Writers

He would not recommend fiction as a means of teaching; the condition of the world is too acute to permit of delay in giving them the direct teachings, associated with the name of Bahá’u’lláh. But any suitable approach to the Faith, which appeals to this or that group, is certainly worthy of effort, as we wish to bring the Cause to all men, in all walks of life, of all mentalities. [This advice was given to a believer who sought the counsel of the Guardian on ways one might use writing skills to teach the Faith. The believer proposed writing a novel in which the Bahá’í teachings and their source would be presented indirectly and in such a way as to stimulate curiosity and search by the reader].

Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 412

Regarding the advice you asked him for, he feels that to devote all one's studies with the object of becoming a Bahá’í author, is rather risky. We need Bahá’í authors badly, but you have to be assured that you have the talent to earn your living in that field, and also serve the Faith in it. He feels that the best thing for you to do is to devote your studies to acquiring a sound education, if you like along literary lines, and then see what develops.

Shoghi Effendi, Extracts From The Bahá’í Writings On The Subject Of Writers And Writing

There is a great need for teaching the Cause at present; every Bahá’í should teach, and each one has his own capacities and can expect to reach certain souls who respond to his efforts. Your gift of writing should by all means be utilized in serving the Cause. Every one is perforce only an instrument in giving the Message which is more or less coloured by his own capacities and approach to life. There is no harm in this. You should write freely what you feel, what you wish to convey to the mind of the reader; afterwards you yourself, and those who pass upon Bahá’í manuscripts and publications, can make sure that all your points conform to the teachings. The way you give them out and present them is an individual matter and there is no objection to this at all.

Shoghi Effendi, Extracts From The Bahá’í Writings On The Subject Of Writers And Writing

What Bahá’u’lláh meant primarily with 'sciences that begin and end in words' are those theological treatises and commentaries that encumber the human mind rather than help it to attain the truth. The students would devote their life to their study but still attain no where. Bahá’u’lláh surely never meant to include story writing under such a category; and shorthand and typewriting are both most useful talents very necessary in our present social and economic life.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 479

Generally speaking, works of fiction which the writers hope will help to promote knowledge of the Cause of God will fulfill this purpose better if they are set against the background of particular events or developing processes in the Cause of God, and not used to portray the actual historical events themselves and the figures taking part in them. The reality of the actual events and the actual personages is so much more convincing than any fictional account.

Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 102

The medium of a novel offers a great deal of latitude for an author to elaborate ideas and areas of thought hitherto unexplored. You should be careful, however, not to ... give interpretations that may not be correct if the Faith and its Teachings are to be explicit in the novel. If, on the other hand, there is no clear connection to the Faith in the novel, you would be free to use your imagination in exploring any ideas which have as their source the principles of the Faith.

Universal House of Justice, The Importance of the Arts in Promoting the Faith