So last week we talked about making a convincing journey and plot-line. This week I want to talk about making a convincing spiritual transformation. Here’s what I mean by that:
Last week I talked about some of the obstacles that your main character (or characters) has to cross in order to reach their goal or defeat the bad guy. Now, since we always want to write something that brings glory to God, we want to make sure that the main characters goals are Christ-centered, that they’re always striving to grow and get better, and that their sins aren’t condoned.
Jarah, my main character, has a very big spiritual journey in my book, “A Cry From Egypt.” She has to decide whether or not she believes in Yahweh, the one true God. Doubts, conflicts between her family members, seeing and hearing things that collide with her beliefs, all try to hide the truth from her. But in the end, she has to make the ultimate decision that will change her life forever.
That may not be the spiritual journey in your book. Perhaps your character learns a new character trait like patience or kindness. Maybe they’ve become embittered towards someone – or something – and God have to soften their heart and teach them how to forgive and open up to love. You could have your character conquer a fear such as a fear of heights, darkness, despair, or failure. Have them striving to become more Christ-like, no matter what. Don’t have your character be perfect. I’ve read books or seen movies where the characters are absolutely blameless, and there’s nothing to grab your heart or make you relate to the characters. So don’t set them up to an unattainable level of perfection. But do have them be striving for what is right. Have them embrace the Biblical character qualities of unconditional love, forgiveness, peace, joy, patience, self-control, boldness, bravery, honesty, etc.
Also, do not EVER condone sin. Your characters can sin or learn from their mistakes. Having your characters conquer the habit of lying, or stealing, or being disrespectful to parents would be a wonderful thing. But don’t ever make sin out to be a good thing. So many movies and books today show children rebelling against their parents’ authority and make it out to be good! Pride and material wealth or compromising your beliefs for popularity are normal, everyday things that are praised in today’s culture. Little “white lies” are commonplace when God clearly says in His word that “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” Even in kids’ movies today rebellion is a key underlying theme, uncommitted love is expected, and whenever kids disobey they end up becoming the heroes. Please, please, please don’t allow our modern culture to seep into your writing. While your character can sin and will sin, always have them strive towards the higher call and never show sin or disobedience to God to be a good thing.
How do we incorporate spiritual lessons into your plot? Well, it’s actually a little easier than it seems. Those little dips that we talked about in your story? Have those not only be times where your character struggles against the villains in the plot-line but also the villains in their soul. The inner battle is what will turn your story into something that is a work of art and something that is truly worth reading.
1. Map our your character(s) spiritual journey, just like you did with their physical journey. Then, combine the two together.
2. Start working towards the climax of your book. Try to make your characters easy to relate to. Make them have deep, passionate feelings that will grab your readers and keep them captivated to the characters’ struggles.