Guest Post by ChiWriMo Member Jennifer Worrell – “I have to get this sentence just right.”

I have to get this sentence just right.
On the first try.
But really, I need to go back and read everything I wrote up to this point first…
…and fix all these mistakes too.

Where are all my edit-as-you-go brothas and sistas?  He-ey!  Holla!

*Slap slap slap*  This is NaNoWriMo.  You’re doing it wrong.

I can’t divorce writing and editing!  I admit it!  I go back and reread what I wrote last time because it helps me recapture my mood and tone.  And if I see a mistake, it seems pointless to take notes and revise it later.

NaNo is different.  It says to hell with conventions and honing skill and trying to write the next Great American Novel.  Instead, it begs you to do the opposite.  Your first draft will not only be garbage, it’s expected to be garbage.  If it isn’t, the other participants will hate you.  Just sayin’.

Serious writing is like going to the symphony.  You dress up in your finest and hope no one laughs at your attempt at class.  If you’re lucky, beautiful music happens along the way.  NaNo is like making mud pies in your backyard.  It’s messy, it makes no sense, and you’d be horrified if someone saw it.  It’s recess for your inner child.

It’s been said that first you should tell yourself the story.  That’s great advice for NaNo participants.  Tell it like an old coot: Ramble.  Write about it in casual terms, without the thesaurus adding flourishes to your prose.  Bore yourself with information in both senses of the word: drill it into your head, over and over, until you know every corner of your story’s world, every freckle and flaw of your characters, every color and shade of the setting.

Freewriting is your friend, and it’s just that: freeing.  Worrying about getting it perfect is a waste of precious time.  You only have 26 days left!  There’s no room for procrastination or fine tuning.  Quantity is the name of the game here.  Quality comes later.  Somewhere in that unholy mishmash, you’ll unveil a nugget or five you can polish up and worry over on December 1st.  Until then, beat it!  Go play in the dirt.

And So It Begins…

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It’s All Hallow’s Eve, or as we in ChiWriMo like to call it,

The Day Before NaNo!

I don’t know about you, but I’m not actually ready.

Wha?

No, really.

But here’s what I’ve learned from NaNo’s past:

Don’t panic. All words count during NaNo.

What does this mean in my case? I’m a pantser, which means I write “by the seat of my pants.” As much as I’d like to be more of a planner, my personal process doesn’t seem to work that way. Yeah, I can plan. But when the rubber meets the road, I’m a pantser.

NaNo will start whether I’m ready or not.  Which brings me to:

You don’t have to “be ready.” You just have “to write.”

Write is a verb. As a matter of fact, it’s a nice, crunchy, active verb – and if you’ve read how-to articles related to writing, you’ve probably heard exhortations to use active verbs in your writing.

Very well.  I shall to write.

Or something like that.

But see, this leads me to my next point:

Rough drafts are Rough Drafts: equal parts “rough” and “draft.”

What happens when you order a draft beer?  (No, really, stay with me here.) The barkeep pulls the lever, after putting a glass below the spigot of course, and poof.  Beer shows up.

Writing is kind of like that. You put the paper or word processor (the glass) in front of the fingers (the spigot) and pull the lever.  It ain’t gotta be pretty; it’s just gotta be words.

Pretty soon, a rough draft becomes a draft of a novel. But don’t rush it.

It’s just the start of NaNo.  All you gotta do, wrimo, is write 1,667 words tomorrow.  You don’t even gotta write ‘em all in the same sitting.  You could write 500 here, 250 there, a thousand after that… Which, for you math-inclined folks, is actually 1,750.

See how that happens?

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Okay, I didn’t say that, a really smart guy named Lao Tzu did.  But it’s true, nevertheless.  And even the longest novel begins with the first word.  And the English language, assuming that’s what you’re writing your novel with, has lots and lots of words.  And a great many of them can be used to begin sentences.

Just start.

To paraphrase the famous Nike ad, “Just do it,” just start writing.

You can DO this, wrimo.

WE can.

Write on.

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings

What To Do in the Middle

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It’s the second full week of NaNo, and we’re inching up on the halfway point.  For many of us, that means we’re hitting the middle of our manuscript and reality has set in.

What To Do in the Middle

What DO we do in the middle of a manuscript?

Well, that depends.  What makes sense for our story?

And that’s where, sometimes, our brains go spung.

Don’t Trust Boredom: It’s a Block

If we get suddenly bored with our story, that’s likely a creative block and not actual boredom.  Don’t give up!  Don’t turn on the television, or numb out on Facebook, or read a book.  Keep going.  This is the point at which our inner critic has woken up to the fact that no, we really were serious, and yeah, we’re writing this here book thing and holy crap what do you mean you think you can write a novel?  Who do you think you are?

You Are Too a Writer!

Ignore all the voices that say you’re not a writer.  Who are you kidding?  You’re a dilettante!  You never finish anything.  Who wants to read what you have to say?  All the good plots have already been written.  There are too many books out there, don’t bother. IGNORE ALL THAT.   It doesn’t matter where it came from – Mom, Dad, Kids, Uncles, Aunts, Siblings, Teachers, Bosses, the Internet…  KEEP GOING.

A writer is someone who writes.

The definition is in the action.  The action defines the definition.  If you write, you’re a writer.  Ipso facto.  (That’s just Latin fancy talk for “by that very fact or act.”)  (You can use that, if you need to, to defend your nascent writerlyness: “I’m writing, ipso facto, I’m a writer!”)

Keep Going

The only way to get to the end is to keep putting words after one another, occasionally followed by a period.  Or, if you’re me, an overabundance of exclamation points.  (No, I’m not kidding; ask my editors.)  But the story that you’re trying to tell will not reveal itself to you unless you keep writing.  Quite frequently, it will only reveal itself after a bunch of what feels like wrong turns.  You put Bob in a bar, he sees Lucille, but then you realize he’s gay and Lucille’s a black drag queen, but the biker gang from scene two is going to come in and they’re going to want to shoot Lucille and Bob can’t have that and…

Don’t be afraid to take wrong turns.  Don’t be afraid to put a porcupine in your story.  “Bob looked down and froze.  Standing not two feet in front of him was one pissed off porcupine.  What had pissed off the porcupine wasn’t immediately apparent, but Bob was damned sure the porcupine was pissed at him and he didn’t know what to do about.  It’s not like he could pick the thing up, pet it and snuggle it, and apologize.  Of course, he couldn’t really do that with his cat, either, but at least Mister Buckles didn’t stay mad for long… and the porcupine looked like it had a lot of endurance.  Bob walked forward and…”  What next?  “What next?” is your friend.  If you’re stuck in one place, drop back a couple pages and find some action, then take it another direction.  “Bob turned the corner too fast for the porcupine to see.  Good.  He lost the little spiky rodent.  But then…”

Interview your characters.  “So, Bob, it’s me, Noony.  I’m volunteering for NaNoWriMo, and I’m writing this article for Wrimos about what to do when you get stuck in your story.  So tell me, Bob, what’s it like to be a porcupine?”  “To be pointed, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.  On the one claw, you’ve got all these quills.  But on the other claw, you can’t really cuddle with your loved ones, now can you?”  “Good point.  So tell me, Bob, where do you think this article should go?”  “Tell them to keep writing.  Just sit down and write what you think your story’s about.  Keep going, and add more stuff.  Write crap.  Don’t worry about grammar.  If you hear a voice in your head say it sucks, let that voice write for a while, until it runs out of things to say, then go back to writing your story.  All words count during NaNo, so put all the words down on the page.”

See?  You heard it here first, wrimos.

Bob the Porcupine Says, “Keep Writing.”

So unless you want a face full of quills, you know what to do.

Keep the faith.  Fifty thousand, we’re coming for you.

Write on!

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”
- E.E. Cummings
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A Guest Post from ChiWriMo Member Chris Deane

Chris Deane posted a lovely essay series this morning on Facebook.  I asked her if I could post a large excerpt of it, because its clarion call to write is one of the things that NaNo is all about.  We don’t get political here at NaNo, and my intention isn’t to do so; my intention is to share some inspiring words from a valued member of our wrimo community, words that I think all of us need to hear today – whatever place on the political spectrum we occupy. – A. Catherine Noon


A Mom Talks You Down

We have taken the bait. We have been fooled. We have fed our fears, our anxieties, our psyche. Someone has created articles that affirm that it’s us against them. Let me tell you something.

It is just us.

We will get through the next 4 years and we will all be better for it. We will be better informed or I should say we NEED to be better informed by good sources and locally. We will volunteer for the things that inspire us, the things that need to get done that can’t without us. It will get done because we can put all that energy however negative into something worthwhile. We as a country can (sorry about the language) bitch about what is wrong or we can roll up of collective sleeves are start making it right ourselves.

So Hillary didn’t win and Donald did. So what? Do you honestly think that Congress is going to let him do all the things that he said he’s going to do? NO, of course not. If Hillary had won (and I say this for my other friends who would be equally as upset, believe me)–if she had won, do you think everything she wanted to do would go through? OF COURSE NOT, CONGRESS WOULDN’T LET HER.

Our country has checks and balances and frankly they are politicians. They will promise things that they cannot possibly deliver. Oh, they can try. Sometimes they succeed but most of the time, think about it. They change their minds or they negotiate and they (excuse me) piss of their constituents because of some compromise they made. That is how it is. That is how it will be.

We have had a lot of things going on here in Chicago with the Cubs and now the election. I live on the south side with all the city workers and firemen and police. I don’t need to tell you what has been going on just down the street from my church. You have jobs. You have school. If you are me, you have driving to all over the flipping Midwest for auditions and stressed about all the driving and getting lost in spite of your GPS.

We have to live our day to day life filled with the highs of pennant and now the lows of the election. And when I say lows, I mean the dirty, mean spirited, bullying, nasty comments that one politician said against each other and the click bait wants us to say against each other so that we will read their inflammatory articles again and again.

STOP READING THOSE ARTICLES RIGHT NOW. STOP IT. They are not helping you. They are, to put it mildly, upsetting you and keeping you from your goals.

What. Are. Your Goals?

Your goal is to write. Yes, yes, the 50k words. You get a badge. That’s so wonderful. It is. But your goal is to write. It is to create. You have set aside the month of November-Thanksgiving month-because that’s what a single guy in California dreamed up and what a lovely, noble dream it is.

You have these beautiful ideas and you are trying to “write them down on paper.” Maybe you’re still working on those ideas. Maybe this year it’s really hard for you but you still want to try.

Ok. You are going to explain to me how the baloney of this election with the bipolar high of the pennant is going to help you get down those creative, one of a kind ideas. Here’s a hint–they won’t.

Turn off that social media. Turn off the television and if I were you, I’d turn it off for a couple of days. Nothing. Process. Talk a walk in this glorious weather. Sit alone in the park and let your mind unwind itself. I can’t go in your room and take your chargers. You can. That’s your job now.

You have embarked on a journey, like a ship. Like Jack Sparrow’s Black Pearl. If something, anything is hold you back, anything superfluous, throw it OUT. Go through your house and take out all the garbage. Order take out today. Pizza, Chinese. Run over to Mariano’s. Give your mind a break and listen to some music. Run a load of laundry like you would on a Saturday morning. The normalcy of these routines will comfort you and remind you that we are going forward.

Write. Write anything. Write your anguish about the outcome of the election. Write about your emotions when the Cubs won and now the Donald has won and how this whole Black Pearl of the month of November has made you seasick from highs and lows of emotions. Write about driving on the Dan Ryan because it all comes back to that-for me, at least. Write. Pour it out. You will feel better because writing always makes you feel better.

Then, you go back to your work in progress, no matter how far you’ve come or how little you have done. You think this is about writing. Well, maybe it is. Nanowrimo is about challenging yourself, it’s about taking chances, it’s about doing something brand spanking new and seeing where it leads because it may be the most anarchistic thing you’ve ever done.

Do it because all that disarray, all that chaos, all that creativity is propelling you forward in other areas of your life. You will be more open to new ideas. You will be more willing to hear other people’s ideas, even if you disagree with them. You will be have a little more sympathy for Stephanie Meyer and be a little happier for her, even if you will never read her work. You will cringe at Associated Press’s lousy writing and you will thrill when you read a beautiful sentence written by Simon Winchester. You joined NaNo to explore writing and to explore your capabilities.

Explore and don’t let the seas toss you around. The ups and downs of those very seas are opening you and are part of the exploration.

So yes, feel sorry for yourself. Process. And GET IN THERE and WRITE because that is what you said you were going to do. It is the 9th already. How much have you written? How much energy are you going to expend towards something that is keeping you from doing what you set out to do? Throw it over board, savvy?

And unload the dishwasher like I told you to last night.


And remember, find us online:

National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo | ChiWriMo | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Friday Friendships – An Interview with ChiWriMo Member Robyn Bachar

2016-01-08 Robyn_Bachar_photoI got to chat with Robyn about writing, NaNoWriMo, and her book.  Take a peek!

CW: What 1 word best describes your hero and/or heroine? Why?

RB: Badass. (Badass is one word, right?) Andee is an assassin, and not just any assassin. She’s an empath who uses her psychic abilities to find and exploit weaknesses in her targets. I love the image of her on the cover. She’s the muscle in her relationship, ready to do anything to protect her mates. Andee kicks a lot of butt in Sunsinger. She’s much like Carmen in Nightfall and Bryn in Morningstar, who are all very “Give me the gun so I can save you!”

CW: What was your inspiration for this book and the main characters?

RB: I love the epic drama and adventure of space opera. Laser pistols! Space battles! YES. There’s a bit of Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, and Mass Effect in the Cy’ren Rising series. Sunsinger is my Return of the Jedi, complete with a final battle of good versus evil that takes place both on the ground and in orbit. Galen is the brains, Andee is the brawn, and Malcolm is their heart. They were a blast to write (this book was my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel, and it always helps to have a fun story for NaNo).

CW: Is this story part of a series? Will there be more stories in this series?

RB: Sunsinger is the final book in the Cy’ren Rising trilogy. It’s erotic sci-fi romance, each featuring a ménage. The first two books have a f/f/m romance, and Sunsinger was my first foray into m/m/f romance. I love Galen. As soon as he showed up in the first book I knew I had to tell his story, and as soon as Malcolm showed up in Morningstar I knew they needed to be together. Andee is the icing on their cake—they work perfectly together.

CW: What subgenres do you write in and who are you published with?

RB: I’m published with Samhain Publishing. I write paranormal romance, historical paranormal romance, and erotic sci-fi and paranormal romance. I also self-published a fantasy romance. I love stories with romance, adventure, and swords. I even have swords in space. Four of my published books began as NaNoWriMo novels (fingers crossed that the number will soon be five).

CW: What do you love about writing in your romance sub-genre?

RB: The Cy’ren Rising books cross a lot of sub-genres. They’re sci-fi, specifically space opera, and they’re also erotic romance because they feature ménages. Those ménages include bisexual characters, so they also skew into LGBT territory. The combination allows for spicy romance, epic adventure, and angsty drama, where the characters can find true love and save the galaxy at the same time. I love that.

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Her desire unites them. Her secret could destroy them all.

 

The lord.

 

The sole survivor of the Sunsinger massacre, Lord Degalen Fairren spends his days reading tales of the family he never knew. When a rival house threatens to enslave Cyprena, Galen is forced to pull his nose out of his books and enter into an alliance with House Morningstar, and a dangerous mission to save his world.

 

The assassin.

 

Lady Andelynn Harrow isn’t House Morningstar’s eldest or prettiest daughter, but she is the deadliest. After her father’s murder, Andee must defend her new house and mate—the shy, reluctant Galen—but every battle risks revealing her terrible secret.

 

The slave.

 

Malcolm gets his first taste of freedom when the Cy’ren recruit him to locate the cure to a deadly virus—and feels the burn of desire for Galen, the lord he can never have, and for Andee, who awakens memories of a long-lost first love.

 

The danger they face fuels the heat between them, but with Cyprena’s fate hanging in the balance, the race to find the cure could come with devastating costs.

 

Warning: Contains a blushing, virgin lord, a sexy geek, and an empathic assassin who always brings lube on a mission.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | All Romance eBooks | Samhain Publishing LLC

About Robyn:

Robyn Bachar enjoys writing stories with soul mates, swords, spaceships, vampires, and gratuitous violence against the kitchen sink. Her paranormal romance Bad Witch series, historical paranormal romance series Bad Witch: The Emily Chronicles, and spicy space opera romance trilogy Cy’ren Rising are available from Samhain Publishing. Her books have finaled twice in the PRISM Contest for Published Authors, twice in the Passionate Plume Contest, and twice in the EPIC eBook Awards. Find her on her website.

 

 

A Poem by ChiWriMo Member Felicia R Johnson

Twas the first of December
and all through the land
there were Wrimos still typing
Writing even by hand
Cuz tho the competition was over
and many had won
the writing wasn’t over
so much to be done!
Revisions are needed
type until your fingers are worn
the labor pains aren’t over
until the novel is born.

Twas the First of December, and All Through the House…

NaNo is over.

Right?

WRONG!

Join us this Sunday, December 6th, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. at Geek Bar for the Thank Goodness It’s Over Afterparty!

Plus, keep your eyes on this site for more content – I’ve got an interview with one of our homegrown Chiwrimos, an interview with the founder of Geek Bar, and some more stuff during the month of December.  I’ll also be posting about what to do in the off-season, and you’ll get emails from NaNo HQ on that very topic, too!

But for now, coffee.  Because, it’s December 1 and I should probably go do some chores and find my family under the mountain of laundry.  And the dog.  Here, Fido!

Guest Post: ChiWriMo Member, Charles Ott

Character Evolution

By Charles Ott

Here’s a quick recap of a couple of million years of human evolution. We started out from a band of apes who left the trees and moved out onto the grassy African savanna. The advantage of this was that it got them, so to speak, out of the high rent district: there was too much competition for resources in the forest, so they moved to where they could eat better.

Once they were in the high grass, they learned to walk on their hind legs. All apes will do this occasionally, but our ancestors learned to do it most of the time (thereby developing our human big butts). Advantage: you can see over the grass. When you’re standing up, your forepaws become useful as arms and hands. Advantage: you can hold sticks, throw rocks or carry food back to your family. They also learned to hunt cooperatively (probably the most important step toward humanity). Advantage: they could bring down game a single hunter can’t tackle.

Once they had hands, their brains began to develop to make better use of them. Advantage: all the things you can do with brains and hands. This is where our ape ancestors really began to differentiate into humans, because they had upright posture, hands, cooperation and bigger brains.

As a writer, here’s the take-aways. First, the apes don’t know that they’re on a path to something. The proto-humans don’t know they’re proto-humans, they get up every morning to take care of important ape business. When you’re in the middle of the process, you don’t know there’s an endpoint.

Second, the only reason the proto-humans took each of those steps is because there was an immediate advantage to them to do it. That is, they did not learn to hunt cooperatively because cooperation would lead to being the top of the food chain everywhere on Earth, they did it to get lunch that day.

All fiction is about a character making a journey. Let’s say you’re writing a novel about a lady vampire who enjoys rambunctious sex with other vampires. She offends one of the guy vampires and has to fight an epic battle to get rid of him. At the end of the book, she has learned that she’d better treat her partners well because she’s going to be encountering her ex-boyfriends for the next couple of millenia. (Yes, you can borrow this plot, and no, I don’t actually think you should write anything so hackneyed.)

The trap you want to avoid in writing this story is to have your character make any step in this process because it will help her reach the understanding she needs at the end of the book. Every step she makes, she must take because there is some immediate advantage to her, even if it’s only to survive until the next day.

Because she has a brain, every rotten thing that happens to her (you’re going to pile it on, right?) teaches her something that contributes to the end of the book. But she must realize these things only because those thoughts have an advantage to her right then. For example, she runs away from her offended ex-lover and seeks shelter with other vampires, but they kick her out because they’re siding with the ex-boyfriend. Your character realizes that cheating on her man offends not only him, but his friends. This is an important step in her progress, but the reason she learns this lesson is that she realizes she’d better stay the hell away from other vampires until she makes sure they’re not friends with her ex.

Your characters must live here-and-now in their world, even though you know what’s going to happen to them in the long run.

 

Check out Charles’ novel, The Floor of the World, available from Amazon.

Guest Post: ChiWriMo Member, Charles Ott

You Know What I Mean?
By Charles Ott

I think we spend too much time worrying about describing things so that a reader will see them clearly. The plain fact is that no reader is ever going to see what you saw in your mind when you wrote that lyrical scene. The reader is going to see what’s in his mind – and that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

My favorite description of a facial expression is from Robert Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Someone has just annoyed Wyoming Knott and she makes a face “like a little girl saving up more spit.” Now, I’ve met a lot of little girls in my family (and, I suppose, have annoyed all of them at one time or another) and I’ve never seen a little girl actually save up more spit. I’d guess you haven’t either. And yet, we both know exactly what that face would look like, don’t we?

It’s really quite magical: you can describe something that you’ve never seen, show it to a reader who’s never seen it either, and yet somehow those words can create a vivid image.

Hemingway was famously terse in his descriptions, and I’ve heard it said that you can’t really understand his books unless you also saw the same photographs in Life magazine that he saw. The days when you could assume that almost every reader saw the same magazines (Life and Saturday Evening Post, for you young folks) are long gone, and yet we still read Hemingway. Our home-made, wrong impressions of his scenes work just as well for us as the more correct impressions of two generations back.

Here’s an example from the lyrics of Paul Simon’s song Late in the Evening:

First thing I remember, I was lying in my bed
Couldn’t’ve been no more than one or two
I remember there’s a radio, comin’ from the room next door
And my mother laughed the way some ladies do

If you look hard at these lyrics, you have to come to the conclusion that there’s no description going on there at all. Everybody has heard the radio, always playing different music, and all ladies have some kind of laugh. All of us have fragmentary, context-free memories from early childhood. With a rigorous reading, we’d have to conclude that there’s no information at all in these lyrics.

But you can just hear that radio and that odd laugh, can’t you? Of course you can, pieced together from your own experience, whatever that has been.

Science fiction faces this problem all the time, because it often requires the writer to describe something that nobody has ever seen. From Edmond Hamilton’s Battle for the Stars: “Cluster N-356-44 … was hellfire made manifest before them. It was a hive of swarming suns, pale-green and violet, white and yellow-gold and smoky red, blazing so fiercely that the eye was robbed of perspective and those stars seemed to crowd and rub and jostle each other … pouring forth the torrents of their life-energy to whirl in cosmic belts and maelstroms of radiation.” Okay, I have a taste for purple prose – so sue me. You still got the picture, didn’t you?

Bottom line: describe your scene so you can picture it, and trust me, they’ll get it.

 

Check out Charles’ novel, The Floor of the World, available from Amazon.

Guest Post: ChiWriMo Member, Charles Ott

Writing About Characters with Religion

By Charles Ott

I’m about to kvetch about how religious characters are treated in fiction, especially science fiction, so let me start with some exceptions. Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Liebowitz is a wonderful science fiction novel and, IMHO, one of the finest treatments of the Catholic Church in fiction. Really, if you’re writing about Catholicism in any genre fiction, you need to find a copy of this. James Blish’s A Case of Conscience is an SF novel that’s not only scientifically interesting, the plot turns on obscure points of theology that will delight the geekiest fan. And of course there are many other examples of SF that treat religion well.

But in general, religion in science fiction is a red-headed stepchild without respect for either the faith or the character who holds it. I decided this created an opportunity for me, and I wrote a novel in which one of the main characters is a black Christian man from south Chicago. “Brian Covington” is a scientist who’s not only a Christian, the novel opens during service in a church where Brian is singing in the choir, whapping his tambourine and beltin’ it out like a natural man. A number of friends, all science fiction fans, who read it remarked to me that they would never have gotten past chapter 1 if they hadn’t known that I wrote it.

But I did write it, and along the way I came up with some thoughts about how you can write about Christian characters too.

One: you’ve got to have some critical distance. This can tricky if you are a Christian, but the truth is that this applies even if you’re writing Christian fiction intended for an audience of believers. You must step back and consider how this character will appear to readers who are not of the same faith. As my old pastor used to say, “Folks don’t read the Bible. They read you.” Your character’s inner life must show up in what he does rather than what he believes.

Two: There’s no use writing about a Christmas-and-Easter-Christian. Who cares? If your character has faith, then it must inform everything that he does, and in particular, it must be central to all of his quiet, thoughtful moments. As with anything else in character development, it must show up in what he does during your story.

Three: Having your character proselytize other characters (or even worse, the reader) will explode your story instantly. Don’t even go near this – and this applies even if you’re writing Christian fiction. I mean, seriously, this applies even if your character is a missionary and it’s his job to get converts. Show, don’t tell, and especially don’t preach.

Four: God is not the answer to any problem in fiction. Faith in God might be the answer, but the Big Guy must not take any active part in your story. For my taste, I’d avoid angels, too, but I realize there’s a lot of precedent for angelic intervention in stories. In the world of your story, however, God is Right Out.

Finally and most important: religious faith should not be a “funny hat” that gives a character mannerisms but says nothing about his inner life. As CS Lewis said, “Christianity is not a way of looking at certain things, but a certain way of looking at everything.” If you can describe your character without his faith, then he probably shouldn’t have any.

 

Check out Charles’ novel, The Floor of the World, available from Amazon.