Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Let me out of the box!

Have you ever heard your characters ask that before?


Guess its more of a demand than a question...

Seriously though, sometimes we put our characters into such stilted, boring, formal conflict that we forget to let them breathe. Let them tell us where to go and what to write. We get so busy complaining about our characters not doing what we want them to, not flowing easily into the plot we stuffed them into, that we don't consider the fact they might be trying to tell us they have a better way.

Can't help but see the spiritual analogy in that (in reverse). We try to force our own plans and our will, always forgetting that God's will and plans are so much better, higher, and greater than our own. Maybe it's time to stop forcing it and let God move us.

And in your writing, if your plot is stuck, maybe it's time to try a different route. Think outside the box. If Plan A is obvious and the best answer logically, think about what Plan B would look like and give it a whirl. You might find an amazing twist that is just what your story needs. Don't be afraid to keep asking what if.

Remember, plans are just plans. Not guarantees.

For us, and for our characters ;)


  1. Great analogy! Reminds me of Proverbs 3:5-6~

    "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."

    Thanks for this reminder, Betsy! =)


  2. Great post! I am applying it to my proposal project. (Writing the book is so much fun, writing the proposal is WORK!)

  3. I have a writing questions for you, Betsy. Lol. Remember your post a few weeks ago about how your guy characters tend to be more realistic than your girl characters? Well, I have this guy character that I absolutely love and I'm dying to put him in a Christian story. However, he is a pretty serious bad boy (who makes a change) and while I would LOVE to give him a POV, I'm not sure I should because I don't know how to keep it real and keep it appropriate. Lol. I mean, real guys like him cuss and carouse and I'm not willing to (or even capable of) writing that...

  4. Wow. Wrote all that and forgot the question. I'm sure you got the gist, though. How do I keep it real and give my character his POV without scarring myself or my potential readers for life?

  5. Ashley! You crack me up :) Great question ma'am. Have you read my YA? It has a bad boy in it, though not his POV (since it's first person POV of the teen girl) ADDISON BLAKELY CONFESSIONS OF A PK. Still, it might help give you an idea of how I portrayed him - kept him realistic and true to character but christian book friendly ;)

    The best advice I can give, though, is to be vague. He can cuss, just don't spell the word out. Write it like this in his POV:

    He cursed.


    He let out a word his grandma would have smacked him over.

    You see what I mean? Get creative - doing it that way keeps it clean for the reader and honors God - but keeps it real ;) AND gives you a way to be more creative in your actual writing. Authors who use real curse words cheat ;)

    1. Okay. Lol. I love the grandma thing. I've been meaning to get your book (and Erynn's Maya Davis series), but I always end up getting sidetracked in the Bible section of bookstores. Lol.
      I love the grandma thing! :) Too funny. I mean, he's a little unique in that he doesn't cuss all that much. He likes to sound intelligent. He's just wild. I guess I am going to have to be more creative with it, but hey... Sounds fun. Thanks!

  6. Don't let me stand in the way of a Bible ;)