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How Do You Write?

On Sunday, I went to a prayer team meeting.  We ended up having a long, drawn-out prayer session and I described something, in prayer, that the Holy One revealed to me.  It was just a small picture; I don’t even know if it could be called a vision, it was so brief.  Later on the leader of the team pulled me aside and spoke to me for a minute.  While she was speaking, suddenly my brain (weird thing that it is) drew a line between the way I write and the way I pray.

See, when I am praying for someone in the anointing, I see pictures.  Brief flashes of insight that might give someone hope, or explanation, or just something new that the Alpha and Omega wants declared.  So I’ll pray it.  I’m not trying to brag or anything similar; if you heard me pray out loud, you’d know I’m pretty much the least eloquent one around.  But what this tells me is that I’m a visual person.  When I need to know what to pray, the Lord shows me pictures.  He also does it when I write.

Ay, there’s the rub.

See, I’m not original.  At all.  Everything I write doesn’t come from my imagination, that I might boast in it.  Instead, I have to rely completely upon the One who created story, the One who created my imagination, the One who created my mind, for every little piece.  He basically dictates everything in pictures and I just describe it.

Then it’s never good enough, so He has to tell me how to describe it.  It’s actually a fun process.

So now y’all know.  I’m a bold, unashamed cheater.  But I know I’m not the only one.  So tell me, how do you write in the anointing?

Give Back Your Gift!

“And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.”

Leviticus 27:30

What is tithe?

The Bible defines a tithe as a tenth of the  crops.  OK… so you get that.  If you walk into a church, at some point they’re going to say something about giving a tenth of your income to God.  This has been around since Leviticus times and it’s nothing new.  Most Christians will write a check once a month or every other week or whenever they get their paycheck and stick it in the bucket as it comes around.  Then they’re done until their next paycheck, right?

Uh… not exactly.

At least not the way I understand it.  The way I understand it, the most common type of tithe is of your income.  But it’s not the only thing you can tithe.  The Biblical Israelites would give a tenth of whatever they were given back to God.  It didn’t matter if it was crops, wine, livestock, etc… anything the Lord doled out was given back in a small measure.  They did this, not only in worship and obedience, but in order to remember God and the blessings He gave them.

And there’s the kicker: God gave first.

Well, duh.  I can picture y’all’s eyes rolling right now.  But, hey, wait, don’t close the window!  I’ve got a point.

Just like our income, whatever talents we have are gifts from God.  Yeah, I’m talking about writing here.  And whatever God gives us, we need to give back in a tithe, back to the One who gave it to us.  But you know what’s really cool?  This is one of my favorite things about God (uh… ok, favorite being a relative term since He’s too amazing):

Malachi 3:10 states that when you give a tithe (10%) to the Lord, He opens the windows of heaven for you and pours down blessings beyond anything you can imagine.  The parable of the three servants tells us that when we are faithful with the small amount of blessing God has given us, He trusts us with much more (Matthew 25:14-30).  Part of being faithful is giving the blessing back to God.

These are Kingdom principles. They are unchanging, unquestionable laws in that upside-down backwards Kingdom that works so much better than ours.  When we give our writing back to the Holy One to do whatever He will, not only does He make us better writers, but He also reveals more of His plan and His purpose both for us personally but also for others, to be revealed through your writing.

And just think: if He does all that for a tenth of your writing gift, imagine what He’d do if you handed it all over?  So try it.  He’s a better Writer, anyway.

Ever since I decided to follow God and have felt like He’s leading me to pursue a career in publishing, I have been drawn to fiction.  But then, I couldn’t reconcile my love for fiction with my love for God and His ministry.  The two seemed mutually exclusive except for a few extreme cases.  After all, if you wanted to learn about God or how He speaks or who He is, most people pick up something non-fiction.  I once had a conversation with a friend who summed it up pretty well: he said that if he wanted to read something that entertains, he would reach for a novel but he counts it as a waste of time.  His time is better served reading something that edifies his spirit, teaches him, serves a purpose.  I.e: non-fiction (specifically C.S. Lewis, whom we were talking about then.)

Now, I have nothing against non-fiction.  I’ve been known to read Bill Johnson or Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda, Patricia King or James Goll.  These authors are all incredibly anointed and should be read.  And, he’s right, most fiction is meant strictly to entertain.  My bookshelves are full of novels that are absolutely meant to entertain.  But then, there are those exceptions.  Those books that teach you how to hear God, or something new about Who He is, or something about what He’s doing right now. For example, some books that have spoken to me personally:

  • This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti
  • Blessed Child by Ted Dekker
  • The Shack by William Young

But here’s the deal: each of these novels taught me something new. Frank Peretti opened my eyes to spiritual warfare.  Ted Dekker taught me just how accessible the Kingdom is.  And The Shack… well, The Shack might as well be non-fiction for all the information it is pregnant with.  It’s not perfect, but when read with discernment I believe it can serve a very profound purpose.

Each of these novels helped me to understand something new about how to walk the Walk and talk the Talk.  They also taught me something new about how God works and Who He is.  The one thing I love most about them is that they’re not preachy.

Newsflash: No one wants to read something if they’re being preached at!  Save that for Sunday morning.

Instead, in fiction, the message needs to be subtle.  Story first; message second.  If your story is well-written — if it is driven by characters that seem real and not forced — then it will stay with your reader.  They’ll find themselves pondering the message even if they don’t realize it.  The lesson that God has given you to convey through fiction will sneak in like a thief in the night; it’ll grab hold of the reader and never let them go.

Jesus was the master of this technique.  All of his parables were character-driven and promoted deep, intelligent thought at the same time.  They were easily memorized yet, for the discerning reader, they will never grow stale.  There will always be a need for this kind of steal-in-the-dark fiction because it will reach an audience that would never in a million years pick up a non-fiction work.  The only question is: are you willing to hand your pen over to the Master?

Food for thought.

I’m back!

I’m back!  I know, I know, the total of 2 (3?) people who have ever commented on this blog have been missing me dearly.  It’s a tragic thing.  But I’m back so you don’t have to mourn any longer (she said sarcastically).

So, here’s the deal.  I’ve got a bunch of blog posts laid out in my head so I’m actually going to get on a schedule from now on.  I’m going to start it slow, and just go Monday, Wednesday, Friday with maybe a few random other days thrown in along the way.  I’ve been reading and advising people all over the internets that we all need to have a blog (case in point: check out this great post by Jeff Holton: Seven Reasons Why You (Yes, You!) Should Have a Blog) and I have finally decided to practice what I preach. So my first “real” post will be on Wednesday, this is just the obligatory grand reopening post.

Have a great Monday!

the epicness of NaNoWriMo

That’s right!  You are reading the words of a brand new, ready to be committed NaNoer.  I have a title, a plot, characters, the whole shebang.  Come on, November 1st!

And, yes, I DO realize that I haven’t updated in months.  I’m sorry for that, really.  I’m going to work on it.  After NaNo I’m going to sit down and write out a bunch of blog posts and get on some kind of schedule.  It might be as little as once a week, but it will be a schedule and it will be consistent.  I don’t want this blog to be just some random, write when you feel like it blog.  It needs to serve some purpose.  And I will figure that out.

Later.

For now, I’m focusing on NaNo.  I’m so excited!  My novel is going to be called Son of the Father, and it’s going to be about what might have happened to Barabbas after he was released and God was crucified.  I decided on that title because Barabbas’ name was actually Yeshua Bar-Abbas, which means Jesus son of the father in Hebrew.  Yes, that’s creepy.  Supposedly Yeshua was a pretty common name back then.  Or whatever.  I am changing Barabbas’ name to Yosef, which means Joseph in Hebrew.  It’s just too creepy to me to think about him having the same name as my God.  Weird.

In Son of the Father, Barabbas was a conspirator in the Jewish uprising just like the Bible says.  However, he’s caught when he was betrayed by his best friend’s little sister, after Barabbas struck her brother down in a fit of rage.  Raziela (the little sister) witnesses this, and turned Barabbas in.  Of course, Barabbas is released.  He watches as the Lord is crucified, and believes that He is who He said He is.  Meanwhile, Raziela is stunned when her brother’s killer is set free, and sets out to take revenge herself.  She’s in the middle of hunting Barabbas when robbers overtake her.  Barabbas, travelling the same road, hears her screams and runs to help.  He saves her, but is severely injured while doing so.  Raziela is charged with the task of nursing him back to health, and in doing so she begins to notice some changes in her brother’s killer.  She must confront these strange feelings that this man – and his God – stir up in her.  Will Raziela allow the strange ideas of a murderer’s God soften her heart?  Or will she close her mind to forgiveness and allow bitterness to swallow her whole?

Tuesday Time-In

It’s the second week of the Tuesday Time-In!  And again, any ideas on a better name would be mucho appreciated 🙂

So jumping right in now…

Literary Agent Rachelle Gardner did a fantastic post on how agents and editors decide on which projects to take on and which to pass.  She breaks it down into 3 parts and then is going to go on and explain the parts in later posts.

Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers and Readers (talk about a mouthful!) had a great post about business cards that are a little different.  It opened my eyes to new ideas for *someday* getting stuff published.  What about you?

Those of you Twits in the know, #QueryFail is coming back!  QueryFail 2: Queries Never Die is airing Friday, April 17th.  Bring a sense of humor and some salt, see you there!

ahhh…!

So much for putting all the rules I learn on here.

Someone else has done that for me 🙂

I went to a blog, which sent me to another blog, then yet another blog, until I found a blog by an editor.  In one of her archives, this editor has so kindly posted her 10 best free online resources for writers.  One of whom is this.

Some guy named William Strunk, Jr. has posted a website about the elements of style for writers.  I’ve thought seriously about running out and getting the Chicago version of this (and, honestly, I probably will eventually) but this is a great starting point.  I’m excited; are you?