyone else.

I personally like this approach much more than any witnessing “technique” I was exposed to as a teen, because so often, I feel like the misconception is reality–at least to those we are witnessing to. It also reminded me of another sermon in which my pastor said that he believes in order to gain the right to witness to people, we should first be their friend.

As a writer, I’ve long believed that I’m in a unique position to be a witness for my faith. While I don’t think that every story I write requires or would even be good with a “message”, I know that if I can gain readers’ trust by writing good stories, they might be willing to try a story with more of my faith in evidence, knowing that I won’t act stuck-up, or like I have all the answers.

But I can’t do this without being open. Without showing readers that I am not perfect, by writing stories that might not be all pretty and neatly wrapped up in a shiny bow at the end. By raising questions. By just being myself on the page. This is something I’m fairly passionate about, even though it scares the crap out of me. It takes quite a bit of faith myself for me to take this sort of step in my writing.

Is there something about your own writing that scares you?

About H. A. Titus

H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. Her love affair with fantasy began at age twelve, when her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings after listening to it on tape during a family vacation. Her stories have been published in Digital Dragon Magazine, Residential Aliens Magazine, and four anthologies: Alternative Witness; Avenir Eclectia Volume 1; The Tanist's Wife and Other Stories; and Different Dragons Volume II. In December 2013, her short story "Dragon Dance" won Honorable Mention in a Writers of the Future contest. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young son, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world. When she's not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skiing, or hanging out at her online home, hatitus.wordpress.com.

13 comments on “Alphabet Blogging: O is for…

  1. I’ve read that if your WIP doesn’t scare you in some way, then you’re not digging deep enough.

    For me, I’ve studied how to make the reader feel things, and I experimented lots in my fanfiction. I learned that the reader will feel whatever the character feels. And the clearer I can portray the character’s feelings, the more the reader will empathize.

    Right now I’m wrestling with conversations with emotional subtexts. Like, the one I worked on yesterday, the heroine is driving her ex to his apartment. She’s being extremely nasty because she’s still attracted to him, and she doesn’t want to be. And he’s being a jerk, teasing, laughing, twisting the knife.

    It’s hard to write, but MAN is it fun to read.

    • > I’ve read that if your WIP doesn’t scare you in some way, then you’re not digging deep enough.

      Now THAT’S something to think about over my morning coffee! 🙂

    • It’ feel it should scare you enough. Growth will emerge if you want it to. I’m use to that mentality. And as much as it bites I need it to grow. Delusions I am not. I agree one should express enough emotional visionary concepts. Sbd give the teader something to be moved by.
      Bet you’re a good writer.

  2. I’ve mentioned here something before that scares me: I Simply Don’t Like My Protagonist to Suffer (with apologies to A.A. Milne and his writing style). Because when *he suffers, *I suffer. But the whole point of Drama is to Make Your Protagonist Suffer. He or she has that Inner Journey as well as that Outer Journey to make.

    But there’s a workaround or three possible. My protagonist, in his mature form, has already Been There and Done That. Great suffering has forged him into what he is. So I can go back into his past (I’ve tried that and it worked), note that For Every Strength There Is a Weakness (wow, did that EVER work), make him a Mentor of Heroes rather than a Hero (I’m trying that), or focus on a protagonist who I *can make suffer while in his own journey (I think I am about ready to do that).

    As for the rest, you can find out what scares me the most about creative writing in my upcoming guest blog and the essay on my own blog to which it links: trying to please both God and the world and in the end pleasing neither.

    • John: Looking forward to reading your guest blog! That sounds fascinating!

    • With all due respect, I don’t like suffering but suffering is a part of life. And reality is what we all must endure or we aren’t dealing with truths that bind us needlessly . I remember asking you several times if Alain could be more real, have overt vulnerabilities. You are an imaginative writer, I just need for me more adventure and realistic flaws and failings with my characters. I need more emotional and mental stimulation with what I read or write. Just my style .

  3. What scares me about my writing is how often the flaws I “invent” for my characters, like pride or insecurity (or cognitive dissonance, LOL) turn out to be my own flaws.

  4. Nice post and I do like the concept of alphabet blogging, it helps when you’re stuck for a subject. What scares me about writing? The scary thing for me is that I reveal too much of myself in my work. Everything I write is personal and sometimes I even write a blog and think, I can’t share this on facebook as my personal friends will see it!
    Great blog, best wishes, Steve

  5. I’m a novice where you all are concerned. I am someone who needs to write from a medieval or futuristic realm with realistic adventure in terms of real life. I like the fantasy aspects but she must be realistic with realistic behavuors, vulnerabilities and close calls. I am not a fan of pure idealistic approaches with Heros who are unreal and without vulnerabilities. It’s isn’t interesting enough for me. I do not like complete transparency. In real life or in fantasy. Mystery and giving readers opportunities to imagine “what or who,” lies at the heart of that outer shell is necessary for me. I do not believe in life God expects us to be trabsparent to the world. Only He needs to know our every thought and deed. This world will only take advantage of your transparency. My fantasy fiction worlds must face much mystery and reality. Those are what I love reading. It allows me to actively participate in their world. Because I’m not being told everything.

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