Monday, October 4, 2010

How to Infuse Spiritual Warfare Naturally into Your Story by ML Tyndall

This Manuscript Monday, we're beginning a new series about including faith elements in our writing. It's tricky, so wouldn't it be great to have some advice? For this series, we'll hear from some pros on how to include spiritual elements professionally. Kicking things off is author MaryLu Tyndall who writes historicals for Barbour. One of the elements I noticed that sets her writing apart is her ability to include elements of spiritual warfare in a genre which traditionally didn't include them much—romance. She's here today to share some advice with us. Welcome, MaryLu!

How to Infuse Spiritual Warfare Naturally
into Your Story

by ML Tyndall

One of the main things that sets my historical romance novels apart from others is that I incorporate some element of spiritual warfare in each of my books. Let’s face it, when you think of historical romance novels, you don’t exactly think about demons and spiritual battles, Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti’s books, maybe. But romance? For example, in my very first book, The Redemption, Satan appears in the form of a black crow that harasses the heroine on more than one occasion, attempting to frighten her and distract her from seeking God’s salvation. In The Reliance, the heroine calls down lightning from heaven to disrupt a mutiny on her ship which would have certainly ended in her death. In The Red Siren, my characters are confronted with a band of warlocks who are attempting to cast a spell on the heroine’s sister. The hero rebukes them in the name of Jesus and sends them fleeing. In The Blue Enchantress, a woman is delivered of demons. In The Raven Saint, the heroine must deal with a Satanic Voodoo curse put on another character.

The question is, how do you incorporate this type of spiritual warfare without it seeming too unbelievable, too weird, and too silly? Here are some suggestions that may help you.

The spiritual battles should not solve the main struggles of the hero and heroine. In other words, don’t use miracles as a bandage to plug a hole in your plot. That’s when your readers will shake their heads in disbelief and put your book down. Along those lines, however, you can certainly use a miracle or a spiritual battle to rescue your hero or heroine out of a dangerous situation. These type of events happened all the time in the Bible.

Don’t use spiritual battle as the only thing that convinces your unbelieving characters that God exists. It can certainly be a main factor, but there should be other things, such as witnessing godly character in others and seeing lives transformed, that convince the character that God loves him or her.

The spiritual battle should be a natural part of the story, not just some crazy scene thrown in for entertainment. It should morph naturally out of one of the story themes or plot lines.

Most importantly, you should educate yourself on spiritual warfare. (And not just for writing. This is something we Christians need to understand and be ready to use!) Read books on demons and deliverance. Read books on other Christians’ experiences in spiritual battle. Read the Bible and see how Jesus and His apostles battled the forces of darkness. Recall in your own walk with God the times that you’ve personally done battle. The best writing comes out of personal experience.

Finally, taking all the things above into account, when you are developing your character arcs and plotting how your characters will grow and change, decide where and when to incorporate a miracle or a spiritual battle as part of their natural growth. Then keep that event in mind as you begin writing and how it will affect your story and all of the characters involved. Then it will seem more naturally a part of the story. Just like in real life when God comes through big time as He so often does in our own lives!


On the brink of the War of 1812, Marianne Denton must marry to unlock her inheritance. Without the money, her mother can’t receive medical care and her sister will be destitute. But Noah Brenin needs to sail his cargo to England before the war commences in order to prove his worth to his father and make enough money so he won’t have to marry at all.

But when Noah walks out on their engagement party, Marianne chases him down and ends up on his merchantman out at sea. The situation worsens when Noah’s ship encounters a British man-of-war and the couple are impressed into the British navy.

While a young lad’s prophecy of destiny looms over them both, Marianne and Noah are forced to face their darkest fears as they desperately try to find a way to escape and fulfill their destinies—destinies that could change the course of the war and history forever.


M.L. Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ. For more information on MaryLu and her upcoming releases, please visit her website at or her blog at

1 comment:

  1. MaryLu, this article was fascinating and very helpful. I enjoy reading novels that include spiritual warfare. But I write contemporary romance and had never given thought to weaving those elements into my own stories. You've given me a lot to think about.

    Thanks so much!


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