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Sarah Inkdragon

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  • #116786
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    I think a good clarifying point to come to would be that she must realize that absolutely nothing she can do will atone for her sins. There is no work, no toil, no sacrifice that can make up for our sins. Our only option is grace and salvation through Christ, and that is that.

    Many people will try to “make up” for their sins once they accept Christ and become saved. But the problem with that is we’re attempting to justify ourselves, through means that could never attempt to cleanse us. Only Christ can do that, we’re just trying to build the Tower of Babel again but this time with good works. James would be a good place to go, as it is a book that tells us:

    18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.

    25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?

    26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

    This is one of those more confusing snippets of scripture, but broken down we can begin to understand that James is essentially saying, “You show me you faith without works, I will show you my faith by my works.” Believing that there is some “greater power” or even believing in God is… critically speaking, the easy part. Even demons believe in God, but that doesn’t mean they fear or obey or love Him. We must therefore show our faith through our actions, by holding ourselves to a higher standard than what we were without faith. Translating that to your character, she must realize she cannot atone herself, that only God can do that, but she can live a better life and help people by showing her faith through works of good and obeying and seeking after God. The important part is that works alone cannot justify us, as James says, Abraham was justified because his faith and works were working together to perfect his faith. They go together, they are not separate.

    Suicide is indeed, the easy way out for someone to lie to themselves that they can attempt to justify their own sinful nature without Christ. And it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but it must be done or the character is merely deceiving themselves with a nice lie that they can kill themselves and somehow “make up” for what they’ve done. But all they are doing is taking away any chance that they could do any real good in the world and help others.

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #116783
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    Both are rather broad questions that can be taken a number of ways, either cliche or not. On one hand, it really depends on the kind of story you want to tell and the theme. Losing faith towards the end is a rather desolate outlook on a novel, but it could be a good way to showcase the effects of living without Christ, and the human sin nature and depravity. However having a character gain faith before he dies could be done a number of ways, but it might be a bit harder to balance than the other option to make sure it’s not cliche.

    Reasoning is a big part. If a character suddenly decides to become a Christian with little deep emotion or logic behind it, he will not be rooted in the decision or in his faith. That’s one reason why revivalist preaching can be so harmful in some ways – it gives people a taste for faith and Christ, and a want, but leaves them without direction. With no one to turn to or teach and help them, and no real knowledge of the Bible, they become confused and often end up hating God and renouncing their new-found faith. Lack of depth is a large problem with what we call “Modern Christianity” in my opinion, and a great source of the lack of quality in Christian media, arts, and reputation. A person must have some real, genuine reason for wanting to believe and trust in Christ. It doesn’t have to be perfect at first – he might just be afraid of death and want some kind of comfort of what will happen when he dies. But after that initial want, the faith must progress, and that’s what makes it strong. Having a character suddenly gain faith right before he dies is difficult because there is little room for growth or progression, and that makes the faith seem shallow and only because the person is dying. We as the audience feel that if the character were not dying, he would not care about his faith and wouldn’t believe.

    Curing that shallow appearance is… difficult, but worth it. One approach could be having the character be attracted to the idea of Christianity all throughout the novel, but unsure about actually proclaiming it as his core belief. It is extremely difficult for a person to come to terms with the fact that they were wrong, and that their belief must change. We are a prideful people, after all. Having that baseline want to study and learn about Christianity, the intrigue and curiosity, will help your character start to change his beliefs and cultivate a learning mind. Eventually, he may come to the point in which all logic and emotion points to Christ, and all he must do is value his salvation and faith over his pride.

    Another approach would be denial. A character might have been raised to understand faith and Christianity, but might be in denial because of something that happened or simply because he is young and doesn’t care. He might feel like the existence of God can’t be justified with all the evil in the world, or he might just feel like he is young and has all the time in the world, he doesn’t need to worry about death and life and understanding right now. Many young people are careless in this manner, it’s not that far out of the box. He might not like the idea of Christianity, he might not want to have to hold himself to a higher standard(as plenty of people do not like). He might see it as a set of “rules” and not really care because he might not consider himself to be a “bad person”. Many people consider themselves to be “good” because they haven’t stole anything, or killed someone, or are nice to people. But that’s not what makes someone/thing “good” according to God(even though, we are not good, not really).

    The most important thing in my opinion would be to get him thinking. A thinking person is one who will question their beliefs, their thoughts, actions, their life, their existence, and most importantly: why everything is the way it is. They will set aside prejudice or favoritism, even what they have been taught, to consider all the angles. Most people never think in this way, but the best of Christianity is built from questioning and seeking answers.  Anyhow – try to challenge his beliefs, and not just with “but that’s wrong because so-and-so says so”, or even “because the Bible says so”. Non-christians don’t view the Bible or God as an authority, they won’t accept it’s authenticity. Many times you must challenge them on terms they can understand and rationalize in their own minds.

    I heard a story once that a pastor(I cannot remember his name, it was a rather well-known older fellow) met some young women who claimed to be Wiccans(or some sort of similar religion) in an airport. He asked them what that meant, and what their values were. One of the women responded that Wiccans “celebrate all life”. So the pastor then said, “So, you must be pro-life then?” Not surprisingly, they responded with no. The pastor didn’t give them a lecture or a sermon, merely left them with something to think about that contradicted their beliefs. And sometimes that can be the beginning of God prompting someone to look deeper beyond what they think they know. You can’t force someone to accept Christ, after all, only encourage and help them when they need it. Anyhow – questions like that, making people think, and allowing your character to question himself and his views is what can really help faith seem more authentic. Sorry for the rant, but I hope it helps! 😉

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #110293
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    I tend to use humming or just “Eh,” when it comes to stuff like this most of the time. Occasionally I’ll us “Mm.” Or something similar. I really, really dislike it when people try to spell out those odd noises in books past that, as it’s just… funny. And weird. And it just kind of ruins the seriousness of a scene when your non-verbal character very seriously goes “Harrumph!”. Maybe if he’s an old, grumpy mentor type character it could work… but otherwise it throws off the tone for me.

    In my opinion, keep it simple as possible. Saying “He made a noncommittal sound of agreement” is another way to not keep using “he grunted” over and over again as well. Snorting works well, but only in disdain or humor.

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #109322
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    *feels qualified as INTJ vibe intensifies*

    Well…

    For starters, body language. By outwardly emotional, I’m assuming a lot of that refers to voicing emotions and things like crying/etc? Those are pretty big signals of emotion, but there are more subtle ways to show emotion through basic body language. Characters who don’t voice their emotions but instead hint at them through body language(even in a vague manner) often seem most realistic to me. For example: when have you ever seen someone just opening admit they’re frightened, especially teens/young adults, who aren’t very mature? Or even more stoic people who are older, who don’t voice their emotions? I haven’t seen many. Children and mature adults, perhaps – but in between there lies a vast realm of those unaccounted for.

    Now – how many times have you seen someone act a little neurotic, fidgety, avoiding eye contact, constantly trying to find a job, or even act really bold in the face of something that seems a little risky? Bravado, my friends, is a lovely tool. You’ll never get a teenage boy to admit he’s scared of bridge jumping, but you sure can hint at it with body language. Your “unemotional” character might not show much in terms of body language either, but there’s always little things you can pick up on – for example: does your character stand in a sort of slouched, confident manner, or does he hold himself straight as stick with confidence. Is he confident in an assertive manner, always telling people how and what to do, or does he show his confidence by always rushing eagerly into situations with little thought for planning? The way you frame one emotion like confidence can make a big difference in how people perceive your character.

    Secondly, sincerity when the character does show emotion goes a long way. Likelier than not, the character who shows little emotion will show only his very genuine and very strong emotions. An unemotional, stoic character isn’t going to likely talk back to authority unless he feels very strongly about the matter, and in that case he’s going to come off very “powerful” and typically assertive. A stoic character also isn’t likely to smack someone upside the head should they act stupidly – they’re probably more likely to just glare and then make things difficult in a subtle manner for that person for the next few days. If you’re really going for a stoic character, I wouldn’t make him voice his thoughts very often either – only when it really matters to him personally. Most stoic characters and people seem to have some sort of vendetta that is what matters most to them, and they don’t take time out of their day to think about much else. (The best part of these characters is when they start to un-thaw and think about other people.) So he’s not going to get super involved in things he doesn’t really care about or that aren’t correlated to his goal – so when he does get super involved or fired up about something, you know something is wrong.

    Some characters who are “unemotional” get very quiet and reserved to avoid speaking to other people or having to voice their opinion/feelings on a subject(Mr. Darcy is a good example I think… at least the Mr. Darcy from the newer movies seems so.). They might simply be shy or nervous, or they don’t want anything to do with things that can cause them to voice their own feelings/opinions on things. Others might be quiet, but sort of passive-aggressive like. Overall, I think most of the “power” that is in their emotions comes from the sincerity behind them. Unlike many people, they don’t really voice their opinion/feelings on many things and don’t feel the need to outwardly express their feelings on everything. So when they do, we realize how much it really matters to them. And you also realize which characters are really important to them, likely by who they voice their opinions/feelings to.

    In short – body language and sincerity. I think that’s a good start.

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #109262
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @deeprun

    I’ll definitely check Dekker out. And yes, read Peretti! He’s absolutely amazing at developing tension and inserting Christian elements into genres that don’t seem very “Christian”. I read and loved his “Cooper Kids Adventure Series” as a young teen, and I’ll still re-read some of the strong ones like The Door In the Dragon’s Throat, because they’re good as novels, not just as kids books. The ending of that book still gives me chills to this day. I also really enjoyed The Oath. If you’re not into more horror/suspense stuff however, you might not like him… his sense of theme and overall hope in God is really well written in my opinion however. 🙂

    I think a lot of our view on diversity comes from our culture and the way history is taught, as well. We have a joke around here, about the prevalence “black history” has taken in education in the past decade or so – branching off the bumper stickers that say “Black Lives Matter”, we have a line up here in cow country with “Black Cows Matter”. And someone thought it would be funny to then split off and make one that says “Red Cows Matter”. XD Apparently, they thought the red and white cows were being left out of all the popularity.

    But beyond funny little idiosyncrasies – it’s really odd when you think about it, how much of our perception is shaped by how and what we’re taught. For example – 90% of Americans probably think the Civil War was fought solely to free the slaves. But in reality, while that was a part of it, the war was more over the secession of the southern states than it was slavery. The freedom of slaves was more a symptom than anything, though Lincoln did have strong feelings on the matter I believe. But many Americans(and non-Americans) grew up thinking we had this long, bloody war for a “noble” cause like equality of races… when it really was more about land and money than it was race.

    Or even WWII, one of the most “known” and popularized wars due to the Holocaust and Hitler, still has huge misconceptions on the part of how the war started, exactly how Hitler gained popularity, and what the Germans thought about this war. My grandmother lived through that war as a child in Germany – it wasn’t pretty on both ends. And yet many people still think most of it was the Holocaust, or that the Germans originally started with the message of death to Jews and the “master race”. Or even that the German people wanted the war.

    I think a lot of it has to do with the glorification and popularization of certain historical events like WWII or the Civil War, that make people think there were a lot more noble than they were. Technically, such perceptions could be applied to anything, but it seems to be especially applied to war. People then gain the perception that there are “good” and “bad” sides in war – which to me, seems faulty. It’s war. There are more or less moral quandaries with each side either faces and breaches or break and crush, but it is more about money and power than any “moral message” the audience would like it to be about. But history isn’t as pretty as the books and movies make it out to be, and more often than not the only moral message is that of the depravity of humanity.


    @taylorclogston

    I’m not even sure if I know what classifies as “slasher” XD, but I do enjoy thrillers and intense movies with lots of psychological suspense, so….

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #109220
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @naiya-dyani

    Haha, it truly is.

    That said, I like that as the human race comes to a pandemic, the first thing that runs out is common sense and TP. XD It’s highly amusing.

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #109216
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    …My life hasn’t really changed, to be honest. School is out for two weeks(but we’re still doing homework and turning it in once a week), but other than that I’ve done essentially nothing different. To be honest, I’m not particularly worried at all about the whole COVID-19 thing so I’m just sitting back and watching the world sort of, kind of fall apart.

    It’s amusing. And I need a good laugh every now and then. 😉

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #109215
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @deeprun

    Haha, yeah. Amish fiction is occasionally good and mostly bad, in my experiences. Having a romance with ‘normal’ people is all fine and great, but I don’t want morally and ethically perfect characters. (Not that Amish people are… but that’s the general portrayal. The farthest it seems to go against the grain is giving the MC a “streak of rebellion” or something cliche like that.)

    I honestly struggle with it a lot still. It’s not that I don’t want diversity – I just honestly don’t really think about it. To me, what makes my characters diverse are their personalities and cultures, not the color of their skin or their looks. So it’s just something I don’t really think about. In my main fantasy WIP, I have some different looking characters, most looking more “middle eastern” with some that look more “white” or “islander” types, but I’ve yet to have a black character. Honestly, I just haven’t found a reason to make a character black or a specific culture that I think would work well. And my four main established characters are already very fleshed out and thought-out, and I’m not going to make one black for no reason other than that. At the same time, I feel like I should have black characters, simply because it’s realistic. I just don’t want to squish them in “because” and I haven’t found somewhere to put them yet, or a reason to put them there.

    We’ll see what happens. I’m not sure what I’ll do, but eventually I’ll make my way through the issue.

    (Also, your love interest is absolutely hilarious in how well he resembles just about every single male MC I’ve read in action novels/seen in movies lately. XD I love a good anti-hero, but that’s just poor writing. I personally have to laugh when people try to portray things like mental illnesses and just go completely overboard. Like, not only did this one character grow up as an orphan and was abused or something, he also has depression, anxiety, and OCD. And special powers, but he can’t harness them because of “mental obstacles”. He’s an amazing character. *sarcasm drips off*)

    I’ll check out Ted Dekker. I don’t think I’ve ever read him! I really like Peretti, but it’s hard to find people who meet his quality.


    @pensword

    Ooooh, yeah. That honestly drives me crazy. I’ve personally struggled with depression for pretty much my entire life past pre-teen and on, and the way it’s portrayed is not only sickening but sort of… insulting. When people treat it as something that can be simply fixed by falling in love or getting a friend, it’s kind of depressing in itself. Because it’s really not that simple, and pushing the message that falling in love cures depression/etc. is just unhealthy. It’s not a message that should be pushed, at all. All that does is gets young girls and boys to think that if they aren’t in a relationship, then they’ve got something wrong with them or that they need to try and find “love” at all costs. And that is not only toxic, but leads to a lot of sin.


    @naiya-dyani

    Haha, it is fun. But I enjoy being in public school, so it’s a little annoying to be home. And it’s difficult to try and learn Physics by myself… XD

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #109137
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @naiya-dyani

    For me, it’s reverting. XD I started public school my Junior year. 😉

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #109112
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    Diversity is one of those things I have a love-hate relationship with. On one hand – yes, it’s real and needs to be actually realistically portrayed in books/media. On the other hand, it’s so over-pushed in secular fiction in an unrealistic and ungodly manner that I sort of hate trying to deal with it. I’m getting really tired of the “offhand comments” about a girl having a girlfriend and vise versa for guys I’ve been seeing in both movies and books lately. It’s inserted for no reason other than “diversity” and drives me nuts. XD

    That, and the romanticism involving mental illnesses/etc. Can we have a love interest that’s not depressed or anxious, for once in the new century? Please? It’s one thing to portray it realistically and to have it there for a reason – but it’s another to just shove it in there “because”. It’s halfway insulting and promotes the type of mentality we see about such things all the time in media – that they need to be coddled and accepted as normal. (And, I’m not trying to say that having a mental illness is necessarily bad – but thinking about harming yourself is certainly not normal and people shouldn’t be pushing for it to be accepted as normal. It’s one thing to have the issue – it’s another thing to never try to overcome the issue because such things are “normal” and accepted as fine.) But anyhow – I’d love to see a romance involving two people that aren’t depressed, anxious, or toxic. It would be nice to see a few wholesome romances every now and then, you know? You can be void of mental illnesses and still have a complex relationship and tension. (*cough* Ever heard of Pride & Prejudice, or Emma, modern romance writers?)

    That said – I do think it’s important to see in fiction. I’ve yet to see a novel or movie in the “Christian” genre that handles something like divorce well, and that’s something that’s been around for just about forever. I’ve never seen one that handles something like mental illnesses what I would call “well”. The closest I can say is that The Chronicles of Narnia handle the idea of death and triumph over evil well, and The Oath handles redemption and paranoia rather excellently. A Wrinkle In Time also handles the idea of unconditional love very nicely, in my opinion. But none of those are very “modern” novels.

    As for racial and cultural diversity – fantasy seems to do this semi-well half the time. I’ve seen some genuinely interesting cultures and races in some novels, like in The Wingfeather Saga or The Songkeeper Chronicles. Personally – I’d like to see a novel with more variety than just copy+pasting our cultures into fantasy with a little mix-up for “originality’s” sake. Can we have some super high-tech advanced pirate-people? And black aristocratic mercenaries employing some “Asian” soldiers? How about having a non-16th century England based culture of white people in stuffy coats, but instead a bunch of warring tribes and groups? Why not have them be voyagers or mountain folks? Or traders? Fantasy doesn’t have to be set in medieval times. It can be set before them, or after them, or at the brink of “medieval” times or at the downfall of them. Personally, I think it would be far more interesting to set a story as the “medieval” world is developing and borders are being defined, with governing systems still being tested out. Or perhaps in the age of explorers, with set governing dynamics and countries but all of them racing to find the next new undiscovered technology or land. (You know, I say that we technically had at least four “ages of explorers” in the modern world: the actual age of exploration, the industrial revolution, the race to the moon, and the invention of the WWW. Why not set your fantasy world during one of those times, not just the typical “dresses, coats, and horses and swords” era? Imagine having a character who’s working for the government to discover a variant of steam power or gunpowder, and all the other countries are out to kill him and steal his work. Or perhaps he’s developing a new area of magic, or applying magic to a new concept.) There’s diversity in world-building and time period, you know – not just in personalities and race.

    Anyhow, I’m going to be quiet now because I need to get back to school since we’re all quarantined to the house and reverting back to homeschooling. XD

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #109008
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    Hmm, well I can start off – be aware that this WIP is a very, very rough WIP and it’s just something I want to write someday, not something I’m working on right now or have plans to really work on soon.

    Working Title: Sidereal 

    Description: Kaze is a “shift”, a being who can teleport within seconds from one location to another in the vast universe of Enchria. He longs to get away from the dangerous gang he is controlled by, but if he were to turn them in the pacifist government would also seek to exile and prevent him from using his ability – a price that can be fatal for a shift. When a heist job is presented to him that would give him the opportunity to both turn in the gang and remain free, he snatches it up – all he needs now is a team and the nerve to break into one of the most powerful men in the universe to steal valuable information about a new weapon. 

    So yeah. It’s kind of a heist movie meets sci-fi, but the concept has interested me for a while and I’ve just never had the time to write it. 🙂

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #108709
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @daeus-lamb

    Darn. I wonder what happened to it then… oh well. 😉

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #108500
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    I think my response got eaten by the spam folder(This is what happens when I take the time to write out a nice response with sources. :’D). @daeus-lamb Mind coming to my rescue?

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #108488
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    @evelyn

    This is a pretty good short tutorial on the very basics of blending with block watercolors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kznN5UZmlng

    I prefer the tubes to be honest and I usually use them, but I do have a nice block travel set I use for when I’m out and about. What really matters when blending watercolours is the pigement-to-water ratio, depending on what you’re doing – and with watercolours, remember: less is more. If it’s too light, you can always add another coat, but if it’s too dark there’s not a whole lot you can do to fix that easily. I nearly always go over some of my more in-depth and vibrant paintings 2-5 times to get the right colors and depth, but it’s so much easier than trying to lighten something that went down too dark or stained. 😉

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

    #108410
    Sarah Inkdragon
    @sarah-inkdragon

    So, first question – do you use the watercolor blocks or liquid? Liquid watercolor can often be easily blended in that manner, while the blocks are a little harder.

    "A hard heart is no infallible protection against a soft head."

    - C. S. Lewis

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Plotting Is Hard

Plotting Is Hard

That’s why we created a worksheet that will help you make sure your story hits all the right plot beats.

 

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Learn What the Bible Says about Engaging Plots

Learn What the Bible Says about Engaging Plots

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Learn How to Write Christian Themes that Resonate

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Overwhelmed by Self-Editing Your Novel?

Our Ultimate Self-Editing Checklist breaks down the process with probing questions to ask about your manuscript. Make editing simple and successful.

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