The heart of all great fiction, the thing which pumps lifeblood through the best stories of every genre, is courage. The characters who make a lasting impact on our souls are the ones who do not run from the conflicts which confront them. Whether they display the courage to take a stand against epic forces of darkness, or the courage to bring human perpetrators to justice, or the simple, personal courage required to risk one’s heart by loving another, great characters learn to behave boldly. Through their struggles, they develop the type of courage each of us hopes to have when confronted by the inescapable trials and assaults of this fallen world.
Yet, courage is the heart of great fiction not merely because it is a quality we can admire in imaginary characters. The very act of writing requires immeasurable courage. To have the audacity to believe that you have something to say, to take the risk of submitting work to be critiqued, to brave the rejection of editors and agents, all these are bold and valiant steps. Every great writer must learn to exercise the bold faith to, “Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14) Let us pray for the faith to trust in God’s good plan for our writing and our lives so that we can boldly and fearlessly strive to create fiction that is truly great.
This is an article which I wrote for the Christian Writers of the West February newsletter.