Online writing studios abound, as do writing programs for homeshcoolers. The primary goal of Hellroaring Studio is to provide something different, something lacking in other studios and programs.
Hellroaring Studio exists to guide students toward an understanding and application of a biblical worldview in the craft of creative writing.
What does that look like?
It probably doesn’t look like anything you’ll find on the bookshelf at the local Christian bookstore. One of the greatest cultural tragedies in recent history is the abdication of the arts within Christendom, perhaps nowhere as pronounced as within the literary sphere.
As Philip Ryken wrote in Art and the Bible,
Even if we are not artists in our primary vocation, there is an inescapably artistic aspect to our daily experience. The question becomes, therefore, whether as Christians we will aspire to high aesthetic standards. All too often we settle for something that is functional, but not beautiful. We gravitate toward what is familiar, popular, or commercial, with little regard for the enduring values of artistic excellence. Sometimes what we produce can be described only as kitsch — tacky artwork of poor quality that appeals to low tastes. The average Christian bookstore is full of the stuff, as the real artists will tell us, if only we will listen.
Hellroaring Studio maintains the perspective held at the founding of the Hellroaring Review: if the Bible tells us what humanity truly is and Christianity offers anything unique in human experience, then Christians should be writing some the best short stories, novels and poems in the world.
Sessions at Hellroaring Studio begin with a four-week block focused on the basics of craft. To these fundamentals we add pertinent discussion of worldview. Readings include Ryken’s Art for God’s Sake, Francis Schaeffer’s Art and the Bible, as well as Aristotle’s Poetics and selections of Rhetoric.
Crafting fiction or poetry that is informed by a biblical worldview rarely means writing in a way that is overtly religious. That can be done, but it needs to be done well. Very well. Most often, good creative writing shaped by biblical truth simply portrays the reality all humanity faces: a shattered world full of evil, suffering, and complicated, broken relationships, but one in which reason for hope remains because genuine redemption can be the ultimate reality.
That is a high calling, but not an unattainable one. It is a calling worthy of our best effort.