Friday, July 28, 2017

By-Laws, In-Laws, and Out-Laws (Exodus 18) by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
Sometimes you should listen to your in-laws.

I know. It sounds like crazy talk from a madman, but it’s true. Once in a blue moon, they may come up with some good advice. Like in the case with Moses and his father-in-law Jethro, for example.

Jethro came to visit and deliver to Moses his wife and children who had been living in Midian during the period of time Moses spent being God’s mouthpiece in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. Upon his arrival, he became enthralled at how God was using his son-in-law. So, he decided to stay a while and enjoy “God’s presence and bounty.”

You know how relatives are.

One day, Moses took his place in the “judgment seat” and settled disputes amongst the people from morning ‘til night. Jethro witnessed this and made a simple, but astute, observation. “Keep doing this every day, Moses, and you’ll be dead before too long. You’ll wear yourself out.”

Good advice. At that time, the Israelites numbered over 600,000. That is a lot of disputes to settle for one man.

Jethro suggested to Moses an idea to take before the Lord. “Be God’s representative before the people. Teach them His decrees and laws. Settle the big disputes, but appoint God-fearing men as judges to settle the minor cases.” In other words, Jethro suggested a court system similar to what we have today. The judges would be the lower court system, and Moses and God would be the “Supreme Court.”

Moses liked the idea and made it happen. Two chapters later, the Ten Commandments were relayed to Moses. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Relatives can help give us ideas. Sometimes, they can even be good ones.

As a writer, those relatives you see as _____________ (You fill in the adjective here) can be the idea starter for a winning character.

What about the second cousin on your mother’s side who changes jobs every six months? You know who I’m talking about. Or that uncle with the bald head, beer gut, and annoying chuckle? Uh-huh. Gets on your nerves doesn’t it? Or what about your rich cousin? How did he make his fortune?

Remember “Jailbird Joey” from Back to the Future? I bet one of the writers was thinking of a relative when that character was inserted into the McFly family. Or what about the uncle in Home Alone who never wants to pay for anything but mooches off the McAlister family every Christmas? Got one of those in your family? Or Raymond’s cousin Gerard in Everybody Loves Raymond? Do you know a Gerard? Have a Gerard? Want to unload a Gerard?

Everyone has relatives that embarrass them, make them angry, frustrate them, make them proud, or cause them to step into the bathroom when that relative is spotted coming down the hallway. You know the one. You can remember what day, which store, and what aisle it was you ducked down when that relative circled the end cap.

There’s a storyline for a character there somewhere. There are emotions, personality traits, idiosyncrasies that can be used to deepen your characters. You just have to be careful. You don’t want to make it too obvious who it is you’re writing about. Family feuds are easy enough to start. Why make it effortless?

And who knows? Maybe that creepy cousin from your step-dad’s fourth marriage—the one who dresses in black and listens to Evanesence—is writing you into his sci-fi, horror, paranormal romance novel right now.

Yeah. You know the one.

Something ominous lurks under the waters.

Dr. Evelyn Sims, a brilliant marine biologist, is being watched. Her husband's mysterious death at sea—with the only survivor of the Greenback telling a shocking, unbelievable tale—has thrown her personal life into chaos. Her scientific views are being scrutinized. Her husband's office and their home are investigated. Called in by the FBI to help solve the mystery, Evelyn is thrust into her toughest research project ever...and forced into a maze of deception and betrayal.

Micah Gregson, the Coast Guard captain who rescued the Greenback, is determined to find out why a special unit at the FBI—the one assigned to cryptozoological cases—is involved.

Together Evelyn and Micah will uncover a plot more deadly than anything the ocean could ever produce. One that will either save Evelyn's life and redeem her career, or destroy everything she—and myriad others—stand for.

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is an ordained minister with a B.A. In Bible (Houghton College, Houghton, NY), an M.A. in Christian Studies (Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, MS), and an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership (National-Louis University, Wheeling, IL). He presently works as an assistant principal in a middle school.

His Blake Meyer series is out! 30 Days Hath Revenge - A Blake Meyer Thriller: Book 1, is now available! Book 2 of the Blake Meyer Series, Triple Time, is now available! Book 3, The Tide of Times, will be out Labor Day weekend! Also, the second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too.

To connect with Kevin and learn more, please visit:

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