Friday, May 28, 2010

Characters and Prophets

Have you ever struggled with characters, and prophets?

I know that may seem like a strange combination, but that describes a little of where I'm at in my writing and faith life. I'm in the midst of struggling with some of my characters, trying to liven them with real characteristics, and at the same time in my daily Bible study, I'm struggling with the prophets.

In dealing with my characters, I've been diving into some character building exercises, some of which might actually make it into the WIP, and some which will just be part of a character file. Currently, the WIP I'm working on is something I dug out of my closet, a dusty three-ring binder and some memory on my hard drive that hadn't been accessed in quite a while. I can't get the characters out of my head, so they must have some life in them, right?

Well, it turns out that my main character is more lively than I remembered, and my secondary characters are shallow, like cardboard cut outs propped up on a stage. I'm re-writing the whole thing, changing the time-line, the setting, and even some of the basic plot-line, and I'm loving it and hating it in turns. In other words, I'm getting drawn into it, and I'm hoping that my characters are becoming more real on the page and not just more real to me.

In my daily Bible study, I've been reading Jeremiah. Not that long ago, I was reading Isaiah. The first time I read through the prophets, I saw only gloom and doom, and I was re-reading the Psalms and Proverbs "just one more time" earlier this year to put off reading them again.

However, I think they're beginning to grow on me. I'm seeing that God keeps his promises. He continually offers hope and redemption, pleading with his people to turn to him and turn away from their sinful ways. The destruction, plagues, and war that God promises through his prophets always comes with a promise to save a remnant of his people, even if they keep turning their back on him.

That last part amazes me. Even though God's people are worshipping false gods, sacrificing their children in fires and other sacrificial rites, disobeying God in every way and listening to false prophets, God still loves them enough to save a remnant of his people. The New Testament's promises are built on the promises of the Old Testament. Jesus' death on the cross is the fulfillment of God's saving love for us - the same love he has had for us through all time and beyond time.

At this point, I'm still mulling over how my faith and fiction are intermingling on a daily basis. This old story I've dusted off wasn't written with any overt signs of faith originally in it, but in this re-write, I'm hoping for more. I'm hoping that the things that God is showing me through my Bible study will come through in my fiction.


Angie said...

Good luck on the rewrite. I have pulled out old projects and redone them myself and it's always been a great experience. I love your thoughts on the prophets and the Bible. I think that is the most important message from the Bible, that God always keeps his promises and that He loves his children. Thanks for a great post!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Thanks Angie! I appreciate your encouragement. There are moments when I think I'm a bit nuts to pull out this old project and try to re-work it, but I just keep coming back to it day after day anyway.