4 Tips on Merging Fiction With Faith

Yup, you read that title right. We're here to (FINALLY) tackle this infamous topic- a topic that I think many teenage writers shy away from. 

Because it's the adults who are really the ones that can incorporate powerful Christian messages into their fiction. But us? We're just teens.

We often feel like we're not mature enough to write our faith into our stories, or not skilled enough, or somehow just not good enough.  If or when we try to, it will most likely come off as preachy, so let's just focus on getting our characters consistent, and our plot smoothed out, and let's try and get out storyworld developed.

Once we've got all that down, maybe we can broach the topic of our faith. But not too strongly; maybe just have the main character's uncle mention God once or twice.




And that's what we think- it's even what we're told in some cases.

Get the basics down.

Don't worry about Christian themes.

As long as there's nothing bad in there, you're good.

You can worry about those things when you're older.

It's time to stop listening to those voices, and it's time to start realizing that God has us where we are for a reason. He gave us this ability and love of writing right now. He knows that we're teens. He knows that we're younger in our faith than other adult writers out there.

And yet He still has called us to write. As teens.

Stop telling yourself that you're too young to serve God with your writing, and start realizing that it's what He wants from you.

He wants your everything, and that includes your writing.

But while that sounds nice and all- you're probably wondering "How? How can I do this without sounding preachy?"

And I'm here to tell you, it's not as complicated as many people make it out to be.
We've all heard this before, but it's not normally applied to our faith. What has God shown you? How have you seen God work in your own life and the lives of people around you?

Don’t write about things you haven’t experienced yourself. Don't try and write a theme about how to be a good Christian parent. Don't try and write a theme about marriage. Don't try to write a theme about Christians and depression if you've never had depression and don't know much about it.

But how about writing a theme that deals with God's views on peer pressure? How about a theme addressing the importance of a close relationship with your parents? Or- and I hope you can write this one- a theme that shows a character going from skeptical of faith to finding salvation in Christ alone?

As Christian teenagers, most of us have experience with some of these things, so when we write them, we will know what we're dealing with. We know how it feels. We can write the thought processes of our characters, because we've had similar thought processes.

Don't just focus on what you know. Think of what God is teaching you in your everyday life. What little nuggets has God shown you when you opened up His Word and studied it? What seemingly commonplace experiences have reminded you to focus on Him?

When I was writing my second novel, I was unsure of what I wanted the theme to be. But I went ahead and started writing, and pretty soon, I had my theme. I wanted to write about identity found in Christ alone- and so I set out to do it.

At first, I didn't realize how much this would mean to me. But as I was nearing the end of my book (the part where my theme shone through the strongest), God used experiences in my own life to show me I needed to change my outlook. Here I was writing about identity in Christ, yet I was still letting the wrong things define me.

Since I was experiencing what I wrote, I could write it realistically. It flowed with my story. And it wasn’t preachy- but it was meaningful.

In a way, this goes with "Write What You Know", but it's distinct enough that I'm giving it's own point. Because when we write what we care about, chances are it won't read like a lecture. It won't be stale or dry, but instead it will be real and will invoke emotions in your reader.

If God has given you a passion, then use it for His glory. What makes you excited? What gets you angry or makes you sad? What inspires you to reach out to others around you, or to try and speak out for change?

When you write your passions, there will be no lack of emotion for you or your reader. Don’t write an agenda- write a story with meaning.

Ask God to help you write what He wants you to. It's as simple as that.


1 Timothy 4:12 is a verse most are familiar with. It says this:

“Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”

We know it. We’ve heard it. We might even have it memorized.

But are we applying it to our writing? What do our words say about our faith and our God?


~ Jonathan 

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50 comments:

  1. This post was amazing. A lot of your posts have been especially meaningful, well thought out, encouraging and helpful lately. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks so much! YES I KNOW. XD It's because God's been showing me a lot of stuff lately, and what do I do when God shows me stuff? BLOG ABOUT IT, OBVIOUSLY. :D

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  2. What an awesome post, Jonathan! I often struggle with adding faith to my stories. Most of the time, it seems unnatural and I end up making it much less obvious. I would like to write an overtly Christian book sometime, though. :)

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    1. Thank you! SAME. It's definitely a challenge. My #1 piece of advice for anyone who wants to write an overtly Christian book (actually my #1 piece of advice for all of life, period xP) is to stay in a close relationship with God. *nods* :D It's amazing what He can show us if we stay in His Word and spend time in prayer!

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  3. Well said! (Er...written.) ;)
    God gifted us with the fantastic gift of writing, why not give Him the glory through it?
    Thanks for the great reminders you've been posting lately. They're super helpful!

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    1. Thank you!
      Haha yes exactly my thoughts. :D Glad you've enjoyed my posts lately!

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  4. Amen, Jonathan! This is EXACTLY it... God knows we're teens and so we have lots of journey left ahead of us... but He doesn't want us to limit ourselves. God says there is a season to be young!
    When I feel like I'm getting blocked or stressed when I'm writing, my life saver (and... well, this is for LIFE period, ha!) is to PRAY. When I read His Word... then I see a piece, and I realize that's what my story needs.... God is there to guide us. In writing or life. He has given us a Voice to use for His Light... ♥
    God bless, Jonathan!
    -Ang | thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks! Glad you agree haha. :D
      SAME. I totally agree with all of that. *nods* Prayer and Bible reading are definitely huge parts of it.

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  5. I really like your first point, Write What You Know. I love how you said to write about the things God is teaching you. That's a great example. Thanks for another awesome post. :)

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    1. Thanks so much! You're way too nice haha :D

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  6. Hats off to you, sir! I think you've got it!
    Authenticity seems a key thing, here.

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  7. Basically yes to this aaaall.

    This was something I struggled with so. much. Over the last five years (aka since I started writing) and it's only been really recently that I actually realised that the best method ever is to go to God. Dude, I really should've thought of it earlier but somehow I never did? That's been the same for the other parts of my life too. Being really busy and freaking out because I'm swamped by everything and then suddenly stopping and going "Oh wait. God is bigger than this...Let me take it to him. And He has got this."

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    1. Lol well glad it's not a "no." xP

      Okay but first things first: kudos to you for sticking with writing for FIVE YEARS. *gasp* XD I just started when I was 16 soooo #totalnewbie But yeah that was the same for me at first. *nods* I knew I was going to write faith into my novel but I didn't really pray about it at all and it ended up being forced/fake. But the more I pray, the more I realize I can trust God with aaallll of the things. :D

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  8. Thank you so much, Jonathan. I've been really struggling to write God into my works and not leave him out, because he really is the most important person in my life and I want to give my life to him. I don't know how to do it, but these last few posts you've done are so hopeful. Thanks for sharing what God has been teaching you.
    ~Faith
    thefloridsword.blogspot.com

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    1. Aw, well I'm so glad you've liked my last few posts! :D Thank YOU bc this comment is super encouraging.

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  9. Wow. This was amazing. Also something I've been working on A LOT in my writing lately. So thank you. :) This was exactly what I needed to read today...and I don't comment that to every blog post I read.

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    1. Thank yooou. :D SAME. (obviously, since I wrote a blog post about it.... haha)

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  10. FINALLY YOU LAZY HUMAN!!!! GONNA GO READ IT NOOOWWW!!!!

    Allie Taylor / Hebrews 11:1 / thedepthofmyfaith7.blogspot.com

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  11. Wow. Wowowowwowow. wow. That was amazing, Jonathan. Just- spot on. Thank you so much for this post. It's was amazing.

    I have a request, if you could accept it. Could you maybe right a post on voice? Like, expressing your voice in your writing. I could really use that right about now.

    Allie Taylor / Hebrews 11:1

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    1. So glad you found it helpful! :D

      Wow, I'm super flattered that you would come to /me/ with that question. BC I'M NOT ACTUALLY THAT KNOWLEDGEABLE?? XD But I'll see what I can whip up. I already have pretty much all of April planned out, so it probably wouldn't go up until at least May. No promises, but if I can come up with something, I'll be happy to post it. :D

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  12. Wow, this was great! This is so helpful, since I've been trying to incorporate my faith in my novels WHILE I'm writing them. :P It can be difficult sometimes, but all we have to do is, like you said, pray for guidance. I mean, God already knows what He wants us to write, right? ;)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Jonathan! :)

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    1. Thanks! :D SAME I DO THAT ALSO. XD I don't really plot out my themes, normally they just sort of happen haha. That's absolutely right though! :D

      Thanks for reading!

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  13. This was incredible and I legit have no words. THANK YOU for this - it was so helpful. I try to incorporate my faith in my words, but it always comes off as flat and forced. Which, needless to say, makes putting my faith into my books really hard for me. It's easier for me to incorporate my faith if it's more of a theme in the book - like, if the book's theme is forgiveness or facing fears - and less of a 'the characters are Christian and let us all learn from their journey' kind of thing. And for some reason just weaving my faith into the theme has never felt like enough to me. Oh well - I'll find the balance somewhere xD.

    Thanks a million for this post, Jonathan!

    ~ Savannah
    scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com

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    1. NO THANK YOOOU this comment is super fabulous and encouraging. :D I can totally relate to that struggle though! I definitely went through a similar thing when I was writing my first novel. *nods* It /is/ a lot easier if it relates to your theme though, that's a super good point. :D

      thanks for commenting!

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  14. AAAAHHH. YOU DID IT. THIS POST = AWESOMENESS. Yes. Yes. YESSSS. These points are fantastic. Who says we can't write about our faith because we're teenagers? It's now in this time of our lives that we need to know we're not alone and that we can grow closer to Christ.

    I wish I'd known these things before I started writing Christian fiction. I figured them out as I went, but wow. This post is so amazing and thank you for sharing this.

    audrey caylin

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    1. EEK WELL THANKS. XD Super glad you're enjoying them! I definitely agree with that. :D

      SAME. Definitely had the same experience haha. :D

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  15. Ooh, I really really love this. (& did you let me read an earlier draft of this post or something? Because it seems so familiar and I like how it turned out.)

    I think this is one main reason I've shied away from writing fiction - because I don't want to write something that means nothing. Or that I'll try too hard to insert a message where it doesn't fit. It's awesome to know it can be done well - but I think I'll stick with my nonfic. XD

    Prayer is so important when it comes to writing. *nods and reminds self to pray more often while writing* XD

    But yeah, you're so right about writing what you know/are passionate about; the first story I tried writing when I was 11 was about a grown woman with a boring office job in a tiny cubicle. XDDDDDDDD Needless to say, it didn't turn out all that well.

    Anyway. *claps* Fabulous.

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    1. thanks! (hmm... perhaps? I have sorta had it for a while and I definitely could have bc it was on google docs at one point)

      *nods* That's super valid. I feel the same way, haha. Yes I agree- stick with the nonfic bc you're brilliant at it. ;)

      IKR I need to remind myself to pray about my writing more often also... because I really don't do it enough.

      Oh my woord. That's hilarious though- the things we think up when we're 11. XD

      thank yooou :D

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  16. AH! I haven't been on your blog in SO long!!! Where did all the time go?! HOW ARE YOU???

    Anyways, this was a really great post. I'm always afraid about my writing being preachy so it was very encouraging to read this. Thank you! *applause*

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    1. WHOA SAME TO YOU. We haven't talked in like forever?? XD BUT I AM DOING GOOD. :D

      Thank you! Glad it encouraged you :D

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  17. such a good post! this has been one of my goals with my writing and I guess you could say it's a life-long-writing-thing. It's not something you just /know/ how to do, but something God guides you through.

    anyways, kinda late here, but this was a great post XD

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    1. thanks! yeah same for me. *nods*

      haha well my reply is late also so we're even xD

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  18. Really amazing and insightful. So cool to know that teenages have the faith and the courage to step out, and speak about God and how he can shine through in writing. It's so cool that we can trust God to guide us through with our writings!

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    1. Thanks! I'm so glad you found this inspiring :D

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  19. Excellent post! This one really spoke to me and it's something that I need to practice. I need to work on making my faith . . . flow a bit more in my stories. Sometimes its easier than others. Thanks for listening to God's voice and writing this for us! It's super helpful. :)

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    1. Thanks! I can definitely relate- the struggle is real. :D Super glad you liked this!

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  20. Oh, this post is amazing! And very, very relatable. I finally got the courage to find a way to incorporate faith into my Camp NaNo Novel without being preachy, so I'll definitely use these tips while editing!

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    1. Thank you!! Well great work during Camp, and good luck with your editing :D

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  21. Oh my goodness, YAY! I've been waiting FOREVER for someone to tackle this! xD
    Anyway, I'm a little late ('cause that's what I do), but this post was (is?) SO helpful!!!!! *flails*
    I'm in the middle of a crazy/weird/fantasy story, and I think I've found a way to incorporate a Christian message into it. It's hard to do that with fantasy. Especially when it involves fairies and magical abilities to shoot fire and ice out of your hands. (Don't. Even. Ask. xP)
    My sister has been working on a book, and she's SO GOOD at this!!!!!! *cries*
    Ahem.
    Thanx so much for the amazing (and SUPER helpful) post!!!

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    1. WELL WAIT NO LONGER. XD Glad you stumbled across this!
      (it's okay, I'm late a lot also. xD) Thanks!
      Aaahhhh yeah I can definitely see how it would be harder when your novel is like that. *nods* (hehe I won't lol :P)
      JUST KEEP WRITING. XD You'll get better!!

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    2. Yay! I am, too! :D You're welcome! (My family name is in the meaning of late in the Dictionary! Well, not really, but now you get a picture of my lateness.... xP)
      It's very, VERY hard, and it took lots of brainstorming. And lots of late nights. (Or early mornings.... *laughs nervously*)
      I will! Thanx for the encouragement! :D

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  22. Hi, Jonathan! I found this post through Savannah Grace's blog recently, and I wanted to tell you it was very encouraging and well-written!
    "Get the basics down. Don't worry about Christian themes. As long as there's nothing bad in there, you're good. You can worry about those things when you're older." <-- These are all things I have felt before. I think a lot of kids are told that as long as they're not hurting anyone nobody cares what they do. It was SO encouraging to hear someone talk about writing like this, so thanks for posting!

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    1. *makes a mental note to go thank Savannah for linking to me* XD Thanks, glad you liked it! :D

      I think a lot of kids are told that also. *nods* Especially teenagers!! But I'm glad this post encouraged you :D

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  23. Amen to the last one. Thanks for sharing; it was encouraging.

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    1. Thanks for reading! Glad you were encouraged :D

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  24. This is so cool! You are spot on, and it was so encouraging to hear your thoughts. I think we as teens have a huge potential for writing fiction with faith because we KNOW what we want, right? We're not going to write something too preachy because we hate that, we know we'd just be scanning over that part (me at least!). Yet we want faith in are books, because we are dealing with faith, we are trying to figure out what we believe, we want to face it. And we should.
    Especially your last point, asking God for wisdom--that is so key! And I'm sure you've experienced this too, but when we write prayerfully, God starts showing and teaching us so many things!
    Thanks for this post!

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    1. Thank you! Super glad you found this encouraging. :D
      YES IT'S SO TRUE. Plus we're not really hindered by what we think the market wants... at least I'm not. Probably because I'm not in tune with the market thing at all. xD
      Yes I agree! IT'S SUPER IMPORTANT.
      Thanks for reading!

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