At some point over the last six months the idea of revamping my original novel to fit under the umbrella of Christian Fiction occurred to me. It is a novel steeped in personal lessons and it traces the rebuilding of a broken relationship. For so long I struggled with what my novel was missing in its ending. And one day while praying about the project it dawned on me. My story lacked Jesus.
It’s hard to tell the story of forgiveness and compassion without undertones of Jesus’ saving grace. I’ve been at it for years, but the resolution never sat well with me. It seemed unfinished and in need of some divine intervention (literally.)
I voiced this idea to my husband. The only problem: my experience is really only with literary/young adult fiction. I have no idea how to write a Christian Fiction novel.
I should have guessed it, but I was absolutely surprised to find the book The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke under the Christmas tree. My husband is a huge supporter of my writing and wanted to provide me the tools to finish this book according to the calling I had heard. Last year I read The Irresistible Novel by Jeff Gerke, which was a fantastic book that really helped me shape my voice as an author. I had a chance to speak with Gerke via email and to give away a copy of that book on my blog.
I’m so excited to make a shift in my Saturday morning series to this new book. Over the next twenty seven(ish) weeks I will be taking a look at Christian Fiction and how to glorify God in my novel. As I usually do on Saturday mornings, I will read two chapters a week and highlight major ideas or lessons from those chapters as they apply to me.
Let’s jump right in to the first two chapters-
An (Accepting) Audience of One
Right from the start, Gerke addresses motivation. He cuts straight to the point of what motivates us to write. Do we write for attention? For approval? For our glory?
Or do we sit down and pen a story in order to glorify God?
If your purpose in writing is anything other than to give God glory then you are writing for the wrong reasons. As a Christian writer, you already have the attention and approval of God. There is no need to chase that from readers.
Be sure that when you sit down to write you remember that the story is God’s and your motivation is to bring Him the glory.
Examine Your Desire to Be Published
“Contentment is found only in Jesus Christ-whether you ever get published or not.” (Gerke 14)
The enemy to a full, delighted Christian experience is discontentment. If you find yourself feeling like the only thing that will make you happy or whole is to be a published writer then you have traded the contentment that God has given you.
If you are looking for anything other than God to make you feel like you “have it all” then there is greed that needs to be dealt with.
With God as a our writing mentor there is no need to want for anything else. Yes, it is a great goal to be published, but to wrestle with discontentment in the absence of a publishing contract is counter to God’s will for our lives. Making publishing the object of our happiness is not what God intends for us.
We write to please God and to give Him glory.
This is a lesson I need to learn. I’ve been sitting on several stories and novels-in-progress. In the past, I’ve let fear and a need to please be the drive behind my stories. I worked hard because I wanted people to think I was worth something. “Surely, if I could get a book published with my name on it then I will be happy,” was a lie I told myself. It wasn’t until I heard the subtle call to write my story for God’s glory that I started to see the endings come together and the discontentment dissolve.
What is your motivation in writing? Are you content with or without publishing contracts and agents?
The Ameri Brit Mom