1. MisterOz_GatorLover
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    MisterOz_GatorLover Member

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    When a writer tries to showcase a character's whole life, should...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MisterOz_GatorLover, Jan 19, 2011.

    religion play a part in their lives? Should characters have religious families? I ask because I can't imagine people who haven't grown up in even semi-religious families. My plan may either be to have one of my characters have a small sense of religion (going to Church/prayer service once a year) but care almost nothing about it.
     
  2. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Write what you know, till you know more. At some point you will feel more comfortable writing non-religious stories.

    Just because the family is religious does not mean that religion needs to be a central theme of the story.

    -Frank
     
  3. tristan.n
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    tristan.n Active Member

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    Maybe the family is religious, but one of them is more spiritual than religious? That's how it is in my family... Or how it was. Now we've got an atheist, a traditional religious Christian, a spiritual Christian, and possibly a Jewish person. Quite the variety pack. lol
     
  4. Crabapple
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    Crabapple Member

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    Unless religion is a relevant part of the story, I wouldn't worry about it all that much.
     
  5. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    You, as the writer, need to know all there is to know about the character, including his beliefs. That doesn't mean the reader does. You can think of your character as religious, but unless his religion is relevant, don't feel obliged to write a scene to include it.

    If it doesn't add to the story, don't put it in.
     
  6. WastelandSurvivor
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    WastelandSurvivor Member

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    If it isn't important, don't include it. If the MC is going to struggle with his or her identity because of it, or if it will bring the MC solace in a time of sorrow or some other such thing then it can be included. As for the perspective you may have to ask people who aren't religious--I grew up in an agnostic household and I am an atheist, myself, so I have the opposite problem in that it is hard for me to imagine life in a religious household. I tend to keep religion out of my work as much as possible, even if I have characters who are religious, but that is mostly because I don't use it to drive my storyline.
     
  7. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I grew up in a completely nonreligious family.

    However, it's realistic that many people have and that's why there's so much confusion about the issue in the world. Each family in the world has their own little version and that's pretty interesting when you think about it.
     
  8. Torkyn
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    Torkyn Member

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    I grew up with absolutely no religion in my life as well. I always had my own beliefs and my parents made sure I knew the difference between right and wrong but god and/or religion was never brought into it.

    I've never read a story where the religion of the character played a big part though unless it was a focal point. e.g. about the religion and how it shaped the MC and what not.
     
  9. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Generally in my reading experience of modern books characters pretty much do not have religion. If they do, it's Hinduism or Islam and I'm reading a book by a non-English writer set in Asia somewhere, where religion plays a greater part in people's lives. Or if they're Christian, it's because there's another character who's not and therefore the tension is a part of the novel. Or, of course, they're part of the fantasy world religion, in which case they're often a sceptic and it's being used as a metaphor. In older books, of course, everyone is Christian or assumed to be, and the conventions work differently. People don't tend to write with the assumption that most of their readers will be Christian any more, and therefore don't mention it very regularly just because there's a fear it will drive readers away. Piety unnerves non-religious people sometimes. :p
     
  10. Headintheclouds
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    Headintheclouds Member

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    Normally, unless the whole religious family thing is relevant to the plot somehow, it doesn't need to be mentioned. But if you want to mention it you could maybe have a religious symbol on the wall, or maybe have a scene take place at church, just to point out that they are kind of religious.

    Some plots however may let you explore the family's religion. For example, if your character had suffered a loss recently, they may find themselves questioning their family's faith. Or maybe if your character was gay, and the parents were very religious, this could be included as a hurdle for the character to cross.

    However, unless the religion is central to the plot, it would probably be better to simply omit it.
     
  11. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    This entirely depends on your character and your story. Do what you want, as long as it makes sense. Like everyone's saying, don't make too big a deal about religion if it's important to your story; and if it is a big part of your story, you shouldn't have to ask us.

    I grew up in a family that really has no religious ties. I mean yes my parents were raised slightly religiously, but from different backgrounds (and different parts of the world). I wasn't raised to be anti-religion, but I'm not a religious person and neither were my parents.
     

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