March 19, 2021

Why Write Fiction?

DiAnn Mills       

As a fiction writer, I’ve often been posed the questions:

"Why fiction when you could be writing nonfiction?”

"If you feel writing is a ministry, then why are you putting your time and effort into a story?”

“A real Christian would be writing something with real sustenance, not fiction.”

I used to swallow my anger with those questions and quickly compose a gracious response that might have sounded like I was playing defense for a losing team.

Not anymore. I’m proud of what I do and privileged to create characters and plots that entertain readers. After years of following my passion for communicating the written word through story, I simply term the individual questioning my life’s work as uninformed. These people mean well. Some of them think entertainment is a waste. After all, isn’t nonfiction how people learn how to live life to its fullest and better themselves?

Not necessarily.

How many abused women purchase books about how to stop a man from beating them? Do those women reach for nonfiction aids on a retailer’s shelf about abused victim’s legal rights, counseling, self-defense, or how to find courage in the midst of abuse?

How many victims of human trafficking find freedom by asking their captor to buy them a book about overcoming trust issues or how to escape an inappropriate relationship?

How many addictions were resolved by forcing the sufferer to read a book on the statistics of US drug use? Or the likelihood of addicts committing suicide?

How many marriages were saved because a woman shoved a book into her husband’s face about how to win back an unfaithful husband?

I think you get the picture. It’s doubtful any of the above examples found solace, peace, answers, escape, or courage in a nonfiction book because they were either too frightened to be found reading it or they simply weren’t interested. But that victim could instead read a novel about abuse, human trafficking, an addiction, or a failing marriage and learn how someone changed and grew into a better person. The reader sees an overcomer and may see how they too can overcome their situation.

First and foremost, a novel entertains. But story also provides hope and inspires readers to take steps forward to embrace a quality life. It’s a nonthreatening environment. A writer’s novel can plant subtle seeds of positive change and challenge the reader to grow beyond their world.

Have you read a novel and found yourself a better person?

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She weaves memorable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels. DiAnn believes every breath of life is someone’s story, so why not capture those moments and create a thrilling adventure? Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is the director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference, Mountainside Marketing Conference, and the Mountainside Novelist Retreat with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful.

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  1. Well stated, DiAnn! I totally agree.

  2. Thank you DiAnn for this great post. We need Christians writing fiction so we as Christians can have great books to read without all the garbage. People who want to write need to see that you can write successful books if you are a Christian. Thank you.

  3. AMEN! I've learned more about life from well-written novels both general market and Christian than I ever learned from a non-fiction book. I need visualize information and fiction is one of the best ways to do that. Besides, Jesus told stories to get his point across.