How to Write a Sermon Into My Manuscript

by Laurie

Question: One of the characters in my manuscript is a minister. He is giving a sermon on forgiveness. It will only be a portion of the sermon; the part that the main character needs to hear to lead her to forgiving the minister, as they have a past together.

How do I go about writing this into my manuscript? Should it be in quotes or should it be underlined so it is italicized?

Thanks, Glen!

Answer: Generally, if a speech is more than one paragraph, you put a quotation mark at the start of each paragraph, but do not put a quotation mark at the end of any paragraph but the last one.

However, if you have a really long speech, such as a sermon, you should consider breaking it up by inserting the main character's observations of the minister's actions or appearance, other things happening during the sermon, the main character's reactions to the sermon, etc. You could have a whole other subplot happening during the speech, if it makes sense.

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Feb 28, 2013
Re: How To Write A Sermon Into A Manuscript
by: Anonymous

I once took a creative writing class in college where we had to write about experiences that happened to us in our lives as if it were a work of fiction.

I grew up in the church, having discovered Christ at a very young age of 8.

One thing that I would caution you about writing a sermon into your story is to do this only if you are a Believer yourself, as the subject matter of the sermon, forgiveness, as you stated in your question, flows from your mind to the paper (or screen) with much more credibility and integrity than writing the sermon in a way that might come across as imitation or emulation.

Also, I think it would be a nice twist if the sermon included elements that might further the story's the minister is aware of a danger to the protagonist, and delivers a warning of their being in danger in the body of the sermon that only the protagonist would understand.

Lastly, one thing one must always be careful of is sounding "preachy" or "sanctimonious", which could be something of a turn off to the reader if they think you're proselytizing from within the story.

The sermon should have a message and use real world language or religiously appropriate slang to form a connection with the reader.

This was a great question!

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