Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Author's Character Series

The Author's Character Series: Part One
Net's Notation Tuesdays

We fiction writers spend a lot of time on characterization, filling in our character charts. I love this creative process. Doesn’t it seem like you’re getting a taste of God’s role as Creator while you invent someone’s personality and history for your story?

But, while we’re working away on our character’s characterization, God is working on the author’s character—yours and mine.

Here’s what I mean—the process of writing, of living a writer’s life, is not uncomplicated. Inspiration, rejection, creation, disappointment, elation, and patience all fill our days. You meet an agent or editor at a conference. Though you have butterflies, you pitch your story successfully, and the editor or agent responds with excitement. They want to see your proposal. Some may even ask to see the full manuscript. Chill bumps chase you home from the conference as you prepare the perfect proposal and submit it to the agency or house. Then you wait.

And wait. And wait longer.

The excitement you felt at the conference wanes with the waiting. Hope dissipates with the delay. You try to focus on other projects, assuring yourself the wait is normal (because it is). But every day you check email multiples times. You might even go back and review your proposal and cover letter to ensure everything was included correctly. (I don’t always have the courage for this because if I find blaring mistakes I can’t change them. Then I have a new concern to obsess about. ;-) )

I’m going to leave you hanging here in the waiting process because I have good news: while you wait, God is working. He's wooing you to Himself, beckoning you to pray about your writing career, sure, but He also simply wants to spend time alone with you. He is refining your character.

Maybe, instead of waiting, you’re in the midst of a mad dash to the finish line—a deadline for a contracted manuscript. Same thing applies. I have a friend who was thrust into a writing deadline which tipped her world upside down. Raising a young family, homeschooling, and writing two full chapters a day will do that to you. (i.e. 5,000 words) She said the process really refined her because she had to totally depend on the Lord while battling migraines and typing her first draft.

God’s working on your character, on my character. From anxiety to quiet trust. From worry to assurance. No matter what happens, God has the situation in His capable hands.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be running a series on the author’s character—yours and mine. In the meantime, know that God wants time alone with you.

Watch for next Tuesday’s post when I focus on the character of Jesus, the ultimate Author.

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