17 8

I'm writing a novel primarily about my childhood (still fiction though). One of the occurrences in the novel is going to be when I renounced my religion and admitted that I was an atheist. I feel like I should have this part in the book but I get a feeling that the book might not be as popular just because I mention my journey from being religious to not religious. The readers should already care about the main character enough when this revelation occurs, but I'm still worried that it might hinder the novel's success. I'm also aware that this does give me even more incentive to write about it anyway so as to normalize atheism and to show people that I stayed a good person after renounced religion, contrary to popular stigmas. Should I just go for it? Should I go all out and leave nothing out? One of my primary goals is to make an impact and lessen stigma. Atheism isn't the only topic in the book that has stigma.

AustinSkepticus 7 Mar 28
You must be a member of this group before commenting. Join Group

Post a comment Reply Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account


Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.


Like you said, lay out the authentic world, be familiar with the characters that matter. If it's authentic for the protagonist to come out, do it. And be honest about other family members' and friends' states of mind.

GoldenMean Level 6 May 11, 2018

"Go for the jugular". Tell it like you feel it and leave nothing out. If some have a problem with your work they can close the book and live with their problem , or die with it. Speak your truth as you see it. The truth always gives wings to words. cheers pj

phillip Level 2 May 9, 2018

Write it so that it speaks to you. You have to be true to yourself. Make it something that you're proud of and others will be drawn to it.

Joyful1 Level 5 Mar 31, 2018

What part does art share with approval? Under what circumstances does the abandonment of free expression stiffle itself in order to gain approval? The same principle applies to science as art. To the extent that the aforementioned considerations play a role, art and true science are negated and become akin to shallow breathing or genital climax without fullness of breathing and repose, or abandonment and surrender to orgasm.

'Go for it' is all one has for full artistic expression. Herman Melville expressed it so well: "It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in immitation." This life is no dress rehearsal.

Silver1wun Level 7 Mar 30, 2018

Just keep in mind that just because something happened to you, that doesn't make it absorbing fiction. I'd say write a draft and then decide if it ought to be a memoir instead. I understand your drive to normalize atheism, and my feeling is that a lot of books have atheist characters that don't make a big fuss about it. That's just one way to normalize it. Sounds like your main goal is to get YOUR life story put down in words. So start there and stay focused on the process and learn all you can about writing before fretting over getting published (which is very hard, truly).

Sooz Level 6 Mar 29, 2018

Build it and they will come. Write the book as best as you can. Make the characters believable and interesting. and people will read it. as for the journey and religion. Graham Greene was always writing about catholicism even though it is a minority religion in the english speaking world. Isaac Bashevis Singer only wrote in yiddish. There are so many great works that focus on the idiosyncrasies of the writer, so do not worry about whether it will have an audience or not. This site and Richard Dawkins etc. prove that there is a market for atheist works. With any luck you may even offend some god botherers and become controversial. Just write it well.

273kelvin Level 8 Mar 29, 2018

My first novel was hinged around Jesus Christ as a hard drinking, swearing, street fighting ex carpenter from Nazareth and Lucifer Morningstar as a nicer guy than we have come to expect. So I'm the last person to ask about stigma and barriers. If it works for you, write it.


Austin what is your purpose of writing this book?
Is it your journey or is it for your readers to experience your journey
What is your end goal ? To make money out of this book so that you can live your beliefs or is to share your journey to others who are in the same journey but not sure which road to take
So you need to ask yourself
Making money - then give what the readers want to hear
Not make money but charting your journey then you share your real journey
You have to decide.
Like they say who are your hungry crowd
Hope it helps

Rosh Level 7 Mar 29, 2018

Austin, I'm writing a similar book. Don't worry about what deluded people might think. Just go after the truth and be true to your own ideals and morality. At one time Bible believers stoning a girl for adultery was morally justified. Don't give in one inch to their misguided superstition.

Aristopus Level 7 Mar 29, 2018

If it turns out to be anathema to publishers, you can always self-publish through Amazon, although your mileage will definitely vary.

Nebroxah Level 6 Mar 29, 2018

It's your work, write what you feel is right.

Gohan Level 7 Mar 29, 2018

Write the stories. That is the purpose.

If, later, after about the 4th rewrite it may be time to submit portions/condensed bits then great.

Write the stories.

Jacar Level 8 Mar 28, 2018

Yes, finish it and get it published. I feel that with the "rise of the nones" it is a topic that could be fresh and edgy and very interesting and necessary in today's world. Normalizing secularism, atheism, humanism, agnosticism is best done through a story. Go for it!

There are many readers who may not outwardly renounce their religion, but are open to questioning it in the privacy of their own thoughts, and may have secret doubts they don't declare publicly, so a book with a story to tell is a powerful tool toward getting a few brain cells moving in a different direction.

Julie808 Level 7 Mar 28, 2018

Great! Go for it! I would be happy to give it a read and give you some feedback before you send it out.

A2Jennifer Level 8 Mar 28, 2018

Frankly, the odds of a book being popular enough for a publisher to pick it up are so small, that you might as well write it honestly. If the audience for the book adult or young adult (teenagers). A YA book might have slightly better chances if it addressed the issue of atheism.

TXLarry Level 5 Mar 28, 2018

That's a killer idea. Just go all out.

JustJere Level 5 Mar 28, 2018

@AustinSkepticus -- That is a judgment only you can make. To simplify this as much as possible, if sales are more important than what you have to say, then don't say it. If you have something to say and you think it's important for people to hear it, then, by all means, say it.

Write Comment