Monday, September 8, 2014

Fiery Furnace

Daniel three gives us the story of the fiery furnace. Three Hebrew young men weren’t about to bow to anyone except their God. But, when they were thrown into the hot furnace, they came out unharmed. An unbelievable miracle from God.
As writers of Christian literature, we must be careful when we include miraculous events. We don’t want to include a miracle so unbelievable that we cause our readers to doubt more than believe in the God we are writing about. Also, we shouldn’t use a miracle to get our main character out of the jam we put them in just because we can’t think of any other way to get him out.

Often the best miracles from God we can use in our writing are the ones we have experienced for ourselves or have witnessed in someone close to us.

For example, a friend and co-worker recently asked me to pray for her husband. The doctor had ordered a MRI because of suspicious reading from another scan. The doctor actually mentioned the likelihood of brain cancer. We prayed. The MRI showed nothing. The doctor could only say that either the first test was incorrect or God had removed it.

With a definite emotional connection and an opportunity to witness a miracle, we can write about it, making it more realistic.

Do you have a miracle that occurs in your story? Have another person read that section and question them about how believable that scene is.

Do you have a miraculous occurrence to get your character out of a big problem or circumstance?

Here’s an extreme example. Your main character takes a boat out before checking it, but he needs to follow someone. He gets to the middle of the lake and the boat stalls and runs out of gas. And, all of the sudden, a helicopter flies over and he is saved.

Did you give some hints in advance so this rescue isn’t so out-of-the-blue? This rescue might seem plausible if the main character happened to be on his phone with his love interest as he hopped into the boat. The love interest might know that the boat will soon be out of gas or that the main character will need assistance if he catches who he is chasing. She might phone her helicopter friend or maybe she flies and takes off after him. This seems much more believable than just having a helicopter come to the rescue at the exact moment he runs out of gas.
We need to be careful with our use of miracles in our stories. We don’t want our reader to shake her head and say, “There’s no way.” We want our reader to say, “Wow, God did a miracle there. I wonder if He could do that in my life?”

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Now for the book of Daniel. In Daniel 2 the king has a dream that needs interpreting. Daniel is called upon to interpret the meaning of the dream for the king.

Supposedly our dreams can be interpreted to tell something about us. The dream may show a fear or some feeling that hasn’t been expressed openly.
As a writer, a dream might spark a story or even push you along in a scene from your work in progress. For this reason, a writer should keep paper and a writing utensil near the bed.

Can you remember a recent dream? Write out a description of that dream. What kind of meaning can you derive from the dream?

Use your dream as the basis for a story. Can you use the actual occurrences in the dream as the beginning of your story? Or, do you need to only take the meaning from the dream as the basis of sparking your story?

Dreams are one place you can get story ideas. Simply by utilizing one tidbit of your dream, you can derive a whole story.

By concentrating on the meaning you have derived from your dream, you might create the theme-base for a story.

Don’t waste those dreams. Use them as sparks for story fodder.

In the case of the dream Daniel interpreted for the king, the dream was a prediction of the future.

What do you hope your future as a Christian writer will look like? What dream has God placed in your heart regarding your writing? Take just a moment to “dream.” Write out your dream for the future of your writing. What can you do today to make that dream come true?