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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Be a Voice, Not an Echo

by Rachel Hauck

Writing in the Christian market pushes us to go beyond the realm of this life to find meaning and purpose for our characters. While we are not writing sermons and devotionals set in fictional places with fictional characters, we are imitating life.

For the Christian author, Jesus is very much a part of our every day life. We want to express Him in some way in our stories, through the lives of our characters. But often our stories sound hokey, canned, full of Christianese. How we talk in the foyer at church, or in Sunday school class does not translate into fiction.
Remember, our goal is to write great stories about great characters. Our goal is not agenda fiction where we pound the pulpit so to speak about some error of ways.

So how do we develop a convincing, authentic spiritual thread? A lot of prayer and pondering. Digging deep the translate those standard words like, “Is he a believer?” to something every one can understand. Like, “Does he believe in Jesus?” Here are three simple, straight forward steps to help non-Christians get it.

Avoid soap boxes. 
Don’t preach to the reader out of your own wounds or doctrinal passions. One, it’s obvious. Two, it’s boring. Find one truth that you’ve learned and weave it into your character’s being then let the words flow naturally. May in one or two scenes.

It’s not a Bible study. Don’t write and discuss long passages of scripture or quote noted Bible teachers. Have you characters quote a verse in a natural way, using his or her own words.

Express God in creative ways. 
In one of my books, God got the heroine’s attention with feathers appearing out of nowhere. In another, the heroine senses a strong fragrance.

But you can’t write about what you don’t have in yourself. The spiritual journey of a character is often the fragrance of God in and on the author. If you aren’t going deep in God, spending time at His feet, praying, worhshipping, fellowshipping with others, your spiritual message will be flat. Always. Your message will feel forces and tacked on.

But as you spend time in His presence, meditating on His Word, the spiritual thread becomes a part of you, a part of the character, a part of the whole book. And you may only have to mention Jesus once. But He’s everywhere unseen.

Don’t lead with doctrine. Lead with the Spirit. 
Don’t just repeat what others are saying. Get your own revelation and then back it up with the truth of the Word. Pray for a way to weave it into your character’s journey.

Be a Voice not an Echo.

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New York Times, USA Today ​and Wall Street Journal best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a past ACFW mentor of the year. A worship leader and Buckeye football fan, Rachel lives in Florida with her husband and ornery cat, Hepzibah. Read more about Rachel at www.rachelhauck.com.

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