Friday, November 28, 2008
Religion as a Character Trait
Apologies for the delayed post. Thanksgiving day got away from me!
When I came up with the idea for UNCOVERING AMETHYST, I knew my main character was shaped by her upbringing. In fact, her strengths and her flaws can all be traced to being raised by witches.
Her motivation, her fears, even her family's tragedies are tied into the beliefs and customs of their theology, which is Celtic pagan. She, however, isn't sure what she believes.
Not only does weaving religion into a story allow for interesting plot points, but it provides conflict and offers insight into the characters.
Do they agree on their beliefs? If not, what conflicts arise because of that?
My protagonist, Stacy Justice, vehemently protests that she is a witch, yet she subconsciously gravitates toward that path because it's what she's been taught. This internal struggle lends the character another dimension, and because spirituality is something we all wrestle with from time to time, it's very relatable to the reader.
Outwardly, this tug-of-war also causes conflict between the characters. Stacy's grandmother, Birdie, wants her granddaughter to accept her path and her gifts, yet Stacy refuses. This prompts Birdie to make a series of choices that force Stacy into situations she wouldn't necessarily choose.
And a plot is born.
Religion can also be used as a setting or backdrop, as in THE DaVINCI CODE. The entire story is wrapped around a specific theory regarding Jesus and the conspiracy to cover it up. Powerful stuff.
My stories each revolve around a specific holiday. Samhain, for UNCOVERING AMETHYST, Imbolc, for OPAL FIRE, and Beltane for BLOODSTONE.
Whatever your studies and beliefs, theology can play an important role in your writing. Use all that you have.