When our daughter was young, I was cautious of the television shows and movies she watched. It wasn’t just the language or violence that concerned me, but the image of women they portrayed. The media seemed to convey a constant message: “A woman’s value is only skin deep.” I was probably overly cautious, but the discussion still holds merit. What do our choice of heroine’s say about our values as a society?
Let me bring this a bit closer to home: Writers, what do the heroines you craft say about your opinions, perceptions, and values?
Let’s take this a step further—could your heroines impact our generation? For the better?
At the risk of sounding cliché, we’ve come a long way in a short period of time. The other day my daughter showed me a page from her magazine. On it, there were five models, each with a different skin tone and body type.
I believe the heroines in Christian fiction are changing too. I’ve read novels of women with disabilities, vices they need to overcome, backgrounds they’re not fond of. I’ve read of women doctors, single moms, those facing divorce. To me, a sinner saved by grace, it’s encouraging to read of women just like me—afraid yet courageous, struggling yet overcoming. Imperfect women living in an imperfect world, embraced and loved by a perfect God.
I believe the cardboard heroines from the past arose out of honorable intentions. There was a general desire to set forth perfection in the hopes that readers would strive for it. There is much wisdom to that theory, and yet the Bible presents a different kind of hero and heroine.
Those like Abraham who lied, thus betraying his wife.
And Moses, a prince turned murderer turned liberator.
Those like Ruth, who had to beg, well glean, for her next meal.
Paul, a religious tyrant who watched as Stephen the first martyr was stoned.
A sinful woman with an alabaster jar who was willing to surrender something so costly when she found something of higher value—Jesus.
If you’re familiar with any of these stories, you know God didn’t leave these men and women in their broken states. Rather, He transformed them. They had an arc! And because of this, each of these characters taught us something about grace and something about ourselves. Through their struggles, God reveals our own. More than that, through their triumphs, God stirs us toward victory.
So here’s my question for you. Consider your main characters. Are you tempted to craft so much goodness that no one can see their faults? In what ways do they need a Savior? In other words, what are their weaknesses, and what do those weaknesses reveal about grace? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. She also writes for Crosswalk.com, Internet Café Devotions, and the group blog, Faith-filled Friends. When not writing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her teenage daughter and coffee dates with her handsome railroader husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
When Dawn Breaks:
As the hurricane forces Jacqueline to evacuate, her need for purpose and restitution motivate her to head north to her estranged and embittered daughter and into the arms of a handsome new friend. Dealing with his own issues, Jacqueline isn’t sure if he will be the one she can lean on during the difficult days ahead. And then there are the three orphans to consider, especially Gavin. Must she relinquish her chance at having love again in order to be restored?
Read a free, 36-page excerpt here: http://issuu.com/newhopedigital/docs/slattery_sampler/1
You can buy a copy here: http://www.christianbook.com/when-dawn-breaks-a-novel/jennifer-slattery/9781596694231/pd/694231