Sunday, February 24, 2013

Characters in the making

Believable, authentic characters that people can relate to and empathize with. That's my goal. Lately I've been focusing on getting inside of the characters even more than I have already, wearing their skin, feeling their feelings, experiencing their experiences, developing who they are and how they see the world.

There's some challenge to do you get inside a character that lives in an entirely different world? The setting is ancient Israel, 1000 years before Christ...that's 3,000 years ago! They had a totally different world view, diet, manner of speaking, style of dress, daily life and tasks, and a thousand other cultural and environmental differences compared to what we have in our world today. Yes, some of my research has helped me flesh out the details...but yet so many details are missing. Yes, there will have to be some informed, creative imagination goin on in order to bring this story to life. My characters have to speak in a way that modern readers can appreciate and for the most part they are using dialogue that sounds more modern than archaic. Obviously what they talk about and even some of the idioms they use have to be relevant to their timeperiod.

On the other hand, people are people. What overcomes cultural and time-period differences is going to be real-to-life human emotions, thoughts, reactions, personality differences, conflicts, love interests, ambitions, dreams and the list goes on and on. I want you to get into the characters I create and deeply relate to them on a human level. We may live in a totally different kind of world than they did back then, but many of the flaws, emotions, fears, joys, dreams, struggles that we have today have been experienced by people throughout history. I want you to relate to Benaiah, who is a complex character with a unique personality and a difficult set of circumstances and a journey that will reveal to him the depths of his personality and his need. He has a spiritual hole in his soul that only the true God can fill. He has a deep need for love and forgiveness and spiritual peace that the world cannot give. His journey will take him to the brink of himself and challenge him physically, mentally and spritually. He will experience things that we can only imagine. His friends, his family and his fellow soldiers play a huge role in that journey and each of them are unique and interesting personalities. This is where this story is coming to life and where I am having the most fun writing it. I am enjoying developing these characters, making them come alive on the pages and telling their story. Please keep me in your prayers as I continue to write and rewrite and research and create and pray that God can use me and this project for his glory and the good of his mission in the world.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Thoughts about the struggle...

Unaccepted, disrespected and alone--three words that you never want to use to describe your life. Yet we have all experienced such things at one time or another, some more, some less. Benaiah, the main character in my book, struggles with all three, at the same time and for much of his life. His journey is full of struggle and turning points. He pushes people away trying to find himself. He seeks adventure to satisfy the gaping holes he feels within and gain the respect and admiration he desperately craves. He sets out to find himself and achieve his goals. He experiences set backs and joys, heartaches and small triumphs. His journey is a godless journey, a selfish journey and yet all along God sets out to find him and win him with his promises. God gives him people who affect him deeply and touch him with the truth. His message works quietly and steadily on a stubborn soul.
My hope is that you can relate to this struggle on some level and that it moves you deeply. God's promises are for us all, for our struggles, for our turning points. They lift our eyes from our selfish, limited, destructive infatuation with the fading things of this life and point us to a divine, sacrificial, eternal love that forgives our evil, heals our broken, and gives us unfathomably priceless gifts that endure forever!

Friday, February 8, 2013

A question for you...

What makes fiction come alive for you? What do you look for when you pick up a book and dive in for a long read? Is it non-stop action? Deep questions and issues? Learning historical information through the eyes and world of a character? A gripping plot-line? These are the kind of questions that I am thinking about as I write this book. Who is my audience? What is going to keep them interested and turning the pages?

So, I'd like to actually ask this question here and whenever you read this post, if you could post a comment or send me an email and let me know, I'd really appreciate it. Here's the questions: From your perspective what characteristics make for good historical fiction?

Thanks in advance for helping me think this through.
Blessings to you all!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Have Fun!

Why is it so easy to get too serious? I mean, I'm writing a book because I love to write and writing is one thing that I really enjoy. Yet it's so easy for me to get too serious about it. Am I writing this so people will enjoy it? Do I have the research right on this or that point? Does that sound dumb? Does this character make sense? Is this plotline any good at all? And my mind does tailspins trying to get each question just right. Yes...those are all good, necessary questions, but lately I've been drowing in seriousness and forgetting that this is a fun project. Maybe other things from life are creeping into my writing process. Maybe I get up in the morning when I'd rather be sleeping and I'm drowsy. Maybe...and this is probably it...I'm just getting caught up in the wrong perspective about this. Have fun! It's that simple. Just write and stop thinking and worrying about the silly details. I think half my writer's block lately is because I've stopped allowing myself to have fun and releasing my creativity to simply go wherever it wants. So this next week my goal is to let loose and have fun and stop overthinking everything.
We all need that reminder from time to time. It is so easy to get too serious about everything. We are the ones who turn the daily jobs into drudgery. We do it to ourselves. With a shift of perspective we can make anything enjoyable. Turn it into a game. Imagine it in a different way. Find the humor in it. Laugh instead of worry. Smile instead of groan. Instead of "I've got to get through this" think "where is the opportunity to enjoy this?" How can we be positive and have fun regardless of circumstances or tough work ahead? We're free. We're forgiven. We're covered by God's grace. Life isn't all about us or about our supposed earlthy "success" anyway. It's about Him. It's about love. It's about a future gauranteed to all who, by God's grace and work, believe in his Son and all he's done to save sinners. How can we not have fun and find fun in our every day work? And when life truly isn't fun and the tough times really grind on us...we have a joy that runs deeper than any earthly circumstance can touch. We have God's love in Christ and that's all we need for this life and the next. So let's let loose, live each day for Him and have fun doing it.