For a few years now, I’ve been beating the drum about the need for artistic, beautiful portrayals of truth. We need to draw out the inherent beauty of truth whenever we proclaim it, whether it’s in our sermons, our non-fiction books, or blog posts.

Likewise, I’ve expressed concern about those of us in conservative Christian circles who tend to pick apart works of art without offering something better. We can write 50-page criticisms of The Shack, but we can’t come up with a better story. We grasp the issues, but others grasp the medium. The same is true of movies, music, spoken word videos, and other forms of art.

Late last year, a sense of dissatisfaction stirred up in me. I wondered if perhaps I was doing the very thing I despise: critiquing without creating. Only this time, I was critiquing the other critics.

So, I began to pray about writing a fictional story, something that would put forward traditional Christian theology within a compelling narrative.

Back to Fiction

I quickly discovered my story-telling skills were dormant. The last piece of fiction I had written was a Narnia-like drama for a student ministry in 2004. As a kid, I loved to write stories. But somewhere along the way, I switched to non-fiction, started blogging, and aside from a parable here and there, I stayed firmly in the non-fiction camp.

But my love for reading fiction never went away. Neither did my desire to create good fiction of my own.

In early 2012, I got to work on a fiction proposal. I developed a story centered on two characters who would dialogue about matters of life and faith. I wrote a third of the book during the winter months and then finished a full draft by late spring.

Looking for a Publisher

Next, it was time to see if there was any merit to the proposal. That meant looking for a publisher.

Shopping a fiction manuscript turned out to be the most nerve-wracking experience of my writing life so far. In the case of my other books, the publishers approached me. This time, I was knocking on the door with something outside the box, something I’d not tried or succeeded at before.

Never had I felt so vulnerable about work I was doing. An artist often goes back and forth between thinking his or her creation is beautiful or bad. I leaned to the “bad” side in my thinking, a lot. I didn’t have confidence that this was going to go anywhere. Maybe I’d just written a book that would sit on my digital shelf for the rest of my life.

Then again, I took comfort in knowing that, regardless of the outcome, I could one day look back and say, “At least I gave it a shot!” As Chesterton said, “Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” And surely Calvin Miller was right: “We should not wait until we are sure of our art, or we will never use it to praise God at all. ”

Thankfully, four publishers saw the potential of the book and offered to publish it. I was surprised (and relieved).

Where I Am Now

This month, the book is in the final stages of editing. I asked the publisher to put accomplished fiction and non-fiction editors on this work, to help me enhance the book’s appeal, its reasoning, and its narrative flow. It’s been neat to see the book get better at each stage in the process.

In the next few months, I’ll write more about this book and my hopes for it. I’ll also blog about some of the things I’ve learned along the way. In the meantime, I’d appreciate your prayers as I finish it up.

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23 thoughts on “Why I Am Writing a Fiction Book”

  1. Congratulations Trevin! Sounds like it has been quite the adventure. Do you have any estimates of when it will be published? I’m doing a big book giveaway on my site in March and was planning on including one of your books, Holy Subversion. But it would be cool if I could give away the new one.

    Peace.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Thanks, bro. September 1 is the release date… if we can settle on a title before then!

  2. Okay, great. Just remember, “Pilgrim’s Progress” and “Pilgrim’s Regress” already been taken. :) Keep us posted.

  3. T.Newbell says:

    How great! It’s funny, when I read your review of Les Mes I felt like I was there. I couldn’t figure out if I fb “liked” the post because of Les Mes or because I was so moved by the writing. You’re an excellent writer, descriptive and such. This will be fantastic to read in September, Trevin!

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      That’s kind of you. I hope the book meets your expectations. I’m excited to be trying it!

  4. Brett says:

    I love this post Trevin. As a closest novelist, and a full time minister, when I tell people I want to write stories that are full of truth and hope, yet still a good and gripping story, a perplexed look crosses their faces and it takes some explaining. They don’t say it, but their look says, “Minister’s should write theology or Christian living books, not stories”.

    God uses stories in my life, and novels in particular, to remind me and show me the truth of His character. So bravo Trevin, I hope talented writers, painters, etc use their skills to create beautiful works to stir others and point them to Christ.

    I’ll certainly give it a read when it come out.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Thanks Brett. I want to cheer on the attempts of people to create works that start good discussion. We need more creators who love the gospel and want to display its beauty in a million ways.

  5. Ivan M. says:

    Trevin, I’ve followed your blog for years now but rarely comment. Just wanted to drop a quick note and let you know how excited I am about this. I will definitely pray for you and I look forward to reading your book once it’s published.

    Ivan

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Thanks for breaking the silence, Ivan! :) I appreciate your prayers and your encouragement during this process.

  6. Emanuel T. says:

    Congratulations Trevin! Craig Hazen tried this and I think he did a great job and reached out to people we would not engage otherwise. I can hardly wait to read your book! God’s blessings on your work!

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Fiction does tend to reach people in a way non-fiction may not. That is one of the best reasons to engage in different forms. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. Brian Watson says:

    Trevin,

    I hope the book is great. I’m glad you stepped up to the plate to create.

    Just one thought: I don’t think it’s wrong for an individual to critique without creating. I don’t think one must be an artist (and a creative artist at that–I have a doctorate in music, but I’m not a composer) to critique a work of art. However, I think it’s a bad sign when a whole community (say, of reformed-type Christians) critiques works of art without creating their own.

    Perhaps it’s best to say one shouldn’t critique without producing, without offering the world something positive (which, of course, is still creating, but not limited to creating works of art/fiction). I think we have too many armchair theologians who are critical of everything without doing positive things like leading a church, preaching, writing books, and so on.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      I agree with you completely. Critiquing without producing is a more accurate phrase, and yet it lacks the alliteration the other has. ;)

  8. This is good news, Trevin. I hope your work finds a large audience.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Thanks, brother.

  9. “For a few years now, I’ve been beating the drum about the need for artistic, beautiful portrayals of truth. We need to draw out the inherent beauty of truth whenever we proclaim it, whether it’s in our sermons, our non-fiction books, or blog posts.”

    Yes. Yes. Yes. This is something I’m deeply interested in seeing—especially from the reformed camp. We talk about the glory of God, the joy we find in Him, yet often times our articles, books, and sermons sound more like dour treatises than work by people who find delight in words and phrases and beauty!

    This excites me on multiple levels for multiple reasons. Thank you for your faithfulness!

  10. Chadley says:

    Idea: some pastors write their own curricula for ministry programs. What if a pastor with a gift for writing fiction wrote a story that conveyed that which he wished to teach? (For example, a youth pastor who wants to teach his youth group about Church unity could write a fiction story–long or short–that creatively and clearly communicates that teaching; the central conflict of the story could be disunity, and each “chapter” could bring up a different question surrounding that issue.) Just thinking out loud…

  11. Darryl says:

    I’m really excited about this, Trevin. Can’t wait to read it!

  12. John Gardner says:

    Looking forward to it!

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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