By Shirley E. Gould
I love salt! I love salty chips and popcorn. I love salt on my watermelon! A touch of salt on my vegetables makes them better. One thing I don’t love is a bland dish with no seasoning at all. It’s not tasty—plain. But, going overboard with seasoning can make food inedible. Whether it’s Cajun seasoning in Louisiana or jalapenos in New Mexico moderation is good—excess is deadly! Seasoning is vital in our food, our relationships and in our writing—different seasons in life changes each of us. Writing this takes practice. And determination. But we focus—we create—we write as influencers of the masses.
With my air-conditioner turned down to chill the room, a cup of hot chocolate in hand and my television set on the Hallmark channel—Christmas movies in July, I set the atmosphere to write a Christmas novella. As writers we must improvise to write about twelve-foot snow drifts in Minnesota when you live in Florida, or the changing of the seasons in east Tennessee when you live in Arizona or the peace of living on a prairie when you reside in the hub-bub of New York City.
Research is key—travel is mandatory to be able to step out of your comfort zones to achieve a level of creativity in our prose. In scripture, II Timothy 4:2 in the King James Bible. has a phrase admonishing us to be ‘instant in season and out of season.’
As Christian fiction writers, we have our characters live through all kinds of circumstances and have them be the seasoning—the salt and light—in dark places. Through the climate changes and landscapes, they travel—taking the readers to places they’ve never been. Love interests bring an additional dynamic that keeps the pages turning. In writing about family dynamics of all types we can influence our readers toward the Lord in subtle ways. It’s a monumental under-taking to share our stories so they can experience change and be influenced in their personal journeys. But, this is what we are called to do.
Linda Goodnight did this extremely well in her series set at the end of the Civil War. During and immediately following the war, her characters were soldiers living in the south where they were unwanted and in-many-cases, hated. It was a difficult season in our history. This took grit, soul-searching and creativity to accomplish in her books.
II Timothy 4:2 in the King James Bible reads…
Preach the word, be in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
This version is difficult to incorporate into our writing—to use every day.
But II Timothy 4:2 in the Message Bible reads…
So, proclaim the message with intensity. Keep on your watch, challenge, warn and urge your people. Don’t ever quit. Just keep it simple.
This we can do! We can be the ‘salt and light’ in this world using phrases, scenarios and life lessons to show our beliefs to the world.
As we plot, write and edit our manuscripts we have amazing opportunities to make a real difference—to be the salt and light in dark lonely places. It’s our mandate.The Writer's Mandate: To Be Salt & Light by Shirley E. Gould #ACFWBlogs #amwriting www.acfw.com/blog Click To Tweet
Shirley E. Gould is an inspirational speaker, an African missionary and a freelance journalist. She’s founder of Kenya’s Kids Home for Street Children in Kenya, East Africa. Shirley has written articles and newsletters for twenty years and is presently writing Christian Fiction novels. She lives in the Nashville, Tennessee area.