How I novelized my personal ideals

The climactic battle in Patrick Ullmer’s new novel, NOCTURN

Patrick Ullmer | Photo Courtesy

As a self-described unpretentious novelist, I can honestly confess there are two-ways one gets inspired to write a novel. They can be inspired out of pride for some other product(s) that make them feel important or touched in some way to make their own thing, or they can be inspired out of spite for products that make them feel insulted in some way enough to make a novel professing one’s ideals as a way to make a product with his or her ideals that will reach out to other people like him or her. For my most recent novel, Nocturn, I wouldn’t label it spite, but I was tired of feeling like my personal faith looked down upon the mainstream media.

The other day I saw a short trailer for the upcoming horror film, The Unholy, which I knew was not made for me due to the scene in which a crucifix catches on fire with the figurine becoming a demon- oh, and did I mention it’s scheduled to be released on Good Friday “the holiest day of the year” according to the trailer narrator’s voice? (Actually, we Christians consider Easter the holiest day of the year- just saying).

I keep feeling insulted when movies like this imply that the prince of darkness is more powerful than the man upstairs if you know what I mean. I do not know what the thought-process of the people who make these movies are, but in a world in which Dr. Seuss is not safe anymore, I as a Christian, feel offended.

So I wrote a novel going counter-cultural (at least in my mind) of one’s personal need for religion. Woah, hang on a second, let me explain myself before you make a beeline for the door…well, at least some of you are still with me. Okay, gather around children, or adults and such, and let me tell you what the story is about.

The story is about someone who undergoes personal hatred and disgust while dealing with a transformation into a winged creature every night by (what else?) fighting crime with his abilities, only to find himself falling victim to a vicious plan set into motion by an evil beast hell-bent on committing iconoclasm to establish himself as a “god”. If that’s not a plot of a self-published book, I don’t know what is.

I wrote this book because, as I mentioned earlier, I feel insulted by how Christianity is handled by Hollywood, pop-songs, and other media. Religion matters to people and should be better respected. Perhaps the only way to garner much attention today in the fictional world is to harness a “superhero” world and inject one’s ideals into it, which is the route I went.

Naturally, I did not want to be insulting to people who would read it by condemning or mocking others, so I made the main character a non-believer. I reasoned that if you make the main character in a story which has a more compassionate view of religion a believer, 9 times out of 10 you run the risk of being preachy; if he or she is a nonbeliever, 9 times out of 10, your story will be thoughtful. I wanted to just make a story in which good is more powerful than evil, and there is a great distinction between the two.

Whether it was spite for boundless media that runs against my personal beliefs, or a desire to just read something I agreed with that made me write this book I will leave it for you to decide. But at the end of the day, what stories are the best are the ones in which good is encouraged even during a protagonist’s defeat or grueling triumph.

If evil is more powerful than good, indeed what is the point of living in this world? We should therefore strive to be good, and feed our lives with entertainment promoting it, or in some cases support or moral ideals by writing a book that may not be so big but will mean much to ourselves at least.

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