What a pleasure it's been to host author Louise M. Gouge this month on Seriously Write. Please welcome her back this Manuscript Monday.
Woven Through Time: Part IV
by Louise M. Gouge
This is the last installment in my four-part series on Manuscript Monday, in which I describe my tagline: “Threads of God’s grace woven through time.” In Part 1, I discussed the Plot thread that forms the “warp” for the tapestry of our story. In Part 2, I talked about first “weft” thread, Emotion, in which the hero and heroine overcome some inner emotional difficulty and let love triumph. In Part 3, I addressed the Romance thread that ends in Happily Ever After (HEA). The remaining thread concerns the Spiritual “weft” that we weave through the plot to bring our story to life. This is the golden thread that makes everything else worthwhile as the hero and heroine comprehend the Grace of God and grow in their respective relationships with Him.
So how does an author weave this thread into the story in a natural (organic) way? What are the do’s and don’ts? Best-selling author DiAnn Mills says, “Good writing is not about preaching. No souls were ever saved by beating a person over the head with a Bible.” So “don’t be preachy” is a good watchword for the Christian writer who wants to add a spiritual dimension to her story.
What does it mean to be preachy? Steeple Hill author Cheryl St. John says, “Anything that suggests my way is better than your way sounds preachy. It's not my job to tell someone how they should believe or behave. But I feel it is my place to set an example and let people see my Jesus through me. So for me, the whole faith element comes completely through my characters' viewpoints, behaviors, their beliefs and faith, and their trust in God.”
Working with these principles, writers with a Christian worldview discover ways to show the deeper spiritual life in the way their characters respond to the events in the story, without being heavy-handed. The heroine may be a strong Christian, yet she falls in love with a man who never found any value in religion. Throughout the story’s conflicts, the heroine turns to God for strength and hope, even in the darkest hour. Her faith and her natural reactions to the conflict set an example the hero admires, and he wants to know more about her God. This gives her the opportunity to point out the difference between religion and her relationship with Jesus Christ. Or the hero may be the strong Christian, but the heroine, while believing in God, feels that He has let her down too often. She has decided that God is too remote to be interested in her. The hero’s life hasn’t been much better, but he’s determined to trust God in spite of the way people disappoint or hurt him. As the story proceeds, both hero and heroine choose to base their faith on God’s promises rather than external circumstances. It is this inner faith that frees them from the past (including emotional pain) and prepares them to give and receive love (romance), with God’s love providing the spiritual dimension to their lives.
With Plot as the warp and Emotional, Romantic, and Spiritual threads as the weft, the writer can weave the fabric of a heartwarming love story that readers will long remember. For my historical romance novels, these are my Threads of God’s Grace Woven through Time.
Torn between love and duty, American Patriot James Templeton must deny his heart to help win his country's freedom. Templeton's orders from General Washington are clear. His target: Lord Bennington, a member of George III's Privy Council. The assignment: find Bennington's war plans. The risks: the future of the East Florida Colony, Jamie's life...and his heart. In spite of the dangers of their hopeless situation, he's fallen in love with Lady Marianne Moberly, Lord Bennington's daughter. Desperate to protect his country, Jamie carries out his orders with a heavy heart. But Marianne's persistence is a challenge he never expected. With love and faith, they must navigate troubled waters to win their future together.
Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, March 2010, ISBN: 13-978-0-373-82832-6
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Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge has been married to David Gouge for 45 years. They have four grown children and six grandchildren. Louise earned her BA in English/Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and her Master of Liberal Studies degree at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. The author of nine books, Louise is also an adjunct professor of English and Humanities at Valencia Community College in Kissimmee, Florida. Her favorite Bible verse is “He shall choose our inheritance for us” (Psalm 47:4), a testimony to her belief that God has chosen a path for each believer. To seek that path and to trust His wisdom is to find the greatest happiness in life. Web site and blog: http://Louisemgouge.com