Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Writing Bug

by Jean Kavich Bloom

Do you remember when the writing bug got you?

My grandchildren are victims, and I'm thrilled.

I was with three of them a couple of weeks ago while their parents were out on a date. The two boys were eager for me to read their most recent creations. The five-year-old, Benjamin, had dictated his fifty-word story about a hero and a monster as the seven-year-old, James, typed it for him. (Now, that’s writer support.) Then James typed his debut novel's chapter 1 for himself.

“What’s your book about?” I asked him.

“It’s a mystery.”

“What’s the mystery?”

“The family is going camping, but the kids don’t know where they’re going camping.”

As I read it out loud, I could see the first chapter had a lot of packing and camping paraphernalia in it. But sure enough, the kids in the family didn’t know their destination.

“What’s going to happen next?” I asked.

He shrugged. “I don’t know.”

Ah, a panster! Meanwhile, his ten-year-old sister, Connie, writes about horses, her current passion. They are all writing "what they know," but if their interest in writing continues, I imagine they will incorporate what they learn about life as they experience it. Most writers do. Or maybe they'll incorporate what they think is someone else’s experience.

“What do you think your parents do when they go on a date?” I asked the three of them as they munched popcorn.

“They go to movies and eat all the chocolate they want."

“And they kiss!

Today I read a story my other granddaughter wrote on a tiny piece of paper and left behind in her parents' van. Ellie's imagination, it seems, had been in full play.

"I live in texas," her first-person story began. She lives in Indiana. "The texas flag looks like this." She'd inserted a drawing, which for all I know may be accurate. She finished with, "I am part of the rocking rangers. I am 13." She's seven, and I'm not sure what the rocking rangers are. But as far as I'm concerned, she's rocking with the writing bug and I love it! Meanwhile, her brother, Simon, almost five, is impressed with printed books because they "don't have scribbles" like the ones he sees in his own handwritten creations.

Scribble away, my boy. Scribble away!

When did the writing bug get you?

Jean Kavich Bloom is a freelance editor and writer for Christian publishers and ministries
(Bloom in Words Editorial Services), with nearly thirty years' experience in the book publishing world. Her personal blog is Bloom in Words too, where she sometimes posts articles about the writing life. She is also a contributor to The Glorious Table, a blog for women of all ages. Her published books are Bible Promises for God's Precious Princess and Bible Promises for God's Treasured Boy. She and her husband, Cal, have three children and five grandchildren.
photo credits:;

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Sense of Awe

My wife Maribeth and I sat on the balcony of our hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, sipping our morning coffee and watching waves break on the beach.  Our day’s devotional text was Psalm 27:13, “I believe I will enjoy the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living,” so the scene prompted a prayer of praise and gratitude that God had placed us in such a beautiful world.
I believe a distinguishing characteristic of Christian fiction is this sense of awe at the natural world. Not a moralizing commentary on the weather, scenery, or other physical phenomena, but an awareness that the environment of our story demonstrates the presence of a creative, compassionate God.
   Perhaps the heroine is riding in an ambulance with her husband, who’s struggling to hang onto life after a heart attack. When a paramedic tries to jolt him back into a regular cardiac rhythm, she looks away and sees the majestic Cascade Mountains illuminated by the first rays of dawn.
   A teenage boy waits for the bus that will transport him to another state where he hopes to escape the abusive scorn of his alcoholic father. A Canadian goose crosses the highway with a single adolescent gosling behind it—not a pair of parents but one, not a brood of goslings but one.
   It’s not necessary to tell a reader what conclusions to draw; in fact, spelling out conclusions would betray a distrust of the reader’s spiritual sensitivity and limit his ability to draw more transformative conclusions than you have imagined. Simply note what’s happening in the natural world and let the reader discover God in it.
   “The heavens are telling the glory of God,” the psalmist said. Like the poet, a Christian novelist doesn’t tell readers what to see in her imaginary world, but she renders such a world so faithfully that readers feel a sense of reverent wonder.

Joe Allison is a retired Christian editor living in Anderson, Indiana.