By Stephanie Jaye
We’ve all heard the phrase “write what you know”. And while some debate the legitimacy of that idea, I’ve found in writing that reaching beyond that simple concept into something a bit more heartfelt can make for a passionate work of fiction.
No one likes trials (can I get an amen?). Yet, we all know that God uses these trials in our lives to produce character and further our walk with Him (James 1:2-4). He also teaches us lessons that we probably wouldn’t have learned any other way. While it’s so valuable to pass along these lessons to our family, children, and friends, I think putting them into fiction can also be valuable in a couple ways.
For example, the book I’m querying has a core lesson of pursuing God’s best for our life. In it, my main character is forced to choose between pleasing those around her and settling for what everyone else thinks is best, or leaning into what God has to say and choosing His way, even when it’s difficult. However, as she finds out, obeying God always leads to blessings–ones we couldn’t even imagine ourselves.
This part of the plot came out of my passion to see people choosing God’s best in relationships. It also came after a season where I myself had to choose to be obedient in a situation that was really hard. Because I hadn’t seen the fruit of that decision when I was writing the book, writing the happy ending made me emotional, knowing that God is faithful to keep His word, and that I would also get my happy ending because of that, too.
Putting the lessons we’ve learned into our books can be both encouraging and healing, for us and our readers. Of course, as Christian writers, most of all of us weave themes of redemption, forgiveness, and love in our stories. And those topics are needed! But sometimes what reaches to the hearts of our readers most is the grit and heartache that can only be told from personal experience, even if put into the context of a fictional character and setting.
Writing the words the end on a story that came out of your own heartache and trials, and seeing how God worked everything out in the story, can be reassuring and healing, and the passion you’ll have put into your work will make the story shine even brighter. It’s also just one more way God can use what He’s taught you to further His Kingdom for His glory. That in itself is pretty special, too.
Stephanie Jaye is a Christian Romance writer and blogger who loves Jesus, sweet tea, and sunshine. You can find her on Instagram @stephjayewriter, and you can find her blogs at stephjaye.com.
This post is part of the Writers’ Room, a collaborative writing advice column by Christian writers.