These are the last lines in the prologue of my newest novel, Redeeming Grace. The very next lines the reader reads are these that open Chapter 1:
“Marry me.” The words floated into her ear on his soft and husky whisper. She caught her breath at their sound, fueled by Brad’s intensity. Like a match to dry kindling.
Juxtaposition. It is when two things are being seen or placed close together with a contrasting effect. When used properly, it can have a powerful effect on the mind of your reader. In this case, the mood dramatically changes from extreme fear to romance and love, in the space of a single sentence.
In writing suspense/thriller fiction, a first prerequisite is that it be entertaining. This motif requires that it be compelling, yet different than a mystery. The fate of a city, a nation, the world is often the prize. Suspense novels offer multiple viewpoints and themes, i.e., techno thriller: The Hunt for Red October; or medical: Coma. They are usually longer books, with strong characterizations and more involved story lines, much like a movie script. RG, the story above for example, is wrapped around a woman in peril.
For writers who are also followers of Jesus, whatever your fictional genre, an additional prerequisite to that of being entertaining is that of an underlying message reflecting God’s character and one’s need of grace, forgiveness and hope. This must open softly, sweetly, like flower petals, or peal back pungently like the tunic and scale leaves of an onion. The entire story must be planted as a whole in the real world of real people.
Too much Christian fiction “preaches” too much. In our longing to offer the message of Jesus to the reader, we forget that we must first build a relationship, tilling the soil of one’s imagination, before planting the seed.
Juxtaposition. In Matthew 13, Jesus becomes the author’s mentor. In story motif, he shows us how to do it. Go there. Drink it in as you might in a Writer’s Conference. Let’s sit awhile with the master storyteller. Listen and learn together. Grow with him.
Then, when you are ready, ask him to use your fiction as a ministry gift.
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Ask Him to use your fiction as a ministry gift. Click to Tweet
[Our writing should be an] underlying message reflecting God’s character. Click to Tweet
|About the Author|
|Redeeming Grace by Ward Tanneberg|
Those nine chilling words end Grafton’s self-imposed sanctuary of witness protection. Now she and everyone she loves are in grave danger. Long believed dead, she has a secret that can change the world. She knows the man running for president is guilty of a double murder! But who will believe her?
Other novels by Ward Tanneberg: Without Warning; Vanished; Pursuit. Allegory: Seasons of the Spirit