Friday, May 31, 2013

A (Man's) Writer's Best Friend


It’s Friday, the last day in May so I thought I’d share a post that really doesn't have much to do with writing. In addition, as my first novel, Angelguard, has finally landed down under I thought I’d also take the opportunity to give 2 signed copies away to CWD members and friends. More of that later.

I grew up fearful of dogs. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, it appeared to me they didn’t like me much. Dogs, at school and in the neighbourhood, often attacked me. Yes, they smelled my fear.

The worst situation involved a big sheepdog charging out from behind a brush fence, tore off the rope leash restraining it to maul little ole me. A tetanus shot, blood-drawn bite marks on my chest and a ruined tee shirt summed up that particular episode.

Brandy

I met Brandy as a pup. It took me a while to feel comfortable with her, in fact probably a year or so. Even though a pup, she was a jumpy one, as I learnt was common with many dogs.

As I gradually took on more responsibility for caring for her, plus the daily walks/runs, I began to understand why people could be effusive about dogs. My wife and I have this joke that she will gush over every dog that passes and I’ll fuss over every baby. Seriously, it’s like Fi has a special dog-tracking sensor. She’ll notice them from miles away. Pity I didn’t possess that talent in my youth as it may have prevented some of my scars.

But it was when I took a sabbatical to write Angelguard that my bond with Brandy began to increase. She would sit, well lie, by my side as I wrote each day. When it was time for lunch or for a walk she’d nuzzle up to my lap to remind me. She got used to those moments of exhilaration when I cracked what I thought was a good scene or the yells of frustration when the words were just not coming out.

Over the course of the next nine years that bond tightened and my love for her, well you know, gushed as a parent does for a child.

Sixth Sense

What amazes me about dogs is their willingness to serve and love selflessly. I still find it fascinating that “dog’” is an anagram of “god”. Did God give Adam a particular nudge when it was this animal’s turn to be named? Dogs possess a natural selflessness that we humans struggle to express.

Whether it’s comforting you when you’re not well, or being able to size up other dogs and humans on approach, I’m in awe of God’s creation. Many a day has passed when I wish I possessed their perceptiveness about others, human or dog.

Moments

Brandy was 15 and increasingly struggling with arthritis. Having consulted the vet who knew her well, we agreed it was time to let her go. Fiona and I were fortunate to have been able to determine the time and so our grieving commenced ahead of her passing.

On the day she passed I was struck how quickly it was all over. One minute, she was alive and happy. Sixty seconds later, she was gone. Life is simply a series of moments.

Community

Meet Beanie-boo, our now six-month old x-kelpie something. She’s an absolute bundle of joy. As I write this post she is doing what Brandy did for all that time: lying peacefully by my side.

We’ve discovered the wonders of the dog park. Five minutes from home is a football oval converted into a fenced in dog park. Every afternoon before nightfall it is overtaken by large numbers of dogs of all shapes and sizes who meet up for their daily fun. Some owners take the time to do their own exercise, conduct business over the mobile, or simply catch up with fellow neighbours to talk everything canine.

This is community: people with a common interest mingling to share and care. We swap each other’s dogs name before we introduce ourselves. They may be an international footballer or a prominent businessperson but at the park that’s inconsequential. What binds us is a common love for … our dogs.

Giveaway

This post is long enough (sorry) so you can check out Angelguard on my website where you can view the trailer. I’ll give a signed copy to two contributors who share a little dog’s tale and express an interest in reading the novel. I'll advise the two winners by email on Wednesday 5 June.

Have lovely weekends.

Woof (that’s Beanie contribution).

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Northern Sydney. Ian's first novel, Angelguard, was released recently in US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Help! I might be accidentally racist!


I love to blog, but my goodness, it’s the middle of Uni assignment time, so I pray you will forgive me, dear reader, that I am going to recount some interesting thoughts from a subject that I am just preparing for exams in. The subject was Global Migration Stories, and it was really a fascinating study of the movement of peoples across the globe since 1800, the reasons why people moved (some force, some by choice), and the impact that movement had on both the sending country and the receiving country.
During this subject we have had impressed upon us, with a high degree of enthusiasm, that there is no such thing as race; that the idea of race is merely a social construction, and that race has been the foundation for the insidious human practise of racism. What I found particularly interesting was the conundrum that developed as a result of these tutorial discussions: On the one hand it would appear that the idea of race has been a flow-on effect from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection. An idea called ‘Social Darwinism’ evolved (no pun intended) that suggested the different peoples of the world as delineated by colour and physical features were different species. It further suggested that the effect of survival of the fittest would prevail and that the superior race would be the one left inhabiting the earth and being in control of civilisation. Unfortunately for me, the particular people group that embraced these ideas and consequently proceeded to colonise every land mass they found, were the British. There was a terribly arrogant supposition of superiority held by the British, and at this end of the historical discussion, I’m sitting there as the descendent of British settlers (or invaders depends on where you sit), and have had to bear the semester under the strident tones of those who decry the acts of racism that seem to be typically British.
Now while I squirmed as the representative of the despised colonial settlers, I was also aware that the Spanish, Portuguese and French also had a fair crack at ruling the world, and that brutal attacks on native peoples was not restricted to just the British. Be that as it may, let’s return to the foundation upon which all conquerors felt they had a right to invade, dislodge and even kill native people. The idea was that eventually these people, seen as less developed socially and intellectually, would simply die out and the fitter species would inherit the space and bring their brand of civilisation to bear. The worst part about this story was that the Christian Church didn’t seem to argue with this idea to any great extent. Here’s where the wheels fell off. Christians believe that God created all mankind equal – there is no race. There might be colour, culture and creed, but there is no race. This is proven biologically of course, and it should have always been obvious. But the idea of Evolution, and the following idea of survival of the fittest, had so infiltrated the modern world that the leaders of so-called Christian Nations allowed all sorts of atrocities to go on, not in the name of the word of God, but justified by a social theory.
There were gritty men of God who did stand up against some of the worst atrocities executed by White colonisers and slave traders. Men like William Wilberforce, who joined forces with others to take that ideal to task in parliament, and after a fight that lasted many years, managed to see slavery abolished.
But it occurred to me that things might have been very different if the church had stood up to the modern ideas that were being floated at the time Charles Darwin and company were gaining notoriety. Charles Darwin was making careful notes and charts of natural wonders such that all mankind could see how diverse and miraculous God’s creation was, but he suggested that God had nothing to do with it, and the whole world seemed to miss the miraculous nature of creation and grab hold of an idea that has undermined the foundations of faith. If faith in God, His word and love for people had been prominent in the Christian church at that time; if humility, kindness and grace had been being preached, I wonder if we would have seen some of the terrible atrocities that are now part of history with regard to the way white colonial governments treated native inhabitants.
But unfortunately, it is only now a matter for speculation and regret. I suppose from here on in, we should submit our hearts to God and allow the humility and grace that is ours through Christ and the Holy Spirit, to be our motivating force when relating to people of different cultures and ethnic groups. There is no room for racism, but a word of warning to the zealots – I detected a distinctly anti-white-British and American tone seeping through in a number of discussions this term. While they may have been largely at fault in the last couple hundred years, they are also human, or should I say, we are also human. Perhaps not yet, but there is the potential for the door to swing both ways.
I hope I pass the exam.
Meredith Resce
Author of drama romance novels including: Cora Villa; Mellington Hall; For All Time
Available as e-books from:
http://tinyurl.com/nj4cvdq




Friday, May 24, 2013

Old Newpapers - A Trove of Information

With a couple of very busy weeks around, and very little time for writing, let alone blogging, I thought I would repost something from my own blog of a couple months ago (which some of you may have seen). As a writer of historical fiction, I spend a lot of time researching, and newspapers yield some interesting tidbits.

I came across this article in the Queensland Figaro, dated 26th March, 1908, and it fascinated me. I think much of it was tongue in cheek, but I wanted to share a few snippets with you.
Yes ; the World moves. If you, good reader, had lived in the 13th century you would have had no sugar; at the beginning of the 15th you would have had no butter; in the 16th neither potatoes nor (the male reader) tobacco; in the 17th no tea, no coffee, no soap. Bishop Welldow fears — probably justly— that: our ancestors were all dirty. At the beginning of the 18th century there were no lamps and no umbrellas; and the beginning of the 19th century no trains, no watches, no gas, no telegrams, ho chloroform, no ether.
Sir James Y. Simpson, when he introduced the use of chloroform, had to argue with religious opponents, who insisted that to mitigate pain was to fight against the decree of Providence. It is said that in the fight he reminded his opponents that in the record of the earliest (surgical) operation in human history, when God was said to have taken a rib out of Adam's body, He first cast the man into a deep sleep.
I had never considered that there would be religious argument AGAINST pain relief. What food for thought! My eyes have been opened. But I do love Sir James' point about God putting Adam into a deep sleep.
And then there was this about ladies' hats:
It never enters a man's dull head when he reviles a confection that interferes with his view of the stage that an enormous amount of care and skill—even genius—has been expended, not only in the creation and manufacture of the hat, but also on the correct poising and fastening of it on the fair owner's head. 
Have you ever, dull male, seen a lady put on her hat? Have you ever waited minute after minute, quarter after quarter, hour after hour, while a lady side-stepped anxiously in front of a big mirror, taking every point of view, giving this side a tilt and that side a tilt, elevating the back and depressing the front, loosening a knot of hair in the south-east, and bringing reinforcements of curls to support a flying column of plumes in the north-west, inserting a giant pin with extreme care on this side, and another with equal deliberation on that side, leaving her dressing room tranquil to become dissatisfied in the hall, and returning to go through the same evolutions all over again? And then to be expected by a brute of a man to take it off. Why, it requires the self-sacrifice of a martyr.
That is the reason I always admire a lady when she does take her hat off. It is an act of abnegation for the comfort of others, which the mere masculine animal cannot appreciate. He would only begin to realise it if he were forced in the full glare of a theatre to undo the intricate convolutions of a self-made tie.
Yes, what a great defense for the trouble women used to put themselves through (and for those who still do), to look their best for their gentlemen companions. And a great laugh, to boot.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these passages. Are you one of the above said 'martyrs'? Please leave a comment!




Amanda Deed resides in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne where she fills her time with work, raising a family, church activities and writing historical romance novels. Her new novel, Henry's Run, was released on the 1st of April, 2013. For more information, see:
http://www.amandadeed.com.au/
http://amanderings.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

It's not about me



There I was trying to get my dinner started. I was also about to wave goodbye to my man as he went to the gym that evening. I hurriedly wiped my hands on my kitchen towel and scurried to the front door to kiss him goodbye. As Shan reached the door however, he stopped short. He’d forgotten his bottle of water. Oh! I went back to the kitchen while he filled his bottle with water. A minute later he was off. I left my lentil curry gurgling merrily on the stove as I returned to the front door.

He kissed me goodbye and walked out. But…. a minute later, he turned back again. What was it this time? His phone. Oh. I shook my head slowly. Hmmm…! This time I waited at the front door till he returned with his phone. I smiled and waved goodbye to my hard working man as he reversed out of the garage. Then I rushed back to the lentil curry on the stove before it overflowed.

Does that sound familiar? It happens often in our home. Not just when my husband goes out but when I go out as well. Many times I’ve had an annoyed son open the door for me when I’ve had to return quickly (after I’ve gone out), because I have forgotten something. As irritating as it is to him when I do that – I’m sure he knows that I’m not doing it on purpose. And likewise – of course I know my husband doesn’t do it to rub me the wrong way either. He’s a busy man with much to remember – so it’s not surprising that he forgets a few things now and then. After all, we are both on the right side of 50!

It makes me ponder on other situations. Like when someone says something mean to me. Or treats me badly. I know that it’s often nothing to do with me. And all to do with them. Perhaps they had a bad day and they have taken it out on me. Or they are hurting over a difficult circumstance. And don’t realise how they sound. It’s a good idea not to take everything personally. Because very often, contrary to what it seems…. it’s not about me.

What about our writing? Do we take the ups and downs of a writer’s life too seriously? I’m sure I do. The rejection from a Publisher is not about me. But about my work which could improve. The seemingly harsh words from my critique group are said in love – to help me improve my writing – not to bring me down. The sparse number of likes or comments on my blog is not a rejection – simply that people have been too busy to read it. It’s not about me.

Recently after I’d posted my blog, I had lots of positive feedback from my blog contact list, 23 likes on the blog, 10 likes on Facebook….. all of which caused me to get dizzy with delight. I’d never had 23 likes on a post before. I must have done something right.

And so, the next week, I eagerly checked how many likes I’d got on my next blog post. Had be at least 10, right? Wrong. I had only 2 measly likes on my latest blog. I could not believe it. I felt sad for a little while. But after some thought and reflection, I started to laugh at myself. Perhaps it was a good thing I’d received only 2 likes that time. I’d asked God to keep me humble. Maybe He was answering that prayer.

I realised that I became so excited about those 23 likes that I’d forgotten my original motivation to write my blogs in the first place. It was to inspire, encourage and bless others. Who cared how many likes I had? If I had touched one heart or blessed one person it would be enough. It is not all about me. That’s for sure.

Am I puffed up and full of myself? As a Christian writer – it is not all about me. It is all about God. And His kingdom. Am I seeing His perspective? Or has the god of this world blinded me to seek for results that lift me up? Shouldn’t I rather look to please God and to walk in His ways? To follow His plans for me. It’s only too easy to get off track, isn’t it?

Am I doing what God requires of me? That is the question.

Writing is a big part of my reason for living. I love to write – to inspire, to encourage, to challenge, to bless. I hope I will publish lots of books; and become a Writer after God’s heart. But let me not forget… it is not about me. It is all about God. And His Kingdom.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Mathew 6:33



Anusha loves life. She is passionate about Jesus and the difference He has made in her life. Writing is one of the many things she loves to do. Invigorating walks on cold winter evenings, connecting with family and friends, writing contentedly at her computer, connecting with people, singing and making music, sharing the love of Jesus – these are some of her passions. Do drop in at her website to visit her – Dancing in the Rain. http://anusha-atukorala.webnode.com/

Monday, May 20, 2013

Strength and Dignity


Recently I’ve been preparing to speak to a women’s group about the woman of Proverbs 31, a woman who was clothed with strength and dignity. This passage made me think about common images of women today, with all our rights, demands, opportunities and modern ideals, which have many running around like mad women in a tizz with so much to do and never enough time. This is more often an image of the harried, stressed and busy - not a good look; at best tough and successful in worldly terms, but far from the image of strength and dignity.                                                                          
I believe there’s a danger for us, even as writers, to have such a tight schedule of writing, editing, promoting, selling, speaking, along with all the other commitments of our lives, that we can end up being seen by others as overwrought, frustrated and tired.

The difference between a woman of today and the Proverbs 31 woman; this woman who was so praised, and called blessed and a blessing by children and husband, had nothing to do with being rich, nor with a botoxed face and small waist. And it wasn’t that this ancient woman had little to do. She was incredibly productive, professional and acclaimed.
Still, she was not so busy from daylight to dawn that she had no time to stop and speak words of wisdom or kindness, and to pay loving attention to her family.  She seemed to go about her days, weeks and years, with poise, elegance, serenity and planned purpose.

This passage again brought home to me the valuable lessons that we can learn from the past, and especially from the stories and images from scripture.  It also brought to mind an old version of the 23rd Psalm that I think says it all.

The Lord is my pace-setter, I shall not rush. He makes me to stop and rest for quiet intervals. He provides me with images of stillness which restore my serenity. He leads me in the way of efficiency through calmness of mind and his guidance is peace.                                                                                                                             Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day I will not fret, for His presence is here. His timelessness, his all-importance will keep me in balance.                                                                                                                        He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of activity by anointing my mind with his oils of tranquility, my cup of joyous energy overflows.   
 Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours and I shall walk in the pace of my Lord and dwell in His house forever.    
Toki Miyashina, Psalm 23 for Busy people
Not that the original isn’t also very beautiful, but what an appropriate message for us in the 21st Century!  

Carol Preston 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Are you Ready

   Are you ready? Ready for the unexpected? Ready for the new thing?
   Revival is coming to Australia. As a writer, are you prepared? As a reader are you open?
   Two thousand years ago, Jesus came at the fullness of time. He came when everything was ready. The Roman empire supplied roads and communication systems that had never been seen before  The stage was set for the Good News to travel the known world quickly and efficiently.
Revival was been prophesied for this nation for over 200 years and the time is ready. Although there have been mini outbreaks in places, our nation has never seen a big revival. It is now imminent.  Across our nation  stories abound of the Spirit moving in power. My Facebook feed reports miracles and healings daily here in Australia.
   About six weeks ago, we saw an amazing miracle at our church . A young lady from England came to Australia for a holiday. She was deeply depressed and had lost hope. The first day here she stumbled across our church. Three weeks later she went home renewed in spirit, but also with restored sight. Yes, you read that correctly! She had been totally blind in one eye. One morning, after prayer in a home group the previous evening, she woke with near perfect vision in that eye. (See her story here)
   A blind eye opened! Here in my Aussie church! Amazing.
   The Spirit is on the move and I'm excited! So writer - get ready.
   With every move of the Spirit, there comes new revelation. God opens his Word in new and fresh ways.     These revelations will be written in blogs, e books and books to spread the message to the world. All is ready. Messages can travel the world in a nano second! But the world is also suffering information overload.    So as writers we need to ask God for the messages and the communication methods that will be noticed!       And we need to keep our ears to the ground and know what God is doing.
   Along with readers, we need open minds. The greatest enemy to revival is an attitude that says "I know."
We've read the Bible. We've heard the sermons. When we think we know what the passage says, our minds switch off, unconsciously. But this is a time when we need to deliberately turn on! Turn our hearts toward the heart of God and be open to His thoughts, His revelations. We then apply them to our lives.
   The day after I wrote this blog, I sat under the teaching of Brian Simmons, one of the most revelatory teachers I have ever heard. He put it this way.
             The on-ramp to revelation is  "I don't understand, Lord. Show me."
             The door to revelation isn't a sharp mind, but a spirit that is tender toward God.
   As Christian writers, we have never had such an opportunity. God is pouring out new revelation, doing a new thing. Lets catch the wave and fill our writings with new understandings that will inspire our readers

PS. Check out Brian Simmons and his range of books. He is translating the bible one book at a time, restoring the passion to the Word. I really love his translation.


Jo Wanmer (Check out her blog) is on a road of learning, desperate to be transformed, degree by degree, into His image. Her book, Though the Bud be Bruised, is also transforming lives, bringing healing and hope. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Returning to a dream

This is my first post on this blog, and, to be honest, I've been feeling a little daunted at the thought of sharing something. For some reason, I have no problem adding posts to my own blog...

My journey to being a writer started when I was in high school. Writing was my escape from life and a way I could shine. I won some awards, including a cash prize, and even had a couple of plays performed at church. One piece I wrote had the school Welfare Coordinator asking me if everything was OK at home as it was a realistic story about child abuse.

When I finished high school, there were no creative writing courses at university and writing wasn't considered a career choice, so I studied journalism. To cut a long story short, life got in the way and I stopped writing, until I started blogging around 2006. At last I was writing again.

A few years ago, I closed down a business I had run for around 9 years and came back to creative writing. I have been writing short stories, tried my hand at novels, and written picture and chapter books for kids. Right now I'm waiting for two flash fiction pieces to be included in an anthology - my first published work.

It's amazing looking over the last 15 or so years and looking at what I've done and seeing God's hand at work. When I finished school I tried to get a picture book published. It was good, just not great and was rejected. Now I know that I needed more life experience to have a more realistic story and I'm editing it to get it to the stage it can be published. Even with my business experiences, I'm drawing on these experiences to write a series of short stories. This experience is also going to help when my books are published as far as marketing and the business of being an author.

I'm currently returning to my dream of being an author. Every day taking baby steps while juggling working and being a single mum to two gorgeous boys who are my biggest cheer leaders. All the way trusting God to continue to bring people into my life to help me along the way as well as inspiration for amazing stories.

________________________
Melissa Gijsbers is a budding author and mum of two gorgeous boys. Her blog is www.melissawrites.com.au


Friday, May 3, 2013

Upside-down Spiritual Vision


Did you know that the human eye, by itself, sees everything upside down? It's the work of the brain to take the images we see and turn them right way round. 

As I thought about our human physiology I realised that this is exactly how the Holy Spirit works in our spirits. In 2 Corinthians 4:4 we read that,

"The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

And in Romans 1 we read of the results of this upside-down spiritual vision,

 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Though  they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles."

We are certainly living in times when people's vision is upside down; good is condemned as evil, evil is celebrated, even encouraged in so many ways. God is seen as the enemy, whilst the devil is welcomed into society and hell is seen as either not real, or a "cool" place where rebels will revel in their earthly life's deeds. We are seeing "multi-faith" prayer summits that acknowledge all gods as equal to The God, and the removal of the name of God from the public; tolerance is the new norm - for all religions and beliefs and
creeds . . . except Christianity.

We live in troubled times, friends. And as uncomfortable as it might be, we really do need to ensure that our spirit's eyes are 100% trained on our heavenly Father and seeing things the right way up, and are not being fooled into thinking that wrong is the new right.

As devoted as we are to our Lord Jesus, we can be tempted to question whether our inner eyes are seeing things correctly, or if we need to perhaps "tweak" our focus; we start to question what we know to be true and are tempted to refocus our vision. Perhaps we are being too dogmatic about certain issues; tithing, attitude, swearing, marriage, faith, sex, these and other areas of our lives suddenly become blurry, and we need to reset our sight. The question is, are we resetting our sight to God's defaults, or to the world's?

May the Lord continue to give us clarity of sight and wisdom in all things, and the strength and courage to stand true when times of testing come.

Blessings,

Helen.



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Number Line of Faith


I was having some great conversations with people about the gospel on our short-term mission trip to New Zealand.  We gathered each night so that the team leader could record the daily statistics to send back to the mission organisation and I would eagerly tell about my experiences.  The only problem was that my efforts didn’t seem to count.  Unless I’d gone through an entire Christian tract with someone or led them in a prayer to receive Christ, there wasn’t a box to tick on the tally sheets.  I felt like a bit of a failure in my evangelistic attempts until I remembered something I had heard about the number line of faith. 

Think of someone’s spiritual journey as a number line that goes from -10 through zero to +10.  At -10 the person is far from God and not receptive to hearing about him.  As the person moves closer to zero, they’re more open to spiritual things.  Zero is the point at which they become a Christian. As they read the Bible, pray, and learn more about God, they grow in their Christian walk and move further along the number line of faith.  That gave me a new perspective.  I wasn’t a failure if someone didn’t become a Christian when I shared with them.  I could still help them in their journey.  It also reminded me that God is the one who does the converting.  He’s already working in someone’s life long before I talk to them.  I may come across them when they’re -7, -1, or +4; but I can join God in His work.  Others may have different roles in that work, but it’s not up to us to compare ourselves to them.  We’re all part of a team just as Paul and Apollos were part of a team (see 1 Cor. 3:3-9).

So what does this have to do with writing?  I recently read an article that looked at the debate about whether Christian novelists should stick with Christian publishers or try for the mainstream market.  In that article and elsewhere, there has also been discussion about what should or should not be included in a ‘Christian’ novel.  There are arguments on both sides and it’s not my aim to canvas them here.  As I’ve been reflecting on this, however, I wonder if the number line of faith could be a helpful tool in thinking about the markets for which we write.

Which segment of that number line do you see as your main audience?  Are you called to help new Christians learn about what it means to be a follower of Christ?   Do you want to challenge mature Christians to move from complacency to action, or help them work through deeper issues of life that don’t have pat answers?  Maybe you feel led to reach those who are seeking, but have not yet committed to one faith over another.  Your writing might help them consider the claims of Christ and move them towards accepting Him as their Saviour.  Other writers may be more concerned about those who are currently far from God and the aim is to bring them to the point where they will at least consider spiritual issues. 

Each audience requires a different kind of writing.  Someone at -9 will be turned off by scripture references in the first few pages of a novel, whereas someone at -2 might be quite happy to read about characters who pray when they’re in difficult situations.  Rather than debating whether we should aim for Christian or mainstream publishers, we should seek God about the direction to take, hone our mission statements, and then aim for the appropriate market.

Of course the reality is not as neat as the examples I’ve given.  The same book can have a number of layers that touch people at different stages of their spiritual journeys.  The same author may also write different books that are pitched at various types of readers.  However, thinking and praying about the audience we hope to reach can help us to be more focused and effective in our writing. 

Which side of the number line best gels with your mission statement?

 
Nola Passmore is a freelance writer who has had more than 80 short pieces published in various magazines, journals, and anthologies (including true stories, devotions, poetry and short fiction). She has a passion for writing about what God has done in her life and encouraging others to do the same. (Some call it "nagging", but she calls it "encouragement").