Faith–part 1

» Posted on Feb 11, 2007 in Blog | Comments Off on Faith–part 1

When you write an inspirational romance, you have to add an extra element to your stories. I think of it as adding the spice to a food dish. The faith element can add a depth to your story that a lot of other secular ones don’t have. So all you have to do is add a few prayers, mention God a few times and you have it made. NOT!

Adding a faith element is much more complicated than that. As any aspect of a story, you must make it seem an effortless and seamless part of the story. When you deal with aspects like a character’s goals, motivation or conflicts, they must be woven into the fabric of your plot to the point you can’t take them out or the story will fall apart and not make sense. The same is true for the faith element in an inspirational romance.

So where do you begin interweaving faith into your story? You begin with your characters–your hero and heroine in an inspirational romance. If you want to have an integrated faith journey in your story, it must come from your character’s development. Faith, as in your life, is an intricate part of your character’s life whether it is the journey toward learning the power of the Lord or reaffirming the Lord. You take my faith away, you take an important part of me away. The same goes for your character’s faith in an inspirational romance. So when you’re developing your characters at the beginning, you need to remember that. Faith, or the lack of it, will be just as much a part of your characterization as their goals, motivation and conflicts. If it isn’t then you need to go back to the drawing board and work on
that part of your characterization because the spiritual growth will stem from that.

Faith along with a character’s goals and motivation come from his background. You need to explore both your hero and heroine’s faith or lack of, then make it an integral part of the story by intertwining it in your characters’ goals and motivation. By doing that it will naturally become a part of your characters’ conflicts. I usually have one character believe in Christ while the other either doesn’t or has turned away for some reason that will need to be explored in my story and dealt with. Sometimes I have both characters believe, but during the course of the book something happens to shake the faith of one or both.

This is the case in my Love Inspired Suspense called Vanished. J.T. Logan is a sheriff whose daughter is kidnapped. He has a strong faith in the Lord, a faith that helped him kick his drinking habit. But when his daughter is taken, that faith is shaken. The heroine is there to help him shore up his belief and to help him use it to get through the ordeal. Both are Christians, but in this story the journey is different. It’s a story about how two people turn to their faith to strengthen themselves when they need to be strong. They lean on the Lord for that strength. Without it J.T. would have fallen apart when his family needed him the most. He would have started drinking again.

Next week I will have faith, part 2.