Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Releasing the Spirit of Your Story: Part I

"There's a moment in the life of every generation when there is a spirit that has to come through..."
- Barack Obama's Wisconsin victory speech, February 19, 2008.

I am writing stories about people who believe that their spirit man guides them. This type character poses a problem for a contemporary writer, especially a romance writer like myself.

Most compelling contemporary stories don't spend a lot of time inside the head. Most romance plots aren't moving because of what someone thinks, but because of what someone feels about another person. So I have a problem.

Between my writing time I review and judge romance novels. And for some odd reason the stories published by a house that does not care for Christian orthodoxy seems to have more compelling and redemptive stories. The aesthetic value is higher. The characters are sticky and unforgettable. The plot matters. God pops on their pages. And nobody has to preach to me for me to see Him.

Don't get me wrong. Every year I read more and more works by Christian authors who deliver the big Wow. I believe more are coming. I have a few titles at my feet that I can't wait to share with you guys about. So I can't blame CBA houses for our lack of umph, I blame the writer. I blame myself.

Writing with Christ mind sometimes stilts me. How do you keep from watering down your story with too much inner talk? How do you free yourself from your own box where the spirit of your story breaks through and holds the story up? What must I do as a writer when Christ wants to do his thing?

This week we'll look at a few stories that are great examples to guide me and hopefully you. What stories have helped you? Subscribe.

5 comments:

nedra smith said...

Hi, Dee. I'm Nedra. As always when I visit your site, you've made me think.

Though I've been a Christian for a couple of decades, I had never consciously picked up a Christian novel until a few years ago when I picked up Victoria Christopher Murray's JOY .

You are so right that there are some great faith-based novels out there, with "sticky" characters.

Some of the books you've featured here have characters that resonate with me long after I've finished the books.

Thanks so much for doing what you do. Have a blessed day!

--Nedra Smith

Hi, I'm Dee said...

Thanks, Nedra. I will definitely let Victoria know how you feel about her book. :)

The Gospel Writer said...

You wrote, "How do you keep from watering down your story with too much inner talk" This is such a pet peeve of mine with CF. I like action, drama and characters that blow your mind. You know that characters that say what you're thinking but because you momma raised you better, you won't!
That's me and I think CF is coming along, but I have put down too many books because the author has too much inner talk going on. Thanks for commenting on this. I recently wrote a post for my blog dealing along similar lines...for me that is. Many Blessings!

The Gospel Writer said...

What must I do as a writer when Christ wants to do his thing?

I asked myself this question today. Thanks for this post. I blogged about the fear of writing what is really in your heart. I think christian authors have been confined to guidelines so much that sometimes they don't write what we want in order to be published by CBA.

On the other hand, I'm the opposite. I tend to write what you're thinking, but won't say because your momma raised you better (minus the cuss words).

Thanks for bringing this up.

nedra smith said...

Thank you for all of your help, Dee.

It's funny. I never considered thanking her myself. Somehow I feel more at ease approaching authors whose blogs I've read. I read Joy long before I turned 30 a couple of years ago.

I think that Tyler Perry thing in "Madea's Class Reunion" about "come 30, the lightbulb comes on" is true.

She and many others have delivered that big "Wow" you mentioned. Maybe I need to at least do my part in letting them know how much I appreciate those "Wows."

Have a blessed weekend!
-Nedra

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