Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tough Subjects

The book of Hosea deals with a tough subject. God instructs Hosea to take as his wife a prostitute. She also turns out to commit adultery within the marriage relationship. God uses this tumultuous marriage to illustrate the relationship between God and his people. God wanted the people to see that their lack of commitment to Him was like committing adultery and it hurt His heart in the same way a loving husband would be hurt.

As Christian writers we deal with tough subjects in our stories. Writing only about perfect people in a perfect world doing perfect actions is not realistic. Novelists write fiction but realism must be present for the reader to delve into the story. Even fantasy has to include enough explanation for the reader to accept it and continue reading.
Make a list of tough subjects. Here’s a few to get you started: divorce, abortion, and adultery.

Now skim your list. Underline the topics you have included in stories you have written or are currently writing. Of the topics not underlined, circle one.

Write your circled topic on a sheet of paper. Now brainstorm ideas for ways to include that in a story.

As a Christian writer, you want to make sure that you know and can convey God’s truths on your topic. Locate a concordance and/or commentary. Use the concordance to locate verses in the Bible on your topic. Read the verses and also read about those verses in a commentary.

Look back at your notes on ways to include this tough subject into your story. How could your story illustrate what the verses said about that topic?

Don’t steer away from those tough subjects. These are the things of life that real people are dealing with.

Have you dealt with one of your listed tough subjects in your own life? If so, you can incorporate your personal feelings and experience into your character. This will cause your story to be much more realistic.

As a Christian author, we never know how God might use these tough situations we include in our stories to touch a reader and possibly bring healing or understanding.

Monday, October 20, 2014


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.