Tuesday, February 24, 2015

4 Disciplines of the Christian Novelist: The Spiritual Side of Creating Fiction by Janet Chester Bly

Janet Chester Bly
For the Christian fiction writer, the spiritual dynamic impels the process of creating a novel. Whatever the outcome, the whole project involves a walk with God. The work is done in tandem with a heavenly Father who a) provides the idea, b) enables the writing gift, and c) empowers with ability to start and complete the project.

4 Disciplines of Creating Fiction


  1. You pray. The act of creating a story with impact begins with God providing the kernel of an idea. Then talk through with Him the development, the follow through of crafting story and scenes. Prayer means depending on Him each step of the way.

    A sample writer’s prayer: “Heavenly Father, make this a story created by You. Bring it to life for Your purpose. Work through my mind. Challenge my heart. Give voice to the characters to reveal something You want to say to readers. Minister to me, through me, and in spite of me. Keep me going as life happens. Produce a story for Your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
  2. They pray. Ask others to intercede. A savvy writer realizes he or she can’t do it alone. A team is needed. Sure, the daily discipline of the hard sweat and strain of actual writing is up to you. Part of the process of creating is discovering what the book is about. Partners who pray you through to the end are a precious gift. Send out reports on your progress. And the setbacks. Let them share in the results of God’s work through you.

    “As you help (me) by your prayers … then many will give thanks on (my) behalf for the gracious favor granted me in answer to the prayers of many” (1 Corinthians 1:11 NIV).
  3. Wrestle a theme. In my recently released novel Wind in the Wires the characters thoughts and actions and the evolving story line little by little revealed recurring issues. On the negative side: deceit, lies, and bitterness. On the positive end: confession, truth, and forgiveness. Staying with that thread with each scene throughout helped me find the place to begin, what defined the middle, and how to reach the conclusion.
  4. Borrow the Bible. Whether you list it or not, be inspired by at least one Scripture passage that conveys the essence of what’s happening in your story. Early on in the process I envisioned the main characters in Wind in the Wires on a journey to the desert. They were headed to the region around Goldfield, Nevada. One day reading the minor prophet Hosea, these verses popped out for me as describing protagonist Reba Mae Cahill.

    “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope” (Hosea 2:14,15 NIV)


Question for Writer: How do you make sure you keep God as part of your work?
Question for Reader: What was the spiritual message of the last novel you read?

About the Author
Wind in the Wires
by Janet Chester Bly
Janet Chester Bly is a city girl with a country heart. She doesn’t corral horses or mow her own lawn. “I’m no womba woman,” she says. But she followed her late husband award-winning western author Stephen Bly to the Idaho mountain top village of Winchester to write books and minister to a small church. When she lost him, she stayed. She manages the online Bly Books bookstore, rakes lots of Ponderosa pine needles and cones, and survives the long winter snows.

Janet Chester Bly has authored and co-authored with Stephen 32 contemporary and historical fiction and inspirational and family-themed nonfiction books. She and her three sons—Russell, Michael and Aaron--completed her late husband’s last novel, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot. The story of that family project can be find on her website blog under the series topic “Finishing Dad’s Novel”: http://www.BlyBooks.com/blog/.

Her recently released novel Wind in the Wires is Book 1, Trails of Reba Cahill. It’s a Contemporary Western Mystery. It’s a road adventure with a touch of romance. A cowgirl searches for love and family. An old man seeks justice. Their Ford Model T journey to Goldfield, Nevada exposes lies and betrayal. And two cold case murders. Will the truth be too hard for either to bear?

It’s 1991. Reba Cahill loves ranching with her grandmother on the Camas Prairie of north-central Idaho. But there’s a lot of work for the two of them. She figures a rancher husband would ease the load. But she finds few prospects in the fictional small town of Road’s End.

Get Wind in the Wires paperback or download on Kindle here: http://amzn.to/1p1YJYZ
Goodreads giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/127625-wind-in-the-wires
Download a sample chapter here: http://www.blybooks.com/books/cowgirl-lit/

Website: http://BlyBooks.com
Sign up for the Almost Monthly Newsletter: http://bit.ly/1i82Kah
Keep up with the Wind in the Wires 4-month blog tour & giveaways here: http://www.blybooks.com/2014/11/new-novel-release-2014/

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing the writer's prayer. All the best on Wind in the Wires.

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  2. Greetings, Janet K: You're welcome and thanks for your note! Blessings, Janet B

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  3. This was indeed helpful! Thank you.

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    1. Sheryl: Thanks for comment. You're welcome.

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  4. My most important writing task is to make sure I'm totally focused on the Living God, the I AM, on spiritual realities. I write from a Christian worldview, but that's not a matter of sprinkling Scripture verses here and there. It MUST be woven into the fabric of the story. Can you tell I'm passionate about this? : ) This wasn't difficult with The Stones, my novel on the life of King David, given the subject matter, but with Dynamo, not only did I weave it in, but I essentially made God one of the characters. I strive for both literary and spiritual authenticity, but only the reader can decide if I succeed in that. I'd love to hear your take on this, even if it's pushback.

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    1. Ellie: Appreciate your input on this. Good points made, especially the woven into the fabric element. Such a challenge for every fiction project.

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    2. Thanks, Janet. Our focus in fiction should align with our life focus.

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  5. Good word for Christian poets and writers, Janet. Thanks and blessings. I'll highlight your post on the Christian Poets & Writers blog www.christianpoetsandwriters.com.

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    1. Thanks much, Mary. Appreciate the blog highlight too.

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