Thoughts And Ramblings of The Christian Writer (Part One)

“The Christian in the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.” 
― Francis A. Schaeffer

From the time I was a little girl, I’ve been an author at heart. I have always loved telling, creating, and reading stories. Whether it be a book I found at the library, a movie that I just saw at the local theater, or a real person’s growth and testimony, stories fascinate me beyond belief. Being a storyteller is an integral part of who I am.

As most of you (hopefully) also know, faith is an integral part of who I am. If I was to rate each part of myself, faith would always come up on top, as my relationship with God is the most important thing in my life. And while there are many great Christian authors who do not include their faith much in their stories, I cannot imagine keeping my faith out of my stories. One way or another, Christianity is bound to play some sort of role in my writing—it is simply the way God has called me to write.

Nonetheless, like many other people have pointed out, Christian art doesn’t exactly have the best reputation right now. Some may pin it on the fact that we live in an increasingly secular society and others may blame it on small budgets, but a fact still remains.

Oftentimes, faith based stories come out sub-par. And as a Christian and a writer, this is something that I find quite sad. 

I don’t think it is because Christians are inherently bad at storytelling. I also don’t believe that it’s because Christianity makes for a weak storyline—look at the Bible! I believe most of our problem is in our approach, and that with a little hard work, we can create stories that are both well made and and reflective of the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Thus, I have decided to create a short series on writing good Christian fiction—and the first part of this series will be on writing good characters.

One of the most important things in writing a good story is creating a strong cast. For me, characters are the first thing that draws me to a story. That said, one of of the biggest problems that I’ve seen in (some) Christian fiction is that the characters exist for the story—not the other way around. 

In real life, we live amongst a wide variety of personalities, narratives, and temperaments. Ask me to name my five closest friends and I can point out specific traits that make them unique and special. However, in a lot of Christian novels, I have only seen a few personalities represented—and they’re often in extremes for the point of showing a character come to Christ.

Elaborating on this, many character only have struggles that are dramatic, cliche, or too-subtle-to-notice. I have seen female protagonists who come across like a damsel in distress, but rarely female protagonists that battle stubbornness and hard-headedness. I seen male protagonists who struggle with lust or anger, but rarely male protagonists who struggle with overeating, or self image.

Furthermore, I haven’t often seen characters who have quirks or interests that aren’t essential to the story or lesson. In The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants, Tibby loves filmmaking, Bridget is impulsive, Carmen is introspective, and Lena is noticeably introverted. Those details aren’t necessary to the book (though, I suppose Bridget’s impulsiveness could be argued as essential in the first book) but they added life to the characters. They made them feel real and they made them relatable to the audience. Meanwhile, in The Hunger Games, there was a guy named Peeta who’s a baker. Corny? Maybe. Memorable? Absolutely.

In short, it is important to know your characters intricately, and for them to be written as if they have a life outside of the story. It’s important that they feel like characters we can get attached to and relate to. And, considering the vast diversity that we have in our churches, it is important that they represent a variety of different personalities and people. The kind of books that I love the most are the ones that  make me feel like the characters are my best friends. This is something we must do if we want our stories to feel real. Interview your characters. Stick them in various situations and see how they react. Consider how they would think or fall in love. Or how they would dream.

The kind of characters that become the most memorable are the ones that feel the most real. It is our job, as authors, to breathe as much life into them as we can.

Christian books/series/movies that get this right.

  • The Christy Miller Series by Robin Jones Gunn
  • The Left Behind Series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
  • SouledOut Sisters Series by Neta Jackson
  • There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones
  • October Baby 
  • Do You Believe

How about you? Do you have any tips on how to create good characters? And have you read any books that you feel do an exceptional job with this? Feel free to share in the comments section below!

 

 

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New Book On Wattpad!

Hey everyone, I have some big news for y’all—I recently published a new teen devotional on Wattpad.com!

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If you have an account on there, be sure to check it out. It’s called Confidence In Christ: A Devotional For Teen Girls, and it’s basically a compilation of blog posts in the form of a book, with a song for each post.

I hope to see you guys on there, and I promise to post more to my blog soon!

Here’s the description and link below!

Growing up as a Christian teenager can be a difficult journey. In each of our lives, we’re faced with questions. Who are we? What do we believe? What do we stand for? In this devotional, we’re going to explore some of those themes together, and learn how God wants to move in each of our lives, helping us to become confident in Him, and live out the dreams He has for each one of us. We were each made for something great, and it all starts with the greatest decision any of us can make.
Will we follow Jesus?

https://www.wattpad.com/story/104871825-confidence-in-christ-a-devotional-for-teen-girls

 

Some Writing Tips From 1 Timothy 4:12 Girl

Hey everyone, I’m back again with a new Thursday post – but this week, we’re changing things up again! 

Typically on this blog, I run posts about belief, inspiration, and current events. Nonetheless, this week, I decided to do something different. I still intend to keep this blog predominantly about those things, but this week I decided to write about one medium we can use to live confidently in Christ—writing!

  • More than likely, if you’re reading this, you’ve done some writing yourself, or have at least dabbled with it at some point. Personally, for me, writing has been a passion since my childhood. Thus, I would like to take this time to give some of my very own tips on writing. 
  1. Know Your TopicThis is vitally important to the process of writing. Whenever your writing, it’s important to know your topic like the back of your hand. If you’re writing an essay on photography, research photography, if you’re writing an article on the challenges of Christians in college, research what it’s like to be a Christian in college. This even applies to fiction—maybe even more so. When you’re writing a book, you need to have intricate knowledge of your characters, settings, and storylines. Oftentimes, I’ll even write character profiles, to learn even the minor details about my characters. The information may not all be used, but it never heard to have it on file for safekeeping.
  2. Get FeedbackOne of the most helpful things for me as a writer is getting feedback on my work. It’s pretty easy with blogging, as you’ll sometimes get comments on your work from fellow friends and bloggers, but it’s honestly helpful in every form of writing. I often ask my mom and close friends to read my writing and give honest feedback about their thoughts and opinions. As a writer, it can be easy to get “stuck in your head”, reading your work so many times you can’t even tell a period from a comma. It can be helpful to get objective feedback when this starts to happen.
  3. Silence Your Inner Perfectionist We are always our own worst critics. There have been countless times that I’ve either written something and obsessed over whether or not it was right or written nothing at all. When we’re writing from a place of perfectionism, it can be almost impossible to write authentically and creatively. Oftentimes, God will take our work in a place different than we expected, and that’s OK. Listen to that inner voice. Go with it. There might just be something beautiful there.
  4. Get In The Mood – Obviously this one could be turned into a form of OCD if taken to extremes, but many times, it can be helpful to write when we’re in our element. This means knowing when to take a break, and being aware that oftentimes, our moods can seep into our writing, for better or worse. It also means making your writing environment comfortable and natural. Oftentimes for me, it can be helpful to play music fitting to the tone of my writing, having the right amount of lighting, and being comfortable, but not the point that I want to fall asleep. For me, these things combined create the perfect writing atmosphere.
  5. Have fun with itMy number one rule of thumb for writing is that if I’m bored, the audience probably is too. Thus, I try to write things that I would want to read myself. Does it sound like the kind of book that I’d pick up? Would I grow to love this character if it weren’t my own? Does this topic sound like it would make an interesting article? These are the kinds of questions we should be asking ourselves as we go through the writing and idea process.

How about you? What writing advice do you have to share? Tell me about it in the comments section below!⬇️

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day One

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IT’S BAACK!!!

I am officially starting a new thirty day blog challenge for the month of January. Since I got such a good response on my challenge this past summer, I decided to do another one—with a whole new set of questions to answer. I hope you guys enjoy reading these and I hope  you stay with me throughout the series. I always love reading comments from you guys, so feel free to jump in and give feedback.

Now, for the first question: “what, why and where I write.

What: Honestly, I have a pretty huge variety of things that I write. I love sharing my thoughts with the world and there are a variety of mediums in penmanship that you can use to do that.

One of my favorite forms of writing has always been fiction. I love creating characters to meet and different worlds to explore. It allows you to live a thousand different lives without even leaving your house. Like reading, writing gives you adventure, wonder, and suspense—as you lead characters through a host of different situations. Currently, I am working on a fiction series for teenagers that I hope is released sometime before I’m thirty. I don’t have all of the publishing logistics figured out, but I’ll be sure to keep you updated if anything changes with that!

Another form of writing that I love is songwriting. It’s very possible that this one could have emerged from watching too many movies (Remember Camp Rock and Lemonade Mouth?) but it’s a form of writing that I’ve found to be extremely therapeutic. It allows you to write about feelings, situations, and people in a much freer manner than most forms of writing allow. Songwriting is basically a musical diary of your life, your experiences, and your beliefs. This is also another form of writing that I would like to dabble in professionally in the field of lyricism.

Last but not least—I enjoy blogging. This one is probably a bit obvious, as I am writing a blog right now. I am a semi-new blogger, as I started in the summer of 2015, but I have grown to love the art of blogging. As an extravert, it is super exciting to see people actually respond to your writing and make friends through the blogosphere. It is perhaps the type of writing that gets the most immediate feedback, which makes it a unique and exciting venture.

Why: I suppose the obvious reason is that I absolutely love it. I love seeing words emerge on a screen and I love telling a stories and teaching through the power of the pen. Nonetheless, the biggest reason that I write is to make an impact. I’ve always dreamed of impacting the world and writing gives me the oppertunity to do that. It gives me the chance to share my faith, help others grow in theirs, and help people think about important issues. If you look throughout history, you can see the impact of writers like Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, and Ray Bradberry. I want to leave that kind of legacy.

Where: This one honestly differs from day to day. I have found that certain writing spots “work”, while others simply do not. One of my favorite places to write is in my bed with good music playing and the lights dimmed, leaving the Christmas lights above my bed to shine solo. I also sometimes write on the downstairs couch just outside the living room or in waiting rooms. The life of the author can be quite sporadic at times.

How about you? What, why, and where do you write? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments! 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge: Day 4

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Guess what guys ? It’s day four of the blogging challenge! Today’s topic will be…my dream job! 

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved stories. I begged my mom to teach me how to read when I only three years old and from that point, I haven’t stopped. When I was little, it was board books. When I got a little older, it was chapter books. Now, I’ve moved on to novels and blog posts.

But, I didn’t just love reading stories, I loved telling them too. When I was a child, I used to enjoy playing pretend with my dolls and stuffed animals. After school, I would frequently disappear into my room, which in my mind was a transport to another land far, far away. Pretty soon, I discovered the ‘power of the pen’ and wrote short stories with a pencil and paper. I illustrated a “cover” and stapled the pages together. Those were my earliest days of writing. 

I moved to the computer eventually (After taking the ever dreaded typing class), and I’ve been typing up stories since I was about eleven years old. I self-published two nonfiction books (Teen Impact and Know Jesus Know Peace) during my younger teenage years and am currently working on a fiction series that I hope to publish. I have also moved onto other mediums of writing-namely blogging and writing song lyrics while still staying true to my first love: Books. 

As you probably figured out, my dream job is to become a successful writer. I’ve had that dream since I was a little girl and it’s persisted into adulthood. I’ve grown in my craft through writing this blog and also through the blogs of others (Shoutout to all my blog friends!). I don’t know my future holds, but I do know that God holds my future in His hands. Thus, as I continue this journey into college and a future career, I’m going to trust God and continue sharing my random thoughts with my awesome, faithful readers and through blogging. 😉

So how about you guys? What is your dream job? Feel free to post your answers in the comment section!