Posted by: Phil Anderson | April 20, 2015

Believe Something

Creating a fantasy world is fun, and it’s work. There’s a lot that goes into a believable setting, and one thing that I overlooked for a long time is the value of religion in fiction.

I initially tried to avoid it in my fantasy novel. I had plans for the limited use of magic and didn’t want to clutter my story by adding other supernatural elements. But some research and analysis changed my mind. Some kind of belief system, whether it’s organized religion or a vague spiritual understanding can add depth to every character who encounters it.

In the real world, it’s important what we put our faith in. As a Christian I believe that there’s only one way to attain a relationship with God: through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.

But in a novel, especially when looking at character development, it doesn’t necessarily matter what a fictional person believes. What’s more important is why they believe it.

  • Does a character have a devotion and commitment to a power outside himself?
  • Does he refuse to acknowledge what cannot be seen or proven?
  • Does a character actually believe and understand the faith he claims, or is he following traditions?
  • Does he blindly accept what is being taught or what is generally accepted?
  • Does he critically analyze and make an informed decision, or just latch on to what seems easiest or most beneficial?

Think about your favorite characters. Do they have some kind of belief that informs their choices and actions? What is revealed by the things they believe or disbelieve?

What about you? What do you believe? Why do you believe it? What does it say about you?

Leave your comments below and share your thoughts.


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