On Agent Rachelle Gardner’s blog, she mentions she doesn’t accept manuscripts that violate the Christian world view. I had no idea what she meant, so of course I had to research that concept. Here’s my take on what people mean when they talk about a “world view.”
When you read a book, listen to what people are saying, or go to a movie, what you get out of it is filtered by your view of the world. For example, my family and I went to see a Spiderman movie a few years ago and on the way home I enthused about what a lovely ending it had. I said that I particularly liked the fact that the bad guy experienced redemption before he died, and his son realized that his father had been possessed by something evil and was sorry for doubting that Spiderman was his true friend.
The total silence in response to my comment was a clue, but I assumed it meant my husband and 3 kids wanted to hear more of my thoughts on the movie. I babbled away for several more minutes before my teenage son politely interrupted to say, “Uh, Mom. That’s not what happened.”
We didn’t argue about it as I know from experience that my family seldom sees things the same way I do, and I’m always outnumbered. I listened, I disagreed, and until the next movie came out with the story line my family predicted—where the son was consumed with jealousy and the desire for revenge—I thought I was right and they were wrong.
It isn’t a matter of intelligence. It’s just that the way I look at things is shaped by the experiences I’ve had, the societal values I’ve embraced, and the choices I’ve made. I know I’m not always right, and I don’t disparage the views that are different from mine. Many of my friends see the world differently than I do, and I love to discuss the variety of beliefs that people share with me. They’ll probably never see things my way, just as I’ll never be able to change my views to suit them. I’m ok with that.
How does this relate to writing? I think our world view sets boundaries of what is acceptable to us as writers, and as readers. Because my world view makes me look for the bright side in all situations, hope for a happy ending for everyone, cringe when evil overcomes good, there are limits to what I’m comfortable writing about. Would I turn down a bazillion dollar contract to write something that violated my world view? Probably. I might cry about it, but there are some things that are worth more than money. My world view represents my core values. It’s who I am, or at least who I try to be.
Definition of world view (from Encarta dictionary):
view of all life: a comprehensive and usually personal conception or view of humanity, the world, or life
Explanation of Christian world view, by Michael J. Vlach, Phd., http://www.theologicalstudies.org/christian_worldvidew.html
Are there limits to what you feel comfortable writing about? Do those limits feel constraining, or do they provide you with a foundation for your writing?