Monday, March 19, 2012

Pray for Rain

“Ask rain from the Lord in the season of the spring rain, from the Lord who makes the storm clouds, and he will give them showers of rain, to everyone the vegetation in the field” (Zechariah 10:1).

Have you ever heard the maxim, “Be careful what you wish for; you just might get it”? When I read this verse, that’s the first thing that came to mind. I have prayed for life’s rain. I have prayed for change, for growth, for a richer walk with God. I have prayed fervently for that rain and then I have watched the storm clouds gather.

I have to tell you, sometimes the rain comes in with awful force. I’ve been terrified by tempest gales. I’ve been blinded by striking light. I’ve been pelted by icy stones. You see, sometimes more than a gentle shower is needed to cleanse the grime. Sometimes that topsoil needs to be washed away to reveal fresh, rich soil beneath, soil that’s cultivated to feed seeds.

We are told in Genesis 1:28 to “be fruitful and multiply.” I always thought those two terms went together, instructing humankind to reproduce. However, I learned today that the “fruitful” part may mean to develop the fruit of the Spirit. (“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).) You know what? Fruit cannot grow without a “season of spring rain.”

In your writing, that season of rain may bring rejection letters, harsh critiques, or low sales figures. Do not be afraid when the raindrops fall. Spread your arms wide open and receive God’s healing rain!

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Monday, March 12, 2012

It Falls Apart

I was reading along just fine. I was the heroine, head over heels in love with my hero. I felt the gritty wind of the trail and shivered under twinkling stars, periodically glancing over my shoulder to see if the villain had caught up to us yet. Then, whoa! I was thrown from my thoroughbred into the land of first drafts.

What happened? I was deeply involved in a published novel, one that was written fairly well…until Chapter 15. In my opinion, the author could have neatly disposed of the villain and wrapped everything up into a happy ending within one, maybe two more chapters, but no, the hero had to go traipsing off on another unnecessary adventure and get himself shot. The writing got noticeably sloppy from that point on as well, relying very heavily on dialog and hitting the reader over the head with religion to resolve all the conflicts. What had been smooth and subtle in the first half blew like tumbleweeds in the second.

Now, I don’t know what really happened during the creation of that book, but it felt like the writer got tired of telling her tale and hurried to wrap it up. The closing pages read like first drafts. I think it is imperative that all writers have a peer group of trusted advisors, a handful of friends who will read your material with fresh eyes and let you know where the glitches are. If you don’t have a support group like that, start one yourself! Find a few friends who tell it like it is. Be prepared to take constructive criticism. Encourage one another, but maintain some sensitivity. (Remember your goal is to refine each other’s writing, not spotlight each other’s mistakes!) And let’s all avoid falling apart at Chapter 15.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

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This sums it up ;)

This sums it up ;)