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Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration for a Writers’ Heart’

One of the absolute most important phases of creating a piece of fiction is editing.

To edit is to change, improve, re-consider, revise, correct, refine. In my experience as a writer, there is no end to editing. When reading to an audience from one of my published books, I will invariably change words or phrases as I read.

First truth of editing:

It’s not that my published material is bad, but there’s always room for improvement.

Second truth of editing:

It hurts. It’s a bit like having someone tell you that although your child is not bad looking, they could use some plastic surgery. Sometimes I have to cut out bits that are special to me but have no effect on the story. Other times I need to change direction, or make dialogue more realistic, or…the possibilities are endless.

As in writing, so in life.

A quote from Nancy Thayer says it well:

“It’s never too late, in fiction or in life, to revise.”

—Nancy Thayer

Just as our stories are always editable, so are our lives.

I don’t know about you, but I constantly run through areas of my life that need tweaking. Not that my life is bad, but there’s always room for improvement. And it often hurts. There are times when I have to apologize for a hasty word, or admit my guilt in judging, or ask the Lord to pick up my wounded heart and set me on the road again.

Thankfully, I am a child of the God who is Redeemer of lost time, Renewer of strength, Restorer of purpose and confidence and passion. Thankfully, He doesn’t give up on me. He will tweak and revise and refine until my dying day…as long as I allow Him access to my soul.

Instead of being good enough, I’d rather be the best I can be, through Christ who strengthens me.

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work-985543_960_720What is the difference between voice and style in fiction? Simply put, voice is who we are, our hearts on paper or screen; style is how we express that identity. My writing will never be the same as yours, even if the topic and genre are similar.

In the spiritual realm, we are called upon to live according to Scripture, to pattern our lives after Christ, to strive for holiness. We are unique in who we are in Christ, and so we will be unique in how we express that individuality.

We are not called upon to be alike as followers of Christ (we are, however, called to be united in spirit). God has created us distinct from one another. He has a plan for each of us. We don’t all have the same calling, the same goal, the same mission.

God asks and expects us to be the best we can be. The only way to do that is to match our style to His, to be unique in Him.

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amplification-1294300_960_720Voice can be a problematic element in fiction writing. What is voice? Is it something we are or something we learn? Can it be honed and perfected? Can it be copied? (For a more in-depth look at Voice, check out my blog from October 15, 2015.)

I believe voice in fiction is who we are. Yes, it can change and grow and mature, but it essentially reflects our inner selves. I think our writing voice develops as we use it, just as a child learns to speak by listening and speaking.

Voice can also be a spiritual puzzle. Can we really hear God’s voice? What does it sound like? How do we know if what we hear is genuine?

I think when we begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, we hear His voice as it calls to us. If we practice listening, we become constantly more in tune with His Words. And if we take the next step—obedience to God’s voice—we become more confident in voice recognition. On the other hand, if we block out or ignore the voice of God, we lose touch with how He sounds, what He asks of us.

As we write, let’s consider not only our author voice, but also, and much more importantly, the voice of God’s Spirit within us.

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Fiction writers constantly consider the elements that comprise their craft: plot, characters, setting, theme, voice, and so on. These are important focuses to maintain in order to produce quality work.

As fiction authors who write from a Christian worldview, I would suggest that we also continually think of the components of our lives, the realities that make us who we are.

IMG_1708Sometimes I allow my life to become stagnant. I neglect relationships because they interfere with my writing time. I avoid conflict for the same reason, as well as the fact that it crowds my mind. I hide from daily events in order to pursue my work—or to soothe my inner introvert.

But I’m often reminded, by what I see around me and what I hear in church or from Christian friends, that if I draw back from life, I will have nothing of worth or conviction to share through my stories.IMG_1442 Colouring Easter Eggs

No matter who we are, we will experience uneven roads on our respective journeys. Writing is living out our thoughts, dreams, fears and observances through our characters, in a particular setting, with a specific goal. It requires input.

So let’s not stop living in order to write. Let’s live the life God has graciously given us, and pay forward by sharing our experiences or conclusions or even questions with others who are walking alongside us. I think that’s part of our privilege and responsibility as writers who are Christian.IMG_1665

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