Monday, October 11, 2010

Writing In A Visitation from God by Rachel Hauck

Today we're continuing our series on including spiritual threads in fiction. (Annette here.) This Manuscript Monday, we have guest author (and worship leader extraordinaire), Rachel Hauck. In reading one of her recent books, I enjoyed her depiction of an encounter one of her characters had with God. She's graciously agreed to share her "secrets" with us for including this type of spiritual thread. Welcome, Rachel!

Writing In A Visitation from God
by Rachel Hauck

One challenge we face as Christian authors is how to write about our God in a real and uncliched way.

Christianese often peppers our stories. Church foyer or Bible study conversation sounds stayed and stuffy, even preachy, on the novel page.

When I began writing trade paper backs, I quickly learned the language I used to talk about God did not work in my stories. I had to think outside the box.

Doesn’t God manifest Himself in ways other than quoting scripture, offering a spontaneous prayer or a preachy monologue. And isn’t that mostly “me” and not God?

What were ways God had reached out to me and touched me beyond my logical thoughts and feelings?

During a trip to Israel, I smelled the fragrance of the Lord. Since then, I often smell His fragrance. I’ve had the Lord speak to me in dreams. Friends have seen the Lord in person. One of my friends sees into the spirit realm. She’s had feathers fall out of nowhere. I’ve also seen feathers falling inside a building.

During one youth retreat, everyone in the room where we gathered saw a light smoke and smelled incense.

As much as we often shun the supernatural in Christiandom, it actually works on novel pages.
In Georgia On Her Mind, a secondary surfer-dude character sees Jesus when he’s swirling under the ocean during a shark attack.

Caroline, in Sweet Caroline, wakes up in the middle of the night with the perfume of the Lord filling her living room. She knows she’s on holy ground.

Elle, in Love Starts with Elle, sees feathers falling out of nowhere. Readers wrote me after reading her story telling me of the times they found a feather just when they needed some glimmer of hope from the Lord.

In The Sweet By and By, Jade experiences the wind of the Spirit as she confronts a painful part of her past.

Scripture is full of the supernatural. If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, why can’t He encounter us the way He encountered Moses, or Joseph or Daniel? James said it best, “You have not because you ask not.”

It’s hard to write about something you’ve never experienced. Ask the Lord to teach you about the supernatural. Ask for your own welfare, not your characters. Our number one goal is to grow in the knowledge of God! Then we have a wealth of understanding to draw from to create our characters.

Hang around people who understand and engage the supernatural. My experiences are minimal compared to some of my friends. But I learn from them and draw off their heart.

Here’s a few things to keep in mind writing the supernatural into your novels:

1. Pray. Ask the Lord to teach you and show you.

2. Don’t write about it if you’ve never experienced it. I’ve read a few novels where I know the author had no knowledge of the supernatural or angelic. Reading scripture teaches what we need to know. Experience makes the knowledge come alive.

3. Don’t overwrite the supernatural. Don’t write it on every page. One or two encounters is enough. No more than five if you’re writing a supernatural thriller.

4. Be creative in your descriptions but don’t give God, or angels or devils weird or code names. It doesn’t feel or read real.

5. After you’ve written your character’s supernatural encounter, read it over and over, cutting a little bit every time. Should be no longer than a page.

6. Be sure to allow your characters to respond and grow from the encounter. A man cannot encounter the living God and not be changed.

7. Pray. Again and again.

Rachel's latest book, Dining with Joy is set to release in November.

Joy Ballard has a secret: she's a cooking show host who can't really cook.

When her South Carolina-based cooking show, Dining With Joy, is picked up by a major network, Joy Ballard's world heats up like a lowcountry boil.

Joy needs help. Then she meets chef Luke Davis who moved to Beaufort after losing his Manhattan restaurant. A cook at the Frogmore Cafe, he's paying debts and longing to regain his reputation in the elite foodie world.

Luke and Joy mix like oil and water…until Joy is exposed on national television. With her career and his reputation both under fire, they'll have to work together to fix the mess. Is it possible that they can learn to feast on God's love and dine with joy?


Learn more about Rachel at her Web site.


  1. Thank you for visiting today, Rachel! I drew a lot from your article that I can take with me in my own writing. Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us.

  2. Wonderful article, Rachel! What you shared is both helpful and inspiring.

  3. Thanks for having me friends! I love this site!


  4. Thanks, Rach! Means a lot coming from you. :D


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