• Rebecca Lane Beittel
  • Coronations, Cookies & Christianity (and characters with free will, aka minds of their own)
Coronations, Cookies & Christianity (and characters with free will, aka minds of their own)

Back at the coffee shop with the daughters this afternoon....waiting too late and didn't get any of the special pesto pasta :-(.  Oh well, the chicken salad sandwich and  peanut butter cookies were delicious, and the latte, of course, was its usual fantasmic!

It's Friday.  I did a smidgen of writing today and plan to do more as the girls play and goof off for the rest of the afternoon.

I finally wrote a scene that I had been having a hard time getting into my head - for a month or two, actually.  It was the coronation of young King Mycaelus II from my young adult fantasy, Kingdoms of Blood & Magic.  I think I was having problems with it for a couple of reasons.  The first reason is that this book seems to be taking on a quality that I hadn't originally anticipated.  It is making all kinds of statements on organized religion - specifically organized Catholic Christianity.

The story takes place in a fictional set of kingdoms, and the people within are medieval-esque.  Many of them seem to be quasi-Christian, as well.  But the story is full of magic, and the magic has some sort of odd symbiotic relationship with the church.  I really don't know how this happened.  That part of the story has just, sort of, written itself.  Now, I know that a book about magic with Catholic overtones is going to end up pissing a bunch of people off, and I apologize in advance.  On the one hand, I know that the Catholic church solidly denounces magic, so relating magical power to the church, in my story, already sets me off on devil's ground.  On the other hand, bastardizing the Catholic church and vilifying it in any way is unfair and untoward, and not my intention.  I do not intend to make a statement on the evil of the church.  Far from it.

I am a faithful person, a Christian.  I may not be Catholic, but I've always been fascinated by church history.  Of course, some of my faith will bleed into my fiction, even my fantasy fiction.  I don't proselytize, though - not at all.  I like diversity of religious belief, and I enjoy holding up all of our liturgies and practices to mirrors on a regular basis, lest we become more engaged in ritual and less engaged in the faith and the caring for our fellow man.  I hope that this is what my book does.  I hope that the good and faithful people in my book, magical or not, shine through for their loving kindness, regardless of their religious affiliation or lack thereof.

So all of this was a discourse on why the coronation scene was hard to write.  I used a version of the traditional coronation liturgy of the Church of England, the one most recently used for Queen Elizabeth back in 1953.  Of course, I altered it to fit my fictional "church" that governs and regulates magic for the Kingdom of Ander.  I needed to preserve the pageantry and solemnity but clearly fantasize it.  This was a challenge - to make something familiar but slightly alien at the same time. 

The coronation scene was also hard to write because I have a couple of characters who were not cooperating.  There is extreme animosity right now that my male hero has with the new king.  In my head, I had originally thought that that animosity would come much later on in the book, but it seemed to flare up right at the beginning . . . and rear its ugly head throughout the coronation scene.  I went ahead and went with it.  No sense fighting with fictional characters; you'll never win.

And that will bring me to my last bit of commentary on this sunny day.  I am finding more and more that my fictional characters, created BY me, are their own persons.  I think I have a handle on how they will feel, what they will do, and their story arc, but I really don't - not really.  I seem to set the world up for them to live in and then let them do their thing - and write it all down.  This is a bit unnerving, isn't it?  It creates the inevitable comparison of author to God, which is most certainly NOT my intention.  But, since it is almost holy week, I guess it's apropos, and helpful for me to . . . in some miniscule way, fathom my Creator.  We are all set loose upon this earth with free will and our own wayward personalities.  We do as we will and as we please.  Sometimes we impress; sometimes we frustrate; sometimes we agonize our creator.

Just like my characters do to me.

Just like my daughters do to me, come to think of it . . . I did have to share a whole bunch more of my chicken salad sandwich than I wanted to with my oldest daughter, and when I went to take another bite of my youngest daughter's peanut butter cookie, I was firmly admonished not to.

Back to writing.  AT least I have the latte all to myself.


Visit me at RebeccaOfTomorrow (wordpress)

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  • Thanks for reading, Dianne.  Where in the South is your novel set? 

  • Dianne Baines

    Hello Rebecca, I read your blog a couple of times to get a hold of it in my head. I write crime although I like history and learning so I try to incorporate that in my writing as well. I must admit that I was intrigued when you mentioned Christianity in your blog. I too am a Christian and as you said it seems to permeate everything you do including our writing. I am not catholic either and like you I don't proselytize but I do like to think that somehow I get my two cents in for God now and then. 

    I do believe in freedom of choice however I believe that there is only one way to achieve absolute freedom and that is through Christ. * getting down off platform now*

    I too have hit a part in my novel where I realise that I am going to have bring magic into my story. It is set in the south of the USA. A murder on an old plantation. It is proving a challenge and I am enjoying the research and learning about different types of people. All the best with your book.