Sermons and Soap Boxes
We can all give sermons. We all have lists of the social ills that we would like to fix. We all have causes we are passionate about, but should they be in your book? The key to not only having good lessons but lessons that people will listen to and learn from it to write from your heart, not your soap box and weaving them through the story, not dumping them into sermons.
Are you going into a story with an axe to grind or chip on your shoulder? That will produced a story written you of frustration and anger that will more likely push people away then convict them of their sins. Examine you attitude toward the lessons you are trying to teach and make sure you are always writing out of love.
I cannot tell you how many times I have opened a book marketed to conservative Christians and/or home-schoolers and found that the book had lessons that can best be described at preaching to the choir. When you write a book, make sure you keep in mind your target audience. If you are writing to home-schoolers, they probably already know the down sides to public schools. If you are writing to girls who are planning on doing courtship, they don’t need a lecture on the issues with dating.
In one of my favorite series of books, Secrets of Heathersleigh Hall by Michael Philips; one of the characters is a pastor and gives several sermons, which I skipped. Sermons are rarely well received in a fiction book. If people wanted to read a sermon, they would have gotten a theology book, not a fiction book. Even if you have a character who is a pastor, sermons are not wanted most of the time.
Sermons can work though. In one of my new favorite series, Charity’s Dairy by Elisabeth Allen, she has a few sermons. She makes them work by not writing out the whole sermon. You either hear the beginning or the end and it always gets Charity thinking. This is a wonderful example of sermons that work.
Moral of the Story
Let’s all get off our soap boxes and out of the pulpits when trying to conveys our lessons. We might be surprised how much more the reader listens.
Join me next week as we explore writing from the heart…