Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quiet Moments With God -- Frazzled?

This morning was one of "those" mornings. Responsibilities and tasks piled on top of me. I was on the brink. Finally I found time to sit down with The Father. I said, "Oh Lord, speak to me. I need you." And then I opened my devotional, Jesus Calling and read this, "Stay calmly conscious of Me today, no matter what."

Ooh! Though I was anything but calm, joy bubbled up. I had that feeling--God had something to say to me. I read on.

"Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day. Nothing takes Me by surprise." I will NOT allow circumstances to overwhelm you, so long as you look to Me."

God is so good to me! He is merciful. He is kind. And today, He knew I needed to be reminded of His presence. In Him is peace. I called out to Him and He was there, because He's always there . . . where we are.

But, I am not free of responsibility. There was an "if" in the words I read. "So long as you look to Me."  I knew that I  needed Him but I hadn't been looking at Him. I'd been looking at EVERY THING ELSE.

What a blessing, what peace to know He is with us. Always.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Books & Writing: Creating Characters

Lets take a look at another quality we need to consider when creating characters that jump off the page and become real to us and to our readers.

Create a Creed
Every one of us has a creed, a system of belief. Think about what you feel passionate about, what pushes your buttons or makes you stand up and speak up or what motivates you to action.

Some examples:

• Is your character a Conservative or Liberal? In today's world that makes a big difference in what they believe and how they react to the world around them. Make sure to keep the time period in mind when considering this--it can make a big difference.

• Is the character religious or not? Do they hate even a hint of religion or do they embrace it to the point of being irritating? What is their religious background--that will make a difference in how they view religion and Christianity.

• Is family important to them? If not, why not? 

• Are they a go-for-the-gusto type person? Do they have a bucket list? And are they actively persung that list? Consider what motivates them to live this way. Or are they the opposite--afraid to live? Again, you've got to ask yourself, why.

• Do they believe in getting the other guy before the other guy gets them? What happened in their past to make them so cynical? Or maybe it's just a way of life they've learned from someone they grew up with. 

• Do they trust no one, or do they trust everyone?

 • Do they believe all life has to offer is what you make of it or what you take from it? Or maybe they are a Mother Theresa, who sacrificed everything for service.

There are a lot of different creeds. Look around at the people you know and you'll see the variety. Or you might try watching a movie and write down one's that appeal to you.

REMEMBER . . . when you bring these people into your story they should blend in with the tale, become part of it. Don't just drop them in because they're interesting. They must contribute.

I'd love to hear from you. Are you creating a character or group of characters for a new story? Have the past three topics about creating a character been helpful? I'd love to hear your descriptions thus far. And creeds are so much fun. What kind of person have you come up with?


Grace and peace to you from God,


Monday, June 18, 2012

Quiet Moments With God: Where Are You Lord?

 Have you ever crawled out of bed, feeling like you've been run over by a truck? And worse yet, that your spirit felt like it had been flattened too? Have you felt like God is so far away you'll never find him again? And that He doesn't even care? I admit to having been in that predicament more than once. In fact, this morning was one of them. Today started out rough. And no matter how bad I might feel I ought to know better than to let emotions rule me, but I got caught up in a storm of them . . . again. I really had an attitude--and not a good one. I think I said something like, "Okay God, I've had enough."

Eww. Sorry, Lord. You don't deserve that.

We know that life doesn't always make sense and sometimes it's downright unfair. Or so we think. But we only see a fraction of what God sees. He knows the beginning, the end and everything in between. And he always has our best interest in mind. Right?


I'm not judging anyone who has a down day or a terribly bad moment. Really. Because we all do, don't we?  I believe God's Word is true. And that when it says it is "God Breathed" then that's just what it is. I can trust it. I can trust God. He knows what He's doing--even when I'm having one of those I should never have gotten out of bed kind of mornings.

And so this morning, while I was griping and focusing on circumstances I was miserable. But God is so good to me. He just shook His head and said, "Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie. When are you going to learn? Look at me. I'm right here." That's when the Holy Spirit nudged me and I sat down and opened my Bible. And there He was, my Lord . . . waiting for me. Oh Lord, thank you for waiting. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your love!

Seek Him and you will find Him. And then the world will look sunnier.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Friday, June 15, 2012

Books & Writing: Be Yourself

Taking a short break from Creating Characters today. Back to it next week.

While reading a devotional this morning, I had to share this thought. It's taken from Max Lucado's devotional, Grace For The Moment.

He talks about the face-off between David and Goliath. These two are nothing alike. Goliath is huge, strong and he wields a javelin and a spear. David is young, small and his weapon is a sling shot. As Mr. Lucado points out this is like an eighteen-wheeler coming up against a VW Bug.

King Saul tries to help by offering David his own armor and weapons, but David refuses. And though it would appear he's choosing suicide, he defeats Goliath with his slingshot and a stone.

Mr. Lucado says, "What fits others might not fit you. Indeed what fits the king might not fit you. Just because someone gives you advice, a job, or a promotion, you don't have to accept it. Let your uniqueness define your path of life."

I don't believe we should ignore advice, but while we listen with a careful ear we must remember who we are. As a writer I sometimes wish I wrote like so-and-so -- I become frustrated with my own style, wishing I wrote snappier or that I was wittier or that my prose were filled with more detail and beauty. Certainly, my writing style is not for everyone. It's not meant to be. I'm not supposed to be a copy of someone else.

Just as you and I may read different types of books, we also write in our own unique style. That's as it should be.

Make peace with who you are. Embrace the gifts given to you, just for you. After all, they are given by God and if he can create all the universe, then He certainly knew what He was doing when He created you and me.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Quiet Moments With God: On Bended Knee

Help, O Lord, for the godly are fast disappearing. The faithful have vanished from the earth. Neighbors lie to each other, speaking with flattering lips and deceitful hearts,. May the Lord cut off their flattering lips and silence their boastful tongues. They say, "We will lie to our hearts' content. Our lips are our own--who can stop us?" The Lord replies, "I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do. The Lord's promises are Pure, like silver refined in a furnace purified seven times over. Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, eventhough the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.
Psalm 12

 "The godly are fast disappearing. The faithful have vanished. Neighbors lie to each other. We will lie to our heart's content. The wicked strut about and evil is praised."

This sounds a lot like our present society, doesn't it. This morning, as I read these passages I saw recent newspaper headlines, my church,  neighbors, friends, family . . . me. I saw me. All of us do evil. And our society feels as if its spiraling downward deeper and deeper into sin. Perhaps it is, but evil has existed since The Garden. There is nothing new under the sun.

Also during this morning's reading, passages of hope rose up. "Help, O Lord. The Lord replies. I have seen. I have heard. I will rise up. The Lord will protect. The Lord's promises are pure."

When I consider my sins I want to look away. I hate them. The words of the apostle Paul from Romans 7 help me to see the truth. He says, "For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Even Paul was a sinner. If that is so, then how can we change, not only ourselves but the world?

The Lord provides the way. He is our help and our strength. He sustains us when we can no longer stand. He gives us the words to speak when we must. And reminds us to remain quiet when we should. He enables us to love and to forgive. He is full of mercy.

If we want to change the world, we need to begin with Him. Change takes place one bended knee at a time.

Grace and peace to you from God,


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Books & Writing

Last Wednesday, we took a small step toward creating memorable characters. This week--one more step. But before we begin, did you come up with any ideas about the character I showed you, about who he is? His name is Tom in the book I'm working on. This week I have a new character. I'd love to know what you think about her.

Now on to the fun of creating characters.

We want to move beyond the basics.
Consider what is going on in a character’s life. What are the struggles and conflicts they face today? Their successes and joys, hopes and dreams. What do they want more in life than anything else? What do they fear most? And if they've walked through fire in the past what was the outcome? How has the past effected the present? 

During this period of creating a character, you as the writer, need to give yourself time to consider each person in your story. Who do you need and why do you need them? Allow yourself time to let your imagination run free. 

Make sure the characteristics you give to each character contributes to the story you have to tell. There needs to be a reason they are who they are.

Create a family for your main characters. Get creative. 

What were their parents like? Did they have parents? Siblings? 
What was their relationship like with the rest of the family? 
If there were conflicts, what were they about and what was behind them? 
How did conflicts manifest themselves? 
What kind of home did they live in? 
What was the neighborhood like? 
Where have they lived? 
What was home life like--rigid, free(maybe to much so)?
What is their relationship like with their parents and siblings today? 
You get the idea.

Create a history for each character. This will help them become three dimensional, which is what you want. If they are real to you they will be real to your readers and that way readers will care about them. If they don't, they won't care about the story and that can be a disaster.

You want to think about the big and little things. Include things like:

A favorite childhood pet.
Favorite or least favorite food (why do they hate strawberries?).
Best friend. 
Fun they had or pranks they pulled. 
Traumatic experiences and do those experiences still plague them? Or did it make them wiser and stronger?  
What are some of their special memories? 
What kind of relationships have they had--friends, family, lovers. 
If they've been in love, how did that work out? Has it effected the way they feel about romance today? 
Have they lost someone they loved? 
Vowed to never love again?
What do they want for their future?
Dreams & aspirations--do they believe they can achieve them?

Consider what it is about their past that effects who they are today. We all have pasts. Where we've been and what we've done shape who we are. 

These are a few of the questions you can ask yourself. I'm sure you'll come up with more. Do your best to be thorough so when you're writing your story you'll understand your characters so well that you'll know how they'll react to the action, relationships and situations they encounter in the lives you create for them. 

A reminder -- ask why. It's important to know the why's about your characters if you want to present them realistically and consistently to your readers.

There's lots more to talk  about when we create characters, but we'll get to that next week. 

I hope you discover more of the sharp edges and soft places in the people who tell your stories. Have fun!

Grace and peace to you from God.