I read this quote the other day that has nothing to do with my story, but it’s been sticking with me. It goes, “Without a proper response to failure, we don’t grow, we just age.”
The quote is a line in the book, “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert,” by Rosaia C. Butterfield. I’m the reading the book with some chagrin, but also out of necessity. As far as I understand of the story, Butterfield was a tenured professor at Syracuse University and in a Lesbian relationships…until, in her words, Christ “Trainwrecked” her life with the end result of being married to a Christian man and adopting children, and presumably not being a professor anymore. I’m honestly only about 8 pages into the book. So far, I find her likeable and thoughtful. Her writing style is clear, if not a bit sweeping.
My chagrin in reading the book comes from experiencing the tension of how different Christians respond to same-sex attracted individuals. Some essentially say, “Hey, no worries, God is love!” Others say, “God is love, but change everything about you now!”
I read another book a while back called “Torn” by Justin Lee. He had almost the exact opposite experience of Rosaria Butterfield. He grew up in a traditional and, by his report, highly supportive, loving and healthy family, still was gay and, despite his best efforts to change this, did not change that. As of the end of the book, he was still gay, still Christian, and choosing celibacy.
Most likely, Christians working with LGBTQ folks who hold up one or the other authors would do well to hold up the other as well. Just for balance sake.
In other news, I had a great morning of writing this morning! I was literally wide awake at 4:30, so decided to get up extra early, exercise, then hit the pages. I think I’m almost ready to call Jade’s back story done. Just some touch ups, some edits, and of course a test read with my writing partner. The eternal downside to all my work is that it just gets long and long and long. I love so many details and nuances and developments and then all of a sudden I’m breaking page fifty and feel like the actual story, that which happens in present day, has just gotten started.
Question for the readers: Is there such a thing as too much back story? How much would you include, or not include?