Monday, February 24, 2014

Preparing Your Plot For His Rain

on freedigitalphotos.net by federico stevanin
I may not always be a plotter in my writing life, but I've often been a plotter in conversation. Come on, we all do it, I am sure. We think about what we are going to say next time we meet that hard-to-love person...decide what "zinger" we might spout off to defend ourselves, or what Scripture we might quote to pridefully convict someone...um...please say I am not the only one?

For the past three months, I have been in the Scripture on a daily basis more than ever before. I have developed a deeper prayer life, and have grown closer in my walk. It's funny, well...not-so-fun funny, how this season of rain in my spiritual walk has me dredging through the desert in my earthy one. In many areas of life. I choose not to expound, but some of you who know me, know what I am talking about.
on freedigitalphotos.net by chayathonwong2000

God is certainly working behind the scenes in this desert of mine, and when I face a whipping sandy wind or one of those "needs plotting out" conversations that I think I'm not prepared for, my reservoir from my spiritual rainy season, bubbles up and pours truth into my earthly desert--without my own plotting. A supernatural spring of words flows into my conversation that I never even knew was there.

And it comes from roots fully nourished in the prepared gardening (or Scripturally-sown) soil of my heart.

I think, sometimes, as writers, we over-plot--not necessarily our stories, but the truths we hope to show. They get scattered into our writing like seeds on rocky soil, little nuggets we may have read or know in our head.  But is it what God has sown deeply in our hearts to blossom in our words for purposeful truths according to HIS PLAN?
on freedigitalphotos.net by adamr
Do you know what I mean?

Do you sit and write a story fully trusting God to pour out the truth HE WANTS TO SHOW in your words, or have you pre-conceived truth that will play out in your story?

In my recent encounters in the desert of life, God has presented conversations that have pulled truth from my heart through my lips that I didn't even realize was significant when I read it earlier in His Scripture...
BUT IT WAS FOR A TIME SO PERFECTLY PLOTTED BY MY GOD!

I crave the next time He allows for this harvest to occur in my life. But, I also hope that He meets me on the pages of my story.

How do we even hope for this in our writing?

First, just as we do for real life circumstance, we must prepare the soil of our heart, saturate it with Scripture on a daily basis.

Second, we must listen. We must listen to the growing murmurs of our heart (um...the Holy Spirit??) during every sentence we write. We must not be stuck in our own plotting scheme, but wait upon the more effective plotting of our Lord.

on freedigitalphotos.net by winnond
Have you ever read a book that presents a nice glossy sheen of God's truth on the surface of a well-plotted story? How about a book that tills deeply, and magnificently sprouts a thriving vine of fruit without any gloss, but with the glistening dew of God's truth reborn?

Let's not just write to be read, but write prepared for His rain on a plot uniquely planted to become a rich garden of His truth.

What truths do you hope to weave into your stories? 

Has God ever changed the words you planned to write, to reveal a truth deeper than you plotted?
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Angie Dicken first began writing fiction as a creative outlet during the monotonous, mothering days of diapers and temper tantrums. She is passionate to impress God's love on women regardless of their background or belief. This desire serves as a catalyst for Angie's fiction, which weaves salvation and grace themes across historical cultures and social boundaries. Angie is an ACFW member and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.



21 comments:

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I'm bad about plotting it all out and not trusting God to reveal His truth...His story...into the words on the page. I need to trust Him more in that area, for sure.

I love your heart, Angie, and I love how you see His hand even in the desert.

Mary Vee said...

In one of my local writing chapter meetings the presenter suggested we first find a theme verse. Then build character and story around that.

By choosing the verse first, the story grows with the theme fruit through the pages.

I've used this principle in my last two books and have been quite pleased with how well it works.

Pepper said...

Oh Ang,
What a beautiful devotional this morning! God's rain and God's desert - both important to the world of our hearts.
WOW!

When I started writing with the idea of publication in mind I felt God's urging in each story to be about 'forgiveness' and 'belonging'. I don't necessarily KNOW how they're going to play out in the story, but I know they will be recurring themes.

In lots of ways, I've seen God take the truths he's stirring in my own heart applied to the 'theme' of my novels. Wouldn't that be true for most of us, I guess?

Beautiful post!

Heather Marsten said...

I'm writing memoir. To do it right I pray before writing. During this process God shows up in remarkable ways. The last two weeks I was struggling in rewriting a chapter of my memoir. I just couldn't get it right. The Holy Spirit kept dropping in elements that I needed to include until it finally came together. In this case it was that I had left out a whole thought process that needed including.

For me, though, the most remarkable interventions of God are when He shows me new insights into my past. And I find out just how present He was during the times of abuse. I've shared this before, but, when I was healed enough, God showed me He was in the nots - what did nOT happen because of my abuse - I did not get pregnant by my father, did not kill myself, did not go insane, did not get a sexually transmitted disease from him. One day I asked God where He was when I was being abused so badly. He brought to mind the imaginary mother and father I went to in fantasy after a beating or other abuse, and then He said, "Who do you think your imaginary mother and father were?" Wow. God was there, just not the way I expected. I'm looking forward to reaching the end of my memoir so I can share these insights - ones I didn't have in the midst of the abuse.

Thanks for a great devotional.
Have a blessed day.

Melissa Tagg said...

This is a BEAUTIFUL post, Angie. I loved it...heartfelt and honest and full of truth. And yes, God has definitely changed the words I planned to write. I think one of the most special things about a relationship with God is how he finds very personal ways to communicate with us...and I think for writers, a lot of times his communication comes through our own writing. I'm realizing more and more that the writing journey he has me on is as much about changing my heart as it is writing stories for others to read. The cool thing is, if he can use a story to work in me, then hopefully he's using it to work in readers' hearts too...

Janice Boekhoff said...

I love the idea of God as the ultimate plotter! I write mostly by the seat of my pants, but I know much of what comes out, God plotted before I even sat down to write that day--He just didn't let me in on it until that moment! Great post, Angie!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Wow, this is amazing, Ang! I feel like I am going to read this several times to glean the most out of it. Love the thoughts about letting God change our words. Sometimes he has us make a change that doesn't seem to make sense to us but then the Holy Spirit uses it to speak to someone. Love those times.

Stacey said...

Beautifully stated. Thank you for sharing your heart. I'm so glad I read this today.

Stacey said...

Beautifully stated. Thank you for sharing your heart. I'm so glad I read this today.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

So beautifully written, Ang. And provoking in the best way. I think for me, my stories all have a central premise that revolves around the concept of Grace. It is something I thought I understood growing up on the church, but in reality is just now something that is finding firm roots in my heart and mind--exposing true grace in a way I could never have grasped it before. Amazing grace indeed.

Angie said...

Sherrinda,
I get so anxious to write a winner, that I forget the best part of this process is God's guiding hand. I think everyone struggles with that...and not just with writing!:)
Angie

Angie said...

Mary,
That's a great idea! And praying about the actual verse and having God lead you to it, wow, that would be an amazing spark to a writing journey!
Angie

Angie said...

Pepper,
I love your themes...they are such a strongly woven thread throughout your story, and I love how you spin it with every single character! Beautiful!
Ang

Angie said...

Heather,
Wow, what an amazing perspective! Thank you so much for sharing with us and being so transparent. Your book definitely sounds like one that will till deeply to bring forth a beautiful vine that bears only fruit fit for the King! Thank you for sharing today!
Angie

Angie said...

Melissa,
I think it is such proof of our God that He not only meets us on this journey, but also meets our readers. He is soooo big! Writing is definitely a form of worship and an avenue to find healing for my heart...I hope I will one day touch a readership too!
Ang

Angie said...

Janice,
Sometimes it's so hard to let go of our own plans, isn't it? IT is good to know, for us pantsters that God's got it in control! HA!
Thanks for stopping by!
Angie

Angie said...

Julia,

It is so great to know that "not by my own strength" but His...all I have to do is let go!!!

Love ya!
Ang

Ashley Clark said...

Ang, I LOVED this blog. Very thought-provoking, and definitely challenges me to do a better job being more disciplined about digging deep into God's work so writing can be a natural output of that. Someone who does that SO well is Robin Jones Gunn-- I think that's one reason I love her writing so much. It always feels organic rather than preachy, and challenges me to think of things differently, in a way I know only the Holy Spirit can prompt.

Ashley Clark said...

Ang, I LOVED this blog. Very thought-provoking, and definitely challenges me to do a better job being more disciplined about digging deep into God's work so writing can be a natural output of that. Someone who does that SO well is Robin Jones Gunn-- I think that's one reason I love her writing so much. It always feels organic rather than preachy, and challenges me to think of things differently, in a way I know only the Holy Spirit can prompt.

Angie said...

Stacey, thanks for stopping by the Alley today! Sorry I didn't respond sooner...life's deserts have been sucking my dry!! Haha! Angie

sondrakraak said...

Beautiful words, thank you Angie.