When the world wants happy endings

I write books.

And often those books deal with weighty issues: sexual abuse, spousal abuse, hypocrisy, trauma. Why would I write about such things? Mainly because injustice angers me. And part of the reason I write is my attempt to right the wrongs in this world.

Problem is, that kind of book doesn’t sell. The world wants happy endings. Everything tied up. The hero getting the lady. The championship won. The marriage saved. The strained relationship restored.

I like happy endings too, particularly in my own life. And I like books where you see radical redemption. But I also appreciate truth-filled books, books that make me aware of an injustice I didn’t know about. Books that teach me that humans made in the image of God can destroy or restore. Those books challenge me to think, to pray, to consider my own life.

I write this with a pained heart. A few weeks ago, I went to a conference in South Africa where I met a man from Iraq. Today he fears for his life simply because of his faith. His is a painful story, but one that needs to be told.

What I wrestle with as a novelist is this: do I bow to the market that longs for always happy endings, or do I continue to hit the hard issues? I understand that many of us read to escape this painful world. I get that. But my slot in this writing realm doesn’t seem to be to write for escape. Others have been called to that, but not me.

So I’ll write. Not to amplify my voice, but to tell the stories of those who are crying to be heard.

How about you? What are you called to write? Have you run away from that or bowed beneath it? Why?

Mary DeMuth is the author of nine books. Find out more at marydemuth.com