The power of story
by Niki Turner
Whew, I'm squeaking this post in barely under deadline. I'm so far behind after spending the entire month of March in the Scottish Highlands. Not literally, to my verra great sorrow.
|photo by Athanasius||via PhotoRee|
I rediscovered Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series just before the end of February. I originally read the first book in 1991, shortly after the birth of my daughter. A spirit-led fast of all fiction, coupled with the births of my three boys between 1992 and 1997, meant I never knew Gabaldon had released more books about Jamie and Claire.
The second book (Dragonfly in Amber) made me cry. Not those tidy little tears you dab away with a tissue, but the racking sob kind with lots of snot. I haven't cried over a book in a very, very long time, because I generally avoid the kinds of stories that induce tears—those involving animals, illness, and the deaths of small children and/or entire families.
As I write this, Voyager (the third book in the series) lies open on my desk at pages 698-699. I've less than 200 pages left in the story, and this post will likely be brief because I want to finish the book tonight.
A good story holds the power to transport me away from my schedule, my stress, my sleep, my social obligations, and so on. I've neglected email, Facebook, my WIP, blog reading, and more for near on a month. Dust creeps stealthily over my furnishings, unanswered messages scream for attention, and the pantry approaches famine-status (at least in the eyes of my houseful of men, for whom food that cannot be eaten straight from the package is not considered edible).
There's such unlimited power contained in story. Power that transcends the language barrier, the generation gap, political differences, culture, religion, and more. Books, whether written on paper or screen, have the power to transform the world through words.
Sometimes I think we who write forget the awesome power we wield. I fear losing the awe of the story under the weight of writing rules and the pressure of becoming published and the desire to find acceptance among other writers.
The scriptures warn us to be cautious before jumping into the role of teacher, "knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." (James 3:1) James then expounds on his warning with a message about the power of our words. Generally, his discourse is limited to the spoken word, but I believe we must consider the written word as well, both nonfiction AND fiction.
|photo by Muffet||via PhotoRee|
Do I think this means everything we write has to be "chapter and verse"? No. I merely think we must remind ourselves of the magnitude of power we hold as we spin tales of romance and mystery and history and more ... power to change lives, move hearts, inspire confidence and faith, and encourage acts of love and kindness.
- What was the last book you read that made you cry?
- In what ways has your life been changed by the power of story?
Niki Turner writes romantic fiction, Christian non-fiction, blog posts, articles in the local newspaper, grocery lists, and Facebook status updates. Her first completed manuscript won second place in the 2009 Touched By Love contest for contemporary category romance.
Colorado natives, Niki and her husband of 20+ years have four children (three at home) and are soon-to-be grandparents. In 1998 they planted a church in rural northwestern Colorado. Currently, they share their home with three teenage boys, two black Lab mutts, and Niki’s absurdly spoiled Westie, Archie.
Niki can be found at In Truer Ink, her personal blog and website, here at Inkwell Inspirations, and at The Pastor’s Wife Speaks.