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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Just Thinking: Who Am I Writing For?

This is my graduation picture. And yes, I was starry-eyed, innocent, full of dreams of knights in shining armor. Sure that everyone was exactly what they seemed to be on the surface. This picture did not lie--I truly did honor my parents, hardly ever told a lie of any sort (except small "white" ones), and occasionally attended church.

In other words, just the kind of person who could write a sloppy, syrupy-sweet romance totally devoid of any kind of tension, filled with promises of eternal springtime. In other words, I would have written for me.

It's probably a good thing that I restricted the writing to class assignments and letters to my boyfriend in Washington, my brother in college, and my grandmother in Montana.

I read another post this morning asking who we write for. The Inspire Christian Writers post by author Keli Gwyn made me stop and think. Who do I write for?

The first book I completed had everything in it I wanted: Time travel to the first century. Broken marriages coming back together. Missing people returned to their families. A dying child healed. Everyone coming to know Jesus up close and personal.

Agents and Editors were unimpressed.

The second seemed a little better. Again set in the first century, the hero handsome, the heroine beautiful, both without flaws or secrets. The good guys get the good gals, all the main characters become Christians.

*sigh* Let's face it. I want life without complications. Too bad it doesn't happen that way. And people aren't really interested in reading vanilla frosting books.

The third, still in process (and yes, still set in the first century), has a lot of tension. I may have ulcers before it's finished. I don't know if all the good guys will get the good girls. Already, one beautiful stallion, an innocent little jenny (a donkey), and one of my favorite characters have died.

What did I do? An equal and opposite reaction? Who am I writing for?

I can tell you who I want to be writing for: The Lord. I want to entertain, but teach. I want to give people hope. I want them to get to know the most wonderful person who ever lived: Jesus.

Ralph Smedley, the man who started Toastmasters, International, said people learn best in an atmosphere of enjoyment. For far too many years, a lot of people have thought religion is boring, guilt-inspiring, restrictive. I'd like them to know just how exciting and freeing true religion can be.

So I'll tell it in a story. I'll tell about people who find God in their not-exactly-everyday lives, and they find the change in getting to know Him renewing, relieving, exhilarating, and challenging. The end should lift their hearts. They should hear angels singing, music swelling.

I guess I'm writing for God, but I'm also writing for the readers. Entertaining, but teaching. I hope, God willing and enabling.

But until a publisher says they want to put it in print, I must be writing for myself and the Lord.

If so, then let it be so. Amen.
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