by Kathy Maresca @KathyMaresca
Stories, willing to escape the confines of our hearts, burn inside writers. Oftentimes a memory spurs our desire to share our poetry and prose with the world. Sometimes details are sketchy. Other times they seem more real than the present day.
When I wrote Porch Music, I wanted to include a few of my mother’s memories. Some caused me to laugh while others caused me to feel emotional. I soon learned it would not be easy to transform recollections into literature.
Capturing the details of a memory can be difficult. What makes it funny? Sad? Unforgettable? After finding their way across one’s keyboard and into the software of a computer, recollections can often lose their spark. As an author reviews a passage, the essence of the written reflection is sometimes missing.
As I continued to write Porch Music, discarded drafts and imperfect passages filled my computer’s recycle bin. Almost audible was a journalism professor’s voice, quoting Truman Capote from decades before. “There is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting.”
As I rewrote and rewrote, the desire to share a story continued to burn. I asked myself some questions. What can one do to rekindle the vibrancy of a moment that has been written on the tablet of my heart? I realized that Christian fiction epitomizes this adage: God is in the details. He is the message, regardless of the story. Plots, characters, and settings vary, but faith in our Lord remains the backbone of the genre.God is in the details. #writing #ACFW @KathyMaresca Click To Tweet
Details. After I left the University of Florida’s College of Journalism, I became an English major. My professors required students to show instead of tell. So how does one show a memory? We were taught to use active voice to emphasize action. As a counselor, later in life, I was taught to focus on how someone feels. The heart of the matter.
Feelings and actions make a story robust, but God remains in its details. Who, what, where, how, when, and why. The specifics transform a story from telling to showing. They plunge readers into a different world, a movie reel in the minds of those who experience your book, a motion picture of your story.
God wrote His truths on the tablets of his children’s hearts. We write because He has given us something to share. Christian fiction gives us an opportunity to entertain with a purpose. Let us show the world what it means to be a child of the great I AM.
An Air Force veteran, Kathy Maresca edited for the University of Florida and taught high school. She later earned a master’s degree and became a credentialed rehabilitation counselor. Kathy has been a Guardian ad Litem and volunteered for a prison ministry. With her husband, Keith, Kathy lives in North Carolina. Visit Kathy on her website.
Thank you for the reminder that God is in the details. He gave us the message so we should trust Him to help get it out.
Kathy loved reading about your history as a writer and your relationship with your mother. Porch Music was enjoyable and educational for me. Thank you.
Mary Anne Gardiner
Thanks so much, Mary Anne.