By Lisa Karon Richardson
One of the things that I've been exploring lately is the concept of being conformed. The Bible talks about believers being transformed. But the transformation isn't into some sort of random "differentness." When we are transformed it is into a particular image. We are given a new man so that we can become Christ like. We can take on more of His characteristics and strengths.
But so often we get it all backwards. We try to conform Him to us. We attribute to him our motivations. We try to force our agenda on him.
In our secret underground headquarters here in Inktropolis we've been having a rousing conversation about characters.
What makes us care for them?
What makes us believe that they are meant for each other?
One of the points that came up was that, like Darcy and Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, or Rochester and Jane in Jane Eyre, a really great couple make one another better. We authors create our heroes with the heroine in mind, and vice versa. They’re literally made for each other. But then we spend most of the book trying to keep them apart.
Why? Because at the start they aren’t even aware of their need. They may be unhappy but they don’t know what can fill the void. It’s not until they get a glimpse of what might be through the other person that they can grow and change.
By the same token, we all, (heroines of our own story,) have been created with a single hero in mind. But it’s not until we get a glimpse of what we might become if we let Him in our lives that we begin the journey toward true love. Relationship with Him molds us into a better version of ourselves. He is crafting His perfect bride.
It’s because a Christian novel can include both threads, spiritual love and physical love that I find them so attractive. Do you find a character complete if they are missing a spiritual dimension? Do you ever find that real people who ignore their spiritual selves seem to have a rather flat affect as well?
Influenced by books like The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, Lisa Karon Richardson’s early books were heavy on boarding schools and creepy houses. Now that she’s (mostly) all grown-up she still loves a healthy dash of adventure and excitement in any story she creates, even her real-life story. She’s been a missionary to the Seychelles and Gabon and now that she and her husband are back in America, they are tackling a brand new adventure, starting a daughter-work church in a new city. Her first novella, Impressed by Love, part of the Colonial Courtships collection, is coming in October, 2012 followed shortly thereafter by The Magistrate’s Folly in November.
I like this very much. And, yes, I can't understand characters who have no spiritual dimension to them.ReplyDelete
We are truly made for God and incomplete without Him.
Lovely. For a time I really struggled with whether I wanted to write for CBA or ABA. What came naturally to me kind of hit in the middle, and I do have a heart for the unreached. But...in the end all my favorite books have a spiritual thread. That's the thing that draws me the most, and it's much easier to accomplish in a CBA book, especially for the romance genre. My "romance" will always focus on the hero and heroines romance with God and how God brings them together.ReplyDelete
Thanks ladies, sorry I didn't comment sooner. I was driving home from St Louis today. We all made it safe and sound and I will probably only need 2-3 weeks to recuperate from "vacation!"ReplyDelete
I like this, too, Lisa. I love characters who have a spiritual dimension. I guess because it's such a part of who I am. It seems natural to me when they do, and my $ain characters have a spiritual connection, too. They might have lost a little bit of it along the way, but it's still there inside them. I don't know how to create (and then convert) a character who doesn't know God. I'm not sure why that is, but it's the way I am. :-)ReplyDelete
As for people with no spiritual connection, I always feel a bit sad. Especially because I feel quite inadequate witnessing to them. I just try to be myself and pray Christ reveals himself, but then I feel guilty that I didn't do enough.
Suzie, I often feel inadequate. But that's okay, because His strength is made perfect in weakness. All that is required is that we try. God gives the increase.ReplyDelete