Tag Archives: Christian

Writing Believable Characters

Today I’m hosting SM Ford with some great advice about

Writing a Believable Christian Character

You may have read Christian fiction that was contemporary but felt like fantasy as the main character just wasn’t believable. He or she was too perfect. How do we make our Christian characters believable?

First of all, Christian characters should never be perfect. Instead, they should make mistakes, and, yes, sin. They might be busybodies, loud mouths, too shy to speak up, gamblers, addicted to too much wine, gossips, judgmental, easily angered, etc. They don’t have all scripture memorized either. Nor do they have an answer for everything.

When creating your character, plan for failure. Plan flaws. I’ve been a Christian for over 50 years and I still say things I shouldn’t. I still grumble. I still sin. Fortunately, God forgives me when I repent and that’s what you’ll show your main character doing.

As in real life there will be consequences for sin in your character’s life. If a character says or does something they shouldn’t, will it hurt someone? Betray a confidence? Break a friendship? Cost a job? Break a law? Hurt their Christian testimony? Or damage the main character internally? Yes, very possibly.

Sometimes the people we hurt most are the ones we love the most. We snap at our spouse because we are irritable. We yell at our kids because we are self-focused. Your Christian main character might do the same thing. And hopefully as we do in real life, will ask forgiveness from both whom they offended and our Heavenly Father.

Plan for uncertainty, too. There may be scripture your main character doesn’t understand. Issues that aren’t black and white. Lack of knowledge. I remember years ago when a new gal at our church who was not married to the man she was living with said, “no other church ever told me this was wrong.”

Make your character as real as you can. I still experience depression. I still get sick. I’ve not paid close enough attention and have failed to yield the right away. I’ve had others hurt me. Your character should have similar problems. Use what you know in your own life. It will make your characters better.

***

A little about SM Ford 

SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She uses the above techniques in her own writing.

Sue is a Pacific Northwest gal, who has also lived in the midwest (Colorado and Kansas) and on the east coast (New Jersey). She and her husband have two daughters and two sons-in-law and three grandsons. She can’t figure out how she got to be old enough for all that, however.

She loves assisting other writers on their journeys and is a writing teacher, speaker, mentor, and blogger about writing. Her website is smfordbooks.com. And you can purchase her book ALONE which is available as an ebook or audio book on Amazon.

Ready for adventure in the snowy Colorado mountains, Cecelia Gage is thrilled to be employed as the live-in housekeeper for her favorite bestselling author. The twenty-five-year-old doesn’t count on Mark Andrews being so prickly, nor becoming part of the small town gossip centering on the celebrity. Neither does she expect to become involved in Andrews family drama and a relationship with Simon Lindley, Mark’s oh so good-looking best friend. And certainly, Cecelia has no idea she’ll be mixed up in a murder investigation.

Will Cecelia’s faith in God get her through all the troubles that lie ahead?

Thanks for the great pointers, Sue! And ALONE looks like a great read.

Lent Devotional – .99 for a limited time

 

alan_balmer smaller version

Preparing for Resurrection Sunday? Here’s a devotional you’ll want to consider, on sale for .99 from  2/14-2/17.

The 40 Day Lent Vocabulary Word Devotional pairs uncommon words with a verse or passage from the Bible. Specifically, the goal of this devotional is so you’ll understand more clearly the life, ministry, and teaching of Jesus Christ including His death, burial, and resurrection. At the end of each daily devotional, you’ll get the “Bottom Line for the Day” that has specific takeaways for you to apply for that day, and really for a lifetime.

Here’s a sample:

Day 6

Word for the Day:

ganef [gah-nuh f] noun

  1. a thief, swindler, crook, or rascal. ganef. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/ganef (accessed: January 7, 2017). The concept of this word includes a thief, crook, or scoundrel.

Scripture for the Day:

Luke 23:33-43 (NASB95)

33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ?  Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 “And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Devotion for the Day:

The salvific work of Jesus Christ couldn’t be stopped while He was suffering in anguish on the cross. Grace was even extended to the thief on the cross next to Jesus. The man on the cross admitted that he was receiving the punishment, in the form of death, justly for what he had done. In spite of his past, when sincerely trusting that Jesus was the path to heaven, the thief was granted grace by Jesus. At the end of this thief’s physical life, he was extended the forgiveness, grace, and mercy that all of humankind should partake. Today, I’d like for you to reflect on those people in your sphere of influence who you may have written off because of their past. Their past may have made you believe that they are a throwaway person; similar to the way the thief on the cross was treated. The important thing to remember is that it’s never too late for someone to give their life to Jesus Christ. You may very well be the person who needs to reach out to that “throwaway” person who is racing through your mind right now.

My challenge to you for today is to reconsider with whom you might need to share the message of Jesus Christ. Are there people in your sphere of influence who you’ve written off as unreachable? Jesus doesn’t have that perspective; He died that all would have an opportunity to come into a relationship with Him. Don’t delay in taking the opportunity to reach out to this person or persons for Jesus Christ.

Bottom Line for the Day:

The ganef (thief) on the cross next to Jesus was granted salvation as he realized and recognized his physical and spiritual condition; imploring Jesus for what he knew he needed. Take the time now to consider who you may need to reach out to in order to share the lifesaving message of Jesus Christ. You may be the only one who can reach this person for the Kingdom of God.

 

End of Sample

 

New story for The Seasons of Cherryvale fans

aloha grace cover

A short story. .99 on e-reader

At the conclusion of “Christmas Bells” Mark surprises Grace with a trip to Hawaii. I’d been wondering how to write a fun story for Grace to experience the island, and for the island to experience Grace!

While I was thinking about Aloha Grace and what she’d do while on Oahu, the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor was on the news and I had my story. As those of you who’ve read my other books know, I like to add a little something that’s an extra touch, like in Fresh Start Summer, the information about the Oscar award ceremony for “Gone with the Wind” that adds fun details.

I hope you enjoy Aloha Grace as much as I enjoyed writing it. Escape to the tropical paradise of Hawaii with Grace and find out how she helps a new ohana, as welll as a young woman who must make a life changing decision.