Daniel five tells the story of the strange hand that wrote on the king’s wall. He wanted to know the meaning of the writing so they brought in Daniel. The words were actually prophecy, revealing what would happen to the king. The prophecy came true.
Have you heard the expression, plain as the writing on the wall? This saying might be used when trying to tell someone that the meaning of something is very obvious.
As Christian writers we want our message or theme to shine through our writing. But, we don’t make it quite as plain as the writing on the wall. Our message is woven into our story, not preached outright.
We often call this overall message the reader is to grasp the take-away. In other words, what is it that the reader will take-away from your story? Can your theme be deciphered? Are you communicating the whole meaning or purpose for your story?
Consider your work in progress or rough draft. Write out what you hope readers take-away from your story.
Now ask a beta reader or a critique partner to read your manuscript. Ask that person what they felt was the take-away.
Compare what you wrote out to what your reader said. Did the two match? Or, did your reader describe a different take-away? Did the reader have trouble identifying your take-away? Or, did the reader feel that the message was too blatant?
If your take-away needs focusing, consider what actions your main character could do that would further flesh out your purpose. Be careful doing this through dialogue. In this case, it is too easy to have your characters just tell the reader what the purpose is for the story.
There’s a fine balance in weaving your take-away into your story. You want your reader to pick up on it but you don’t want to spell it out too clearly.