Monday, October 25, 2010

Spiritual Journeys of our Characters, Part 1 by Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren is here this Manuscript Monday to continue our series on spiritual threads. For the next three MM's, she'll offer some practical advice on portraying our protagonists' inner journeys. Welcome, Susan!

Spiritual Journeys of our Character, Part One*
By Susan May Warren

As a reader, I don’t want the spiritual plot to be so thick that it strangles me—and as a writer, I don’t want to strangle my reader. I want the story to intrigue, to draw my reader deeper, to allow them to look at the issues and wrestle with them without feeling as though they are told what to believe and think. I want a journey for my character that feels unique, and yet personal—both to the character, and ultimately for the reader.

How do we do this?

Every story has a character on an inner journey—that’s actually the point of the journey—to teach your hero and heroine some truth that will change their lives. Even for general market books, a character is on this journey—they just don’t point to the source of truth.

As you’re writing your book, you might start out with a truth you want to reveal. Or, you might start out on the journey, not sure where you’re going to end up. Either way, you need a game plan on how you are going to get there.

Let’s start with a roadmap:

Step 1 – Spiritual Darkness – The Lie They Believe

In plotting my stories, you know I often start with a story question – and the same thing goes for the spiritual thread.

Knowing your hero’s dark past will help you understand their lie.

start by going to that dark moment in their past and ask: What lie do you believe from that dark moment?

The lie will lead you to the most important question in the interview: What holds them back from a relationship with God? Try and boil it down to one sentence.

In my book Happily Ever After, my heroine, Mona needed to trust God and forgive herself (accept God’s forgiveness). My hero, Joe needed to forgive his father.

In Francine Rivers’ book, Redeeming Love – Angel needed to accept God’s unconditional love and forgiveness, and then see Hosea as God’s instrument to love her.

(*From My Book Therapy—Originally titled “What Lie Do You Believe?”)


Nightingale, Susan's latest books, releases November 1, 2010 from Summerside Press

Wolfgang Jager grew up in Iowa---but he's fighting on the "other" side in World War II. And Esther Lange is trapped by her own battles. When Wolfgang is captured and sent to a Wisconsin POW camp, he's relieved---until he's accused of murder! Can faith save him and the woman he loves?


To learn more about Susan and her books, visit her Web site.

1 comment:

  1. I love how Susie explains things--so clear, so applicable. I'm trying to weave a stronger spiritual thread in my WIP, so this post helps me out!


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