by H. Linn Murphy
When You Save a Girl You Save Generations in the May 2013 Conference this morning in preparation to teach a lesson for church. The talk was about raising righteous girls so that they can bless their families and all those around them.
It occurred to me that as righteous woman writers, we are helping to raise a generation too. We are reaching out of our circles of influence into the wider world beyond. Our words can have far-reaching impact. We can influence people we have never and may never meet in our lifetimes.
Sister Cook's talk used the analogy of weaving, ie. weaving our lives into the Lords, weaving our lives into the lives of our ancestors and then into the lives of our progeny. That analogy really struck a chord in me. How can we as righteous Latter-day Saint women weave our messages into our writing without being preachy? How can we do the Lord's work and still be read by those who want nothing to do with religion?
I write over a myriad of genres. I write the stories bursting to get out of me. Several of the ones I have on the string right now are expressly for the LDS market, even though that market is extremely narrow. Those are the stories which enthrall me--stories about righteous people or those who find their way out of darkness. I hope to be able to fill the niche I hunger for. Why can't more LDS people build that niche? I'm certain there are more people out there hungering for fantastic fiction--clean, moral and engaging.
About half of my work is for the non-LDS market. Even though I can't be overt about it, I try to weave my values into the books I write. I want to write books my very picky Bishop would read. Will I catch the Fifty Shades of Trash crew? No. I refuse to wallow. Do my characters face massive problems? Yes. The rub comes in skillfully weaving hope and light through an interesting theme and vivid word pictures, engaging the mind and cultivating answers to the questions the reader doesn't even realize she's asking.
We are in effect helping to raise the new generation of readers. Too many of Satan's soldiers are writing filth today. They clutch at the minds of our children with salacious, poor-quality drivel. Even the schools have joined that side and are encouraging our children to slog through the muck. It thus behooves us to step up to the line and write our little hearts out. We need to fill our schools and libraries and homes with so many great books that the Adversary goes home to pout, dragging his mind-rot books behind him.
Pens at the ready?