Five Minutes Ago, I Was A Drunk MarineThursday, May 26, 2011
I write Christian fiction, but I just finished a scene from the POV of a drunk Marine. I realize this might make it hard when I look for a publisher, but that's okay with me. I'll take my chances.
I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, and as a writer, I tend to draw from that place when I create my characters. I want to make them flawed--broken. As I write, I toss them in as much hot water as I can, making those flaws even more prominent. I want POVs that are marred and ugly (not always literally). I want a character that is 'real'...that people can relate to.
So, I took my main character...a man that was raised in church and knows right from wrong. I tossed him into a military dinner where and abundance of toasts are made. Despite his better judgment, he does what he is expected to do and swallows every bit of alcohol given to him. Drunk, beat up, unruly...he meets to the woman of his dreams who just happens to be a button-down Christian woman. Not exactly the best way to make a good first impression.
And I suppose that my novel may not make a good first impression to an inquiring publisher. In fact, a successful Christian writer told me so.
I want my stories to be the kind that breath truth. I don't want to paint pictures that are witty and interesting, yes...but fail to make an unbeliever relate to what is unfolding. Nearly every Christian novel has a 'come-to-Jesus' moment. But that's not enough for me. I want all the grit, sin, ugliness in my novel that is in the real world. Because only then...can the truth of what Jesus saves us from be brought to light.
So here is to you, drunken Captain Dalton. I raise my cup of Earl Grey to you and your shameful predicament. May you win the lovely nurse Jessup over...fall madly in love...and then lose it all on a bloody battlefield. Your story might not have a happy ending, but you'll die a hero (sober, too) Most importantly, may your life transform that of a reader's. That makes it all worth it, now doesn't it?