Monday, August 25, 2014


Ezekiel 37 finds the prophet in a valley filled with very dry bones. The Lord asks Ezekiel if these bones can live again. The prophet wisely replies that only the Lord would know if they can. When Ezekiel prophesied to the bones, they began to rattle and take on flesh and tendons. What once were only dry bones becomes a living army.
Have you ever gotten to the point in reading where the story becomes as dry as the bones spoken of above? You find it easy to lay the book aside or maybe even skim ahead to a “good part.”

As writers we don’t want to give our readers a reason to lay our books aside or skim ahead. When we come to a point in our story that seems to drag or be dry, we need to add some flesh, tendon, and breath.

Of course not every scene can be action-packed and suspenseful, but there are strategies to assure the scene doesn’t fall flat.
Locate a slow scene within your work in progress. First, are there things in this scene that really aren’t necessary? Could you delete parts and still have the meaning intact? If yes, then get rid of it.

If the scene is needed, how could you add some tension to make it more potent? Does the scene involve dialogue? If so, really study the interchange between the characters. Could you add in some tension through the characters’ words and actions? Or, could you have the inner thoughts of one of the characters not match what she is saying to the other character?

Make sure that every scene counts and moves your characters ahead in their final goal for which they are striving. You may find that adding additional obstacles or surprises in between the “big” conflict scenes will ramp up your story and move it along.

Strive to write each scene minus any “dry bones.” Take time to check all of your story’s scenes.

As a Christian writer, you have the opportunity to communicate truths through your stories. Don’t give your reader dry bones. Make sure you add the flesh, tendons, and breath. Give life to your stories by working hard to improve your scene-writing with every scene and every story you write.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Lamentations is a title of a Bible book that needs very little explanation. To lament means to grieve, mourn, weep. Not likely the place a reader might go for encouragement, or is it? Right in the middle of Lamentations three are two verses full of hope.

Lamentations 3:22-23: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Think of this as a fresh batch of love and compassion from the Lord every morning. That truly is faithfulness. Whatever circumstances come our way, we can always find God’s dependable love and His tender heart turned toward us.
Christian writers have the responsibility as well as the honor of illustrating Biblical truths through their writing. Think of an incident from your life or one you have seen in someone else’s life in which the truth from the above verses was shown. Could you use that situation in your story to have your character come to understand or experience God’s compassion?

Remember, your reader experiences things vicariously through your characters. He or she might even be able to relate to the happenings in your story and the situations faced by your characters. You could inadvertently encourage your reader in his or her life.

God is faithful to us in keeping His many promises. As Christian writers we must be faithful to His Word and His character. We write not only to entertain but to minister. Pause to thank Him for the privilege to write and ask His continued blessing on every word.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Jeremiah 29:11 is a well-known verse in which we are told that God has plans for us, not to harm but to prosper us. He is in the business of giving us a hope and a future.

How about your story? Do you have a plan for it? Even a seat of the pants writer needs some direction for her plot and information about her characters.

A simple character chart can provide helpful information as you write out your story. Your chart can have column titles such as these: Character name, Physical traits, Personality traits, Character at beginning, Change in character, Ending character. With these simple titles you can fill in details about your characters as well as include a simple idea of how that character will change from the beginning until the end.

For plot, you might write down something as simple as the description of how it begins and how it will end. Or, you can be more in depth and write out a timeline of events.
It is a good idea to at least employ some kind of planning so your story doesn’t just meander from one happening to another with no apparent connections or meaning.

How about your writing plans? Have you considered the steps to accomplishing what you feel God wants you to accomplish?
With no plan or goals, we might find ourselves meandering just like an unplanned plot. Consider taking about an hour or so and praying about the goals God would want you to shoot for. Don’t go so broad or so huge that you have no way to achieve it. Try setting and writing down some goals.

If you are not yet published, you might set the goal to finish your current work in progress and then have an editor look it over. You could also set a goal date to submit your manuscript to a publisher. You might even just need to discipline your writing time by setting goals for number of words written in a day or number minutes spent writing. Think of the goals that will encourage you to move ahead toward the future of your writing.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Jeremiah is often referred to as the weeping prophet. He had such deep feelings for the people he prophesied to that he was driven to tears.
Can we cause our readers to feel for our characters and their predicaments? How do we conjure the needed feelings inside of ourselves to write in this compelling way? Here are a couple of suggestions.

Allow the reader to feel the character’s emotions right along with the character. How? Don’t tell the emotion by naming it. Show by giving the character’s reactions.

For example: A sad character might ache and crumple in a heap on the floor with tears flowing uncontrollably. Doesn’t that make you feel the sadness more than just saying the character was sad?

Create relatable circumstances. One way to do this is to pull from your own experiences.

For example: From my own experience, I can express the heartache of infertility. And yet, I can’t fully express the loss of a spouse since I have never faced that situation.

Channel your experiences through your characters and they will become more real and alive.

In your work in progress, search for emotion words like sad, angry, disappointed, happy, excited. Put yourself in your character’s place at the moment that feeling occurs. Now, describe the feeling without using the actual emotion word. Would this make for a stronger connection with the reader?

Now, make a list of experiences from your own life. Have you or a close loved one had a serious disease? Have you experienced a car accident? Have you gone through divorce, adoption, or homelessness? Study your list of experiences. Could that experience or the feelings during it be used to help make your character’s emotions more real?

One way to use this is to pinpoint a certain experience from your life and write a description of it from your viewpoint, including all of your feelings. Reread this description. Does it resemble a situation or emotion your character is experiencing? Use that to rewrite the description as a scene involving your character. Would this scene connect the reader with your character?

Do you have other Christian writers you know? Being a writer isn’t the only aspect of an author’s life. Everyone has other things going on their lives. Have you ever considered that writer might need some compassion? Have you thought about asking the other writer if you can pray specifically for her or him? Who can better understand the struggles of a Christian writer than another Christian writer? 

Friday, August 8, 2014


Isaiah 53 – Isn’t it amazing that so many years before Christ came Isaiah prophesied about Him? And, not only hints about Jesus, but specifics. There were details spelled out about Jesus and His death. With the details presented by Isaiah, there could be no missing the Christ when He came. The prophet’s words were a foreshadowing of Who was to come.
Foreshadowing means to give a hint or suggestion of beforehand.

As writers, we might employ this tactic in our stories. We can give our readers a hint of what will happen later in the story. This is especially noticeable when writing a mystery-type story in which the author allows the reader to slowly solve the mystery by planting clues earlier in the story.

Could your story benefit from planting some foreshadowing along the way? Think if there is a hint or suggestion you could include now as to something that will occur later in your story. The hint doesn’t have to reveal something that will occur at the end.

For example: Suppose your heroine had a bad experience with a police officer. She has just met a great guy. But, the heroine doesn’t know that the guy is actually an undercover policeman. The guy has no reason not to pursue the heroine because he knows nothing of the history. The reader knows that these two are headed for a conflict when things come out.

Here’s an example for a mystery story: Suppose you have a person who is guilty of something in your story and your heroine or hero is trying to pinpoint that person. The reader will also be trying to identify the guilty party along with your main character. The best way to allow the reader in on the pursuit is to drop little hints about the person’s identity throughout the story. The challenge is not to give too much that your reader easily figures it out and stops reading.
Though these two examples are different, each is a form of foreshadowing. Why not try to plant a few hints in your story?
As a Christian, we might think of the plan for our lives being revealed ever so slowly by God as foreshadowing. Some of the hints we receive might be in the form of affirmations, showing we are moving in the right direction.

As a Christian writer, what “hints” has God given you that you are following His plan? Have you received positive feedback for your writing? Has a reader shared how your writing encouraged them?