By Angela Beach Silverthorne
Books are powerful instruments to entertain, teach, learn problem solving strategies and coping mechanisms. As a writer I cannot underestimate the impact my words can have on readers. Knowing this, I take being a Christian author very seriously.
Before I began writing the Cries series, Cries of Innocence and Cries of Grace, I began to pray. My subject matter was hard—abuse, abandonment, and neglect. I was not foreign to the scope of the issues, having worked with women and children who lived under oppression and in wretched situations. Writing about evil is serious business. It’s not for the faint of heart or for those who want to over dramatize the subject matter.
Every writing session was prayed over. I had prayer partners praying for me, too. I endorsed pastors, Sunday School teachers, and avid readers to look over chapters I was struggling with. I wanted the material to show real-life conflict and demonstrate strategies to biblically maneuver through trials.
My journey proved to be a tremendous faith builder for me. The protagonist’s grandmother often said, “You’ve got a lot to learn.” Those words were the driving force behind the cries of those who wondered where God was in the struggle. In the middle of their learning, I learned exponentially. I felt accountable to God and my future readers to deliver a tough message while continually measuring myself against Scripture.
There were four questions I had written down on an index card to keep me focused. These questions established my writing each day.
- God’s Truth
- Stumbling Blocks to Faith
- Freedom Through Believing and Praying
Prayer. Begin every writing session in prayer. Pray for guidance over difficult scenes.
God’s truth. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV) Stay centered on scriptural truths. When in doubt seek godly advice. I do this often when I am treading into difficult areas or situations. It is easy to get trapped within cultural mores and half-truths. Partner with people who keep you biblically accountable. Your goal is to lead your readers to higher grounds of understanding.
Stumbling blocks to faith can be indistinguishable from other forms of sin. We are desperate in the dark, knowing evil exists, but unable to figure out how to navigate the murky waters of its lies. Breaking strongholds is seeing different ways to approach the issues and problems life so generously delves out. As book characters learn biblical strategies to deal with their situation, it teaches readers that there are numerous options to break stumbling blocks in order to have a fuller life in Christ.
Freedom through believing and praying. We all have moments when we feel lost, alone, and stranded. Those are times when problems seem too big to handle. Offering readers Biblical ways to look beyond their crisis, beyond their limited view, and beyond their understanding offers hope to the hopeless. If offers the characters the courage to step beyond the dark wall into the light of God’s saving grace and redemption. Readers are given the opportunity to internalize coping mechanisms and strategies to grow as they become more and more aware of God’s presence.
I write with purpose, giving readers a chance to engage with the story’s multiethnic characters who find the end of the road is only the beginning of a new life in Christ Jesus. What more could an author demonstrate to readers than the love of the Father and the Truth that continues to free its victims.
Angela Beach Silverthorne and her husband of 47 years, Dallas, live in Virginia Beach, Virginia with their Boston terrier, Miss Lillie. They are the parents of 3 granddaughters and have 9 grandchildren who often beg her to tell them “one more story.” She has a special place in her heart for women who are victims of abuse, brokenness, insecurity, and self-doubt.
This is powerful. You are so authentic, so vulnerable regarding your need for others to help you, others to work with you. I’ve always been cautious, not wanting the wrong people to help me, so, hardly ever asking for help with my writing. But through this vulnerability, and your four questions, I see how powerful your writing must be!
Thank you for sharing these insights. I’m a lot more open than I used to be. But my past is riddled with fears, caution, neglect, and slower growth in my walk with Christ. I’m beginning to reach a broader scope of belief, a deeper rest in the Lord, and a greater love for those I used to fear.
God bless you for these helpful ideas!
Thanks, John, I appreciate your comment. I’ve learned a lot working with abused children and women. Like yourself, I went through most of my life skeptical and cautious. But working with these beautiful people who are so willing to tell their story has made me want to open up. The one thing most of us all share is the need for real relationships. When I talk about my faith, they can resonate with me because I understand where they’ve been. God is so spectacular that He has groomed me to be His warrior in the midst of tragedy, disappointment, loss, and skepticism. My books are about them and a little of me. God bless you, John, on your writing journey.
An outstanding post! I especially appreciated your four questions. I would like to encourage fellow writers to establish a Prayer Team. Mine has been indispensable in helping to keep me on track and to help me overcome challenges in my writing ministry.
MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA
Author & Writing Coach
“Prayer. Begin every writing session in prayer.”
I don’t want to subtract anything from this. I want to add, “Begin every editing session in prayer. Begin every meeting with prayer.”
Cannot agree enough with just how important an attitude of prayer really is.