Writing Fantasy (as a catholic)

I have been writing a fantasy story forever now; (more along the lines of developing the world) and I was wondering how a catholic should approach stories where things like demons and dark gods, and there are powers in the universe which could be considered “godlike”, (I.e on par with Greek gods). I’ve tried to tone down the “worship”, down to effectively having these gods as basically treated as powerful allies and patrons in the battle against darkness; as paragons to aspire to and as patrons of the light. my friends who is co-writing the story doesn’t particularly like this change. My friend is a mainline protestant.

So: as a catholic, how should I approach this?

Are you enquiringly to see if it’s wrong to write about Gods & Demonds ?

I really doubt it’s wrong,you are practicing the art of storytelling to a wide Audience ,

How could that be wrong ? No , keep up the good work ,

I am no authority but I think that you can tell your story however you like if you watch out for things like not tempting others to sin through reading your book (for example by writing explicit sexual scenes) or in the moral of the story: Don’t give a central message that is wrong or evil.

If I can give an example, the game of thrones story not only has very explicit sexual material but it seems to push a very cinical message too about the futility or even foolishness of goodness or honorable behaviour or ‘charity’ in Catholic terms. It seems to say that charity is silly or even dangerous. I guess it can be seen a different way but there is a fatigue to it in people waiting for goodness to triumph and it never does. I think a good catholic writing that story would leave out all that gratuitious sexuality and provide a different view of the value of morality or caring for others and being just as things that are ultimately WORTH the pursuit or sacrifices. Just my thoughts.

Demonds?

Maybe that could be, a mix of demons and diamonds.

Did you know that there is a star out there in space they call Lucy because it compressed to diamond - a dwarf star of carbon, which is basically what diamonds are made of.

A demond could be a diamond thief in space.

(If you don’t believe Lucy is a star made of diamond, check it out in an ecyclopedia.)

Tolkein is hailed as a Christian author yet he had some dark things in his writing. Melkor a dark god, the Balrog a demon, and many other not so virtuous thing like the Barrow White, Undead Nazgul, A Necromancer, ect. But while they were included, they were not praised.

Or let’s take C. S. Lewis with Aslan. Aslan is Narnia’s god and hailed as a force of good. But he also never encourages us to stop praying God in favor of Aslan so those virtues are rightly exulted.

And I’ve also read David Eddings’ Belgariad/Malloreon where the gods have some roles, though not much. Again the dark god, Torak, is never praised, though pitied.

Make the bad guys bad. An ancient dark god antagonist is more interesting than a milk-maid turned evil.

And you might consider reading the Wizard in Rhyme series. (1st book: Her Majesty’s Wizard) since that’s one fantasy series with God in it and may intrigue you with how that author dealt with angels and demons.

You just gave me an idea: A horrifyingly powerful greater demon whose soul was bound to a star, after the creation wars. (In the beginning, Deus created 8 “deities”, guardians of creation, somewhat analagous to angels. Half of their number turned their backs to Deus, as they despised how only Deus had the power to sustain life eternally. A war ensued between the loyal deities and the traitorous ones; and the traitor deities warped creation to their own ends; creating demons and undead The “demond”, or demon bound to the heart of a star was bound to the heart of a star in the heat of war.

“Hell” is a very real thing in two senses in the story. You have the fiery plane of demons, created as their prison, and you have the end state of some souls; i.e what we would understand as hell in the catholic sense; Separation from God.

So you’re basically writing a fantasy similar to our reality, with God, angels and demons. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis did the same. I like the way Tolkien did it, having no worship at all in his books, but having the angels (Gandalf) appear as strong guardians and helpers.

As a Catholic, I would make sure that your evil characters don’t win in the end, and the good triumphs – since that is also true to reality. What you don’t want to do is show evil winning, or superior in some way in the long run. And as you note, you want to be careful about worship of beings who are not the Creator.
Why would your protestant friend want the characters to worship beings who are not God? Consider that you might be writing something that would influence children’s impressionable minds. I would keep worship where it belongs.

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rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/fantasy.htm

  • Most true Christians would recognize fantasy, such as the movie Star Wars, as being extremely wicked (in this case, sorcery – “The Force” being equivalent to black magic and white witchcraft). Yet, apparently, when we call it “Christian,” this somehow sanctifies what we do with our minds (imaginations), or what we allow our minds to entertain. For example, one can look in any issue of the Christian Book Distributors Fiction Catalog and find the most outrageous fantasy literature, yet it is all dubbed “Christian.” The following is taken from the CBD Fiction Catalog, 9/94 premier edition:

I think it’s fine provided you bear in mind it’s just a story. Having fantasy elements is fine provided you don’t become obsessed and start confusing them with reality.

As a working book editor, and writer, I suggest the following:

  1. Powerful evil beings can be depicted as aliens. Much like The Force, it is unknown how they got their powers or what their version of The Force is.

  2. Or they can have super-powers but no need to call them that. They could be natural to them or granted by some obviously unknown artifact, or other non-earthly means.

  3. Have clearly defined good guys and bad guys but go light on the killing.

  4. A just quest by a single hero or group of heroes to stop their town, city or world from being destroyed.

The reader should be able to relate to the good characters in some way. The bad guy or guys, and his minions, are the challenge to be overcome. His powers/weapons or sheer number of attackers have to be dealt with.

Make it fun. Make it noble. And try to avoid lengthy histories. The reader wants to jump into the “present” situation. Look at any hero movie. The basic stories all break down the same: villain does something bad but gets away, first encounter with villain doesn’t go that well, but we learn more about the good guys and the bad guy(s) along the way. The second encounter goes better but serious injury usually occurs. The final encounter is when the hero or heroes launch an attack where everything hangs in the balance. Will they survive? The battle goes back and forth. Then, a certain victory, which may includes the villain dying, escaping to fight another day or not, or being captured or sent to a place where he cannot escape.

The moral aspect is to make sure the behavior of all leaves out the profanity, the sexual situations and gratuitous violence. A hero with principles should practice them, not talk about them. And loved ones. Adding a few or more loved ones is my suggestion.

Clever dialogue and unusual situations need to sound right. To seem plausible in their own world setting. And that takes a little time to do right.

Ed

What books do you write?

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