by J.A. Marx
The spirit world. Holding to scripture. Authentic characters. Artistic license. How does an author reconcile all these concepts?
I’m factual and a realist, which is partially why I don’t write fantasy or sci-fi. I’d find it too easy to write contrived scenes.
Princess Janellia stands on the precipice of death and…suddenly a dragon swoops down and rescues her.
Much to the dismay of my daughter the fantasy buff, I could have lived happily without seeing any of the “Lord of the Rings” movies. Yes, Hollywood did an amazing job, Tolkien was a phenomenal writer, and his story is epic. But it’s not my thing.
Someone might argue, “But you write supernatural suspense.” Yes, I do. I love the genre because I view the supernatural as more of a reality than our temporal earthly lifestyles. I believe the whole Bible is true, even the weird events that make you tilt your head and scratch your chin. Too often, our westernized mentality rationalizes biblical passages that disagree with human advancement, psychology, science, so-called logic, or anything that ruffles our religious feathers.
To create spiritual warfare stories, we have to step out of our religious box.
These are my guidelines:
Know scripture intimately. Don’t just study so you can check the quiet-time box on your to-do list. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and give you supernatural understand. Meditate on it. Pen revelations in your journal. Believe.
• Show your character being a doer of the supernatural Word
Spiritual activity never ceases. Occult practices are mere counterfeits of the realities God created. Séances, tarot cards, levitation, etc-been there, done them in my BC days. In college, I acknowledged Jesus as Lord. He reveals His genuine gifts and imparts the Divine power to operate in them. Reclaim your Kingdom rights as an ambassador or Christ.
• Let your characters pursue/experience what God excels at doing: the impossible
God never changes, meaning His character is immutable. Change implies the ability to improve, but you can’t improve perfection. He is always good. His principles prevail eternally. i.e. Humble yourself and then resist the devil. Confess and then be forgiven. Knowing truth precedes freedom.
• Show your character living out scriptural principles without telling the reader what he’s doing
God doesn’t change, but He constantly alters His methods to keep us seeking Him. I can’t think of one time where Jesus, the disciples, or OT prophets used the exact same technique to heal someone. They healed by spitting, poking, breathing on, sharing swathes of material, and casting their shadows. Elijah laid on top the widow’s dead son and raised him to life. Peter walked out of prison unnoticed by guards. Philip disappeared and reappeared 30 miles away in a split second.
God gave us our imaginations to glorify Him. So make heaven laugh. Cry. Cheer. Our characters are made in His image; therefore, they have permission to think radically and believe the impossible.
Go for it!
J.A. Marx loves illustrating spiritual warfare through supernatural suspense. Her 1st novel released April 2013. Her hobbies include fitness, nutrition, and dancing the Argentine tango. She and her husband live in Texas. Meet J.A. at http://web.jamarx.net/.
Great article here by J.A. Marx. If you haven’t read her books, well they will not only entertain you, but inspire.
Thanks J.A. and ACFW.
Thanks for the kind comment, Paulette. You’re a blessing.
So agree that the supernatural realm is real if not more real than what we see with out natural eyes.
I am so thankful for this blog post. What you wrote needed to be said. I especially appreciated your noting that “spiritual activity never ceases”. For every one of Satan’s counterfeits, there is God’s real thing!
Blessings on your writing!