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Rose Sheffler

  • Abriana, I think some of the most compelling works of Christian fictions wouldn’t be recognized under the Christian Market criteria. (When was the last time you saw Anna Karenina advertised as a Christian novel?) Clean reads are necessary and good, but they don’t have to be “Christian.” Keep writing and pursue that joy in creation!

  • Thanks for reading, Melissa. You’re brother sister team sounds refreshing! What a great way to have different perspectives. Shad is the BEST. Reality speaks to people. Keep at it and Godspeed.

  • Strong women, as they’re portrayed in a lot of fiction and films, have a problem. They act like men (albeit hot men with curvy bodies and perfect hair, teeth, and nails).
     
    This bothers me, and it should bo […]

    • Thanks for reading, Melissa. You’re brother sister team sounds refreshing! What a great way to have different perspectives. Shad is the BEST. Reality speaks to people. Keep at it and Godspeed.

    • I remember reading this a few years ago but it’s such a good reminder!

  • Rachel, thanks for reading and I hope this encourages you to pursue the stories you want and need to write, even if they’re less serious. Good luck!

  • Anne, imitation is the highest form of flattery. In the end, we all imitate God in our process of sub-creation through writing. The most simple things often are the truest reflection of Truth and Beauty. Godspeed!

  • Emily, I’m happy to have written it then! Take comfort and keep writing.

  • Many of us sit down at our desks with a list of criteria we believe we must meet before we can be confident that we’re honoring God with our writing. Our stories need to be thought-provoking, spiritual, and c […]

    • Amazing article, Rose! Thanks so much for this reassurance…
      It’s so easy for me to compare my books to Lewis and Andrew Peterson and Lloyd Alexander and all the writers I want to be like.
      This was a good reminder that I should want to be like them… but not in the sense of writing what they’ve already written. I want to be like them in the sense that I also want my writing to be a reflection of truth and beauty.

      • Anne, imitation is the highest form of flattery. In the end, we all imitate God in our process of sub-creation through writing. The most simple things often are the truest reflection of Truth and Beauty. Godspeed!

    • Thank you so much! I write YA historical fiction and historical fantasy, and sometimes it’s easy to look at all the “serious” stories and wonder what purpose mine have and whether I’m wasting my time.

      • Rachel, thanks for reading and I hope this encourages you to pursue the stories you want and need to write, even if they’re less serious. Good luck!

    • Emily, I’m happy to have written it then! Take comfort and keep writing.

    • A very reassuring and encouraging article. I’ve never had any talent for writing Christian fiction (fiction that would meet all the criteria for the Christian market) but I have always been talented in writing fiction that would (hopefully) be classified as a “clean read”. I enjoy writing clean reads for the general market, and want my writing to be acceptable for all ages–not necessarily something every person in the world would like, but no explicit sexual activity, violence, or language.

      • Abriana, I think some of the most compelling works of Christian fictions wouldn’t be recognized under the Christian Market criteria. (When was the last time you saw Anna Karenina advertised as a Christian novel?) Clean reads are necessary and good, but they don’t have to be “Christian.” Keep writing and pursue that joy in creation!

  • Joelle, I would suggest you ask yourself really difficult questions about this MC. Like, If she’s uninteresting, why are you telling her story? What about her makes YOU interested? It might be you’re struggling to communicate that interest to others. Or it might be that she has no compelling personality. Why should we connect to her? This is NOT…[Read more]

  • A month ago, I had a shocking revelation about my current work-in-progress: my main character lacked a distinguishable personality and clear motives. I’d spent over a year on the story and written almost 100,000 w […]

    • Awesome article, Rose!! I’m having trouble with a

      MC no one cares about and is honestly not very interesting. Do you have any tips on developing good charries/finding her quirks and voice?

      • Joelle, I would suggest you ask yourself really difficult questions about this MC. Like, If she’s uninteresting, why are you telling her story? What about her makes YOU interested? It might be you’re struggling to communicate that interest to others. Or it might be that she has no compelling personality. Why should we connect to her? This is NOT an easy thing to do. Trust me, I know. My MC was also super uninteresting and I replaced her. She’s still in the story, just no longer the star. If you want to chat more, feel free to email me! (rjsheffler@gmail.com) Godspeed!

      • Thanks for the advice!! 🙂

  • Chris! Yes, I would agree that Aragorn is a great example of this. Thanks for reading

  • We all love a good hero. I’m glad you enjoyed this.

  • Well said Jenny. I think God is a very surprising Being on the whole.

  • You’re so welcome, Joelle! Thanks for your enthusiasm and I hope you found the series uplifting

  • Hi Taylor, It’s hard to know what Jesus would say, and it’s admirable that you’re wrestling to do it right. Keep trying!

    As for the point on Aslan, Lewis seems to use him as a type of Christ but he’s not literally Christ, and I would argue, not even a complete representation (as all representations of Christ must be incomplete). Also, while we…[Read more]

  • Thanks Zachary! I hope it helps you on your writing journey

  • For thousands of years, audiences have been enamored with stories of heroes going on quests to save the world. From Robin Hood to Luke Skywalker to Wonder Woman, the trope’s variations are endless. But recently a […]

    • I forget who it was that said, “We don’t tell children fairy tales to prove that dragons exist. Children already know that they exist. We tell them the stories to teach them that dragons can be slain.”

    • Love your thoughts on this, Rose! I think a great example of a near-perfect character is Aragorn. He’s believable because he has human emotions, but he’s still a role model that most of us can aspire to be like.

    • Love these points, Rose! I absolutely agree that characters don’t have to be dark and gritty to show truth. I think Aragorn is a great example of this in both the books and movies. He has more doubts in the movies about his role as the Chosen One, but he’s still an ultimately good character who we can all aspire to be like. And that strengthens, rather than detracting from, the story that Tolkien is telling.

    • We all love a good hero. I’m glad you enjoyed this.

  • The divine is an elusive subject to capture, yet humans have been fascinated with it since the beginning of time, exploring it through poetry, stories, music, art, and various other mediums. Whether God shows up […]

    • Love this article and totally agree!

      I do need to add that any writer attempting theophany should have a deep and daily fellowship with their Creator, including prayerful openness to the guidance of His Holy Spirit.

      Teach me to do Your will, For You [are] my God; Your Spirit [is] good. Lead me in the land of uprightness. [Psalm 143:10 NKJV]

      Writing a theophany instance of the Most High, if attempted, should always and only be done in a deep personal reverence for Him.

      “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth. For he will not speak on his own, but he will speak whatever he hears. He will also declare to you what is to come. “He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. [John 16:13-14 CSB]

      The goal of a portrayal should always glorify God and especially the human touch of God in Jesus.

      Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. [1 Corinthians 12:3 KJV]

      One of the methods I appreciated about Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, in the Left Behind depictions of theophany, was the use of God’s Word in any divine communication since we do know the ‘words of God’ reverently recorded there. (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16)

      Job’s, Abraham’s and the OT prophet’s discourse with God, shows God to be interactive and personal–relational–rather than just a sovereign who issues forth divine edicts. The ground principle, however, is God has the full detailed and timeless perspective in all things. Any depiction should never limit that awesome sight aspect.

      Both Peter and Jude admonish people not to slander “glorious ones”, but be mindful of the position God has permitted them to occupy. (2 Peter 2:10-12 & Jude 1:8-10)

      Finally, any depiction of a theophany must never contradict God’s Word or His Nature as represented in Scripture. This requires any writer to seek out what the Bible reveals about God, rather than what we assume we need from God to serve the story we are writing. We serve Him, not the other way around. He loves us, but that love does not make Him subservient to our whims. Anything we ask of Him should be in accordance with His Will and not our own.

      Without humility and reverence and a personal deferential relationship with Him that involves pursuing and yielding to Him, it is my belief that a writer should not attempt theophany.

      One other point is that God’s Power is never conjured. It always serves His Will not that of a wielder. Those in the biblical who demonstrated either “the supernatural quickening” of the Holy Spirit or we used as channels to perform miracles did so at the behest of God’s prompting. The power never came from them, only through them.

      God’s nature is often to do what is unexpected by mankind’s rationale. (Isaiah 55:9)
      As He told the Apostle Paul (2 Cor. 12:9), “[His] strength is made perfect in weakness”, signifying that reliance on Him, rather than operating in our own self-sufficiency, allows Him to manifest His Power to bring Him glory through us. It is in yielding to Him, that we are then empowered by Him. And that holds for all things, not just in our writing and striving to co-create with him in our offering back our writing gifts for His glory.

      (This was just my two cents’ worth and an Amen!) 🙂

      Thank you, Rose, for writing this article! It contains many pearls of wisdom and admonishments I will be reminding myself of as I continue to pursue the call to write for His glory.

      I am looking forward to the next installment in this topical series! I very much appreciate all you and the staff of Story Embers are doing for us in addressing these topics.

      God Bless!

    • This is such an important topic. Thanks Rose!

    • Thank you for the great Article, Rose! Point number four is one I’m struggling with. My book has a conversation between literal Jesus and a lowercase-d disciple who’s a bit hostile toward Jesus, and there’s a point where the character asks “Isn’t everything I’ve suffered enough?” and I legitimately don’t know how to have Jesus answer. The content of the response is fairly easy, but the I struggle with the delivery!

      One note: What do you mean by Aslan not being Christ Himself? Do you just mean that Narnia isn’t the Bible? There’s that whole bit from Dawn Treader: “’I am [in your world] … But there I have another name. You must learn to know me by that name. This was the very reason why you were brought to Narnia, that by knowing me here for a little, you may know me better there.’” that makes it pretty clear Aslan was intended to be Christ.

      • Hi Taylor, It’s hard to know what Jesus would say, and it’s admirable that you’re wrestling to do it right. Keep trying!

        As for the point on Aslan, Lewis seems to use him as a type of Christ but he’s not literally Christ, and I would argue, not even a complete representation (as all representations of Christ must be incomplete). Also, while we can conjecture Lewis is hinting at Christ, he deliberately never comes out and labels Aslan as Christ. I try to follow his conservative approach. It’s always hard to know what an author is really doing (especially since we can’t ask him), and sometimes the author doesn’t know.

        Thanks for reading!

    • YAY I’M SO GLAD SE IS DOING A SERIES ON THIS!! Man, did/do I struggle with this. In my first ever full-length novel I portrayed Jesus physically and called him Adonai. But that SO did not work, and when (like, 5 years later) I rewrote the book I took out my “Adonai” and instead am using the Trinity as I am experiencing him in everyday life – NOT physically. This article is so helpful as I struggle with this!! Thanks, Rose!

    • Great article, and I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the series! I only write supernatural type stuff in fantasy where my god-figure points to God, instead of actually BEING Him, you know? I feel more free and comfortable doing it that way.

    • Thanks Zachary! I hope it helps you on your writing journey

    • Well said Jenny. I think God is a very surprising Being on the whole.

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