May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. - Psalm 19:14
Because it was all hitting me.
"Readers want stories soaked in the kingdom," he said.
The privilege, the adventure, the redemption inherent in story.
Isn't it cool to think that Jesus so often spoke in story? That the Creator of the world wants to create with you?
Maybe the sole purpose of your current work-in-progress is to draw you to deeper intimacy with God. Would you be okay with that? For whom are we really writing?
But I want to take the thought even deeper. I'm talking to those of you, like me, who have been deeply and irrevocably touched by Christian fiction and whose hearts beat with yearning to be part of that ministry.
I'm talking to those of you who dream of readers today. Maybe there's a reason for your dream. Maybe God has given you a heart of ministry. And even if you're unpublished, you ought to start asking Him to prepare your own heart for what your readers might need.
What do readers want in a story?
More than buggies, or time travel, or zombies? More than any trend or any genre that's selling?
Readers want kingdom stories.
We have all read stories about God. We know these things. If we want to read about God, we will read non-fiction, or better yet, the Bible.
But fiction readers crave something different entirely. They crave experience. And the only way to offer this is to first have the experience yourself.
You can replicate information. But you can't pour from a dry well.
Remember when Moses went up to the mountaintop with God and came back glowing?
Come back glowing.
Not just for your own sake, or your agent's, or to get a contract, but for your readers'. For your ministry. For the industry.
Glow with His presence, and the work will be easy. The word count may come just as slowly, and your wrists may ache, and your head may be throbbing from staring at the screen. But the work--the burden of it all--will come easy.
How do we offer readers kingdom-soaked stories?
Well, by first soaking.
Ashley Clark writes romance with southern grace. She's dreamed of being a writer ever since the thumbprint-cookie-days of library story hour. Ashley has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses at her local university. She's an active member of ACFW and runs their newcomer's loop. When she's not writing, Ashley's usually busy rescuing stray animals and finding charming new towns. You can find Ashley on her personal blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. She is represented by Karen Solem.