Writing Saturday; Weaving Life Lessons Part 1

8:37 AM

One Lesson at a Time

We all want our books to be more than just a good story; we want our books to touch people’s hearts and lives.  We want it to not only grab their attention; we want it to make them stop and think.  We don’t just want to tug at their emotions; we want to pull at their minds.  We don’t just want to have amazing characters; we want to compel our readers to examine their own lives.

This week, we are starting a new series for Writing Saturday on weaving life lessons into our story.  We will start today talking about only having one lesson at a time. In the following weeks we will talk about teaching vs. preaching, showing vs. telling, relevant messages, and more, so stay tuned.

Unlike in real life, where God may be teaching us sometimes several lessons at once, our books should focus on one lesson.  Although this may not be life like if you try to put too many lessons, none of them will make a big impact.

For example in the film The Widows Might, the makers tried to tackle many different issues.  Although the film was well done, the point of the film was buried by all the other issues the makers tried to tackle. It wasn’t that there wasn’t a central theme or that the movie was bad, but there were so many issues that the main one was in danger of being lost.

Think of you book as having two levels.  The first is the action or surface level.  On the level, you see bad guy against good guy, girl likes guy, sword clashing against sword and all that other action. On the second level, you have the emotional and internal struggles.  This is where the good guy wonders if he is strong enough to take on the bad guy, the girl wonders if the guy will ever love her and the swordsman is sure this battle will be his last because of his great sin.  If you try to add to many struggles, your second level will overwhelm your first level, upsetting the balance of your story.

With that said, it is possible to have more than one struggle in a book. However, if you have a second one, you need to make sure that it doesn’t detract from the most important struggle. like it did originally in my book, The Destiny of One.  In the first draft, Maria Morris was struggling all the time with the fact that there wasn’t a “special someone” in her life, and what she was supposed to do with her life.  In the end I realized that that the lessons were detracting from each other.

Keep your focus when it comes to lessons. Don’t try to tackle everything in one book.

Join me next week as we discuss sermons and soap boxes (this should be fun)

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  1. Superb post, Sarah. That first paragraph had me nodding my head and the rest gave me much to think on as well. Question: do you think I put too many messages in my book??

    I look forward to the rest of the series!

  2. No, I don't think you have to many. I think the only thing you need to do is to clarify what was there.