Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration for the Writer’s Heart’

question-mark-1019820_960_720It takes a long time to master the art of dialogue in fiction writing. The actual keying in of quotation marks and placement of other punctuation can be daunting and interfere with the flow of conversation. But if we keep practicing, we will eventually get the hang of it. It will become second nature.

It takes a long time to master the art of dialoguing with God. Sometimes I catch myself thinking of the Lord as a genie in the sky, waiting to grant me my requests. Other times I talk at God as if prayer were a monologue. It isn’t meant to be one-sided or difficult. It’s meant as the communication link between Creator and creature. A lifeline, really.prayer-1269776_960_720

Prayer is and will continue to be an enigmatic issue for me. I love the Lord, I praise His name and His greatness, I realize His power, and maybe because of all this, I don’t know how to address Him properly.

But God says, “Talk with me.” He created us for communion, and that is not one-sided.

As we craft our fictional dialogues, let’s remind ourselves to take time to practice our spiritual conversation as well. One great benefit is that with prayer, we don’t have to worry about punctuation placement.

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I’ll never forget the first time this happened to me. I was writing my first novel, and had decided to use three main characters in order to properly and effectively show three very different perspectives. The third character was actually an afterthought, to fill in events and points of view that would otherwise be lost, but I only planned to use him to introduce these ideas, and then he would “go away.”

But Paul Gregorovich Tekanin would not be put out. He insisted on staying. I couldn’t write him out or kill him off without seriously harming the plot. He stuck around for the entire three-book series, becoming one of the characters that changed the most and proved a true friend. I still grieve that I had to leave him in Russia when the others emigrated.hugs-1328360_960_720

Sometimes there are people in our lives that we don’t know well. They show up but we don’t plan to get involved with them. But for reasons outside ourselves—read: God sees the big picture and knows what and who we need—they don’t leave. In fact, they become our closest friends. They love us and support us when others we thought we could trust disappear.

I’m thankful for the friends who become “closer than a brother,” who stick by us through life’s ups and downs, who prove themselves to be worthy of the title, friend. Sometimes they are real “characters,” but that’s what makes life bearable.


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What happens next?

And after that?

Why did that happen?

How will it end?

All of us who write fiction do so because we love story. Our plot consists of the building blocks of the story.

We read or see something that intrigues us, that starts our imaginations rolling. Then, depending on whether we are OPs or NOPs (From James Scott Bell: OPs are Outline People and NOPs are No Outline People), we outline / think through the series of events by which we can show the story.

I will admit to being an OP. As a visual person, I need to see the outline, the highlights, the headings and titles, the progressions. From there I fill in the motivations, the conflicts, the story arc, and all the other elements that create a good read.


I     Chapter One

A. A terrible storm destroys a town

1. The church roof is torn off

2. The main character is in the church

3. The church is being used to house homeless people

4. Main character is angry at God for making life harder for these people

B. Second main character arrives and judges first main character for lack of faith

II     Chapter Two …

Sometimes things happen in our stories that are unexpected. At first we may not understand why they pop up, but then we see they are necessary to prepare a character or situation for the next step.

Our lives are stories. Our MO* (modus operandi—why people do the things they do) stems from our life story. Our values, beliefs and goals are based on the stories of those who came before us. We don’t often understand why some things happen to us or to our loved ones, why we must endure health problems or financial burdens or loneliness.

I would suggest that’s because we don’t have the outline for our lives printed out for us. But God knows every action, every response, every MO. He leads us along our particular path, He promises to be with us every step of the way, but He does not promise to tell us why. The Lord’s MO is His own and we have no access to it, beyond our understanding of who He is and His divine and unchanging nature.

However, if we belong to God’s family through His Son Jesus, we know that the eventual outcome will be superb. It will be more than a happy ending.

So if you are struggling in your life, think of it as being part of God’s Plotline for your life, and trust that He will resolve everything for your good and for His glory, at the perfect time.

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