Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fiction...Waste of Time?

Some people don't like fiction because it's "not real" and "a waste of time," but personally I think that well-written fiction can draw readers toward the gospel.

For example, in my first novel From Dust and Ashes I interviewed dozens of World War II veterans for research. Of course these men wanted to read the completed novel, so I sent each one a copy. Some of the men were Christian, some were Jewish, and some had no faith. Still, I didn't get one negative comment about the salvation message in the story. In fact, one Jewish man ordered many copies for all his friends!

In the book, I used the story of the Edelweiss to share the gospel. This flower is found in the high alps and young men would climb the mountains to bring back a flower for their true loves. Many a young lover died attempting to show his devotion. In my novel one character tells another, "Jesus is like that lover, yet he climbed that mountain knowing he was going to die to prove his love." In this book a Nazi officer's wife actually gets on her knees and accepts Christ.

One veteran wrote back listing 24 different "research" things I'd gotten right. Then he ended his letter by saying, "You did a great job writing this story, now can you tell me more about your faith in Jesus?" You can believe I wrote him back that day! Because I was diligent about getting the facts of his (the veteran's) story right the man was interested in HIS (Jesus') story. How exciting!

Also, years after it was published I also received an email from a Swiss girl who'd read the book in German. She said, "When Helene got on her knees and accepted Christ, I did too."

In writing historical fiction I've learned my reader will trust the author by the correct research ... and sometimes this trust can make an eternal difference.


Dara said...

That's an amazing story!

It would be awesome reach out that way. I'm often afraid that the message in my writing may come across too preachy or not there at all? How do you find the balance and relay the message with meaning, but not so the reader feels like it's being pushed at them?

Carla Gade said...

I have goosebumps, Tricia! I believe that Christian fiction can be a ministry and truly hope my stories someday will have a similar result. Blessings,Carla

Tricia Goyer said...


I use "Writing the Breakout Novel" to REALLY understand my character's motivations, struggles, beliefs. If you ask hard questions and have a character that grows, then you will help readers walk through the same questions without being preachy. You don't need to give ALL the answers, just a few good ones interwoven with the story.