So you can read my books

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Most of us would say no.

We would be wrong.


What we live is what we believe.

What we live is our "religion"

whether it is the belief that life is short, brutal so we take what we can while we can --

or the belief that life is only meaningful when we see ourselves as part of a greater whole --

holding up one another like the stones in an arch bridge.


Jules quotes  Ezekiel 25:17:4 just before he kills someone:

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children.

And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

The passage refers to a system of values and meaning by which one could lead one's life and make moral decisions.

However, that system is missing from Jules's life, so the passage is meaningless for him.

Pulp Fiction is, in part, about Jules's transformation.

When one of his targets shoots at him and Vincent from a short distance, empties the revolver, and misses completely,

Jules interprets this as divine intervention.

The importance of this is not whether it really was divine intervention but that the incident spurs Jules on to reflect on what is missing from his life.

It compels him to consider the biblical passage that he's been quoting for years without giving much thought to it.

Jules begins to understand-

however confusedly at first-

that it refers to an objective framework of value and meaning that is absent from his life.

Ernest Hemingway put his own "religion" into his works.

Listen to what he wrote in my GHOST WRITERS IN THE SKY -

"What is the basic truth of life? Do you know? You need to in order to write a good novel.

The basic truth of life is to be found in the human soul:

the will to live, the will to persevere, to endure, to defy.

It is the frontier mentality -

the individual is on his own, like a Pilgrim walking into the unknown with neither shelter nor guidance,

thrown upon his own resources, his strength and his judgment.

My truth shapes my style which is the style of understatement since my hero is a hero of action, which is the human condition.

All my life I was obsessed with death. I was seriously wounded at midnight on July 18, 1918 at Fossalta, Italy. I nearly died.

I was the first American to be wounded in Italy during World War I. I felt my soul go out of my body.

In the blackness of midnight, I died and felt my soul go out of me, go off, and then come back. Perhaps that near-death experience is why I am now a ghost."

Look at your novels, your stories.  What beliefs are revealed in the actions of your characters?  Do all your characters espouse the same code?  Or do different characters live by their own distinct code?

Your beliefs will shape why your hero is a hero and why your villain pursues the path she or he takes.

What is the "religion" of your latest book?  I'd like to hear from you.


  1. Good point. While I do not talk about religion in my books, my own Christian values are present because that's just how I view the world.

  2. I don't enjoy talking about religion and politics in my real life so I don't suppose I will place any in my writing. Writing is an enjoyable escape for me and I find too many people push their views onto others. Many like to debate rather than discuss. Maybe that's just the introvert in me talking. Your points are well made Roland.

  3. I'm writing about the future, and religion doesn't play a large part for the main story arc. Science is their religion.

    When we're no longer planet-bound, will we still think the same? Or will internal spirituality become the norm? Possibilities exist, which will we choose?

    Interesting question, religion can be a touchy topic, Roland.

  4. Writing, like any good dinner party, should be devoid of Religion and Politics.

    With one exception: if a character is religious or of a political stance that's INTEGRAL TO THE STORY, that's great. It shows the reader why they act a certain way or do certain things.

    The minute I see someone trying to force their religious beliefs into a piece of written work (be it books or blog posts), I am put right off.

  5. Alex:
    That was my point: our beliefs shape how our characters act, how the society in which they live respond - so our belief systems dictate how our novel flows.

    Yes, politics and religion are pretty much taboo subjects if you wish the air to remain free of static, right?

    But we all live according to some code and that influences what we write.

    If all our characters never mention God, isn't that bias by neglect?

    Boy, can religion be a hot, sensitive topic. But if we shy away from the systems we see people living -- not just religious people but those for whom God is irrelevant -- aren't we being dishonest as portrayers of the world around us -- even if we write fantasy?

    Are novels like good dinner parties? But you are right. I hate to be asked if a seat beside me is saved, then when I say no, the person then asks me, "Are you?"

    Good writing I believe tells the truth as we see it, giving as objective take on it as possible.

    Preaching for me is out. Folks buy novels to be entertained -- and in that they are, indeed, like good dinner parties! :-)

  6. While I am also generally closed-lipped about politics and religion in my everyday life (who needs that kind of stress), my writing is likely infused with my religious belief system, even if subconsciously. After all, even though I keep an open mind and do not write about religion, it is still a part of who I am.

  7. While I am also generally closed-lipped about politics and religion in my everyday life (who needs that kind of stress), my writing is likely infused with my religious belief system, even if subconsciously. After all, even though I keep an open mind and do not write about religion, it is still a part of who I am.

  8. I have to chuckle. Is that a Victor joke, about being saved? That's funny.

    Interesting topic. I myself steer clear of the topic of religion with anyone outside of my immediate family.

    But, I'd like to think that most of my characters do have a code of ethics they live by, and all are internally good and decent people.

    I have created a few characters whom are not at all nice.

    When reading, I do not like to hear "preachy" prose. It's just not my cup of tea. But, to each his or her own, right?

    Btw, I loved Jules in P.F. "It's a mighty fine burger."

  9. While I may not set out to write a Christian story (difficult to do in sci-fi anyway, a little easier in fantasy), I think my beliefs come through in my writing anyway.

    Allison (Geek Banter)