Fanfiction and Faith: God Can Use ALL Things

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.

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Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

 

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

Version 2I believe in stories. Some stories are real, some are imaginary, but all have power. I believe God is a story teller. He uses stories to help us understand who He is and who we are. I believe we are created in the image of God and, as image-bearers, our stories cannot help but reflect facets of God, of His creation, of His stories. My desire is that my stories reflect those facets accurately.

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.

Follow the Spirit: A Testimony by Author Anne Perreault

My name is Anne Perreault. I write Christian fiction in order to encourage and strengthen each other. 

Stories! 

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To me there is something magical that happens when I allow myself to enter into one. I know exactly what I’ll find. It is a world of order, where I know the outcome is going to be happy. Books mean calm when everything around me can explode into chaos. I found that so true as a young child, when I would rather have my nose in a book than play outside with my friends. I even began to let my imagination roam during the night, a time usually filled with fear.

 Stories kept my nightmares at bay. 

God touched my heart when I was young, but it took a long time to really understand what He had done for me. 

As I grew older, tales occupied my mind most of the time. They became the refuge I needed. I was never going to be a writer. I discovered that early on in my life. I recall one specific time, when our assignment was to reproduce the story of Macbeth in modern times. I was so proud when I set it to the tone of Dallas, a TV show my family and I enjoyed watching. Apparently my teacher wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t mourn the passing of ‘my’ plan. After all, I knew that something better waited for me. 

With the passage of time, the stories in my head became my constant companion. During my second year at boarding school I experienced what probably was the darkest moments in my life. I missed my family, missed my adventures, and found myself lonely and alone. God came into my life again, this time talking to me in a more mature, grown up manner. But another story began to form in my mind that satisfied me more than God could at the time. When I visited my characters, I was able to forget the troubles of my present situation. 

I was no longer empty or lonely. 

This particular story stayed with me into adulthood, as I met and married my college boyfriend. It was my constant companion during the difficult times of raising a family, learning to be a wife and mother, and dealing with life. I also began to understand what Jesus had done on the cross and accepted Him as my Lord and Savior. 

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As my relationship with my Lord grew, He began to nudge me into an uncomfortable situation. He wanted me to stop visiting my secret hiding place. At the time I was not aware that I used it as an escape, a crutch. We had several words about it, and it was too difficult for me to leave my imaginary world behind. I went through a period when all I could do was stay in that world of make believe, where everything turned out just fine and I knew what would happen next. Once I came out of this dark period, God sat me down again and demanded I leave my imagination where it belonged. At the altar. 

Little did I know that He had a reason. The two years that followed were even harder than the period of darkness, and I had to manage it without the help of my husband, who was called into the desert (literally) to deal with his own baggage. During this time, I managed to cling onto the Lord, who truly became my everything. I no longer had a need for imagination. I could no longer go into the world of make believe to shut myself away from my family because I was needed more than ever. I could no longer hide but had to face the reality of life. 

I later on came to understand how good God is. Once my husband returned to our family, we made plans to move, to build a house. There was no need for my imaginary crutch, because I had something much more substantial keeping me going. I had God! His guidance was so strong, I felt it in my heart every moment of the day. It was an amazing time.

 I had started to write a story for my daughter years before. Being a homeschooling mom, I was disgusted at the choices of reading material I had available for a young, Christian girl. I wanted something that encouraged my daughter in her walk. I recalled my ability to spin a pretty good yarn and started writing. It took me twelve years to finish it – I lost it, the computer broke, I erased it because I was disgusted with it, and so on. You get the picture. When I was done, I remember closing my laptop and feeling kind of sad. I also asked the Lord, “Now what, God?” 

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Let me tell you: unless you expect an answer don’t ask. To say I was surprised when He answered back would be the understatement of the year. I almost fell out of my seat. I remember my heart racing so fast when I realized what was happening. His answer was, “Write the story.”

 Thus began a time of fierce battle going back and forth. It started with me going, “Nanananana, not listening,” in a very mature manner, to finally explaining my position to God. I couldn’t go back to this story He was urging me to revisit. He had asked me to stop and I felt that going back would open me up to using my imagination as a crutch again. I had come so far in twelve years.

 I finally had to leave it in His hands. I agreed that I would write only if God put a neon sign in front of me, affirming that it was from Him. When ya ask for a neon sign be prepared to find one. I was at a woman’s retreat when it just stood out at me. The theme of the guest speaker was ‘Write your story’. I surrendered myself to writing, and God hasn’t stopped giving me stories yet. 

I found a different kind of refuge in writing. When I finally agreed, the Lord met me on every page I was pouring myself out on. I often compared myself to others in terms of… everything really. But mostly I didn’t think I had a creative bone in my body. He showed me that He is the Creator. I’m His created, thus my creativity is different from everyone else. I’m unique in it. I thought that was pretty neat. We delved in much deeper than that. I had some major issues of mistrust and we addressed it. I love my characters. God showed me through this writing process, that He loves me ten thousand times more. Me!!!! He has a very particular place in His heart for ME, a wonderful plan for my life. And just like I knew the outcome of the story, He knows the outcome of mine. And it’s going to be okay. He’s got it all under control.

 When my character was in a terrible storm that threatened to sink the boat, I kept on thinking, Just hang in there. Two more pages and it’ll be all done. God whispered the same words into my heart. The storms in our lives are temporary. And He’s with us, weathering them side by side with us. That gave me a moment to pause and linger. After I wiped a tear or two, I forged on. 

God has showed me His character when I sit down to write. In turn, I’d like to present it to my readers. I don’t want them to go through life thinking that all is lost, that they are alone. Because they aren’t. The Lord has sent me down some pretty tough stories to write. At the heart is always that He’s there. No matter what.

 I was moved by something a friend told me. She’s not a Christian… yet. She bought my book out of love for me and found herself super surprised when she was finished. She said that she can believe in the God I presented in my story. It’s not about doing the right thing. It’s always about the heart.

 As Christians, or even writers, we don’t know how we influence someone. I hope that I can encourage everyone to keep writing, keep being creative. God has made us that way.

 Let that be your inspiration.

Anne

About Anne Perreault: Anne was born and raised in Germany. She moved to Dubai by the time she was 14. After meeting her husband, she settled in Connecticut, where they raised a family. Anne was a therapeutic riding instructor and has her Masters in education. God used her love of stories and inspired her to write to encourage others. She and her husband now reside in Vermont, where they are building their house. Visit her at Into the Light Fiction.

Interview with writer and illustrator, Ann-Margret Hovsepian

Today, I’d like to welcome Ann-Margret Hovsepian to the blog. Ann-Margret is an author of a number of devotional books and is also an illustrator.  

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Hello, Ann-Margret! Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself?

I’m an author, speaker and illustrator in Montreal with about 25 years of professional experience in the publishing industry. I’ve been freelancing on a full-time basis since 1996 and have authored, co-authored, illustrated or contributed to about a dozen books, mainly in the devotional and colouring book genres.

How did you get into writing? Why are you drawn to it? 

Ever since I learned the alphabet, I’ve had an irrepressible affinity for the written word and, although I’m Armenian, the English language. My parents often found me poring over a dictionary or encyclopedia, or wielding a pen as I attacked word puzzle magazines or my older sister’s English exercise books. In elementary school, I made good use of my parents’ old manual typewriter and every scrap of blank paper I could find to produce one-of-a-kind family newsletters complete with articles, jokes, illustrations and puzzles. However, I also loved science, so I studied chemistry in college for a few years before it dawned on me I was in the wrong field.

When I was 20, I started working for Home Builder Magazine and, within four years, went from typesetting and proofreading to managing the editorial department, copy editing and copy writing. At that point, I decided to quit my job and launch out on my own.

I am drawn to writing because I want to share good news with people and that’s one of the tools I’m skilled at using. For me, writing is the means to an end, not the end itself.

 Who/what are the biggest influences?

 I don’t even have to think about this one: C.S. Lewis. I was reading his books before I knew much about him and was always amazed by his wisdom and insights. Later in life I became fascinated by the man himself and it pains me that he is not alive so that I could go and meet him and talk to him. He has influenced me as a Christian and, I hope, as a writer.

What are your goals when you write a piece? What do you hope they will accomplish in your readers? 

More than anything else, I want my writing to point to the supreme Author and Creator of life. I want to inspire people to search their hearts, to seek God, to find hope and to embrace all that He has for them, here and in eternity. 

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What do you find to be the most difficult aspect of writing and how do you cope with it?

 The hardest thing to deal with at times is doubts about how much of an impact my articles and books have on those who read them, and whether I should keep doing what I do. I cope by remembering that every time I submit a manuscript to an editor, I need to also submit myself to God and let Him do what He will with my offerings. When I trust Him with the results, I am free to focus on obediently doing my best for His glory.

What advice would you give to writers, especially those looking to break into your genre?

 As far as the craft of writing goes, my advice is to balance confidence with humility. You need confidence and courage to put your thoughts on paper but you also need humility to be open to direction and correction. Talent is important but it’s not enough. A major part of my success in being published comes down to my willingness to listen to and work with editors.

In terms of the business of writing, I always tell novice writers to be willing to invest in their careers – not only time and energy but also resources. Choose a writers’ conference that is right for you, making sure it’s one with good networking opportunities, and save up for it if you have to. Nothing beats meeting the editors and publishers who want to publish what you are writing.

Can you tell us about your books? What other projects are you working on?

 I’m currently working on two fresh new book proposals but can’t reveal anything about those yet! My top projects have been three devotional books for preteen girls (The One Year Designer Genes Devo, Truth & Dare, and Truth, Dare, Double Dare) and a devotional colouring book called Restore My Soul.

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Something interesting about yourself and unrelated to writing?

My favourite colour is red, I hoard art supplies and fabric, I love bunnies (but don’t have any live ones), and I collect vintage children’s books.

Anything else you’d like to share with us.

I’m passionate about missions, women’s ministry and mentoring young people. This summer, God willing, I’ll be returning to Armenia for my fourth mission trip there.

How can readers get into contact with you?

 https://linktr.ee/annhovsepian has links to my website, blog and other social media pages.

 Big thanks to Ann-Margret for sharing her writing journey with us. To find out more about her and her books, look her up on the link above or her website.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

–Delia

Flash Fiction by Madison Wheatley

This is a repost from the original Delia Talent, Christian Creative blog. It’s contains a testimony and story that moved me so much I wanted to share it again on the new blog so that others could experience it as well.

Click here or the title below to read the post: 

Madison Wheatley, Writer: When God Gives Beauty For Ashes

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