This guest post was written by Liz, the wonderful 1author of the blog Awake. You all should head over and congratulate Liz as she has finished her book, The Mark of the Star!! What an awesome achievement!
“ You’re still working on that fantasy novel?” a friend asks.
“Yeah. I’m on like the sixth draft! But it’s almost done,” I reply, bleary-eyed and muddle-headed from being up till two o’clock writing on The Mark of the Star.
“So why did you choose to tell this particular story?” she asks.
I’m floored – and not just because my wits are slogging through mud in my sleepy brain. I’m shocked because I realize that I’ve never even considered the question before.
Have you ever been in this situation? You’re asked why you spend crazy amounts of time sequestered by your computer typing furiously. What makes you want to tell the story you write?
“Well, it’s just my story – the best one I could think of…” is probably what I’d say. *grimaces*
Unfortunately, that’s not the most impressive answer. So why do we write what we do?
After reading and loving the Dragon Keeper Chronicles, I emailed author Donita K. Paul expressing my delight and admiration for her books and asking for a bit of advice as an amateur writer who hoped to create something as wonderful someday…Her words have had a serious influence on my perspective.
“The most important thing in a story is the message.”
Of course, she said, the characters and plot that presents your message is crucial because it is how you connect with your readers. But the reason you want to engage their interest and emotions in the first place is to deliver the message.
I sat back and thought through The Mark of the Star. What point was I trying to make? What concepts were I trying to illustrate with my plot? Was my goal entertainment, or to impact the reader and provoke their thoughts?
In speech class, they ask us, “If you had the whole world listening to you with undivided attention for five minutes, what would you tell them?” It’s a frightening question, but an enlightening one. It helps you realize what your passions are and what you want to do with the words God blesses you with.
Donita K. Paul’s wise words apply to any and every story. Whether I’m telling a fantastical princess and pirate story to my best friend’s little brothers, or whether I’m writing a poem, plotting out a thriller novel, or indulging my imagination in a fantasy, I need to use that opportunity to tell the world the message it needs to hear.
This is the message of our incredible Savior. His grace, His love, His power, His truth, His hope, His goodness, His wisdom, His beauty, and His tenderness…
Someone will read your book. Someone will read my book. We can't let them turn the pages without walking away changed when the reach the back cover.
I’m probably preaching to the choir – from what I’ve seen of other people’s blogs you guys are all wonderful writers who are awesome about professing your faith. But I’ve found in my own writing that something this fundamental can be easily forgotten.
It is wonderfully easy to get so caught up in the rapture of storytelling, to fall so deeply in love with my characters, that I am tempted to spend all my words relating their thoughts and dramas and actions. I forget to think why I am writing their story.
Next time someone asks you why you chose to write the particular book you did, don’t muddle it all like I did. Be bold, be confident, and tell them that you write because you have a message to tell to the world and it’s bursting from you in every character, every line of dialogue, every series of events that fill the pages of your novel.
I only hope I can say the same for the things I write.
Honored to have been allowed a post on the most excellent blog of the most marvelous Squeaks,
News: Since April of last year I have managed to accomplish several monumental things in my studies, but I update you now to tell you that three nights ago I had the best sleep since I last visited my aunt's house (years ago) and probably will never have another good sleep like it for years to come *nods sagely*.
--12 March 2017 --
Quote: I really dislike how glasses slide down your nose impetuously when you're glaring down at your unfinished work. -Me