I am a writer.
I think. At least, that’s what a few people have told me and what I keep trying to tell myself most days. I can’t say it feels quite real, though. Not yet, at least. You see, this is all sort of new for me, a journey that only began two years ago, the summer I turned thirty-nine.
Well, maybe the journey really started six years ago. My third child was born, I had a smartphone, and I stumbled upon a concept called fan fiction. So those dark, silent nights rocking and nursing my son also became the hours I would read story after story on my phone, delving deeper into worlds I already knew and loved.
After four years of reading, one day, a thought popped into my head: I wonder if I could write a fan fiction story? I figured I didn’t have anything to lose but some time, so I went ahead and started one. It was focused on one of the adult characters from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a werewolf named Remus Lupin. After fiddling around with it for a little while, I emailed it to a friend of mine, who was the only other person I knew who had even heard of fanfiction, let alone wrote it. She suggested I keep going and start posting the chapters on fanfiction.net and Wattpad to get feedback from other people in that fandom. So I did, and within just a few weeks, the stats page was showing that quite a few people were reading the story, and some were reviewing and saying how much they liked it and were looking forward to reading more.
Success! Or, so you might think. It turned out that among the flavor of churches my family attends, Harry Potter is culturally taboo, and I started to get some sidelong looks when people asked what I was writing. Why would I support a series that is steeped in magic and actually uses the word witchcraft in the name of their school? Witchcraft is clearly portrayed as wicked in the Bible, and against the gospel of Jesus.
So I had to do a lot of praying. Because they aren’t wrong. Round and round in my head, I argued with myself about whether I should stop writing the story.
“Witchcraft is trying to tap into some supernatural power to manipulate the physical world in our favor instead of relying on the God of the universe to be working on our behalf.”
“But the Harry Potter books aren’t really about the Wiccan religion. They clearly describe good versus evil and extol virtues like courage and loyalty and kindness.”
“They are using magic to draw children into a fantasy world, and that could lead them to New Age paganism and turning their backs on God.”
“J. R. R. Tolkien had wizards in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.”
“He was also a staunch Catholic and was famous among Christians for being the man who helped bring C.S. Lewis to faith in Jesus.”
“Didn’t C.S. Lewis use magic to draw children into a fantasy world?”
“Yes, but Lewis clearly pointed children back to Jesus and was a famous Christian apologist. What is it you’re trying to do exactly?”
Depending on your own flavor of church this might not seem like a big deal, but I truly wanted to do whatever honored God the most. If He clearly said I was supposed to lay the story down and never pick it up again, then I would do that without hesitation.
One day, while I was praying circles around this subject yet again, I said in frustration, “Maybe I’m just being selfish because I really like the characters I’ve created!”
At that moment I clearly heard God say in my heart: “I do too.”
There was no condemnation for what I had written, what I had created. There was just peace. So I said, “OK, then. Where do we go from here?”
And, one morning on our way to church a few weeks later, God spoke again and quietly asked, “What if they met me?”
And that was when the whole premise of the story changed. He showed me I now had an audience that would read Harry Potter, but probably not be comfortable having genuine conversations about God. So over months and months and 300,000, words I led the characters and the readers on a journey of faith and testing and perseverance and forgiveness and hope. I created a pack of werewolves who had been healed by the Creator. I talked about supernatural warriors fighting demonic enemies. I started asking myself how I could use characters that readers already loved to introduce them to some truths about God.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about writing. Maybe you are a writer and are feeling dried up and uninspired and need to find something new to motivate you. Maybe you know you need to work on some aspects of your craft but a new original piece seems too daunting. Maybe you want to share your faith with someone but aren’t sure how to do it. Movies, books, video games…anything you might enjoy has a fandom attached to it and fan fiction pieces written for it. So maybe you should look into writing fan fiction. The characters, plot, and setting are already there for you, and so is the audience.
Read Part 2 of Monica’s submission, a fanfiction piece inspired by Harry Potter, tomorrow!
About Monica Street
On a lighter note I love tea and chocolate and music and old things. I’m a stay-at-home-homeschooling-mama of four, and I am the parent who has introduced her kids to Hogwarts, Narnia, the One Ring, the Avengers, the Justice League, and the ways of the Force. My husband shakes his head and smiles.
I post stories on the mobile app Texties as M Street, fanfiction.net, and Wattpad under the profile MamaStreet.
Feel free to email me if you want to talk stories at mamastreetstories@gmail.