I need to lay a confession down for all to see. My husband poked me with a comment that has unsettled me for weeks. I told him I am entering a contest again but taking out the Christian elements this time. His profound and puncturing words came out softly.
"Are you ashamed of the gospel?"
Ouch! That hurt. But a good hurt - the kind you feel when someone pours hydrogen peroxide over an open sore. A cleansing 'ouch'.
Here is my official response. No. I am not ashamed. I am afraid.
Oh I bet you all rolled off your chair and hit the floor, didn't you? She didn't use the 'f' word, again did she? I heard you mutter that, by the way.
Or maybe its just me that is so tired of hearing myself say that word. Okay. Okay. I admit it. I'm afraid.
I need to know where I stand with my writing. Do I really need validation? From my frail human experience - YES. From God's divine experience - no. But I am human. Forgive me.
So the age old question - as old as time itself - is asked again. I will borrow the words from our Savior. "Who do the people say I am?" Jesus warned us that the world would not accept him. They would find him offensive. That is nothing new. I do not write novels for the ones who don't know Him. I write for the ones
who are looking for Him.
The contest I am entering is different than most. You enter the beginning chapters of a novel written during the month of May. Then the other contestants - writers trying to win the same thing you are - rate your work. They give you an awarded number of stars for character, plot, setting, writing style and grammar. Then they leave comments. At the end of June the five stories with the highest ratings are passed along to be critiqued by a publishing house.
Here's the catch ... I have done this before. Only it wasn't titled "contest". It's simply the way this website works. However they must be trying to appeal to new people perhaps. (The same old thing - only a different colour. Marketing at its best. LOL)
When I joined this website before I entered my story Truth Held Captive. Only then it was titled 'That's Enough'. I received an average of three and a half stars out of five. Not bad I thought but it placed me on the 59th ranking out of 70. Ugh!
Not to mention I got a lot of comments like "Perfect title ... enough is enough for me too!" Or, "great idea but you spoiled it by hitting your reader over the head endlessly with your heavy bible!"
I tried not to get too discouraged. After all, I write for a specific market. The Christian aspect of my stories is a non-negotiable for me. If I can't make it in that market I have no interest in trying any other genre.
There was a nagging feeling in me that wouldn't go away. Would I be three and a half stars if I wrote in a genre that most liked, or would I be something more? So I am trying again.
I have a story in my arsenal that is written from the point of view of the male character who is not YET a Christian. For those of you who are reading the current story (Cathie and Quinn) then picture the same story but written from the head of Quinn. It wouldn't be littered with silent prayers or thoughts about WWJD. Quinn wouldn't think like that and either does Nate - my new hero.
The benefit to this contest is that five thousand words isn't enough to present the gospel to Nate either. However, he will be faced with it as he becomes more involved with the heroine, Clare. But that is our little secret. (Teeheehee)
So the story will arrive on the 29th. I hope you enjoy it. However there is a disclaimer. THE BEGINNING IS SHOCKING - FROM A CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE!
So please be warned. You will be mad at me if you quit on the first page. Please keep reading. I will be redeemed! Those of you who know me (I'm thinking of my father-in love, who reads faithfully) please remember it's still me and I am not ashamed of the gospel.
For the gospel is food to the hungry, rest to the weary and redemption for the lost souls. Even in fiction.