Friday, October 17, 2014

Life Lessons for Writers—To Solve or Not to Solve?

by Bruce Brady @BDBrady007

My wife and I attended a play last Sunday and we’re blown away by the subject matter. It dealt with Biblical view versus world view, including singles living together, homosexuality, church marriage versus civil ceremony, and others. This was surprising as we were not in a Christian venue.

Like me, most of the audience became uneasy when we realized where the storyline was going. I could see some bracing themselves to fight what they were sure would be the writer’s take on the subject. When the show ended however, we were all surprised by the fact that the playwright didn’t provide any solution.

This made me question my writing. Do I try to solve complex issues by offering my take on how to do it? If so, why? Do I have the definitive answers to complex problems?

To provide solutions to interpersonal and corporate problems, I must presume that I know all the answers. But of course, I don’t. I can’t even solve my own problems, let alone the world’s. As a follower of Christ, I try to base all my opinions on Biblical Truths. Being human makes me fall short of that goal more than I care to admit.

What I found most powerful about this play was it didn’t leave me feeling comfortable but questioning instead. Then I thought that is what I’d most like to accomplish in my writing. I want to leave my audience questioning their beliefs. I don’t want to pass judgment on them and I can’t solve their problems. All I can do is make them uncomfortable enough to seek answers.

God created each of us as unique individuals. Except for divine revelation, we can’t possibly know all the circumstances each person faces on a daily basis. we can relate to them through the common challenges we all face. That’s our canvas. That’s how we can reach out to them. By asking difficult questions, we can prompt others to search for the answers that best fit their individual lives. But should we leave it at that? 

Should our writing offer solutions?


Bruce Brady is an author, writer and playwright. His work has appeared in Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family,, and on stage. Currently, Bruce is working on a Young Adult Novel about a boy who must deal with the death of his dad, being bullied, and helping his mom through her grief. His first five pages took third place in the ACFW South Carolina Chapter’s “First Five Pages” contest.

When he’s not writing, Bruce spends time learning from and helping other writers. He serves as Mentor of Word Weavers International’s Online Chapter, and as a member of Cross ‘N’ Pens, The Writer’s Plot, ACFW’s National and South Carolina Chapters.

“My dream is to entertain my readers and give them hope as they travel the rocky road of life.”


  1. Great thought provoking post! I think the most important thing is that our writing does not offer pat answers, but if there are answers they have a deeper thread. Sometimes there aren't solutions, but consolations...comforts as we face the problems of life.

  2. Thank you for this article, Bruce. Definitely something to consider as we write. There's certainly a difference between the author sticking her nose in with a solution and the character coming to a realization or, one of my favorite words, an epiphany on his/her own. The first will sound preachy; the second, if done right, will feel organic to the story.

    Because what it comes down to is we can't know what will lead to questions. Each reader will react to different aspects of our stories in different ways.