Eternity’s Wake – Flash Fiction

Eternity’s Wake – Flash Fiction

After years of procrastination, he opened the door. The room would not empty itself.

His breath caught as he peered in at expressions of her wild glory. Bed unmade, the quilt carelessly crumpled. Bookshelves cluttered, their overflow strewn on the floor. Dresser drawers protruding, socks and jeans pouring out.

She had not readied the room for death.

He shut the door behind him, staring with vision already blurred. Where to start?

He stooped and began to gather the mementos of life she’d left scattered on the carpet. He turned over a chocolate wrapper and stared at the white paper lining. Her scrawl was smudged with chocolate. funny looking at times open loud very blunt

What in the world? A corner of his mouth twisted upwards, and he folded the wrapper carefully. A few pennies, note cards, and dirty socks later, the floor was clean. Clean was relative. She never vacuumed.

The corner of a notebook peeked from underneath the bed. He pawed at it and cradled it in his hands. The same handwriting that made the candy wrapper priceless labeled this cover July 24th, 2016 –

2016 – Eternity.

He flipped it open and paged through. Records of schoolwork. Stormy friendships. A recital and her first trip by plane. Some of the pages bore wrinkled bumps. Tear stains, he guessed. The brown spots had to be spilled coffee.

The last entry – written under a date that was seared into his heart – caught his eye and held it.

I’ve just got this feeling… it’s gonna be a great day.

It certainly was, he thought…

For you.

Photo by Martin Castro on Unsplash

The Problem with Christian Fiction

The Problem with Christian Fiction

Shocked you again, didn’t I?

But seriously, though… today I want to share with you about the problem I have with many works of Christian fiction.

They force a message/moral on the reader.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been turned off of a Christian fiction book because of preachiness. A stiff sermon in the form of fiction really frustrates me. If you really want to write an essay on Christianity, please just go do it. ‘Cause that’s what your exposition should be. Please don’t mask it with fiction.

I firmly believe that fiction should not be a platform for preaching. Tell your story and let it do its thing.

Disclaimer: please understand that I’m not knocking sermons or essays… I love them. I’m just saying that they have their own distinct place… they don’t need to masquerade in fictitious literature.🙂

Believe it or not, it’s possible to glorify God through fiction without preaching at your readers.

The people who influence us most are not those who buttonhole us and talk to us, but those who live their lives like the stars in heaven and the lilies in the field, perfectly simply and unaffectedly. Those are the lives that mould [sic] us.Oswald Chambers

I believe this applies to fiction, as well. I can’t tell you how many works of fiction have made me stop in my tracks and evaluate my relationship with God and how I live it out… without being preachy. The writer just let the story play out… and let me, the reader, learn from the natural flow of the story.

In my opinion, writing a story to teach your readers a lesson is stepping into dangerous territory.

A couple of years ago, God was teaching me something amazing. My natural reaction was to share my new-found knowledge with others. And so I thought…

Why not write my (beloved) Civil War story so the main character learns the lesson I just learned?

So I started doing it. I planned to put my main character through a series of disastrous and depressing events (which is something my writer’s heart morbidly enjoys doing), and have her come through this scarring experience with the realization that Jesus was enough for her, no matter what.

Thankfully I set that project aside for a time. When I came back to it, having learned more about the writing craft and just life in general, I realized I had messed up.

I was trying to force my story into a preconceived mold. A preachy mold.

I know people laugh when writers complain about their characters getting out of control and doing things the writer never meant for them to do… but it’s a real struggle. A well-developed character should surprise its creator and do things that it was never “supposed” to do. Annoying as this is, letting the characters live their lives authentically is one of the best things a writer can do.

Trust that your readers can learn from your characters’ experiences without preachy interference.

I’m certainly not implying that stories shouldn’t have themes and morals… they should. True stories have these! In short, I’m saying that the stories you write can (and should!) be meaningful and convicting without being awkward and preachy.

Let your story be just that – a story. Trust the incredible power of fiction… let your story play out and let your readers glean from it what they will… just like they observe real life and glean from it without exposition.

This is my opinion… what’s yours? Do you agree with me? Disagree? A little bit of both? Please share… I always love feedback and discussion.:)

What I’ve Been Reading – September 2020 Edition

What I’ve Been Reading – September 2020 Edition

Hey, guys!

I just wanted to pop in today to share with you a taste of what I got to read this September.

Please note: I did NOT read all of these books cover to cover… I’m just saying I got to spend some glorious time in them last month. 🙂

Enjoy!

Books

The Bible

Absolutely… it’s my favorite. Specifically I enjoyed spending time in Proverbs and Habakkuk this September. I’m so grateful for God’s Word. It truly is a light to my path!

Animal Farm

I haven’t gotten very far in this yet, but it’s okay so far. Quite honestly, it didn’t grab me and pull me in right away, but I’ll keep reading to see how it turns out. 🙂

The Door Within

I sped-read this when I was thirteen and loved it. Since I’m writing my own allegorical fantasy right now, I thought it would be a good idea to go back and reread this book. It’s been fun! I love all the parallels it draws to the the life and mission of the Christian.

Beholding and Becoming

This one is so, so good. It’s been such a beautiful reminder to me to stay focused on the Lord in the middle of an exciting life.

Also, the pages are bursting with beautiful word art and paintings… ahhh! So lovely.

Winnie-the-Pooh

This is one of my favorites. I so enjoy the way A.A. Milne captures the beautiful nonsense that is so logical to a child’s mind.

In the Presence of Mine Enemies

I picked this up the other night and stayed up too late, reading in fascination. I didn’t start at the beginning or read completely through every word (welcome to my reading life), but this was incredible. It’s the true story of an American soldier who was a POW for seven years in Vietnam.

This book is heartbreaking and inspiring. I am so grateful for the men and women who gave – and still give – so much so we can live in freedom and safety. We spoiled Americans need to be reminded of how much freedom costs, and this book will do just that.

Radical

I’d been hearing about this book for years… and wanting to read it but never getting around to it. Finally I grabbed a copy at my nearest and dearest bookstore – Goodwill 🙂 – and started reading. Wow. Talk about a wake-up call. I’m hoping to finish it this month.

Blog Posts

The Life of William Wilberforce

A few years ago I got hooked on the story of William Wilberforce via an incredible audio drama… so of course I jumped at this article! I really appreciate how some lessons to be learned from his life are pointed out at the end.

Things Christians Don’t Talk About: Money

This one is a quick read – and a powerful one. Please read it if you can spare a minute or two.

What have you been reading lately?

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something through one of the links I share in this post, I receive a small commission… at no extra cost to you. 🙂

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

5 Dream Coffee Dates – Fictitious Literature Edition

5 Dream Coffee Dates – Fictitious Literature Edition

Hello, folks! (or floks… silly typing fingers.)

I thought that it might be fun to start a little series here on the blog, in which I share some of the famous people/historical figures/fictional characters I’d like to chat with over coffee. Of course, coffee dates with these people aren’t really possible, but it’s fun to think about! 🙂

For today… here are my five top picks from fictional books!

Jo March (Little Women)

I would so love to chat with this lady! I’ve enjoyed her story ever since I was little. She just has such a fun personality, and the lessons she learned in Little Women are so, so good. I love the dialogue in Louisa May Alcott’s books, and so hearing Jo tell stories would be priceless.

Daniel bar Jamin (The Bronze Bow)

Another character from another favorite book… I really appreciate the character development Daniel experiences in The Bronze Bow, and it would be fascinating to talk with him about his spiritual journey. I would also love to ask him more about his conversation with Jesus… and learn more about what Jesus is like from the perspective of someone who talked with Him face-to-face.

Demetrius (The Robe)

The book really left you cliff-hanging as to what happened to Demetrius, so I would appreciate learning about what happened to him… especially since he was one of my favorite characters. I would love to learn more of the details as to what happened before, during, and after the Crucifixion.

Dobro Turtlebane (The Bark of the Bog Owl)

This guy just cracks me up. Hearing him talk about his crazy adventures would be hilarious. Not sure I would want to be seen with him in public, though…

Screwtape (The Screwtape Letters)

This probably sounds really weird and creepy, but it would be fascinating to talk with him. I learned so much from “his” letters about how Satan can work against me… understanding more of his strategies so I can better combat him would be really awesome.

Who are your top picks from fiction for a coffee date?

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something through one of the links I share in this post, I receive a small commission… at no extra cost to you. 🙂

Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash