Chewing on Food for Thought

Someday I would love to sit with a group of fiction-writers in a discussion on free-will vs. sovereignty.

I find being an author colors so much of my interpretation of the issue.

(And other writers don’t need me to tell them that there are certain things non-writers just don’t *get.*)

Ironically, that reality only highlights our limitations as communicators…

9 thoughts on “Chewing on Food for Thought

  1. Rats! I’m not a fiction writer. (Although I am considering a series of vignette’s based on my grandfathers life–more of the historical fiction variety.) Guess I just don’t get it. :)

  2. Lately my mind has been exploring the metaphor (if that’s the right word) of God-as-author:
    He, being outside time and still able to influence it, in complete control, and still allowing evil…

    With fellow writers I imagine being able to automatically exclude the (blatantly false) extremes of man-as-robots and man-as-more-powerful-than-God: i.e., the faults lifted as straw-man arguments by each side seeking to discredit the other.

    As writers we’ve seen there is this amount of autonomy somehow inherent even in the characters we create. I can’t guess how many authors I’ve heard/read say the characters took on a life of their own and began to drive the story; and yet Our purposes are fulfilled (those of us who have a purpose and stick to an outline).

    And still, for all the push-and-pull there’s nothing there that we have not created….

    It’s crazy-thick, and while some non-writers may know what I’m talking about (sorry E), so far those I’ve tried this on don’t appreciate the complexity of the example.

    I have to say (or someone else will) that of course the analogy breaks down at the point when we are less perfect than God, but this, and other forms of the author interacting with his/her created world, are what has had my imagination spinning with a whole new image of God’s interaction with this world.

  3. Actually, thanks for the explanation. I get it a bit more now. Veeery interesting thought.

    (Have you read the Inkheart/Inkspell/Indeath series? It sort of takes that concept and twists it a bit.)

    I love it when you give me a new thought to ponder.

  4. E– I only read the first one, tried to read the second, couldn’t get into it, and read a review that informed me the younger characters get into pre-marital sex so I figured it wasn’t worth sticking with.

    What happens in those books is a good example of why my analygy works so poorly with non-writers: to say that my characters “make their own choices” leads to a basic anarchy and bizarreness exampled in that series.

    (For the uninitiated, I mean the novel-world within the novel, not that the characters of the listed books are somehow themselves out of control. It is a very imaginative consept, I’ve just chosen not to take the ride, knowing where Funke wanted it to go.)

    I tried this Sunday to explain my novel/author analygy, and Jay told me later I didn’t do very well– that it sounded more like I had some weird thing going on that I can’t even control my own characters.

    (Slightly embarrassing.)

    And that’s why I decided a conversation like this would only work among writers, those who have experienced (or can imagine) what I tried to discribe in my last comment: the ability of fully-formed characters to express their personalities in the “choices” they make.

    Within this context it makes perfect sense to me that God, the ultimate creator, breathes true life into individuals that have their own unique responses to the lives they’ve been given.

  5. If there’s pre-marital sex in those books, I missed it. Now I’m going to read it again and see if I missed something because if that’s the case, I certainly don’t want it around.

    Actually your analogy makes a lot of sense to me. I find it fascinating.

  6. This is the review I found. Maybe I was just looking for a justification to let the book go, but from what I read myself, I know I’m not interested in finishing it (in a life’s-too-short kinda way).

    I have so many things to read I rarely finish anything I dislike out of sheer loyalty.

    I suppose that’s sacrilege to someone, but I figure it’s a legitimate coping mechanism for this season of my life.

  7. Non-writers think it sounds kooky if you say anything about your characters sort of “leading themselves” or taking themselves or their story lines in a direction you hadn’t anticipated. I think the analogy works quite well.

  8. Ok, sorry about that. There is one character that dallies around significantly. I was only thinking of the main character Maggie, and although she gets some kissing in, nothing else happens. It’s one of the other characters (Oedipus, if you made it far enough in to book 2) who really gets nasty. I forgot about him, sorry.

    As for not finishing it, I can understand. I’m trying to learn to be that way more–if I don’t like it don’t bother, but so far my voracious need to find out how it ends has trumped that better feeling most of the time.

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