Monday, April 30, 2018

The Power of Story, Part I: Why I Believe in Story by Annette M. Irby

Finding Love on Bainbridge Island books with bookmarks and pen*

A woman stood chatting with me about fiction during one of my book signings. The Bible bookstore was stocked with gifts, Bibles, cards, journals, and of course, books. My stack of novels decorated the table. Her husband joined her. Where she had been kind and wore a generous smile, this man brooded. He wore a scowl, and he glared at me and the pile of books as if he might catch something by proximity. His wife and I were discussing story and she glanced at her husband, almost afraid, and said, “I used to read a lot. Now, my husband doesn’t want me to read fiction anymore.”

The man’s scowl deepened. 

“One of the reasons I write fiction,” I answered her, “is because Jesus used story to bring the truth to people. It’s a powerful tool—all those parables.”

The man kept glancing between me and the books on the table. I have no idea what he was thinking. Maybe he'd decided all Christian fiction was useless. Perhaps he thought romance wasn't something God condoned, as if God didn't invent it and doesn't live in an unending romance with His people. Finally, the man urged his wife away, but not before I saw what he carried—a box of gospel tracts. 


Jesus didn’t carry tracts around. There are many, many ways to share the good news.

Jesus didn’t scowl at friendly people making wholesome conversation about uplifting works.

Jesus didn’t tell people not to read. He never denounced story. In fact, all of time is His story, which I’ve heard explained is the reason we label the past “history.” 

In his parables, Jesus used stories to touch people, nudge them to lower their guards, and teach them truths. People could relate with relationships in His parables, like the prodigal son parable. Parents likely related to the father who worried and waited for his son to return. Sinners might relate to the desperation and regrets of the lost prodigal. Saints might relate to the older brother and how he felt excluded while, motivated by bitterness and harassed by jealousy, he set himself up as judge.

Story changes lives, and Jesus demonstrated this in His parables. That’s why I believe in their power, that and I've seen this play out in my own life. As for that frightened and controlling man? Jesus probably has a story that can help him.

Write on, friends.

Come back next week for part two as I discuss the power of themes in story.

Your turn: Have you ever watched story change someone? Has story ever changed your life?


FL on Bainbridge Island, Washington
Releases 5/1/18 from Mountain Brook Ink. Kindle Unlimited members can read the first two books in the Washington Island Romance series for free. Print version available now! The Kindle version is also free if you buy the print version.

Neither of them is ready for a relationship, but love may not give them an out.

Jenna-Shea Brown considers herself a broken therapist. Years ago, she witnessed something that caused PTSD. She can’t let her boss or her patients know about her battle. Who would want to trust her to help them, when she can’t help herself? She’s finally able to find a fresh start in her family’s beach cabin, but the renovations aren’t complete. Her parents have hired her ex-boyfriend to finalize them, but his negligence led to her being in the wrong place at the wrong time all those years ago. 

Liam Barrett is trying to prove he’s nothing like his deadbeat dad. He’s working hard, yet still failing. Adrenaline and adventure offer him a diversion, but maybe he can’t escape his genes. He’d like to make things right with Shea, but he’s unsure if she’ll forgive him. Meanwhile, he’s challenged to forgive his father. He’s also worried about Shea and all these episodes she won’t explain. Now that they’re back in close proximity, he’s falling for her again. But can anything heal the past?


Annette M. Irby**

Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. She likes to say she’s addicted to color as flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.

Learn more here on her Seriously Write Page.

Links to connect with Annette:
Twitter: @AnnetteMIrby
Facebook Reader Friends Group:

* Photo of books tack credit: Annette M. Irby
** Author Photo credit: Sarah Irby at Irby Photos