The Fear

I call myself a writer of Christian fiction, or a writer of Christian themes.

So why, then, was I so afraid to share something I’d written?

Just recently, I’d finished my first manuscript, an historical fiction piece set in Tolleston, Indiana (pre-Gary). I wouldn’t classify it as Christian fiction per se, but it contains some Christian imagery and themes. I’m researching what to do with it. So in the interim, I wrote a short story about doomsday preppers and a few short devotionals I’m hoping to submit for publication.

When it came time to attend my critique groups (I call them my therapy sessions), I was torn between reading a devotional and the short story. Why? I guess because the Christian themes in the devotional are much more overt than the short story. In a short story, I can embed those themes and not be too upset if no one catches on (but that hasn’t happened so far).  Maybe I was afraid that either my group would not truly critique it because it is Christian (who would pan something about God?) or get uncomfortable because of the topic.

What kind of Christian am I??

The whole purpose of why I want to write is to convey Christian themes in some form or fashion. I’m always surprised when a member of my group finds Christian themes I don’t even consciously put in a piece. I told myself that if my stories reaches only a single, solitary soul in one of my critique groups, then so be it. Maybe that’s my purpose. How strange then, that I was fearful to read the devotional.

So I split hairs. I read the short story at my larger group where there is a greater mixture of genres. Leave it to the one professed agnostic to find the themes! Then I read the devotional to my smaller group.

And I breathed a sigh of relief.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. No one was bent out of shape about it. And it was a real critique. Whether they got anything out of it, I wouldn’t know. But then again, it’s about having faith that the power is in the words given to me, not in anything I do

I think I’m over the fear now.

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About Michelle McGill-Vargas

Michelle hails from Gary, Indiana where she enjoys writing historical fiction, flash fiction, and short stories. Her writings have appeared in "Lutheran Witness", "Splickety Magazine", "The Copperfield Review", and "Typehouse Literary Magazine." She also currently serves as interim vice-president of the Indiana Writers' Consortium. Until the day her historical fiction manuscripts get published, she pays the bills as a teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing. Read her short stories at www.shortfictionbreak.com and visit her blog at www.michellemcgillvargas.wordpress.com
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