5 Completely and Utterly Ridiculous Ways to Boost your NaNo Word Count

Since writing a 50,000 word novel in a month is a completely insane idea reserved for literary addicts and maniacs who have nothing better to do, those who attempt it are not above the somewhat unscrupulous practice of “word padding.”  As described by Chris Baty, the founder of National Novel Writing Month, in his book No Plot? No Problem!, these subtle tricks can boost your word count at the last minute with minimal effort.  They include spelling out all contractions and using find & replace to change someone’s name from “Arthur” to “The Most Honorable Lord Arthur Swansen-Hodgenson III, chancellor of the Outlying Eastern Islands and ambassador for her Most Royal Highness Queen Mary Louise IV.”  Being one of those misguided writers who attempted the unreasonable feat of NaNoWriMo, I’ve come up with a few of my own tactics for word padding.

Warning:  As the title of this article suggests, these ideas are completely and utterly ridiculous.  If you’re a serious writer looking to make each of your 50,000 words worthwhile, these suggestions probably won’t make the cut.  Or will they?  There just might be a bit of literary truth tucked inside the word padding.  You’ll have to read and decide for yourself.

#1:  Title Your Chapters Start by heading each chapter with the phrase “Chapter Number One,” “Chapter Number Two,” etc.  That’s three words right there.  You could also try “The Third Chapter” or “The Chapter that Comes After the Last One” for more variety.  Then give your chapter a title.  The longer, the better.  For maximum effect, go in the style of Dickens and use titles such as “In Which the Hideous Lord Grylon defeats the Alliance and seizes the capital;  Meanwhile, the Lovely Lady Lucinda awaits the return of…”  Give a plot summary of the entire chapter if you want.

Take it a step further… and title each individual scene within the chapter.

WHY THIS MIGHT NOT BE SUCH A BAD IDEA – Titles, when done tactfully, can add a depth of interest to your book.  While you probably don’t want to include them in the final draft, plot summaries at the head of each chapter may help you in revisions; you’ll be able to see at a glance what content is covered in each chapter.

#2:  Head Your Chapters Titles aren’t the only things you can give to chapters.  Try headers:  Scripture, song lyrics, poetry, or quotes that fit the theme of the chapter.  Give each of your chapters a header – a long header.  Instead of using one verse, use the entire poem or song.  Try to quote people that have a habit of being long-winded.  (You can generate a similar effect by having your characters recite entire passages; why not hold a talent show?)

Take it a step further… and give your scenes headings too.  Time/location stamps are a good choice.

WHY THIS MIGHT NOT BE SUCH A BAD IDEA – As a reader, I find headers thought-provoking; I love wondering how the theme of the quote will tie into the chapter.  They may also set you, as the writer, in the proper mood by capturing your thoughts in a single quote.  Time/location stamps can enhance the overall tone of your book and help you keep track of when and where each scene occurs.

#3:  Create an Echo Send your characters into a cave – or any other room with the proper construction to generate an echo.  Then make them have a conversation.  A long one.  With as many people participating as possible.  The acoustics will ensure that each and every word they say can be repeated in the narrative.

Take it a step further… if you’re writing fantasy or sci-fi, create a device, creature, or scientific phenomenon that follows your characters and repeats their every word.  If you’re writing realistic fiction, you can settle for a parrot.

WHY THIS MIGHT NOT BE SUCH A BAD IDEA – While you won’t want to literally write every word twice, an echo can have interesting effects on the tone of the scene.  Hearing his words repeated can give the character (and the reader) pause to give them second thought.  In terms of speculative fiction, you can use the essence of an echo to explore some probing themes about the power of the tongue.

#4  Insert Author Commentary Directors get to write commentaries on their films; why can’t we authors do the same?  No need to wait for the publisher to request an annotated version of your book.  Allow yourself the liberty of expressing some of your thoughts on a given scene.  Ramble before, after, or in the middle – whenever you have something to say.  Tell us how you came up with the idea for this scene; show us how this character is inspired by your little sister.  You can even tell us what color socks you were wearing when you drafted the scene.  “Relevance” is subjective.

Take it a step further… and write a foreword warning readers about the commentary.  Write an afterword explaining why you felt the need to constantly comment.  Insert a footnote blaming me for the harebrained idea.

WHY THIS MIGHT NOT BE SUCH A BAD IDEA – When done properly, a 2nd person narrator that talks to the audience, whether a character or an omnipresent being, can have an interesting tone.  If you’re doing historical fiction, footnotes stating your sources can add credibility; if you use foreign language, add a translation.  Don’t be afraid to write yourself notes in the text – you can reference them during revisions and then edit them out.  If you’re stuck on a scene, write notes explaining what you want to say and come back and fix it later.  This is also a good idea if you think of changes you want to make partway through the story; instead of wasting time with costly revisions, leave yourself notes in the affected scenes and continue writing.

#5  Keep a Diary Let one (or more) of your characters keep a diary.  At the end of each day, they can rehash the events.  If your character isn’t the journal type, give him a blog or other social networking site to vent on.  Spy on their emails, or be old-fashioned and have them send a piece of snail mail.  IM and telephone conversations can also be recorded in all their slang-ridden detail.

Take it a step further… have another character find the diary and reread it.  Then, have her give it to another character to read.  Emails can be forwarded – multiple times.

WHY THIS MIGHT NOT BE SUCH A BAD IDEA – Personal correspondence can be a great way to see some of the character’s private opinions without resorting to 1st person narrative or written thoughts.  Correspondence and conversation also reveal the personality of the character; some entire books are written in the form of diaries.  When done deftly, trivial tidbits such as a character’s “status” on a social networking site can make the character seem realistic by painting “a slice of life.”  If you write modern-day fiction, you can show the power of the internet in this day and age; one small post can ignite a flame war that could greatly affect your character’s emotions.

Have you made your word quota today?  If not, why not try one of these suggestions; you never know what might get you jumpstarted.  Come up with your own tactics for “word padding” – and share them with me, if you would.  I just might need them, come the end of November.

Tips and Tricks of the Trade

Fantasy writing can be a bit overwhelming at times.  It doesn’t have to be, but often times is.  We look at authors like Lewis and Tolkien and try to make a story that will live up to their works.  Forget Lewis and Tolkien (absolutely no disrespect intended).  You will never live up to your full potential if you try to live in the shadow of someone else, no matter how great.  Be your own individual.  Here are a few steps to help you journey along this path.  Read carefully and take these pointers to heart.

Absolute Necessities
When starting to write a story you are going to need three very important things.

• A great imagination!
• A notebook/computer.
• Good friends willing to read and critique your work.

The Assessment
Now is the inevitable question, what are you going to write?  Trying to decide that can sometimes be an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be.  Figure out what interests you.  Nobody should write about something they don’t love themselves.    Raid your bookshelves!  Read what you have and decide what you like about them.  Who is your favorite author?  Finding the answer to this question will help you determine what your favorite writing style is.   

Brainstorm! 
Lots of it.  This is a key aspect to writing.  It is during this process that you are going to conjure up lots of story details that will determine the course of your book.  Develop a group of characters who are going to fit into this fantastical world of yours.  Let the characters develop themselves.  Create plots for them to fall into and then figure out ways for them to get back out.  Let loose!  Relax.  Don’t stress.  In this part you’ve got nothing to lose and all to gain.  Make your characters complicated, give them personality and depth. 

It could possibly be said that the development of your characters is the most difficult aspect of your journey to a satisfying read.  Let’s face it, how many of us like shallow, two dimensional characters?  Your characters could make or break your book.    To help you in this tricky development process you should do a few writing exercises. 

• Describe your character like you would a best friend.  You need to know them and have your own personal connection to them.  You two are going to be spending a lot of time together.

• Figure out what makes this character tick.  What is the driving force behind his or her motives?  Is it greed, a desire for revenge, or the desire to find their family?  Get inside their head and put yourself in their position.

• How does your character differ from the other characters you will through in his path?  How will he relate to them?
All of these things are going to help you find the essence of your character. 

Also, during this step you’re going to be deciding what form of fantasy to write based on what you come up with.  Will your characters be transported into a world where fantastical creatures dwell (as in The Chronicles of Narnia) Or will they start off in a world entirely different from our own and go on noble quests to slay dragons and defeat evil (as in Lord of the Rings)?  Have fun in this stage, sky isn’t the limit.

Element Diversity
Create diversity.  Add unusual elements to your work, such as talking animals, dragons or even dinosaurs.  You can make up your own magical species. Try to avoid clichés as much as possible – twist and subvert them.  Tolkien has Elves in his story, that doesn’t mean you can’t, however, avoid using very Tolkien specific traits (I.e. elves from across the sea).  Make your world unusual and interesting.  You need to make it fresh enough that people want to explore it instead of making it feel like someplace they have already been.

Leaving Reality Behind
Okay, I cannot express this enough.  Good writers don’t just create worlds for their readers, they create world around their readers.  Something that you will need to keep at the forefront of your mind as you are writing is that your work should encompass your audience.

During my journey in becoming a, I hope, good writer, I began to study the writers of old whose stories have captivated generations.  Lewis and Tolkien are the most well know in this class.  I think Tolkien is a brilliant author, but not because he created The Lord of the Ring.  I think Tolkien’s brilliance came from the fact that he understood his audience.  He knew how to create his desired effect on his audience.  So instead of studying Tolkien’s works, I studied Tolkien himself.  While undergoing this journey I found an amazing quote that has never left my mind. Tolkien said…

What really happens [when reading fantasy] is that the story-maker proves a successful “sub-creator”. He makes a secondary world where your mind can enter, and should never leave until the last sentence of the book. Inside this world what the writer relates is “true”: it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside. The moment disbelief arises the spell is broken; the magic and the art have failed. You will then remain out in the primary world, looking at the little abortive world from the outside. –J.R.R. Tolkien

What Tolkien is saying is that the goal of the writer is to build this secondary world around their reader so that they are completely submersed into the land you have placed them in. However, once something occurs to break that spell (inconsistency, for example) you have now lost your audience and they will not reenter your world, but stand on the outside as an onlooker rather than a partaker.

The reader needs to have the battle going on around them; make them feel their heart pounding as they are pursued by evil enemies.  Let them feel the warmth of the morning sun on their face as the dawn breaks after a horror filled night.  Don’t let your readers stand on the outside of your work as an onlooker; drag them deep into your world as a fellow combatant. 

Think of it like Adventures in Odyssey’s Imagination Station, a room designed to bring the Bible to life and make the reader feel like they are actually living the bible. 

 
Become a Scribbler! 
Write.  Don’t just write the story; write histories of your characters, shorts, or anything else you can think of that will help flesh out your characters and your world.  If you have the plot and an outline in mind then write out the rough draft first.  Don’t be tempted to edit.  Let your creativity run rampant, completely unhindered by the demands of grammar and spelling.  I have found in my own writing that I often times squash the flow of my creative juices by being overly concerned with the editing process.  This is the fun part; don’t bog your process down with tedious punctuation and capitalization.  If it’s your first writing project then start small, don’t overwhelm yourself. 

Editor in Chief
Once you’ve completed all these things it’s time for the tedious stuff.  Proof reading!  Edit mistakes, improve whatever can be improved and make sure everything is consistent.  If you have one inconsistency you will shatter the world of make-believe you have worked so hard to create around your reader.  Ensure you haven’t lost any of your characters along this long and rigorous process.  Make sure that they each are identifiable, well-described and interesting.  And don’t forget to give sub characters some flesh.  It will help to enhance the reading experience. 

You’re Not Infallible
Now comes the scary part, letting others read your work.  Words of advice; accept any and all criticisms!  This is what will make you a better writer in the future. Give your book to people who enjoy fantasy in the first place.  If they have advice then take it.  Don’t let someone rewrite your book or character, but be open to the fact that you are fallible. 

Passing the Baton
And finally, publication.  If your work is rejected by one editor, edit the story or send it to a different publisher.  This part of the game is all about waiting and letting someone else carry on your work.  Keep in mind most people don’t get published the first time their work is sent out.  Some of the best authors ever published were rejected at least once. 

Tolkien was told his work was a children’s story that had gotten horribly out of hand, so be prepared to receive criticism.  Just remember, if you believe you have a good story then don’t back down.  Tolkien’s horribly out of hand book went on to be one of the most widely read fantasies that brought in astronomical profits, especially when it was adapted into the wildly popular movies by Peter Jackson. 
Tips to Remember…
• Be creative with your settings! Underground dungeons and medieval castles aren’t the only places you can have action and adventure.  Try to invent new ways to do things, new sights to see.

• Make sure you keep away from clichés.  The sky is not the limit guys; you have all of space too.  Just because Tolkien or Lewis did it doesn’t mean you should.  Be your own creative individual.  Add twists, turns, sub-versions, deconstructions, and your own unique spin on things.

• Avoid info dumping!  Big no no.  If you make your character complicated (which you should), don’t begin the book with seven pages of introduction. Spread the information out; this heightens suspense and adds interest to your book.  You need all the back-story and detail, but let it come out gradually and over time. 

• Don’t fall in love with your characters so much that you can’t let them live their destinies.  If nothing bad ever happens to them then it will be harder for the reader to relate to or sympathize with them.  Also, don’t be afraid to kill someone off.  Death is the reality of living.  If the destiny of a particular character is sacrificial death than you need to let them live up to their full potential.   However, never, under any circumstances kill off a character because you don’t know what to do with them.  Senseless death isn’t appealing in a story and will only frustrate your audience if they don’t know why you killed someone.  

• Be careful not to overuse the apostrophe.  Lots of people don’t know how to pronounce it in the first place. Rather than N’ Kra’Nek’Ula, do Nekronickula.

• Don’t overuse magic. Even if it is common in your world a story will lose serious interest if magic is never a source of challenge.  Magic shouldn’t be used to get out of a tight spot.  You need to keep your story relatable and awe inspiring.  If magic is thrown around every few paragraphs it is no longer a source of wonderment by about the fourth chapter. 

• Do not fall victim to the fallacy that big words and fancy writing will make your novel better. The reader does not need to hear how Elena cogitated on the ephemeral nature of her formative years when all the reader wants to know is that Elena is thinking about the shortness of her childhood.  Use your natural language, it will flow better.  However if you can use the words fallacy, misleading notion, or erroneous belief in place of myth to make your subject more interesting, then go for it!

• Don’t take criticism as a bad thing.  I know I’ve already harped on that one but it is worth saying again.  This is one of the biggest pitfalls that writers run into.

• Don’t get stressed!

Keep in mind that there is no exact formula for writing a good, complex story.  If you are reading this article you are probably interested in creative writing as an artistic outlet.  This article is merely to give you basic guideline to follow in an attempt to help make the process seem less daunting.  I’ve tried to give you a good overview without bogging you down with limitations.  This is an exercise in creativity, express yourself as a writer.  Your stories should be as individual as you are. 

  We all recognize Tolkien’s work, but we recognize it as a Tolkien piece because it’s an expression of Tolkien himself.  Lewis’s works all seems like Lewis’s work because they reflect his own individual creativity.  We enjoy the diversity in the writers because they are not all written using the same formula.  They are all great, but if every book was written in Tolkien or Lewis’ style then it would be mundane and boring.  Let your own personality flow through your pen.  This is art, there are no exact how-to’s, art is always an expression of you.  It’s an expression of who you truly are and everyone must find their own way. 

Most importantly of all, never give up, always have fun, and don’t ever put together a quick book that wasn’t your best effort and expect it to be published.  Just doesn’t happen.  Put your heart and soul into your piece.  That’s what will make it a true classic.

Ædhros

Ædhros crouched under the wormy table top, holding his breath. He didn’t mind the stench of rotting flesh mingled with human refuse that covered the stony ground; he had other reasons to refrain from exhaling.

Mishqal was near.

The accursed hound had trailed him from the mountains all the way to Alvora-K’san, and now to this alley, but they had never been this close. Ædhros didn’t think he could shapeshift his way out of it either. The little magician could not only hear and track like a werewolf, he could sense Ædhros’s breath signature, and track him through a thousand forms.

Small steps echoed lightly in the entrance to the alley. Curses… Ædhros peered through a crack in the table top, trying to catch a glimpse of his pursuer. He didn’t have time to wait for him to leave: Mishqal was only there to run interference on Ædhros’s mission, and the longer he tarried under the rubbish in the alley, the more successful Mishqal would be.

A small figure came into sight. Mishqal. A gentle wind wisping through the alley brushed babyish golden curls aside from his forehead. So unassuming. So gentle and innocent. So deadly.

Countless rumors about the reason for Mishqal’s child-body ran through every Alronian force that knew about him. Everything from things as fantastic as curses by vengeful demon sorceresses, to things as mundane as failed eternal youth experiments were posed. Ædhros himself believed no one could imagine the half of what the truth might be. Mishqal was as enigmatic as he was dangerous. And his colossal demon power bespoke of something in his past that defied imagination.

“I suppose you are waiting for me to say some meaningless banter like ‘I know you are here’, aren’t you?” The voice’s insouciance almost unnerved Ædhros. Blasted self-confidence. It wasn’t as if the fate of the royal family hung in the balance over this mission.

A short laugh tickled his ears. Ædhros grimaced, but remained silent. Perhaps he could bluff his way out.

Heavy footfalls entered the alley, and Ædhros glanced out the hole again with a sinking heart. A dark man had joined Mishqal. He looked every inch a war giant. And from the glowing steel emblazon on his wide sleeves, he was no stranger to magic.

“Have you found him yet?” The deep voice rolled over Ædhros like a wave. He had no desire to meet a weapon wielded by the power a chest like that could unleash.

“He is here.”

“Have you sniffed him out?” The giant’s hand twitched near the massive hilt of his sword.

“Patience, my friend. He will show himself. He cannot hold his breath forever.” Mishqal smiled grimly. “You aren’t a Naiad, are you Ædhros?”

Ædhros refused to answer. If he could only get onto the street and into a corner where he could vanish into the crowds, he might make it to the palace. Carefully, he felt in his inner vest for the sealed packet that contained the letter to the Tribunal.

“We can wait.” Mishqal was taunting him. Like always. “It isn’t as if Ædhros is in a hurry. He can wait until tonight.”

Ædhros tightened his grip on his dagger. Sweat trickled down his neck. He had one chance, and no time for a second try.

The giant heaved out his sword and stepped forward towards a pile of crates on the far side of the alley. His eyes narrowed.

“What?” Mishqal asked.

“A motion.”

Mishqal sighed, “Your eyes are keener than mine.” He moved to the giant’s side and peered at the crates.

Ædhros’s hand trembled. Illusions are hard from that kind of distance, and if either of those two tried to use magic to sniff him out, he was done for. The giant stepped closer and raised his hand. Ædhros had only a moment left.

He threw out a blast behind Mishqal and the giant, at the same time leaping from his hole and diving for the exit from the alley. The two were momentarily stunned and the giant threw up an ice wall to defend himself, but Ædhros was already ducking out of sight. He dodged behind a small group of people and leaped into another alley leading towards the high street. He heard curses behind him as they ran to catch up.

The wind rushed by his ears as he threw himself into the race. He had to make it to the crowds before they caught sight of him. As it was, he only just made the corner before he heard their echoed steps behind him in the alley.

He slipped behind a market stall and swiftly passed his hand over his body, muttering a few laconic phrases to himself. Some people think the process of training to be a shapeshifter is a fascinating, exciting, glamorous affair of cajoling and punishing demons to your will. In reality, nothing could be more boring. Years upon years of dull lectures in dusty halls and hours of repeating the same delicate routines had made Ædhros able to do what he did. And no demons were involved at all, thankfully. In less than a few seconds the illusion was complete, and he was able to step out the other side and mingle with the crowds as a dirty urchin boy with tousled hair, which looked as if it had been dunked in mud and dirt until its color was unrecognizable.

Mishqal could be seen behind him, moving rapidly and intently through the crowds, seeking Ædhros’s breath. The giant trailed behind, appearing to not be associated with the little boy. Ædhros knew that it was only a matter of time before he would be found. He crossed the street with a bunch of ragged boys playing ball, mingling with their play as lightheartedly, and thus as naturally, as he could. Then, with inconspicuous leisure, he wandered back in the other direction before ducking behind another booth and transforming.

He emerged again and began to trail behind his pursuers, mingling among those they had already searched, this time as an elderly old man with a long beard, pimples, and a gnarled stick. Very normal and very ordinary. And thus, invisible.

Slowly, slowly, he followed them towards the palace. Getting to the Ákcteo tribunal was easy, once he got past Mishqal. At last he was able to breathe a sigh of relief as they turned into the main square and began searching for a trace of him there. He transformed into the form of a blue uniformed messenger boy and ran at top speed to the palace.

This story was invented and written on Sunday afternoon by me. It sprang entirely from one word: Ædhros. Some of the bits were influenced of course by what I had already developed for Alronia (one of my worlds. It is related to Ithelak… ask me in the comments). My point was to illustrate a certain kind of non-demonic magic that exists in Alronia (and in Ithelak as well).

Christian Fantasy an Oxymoron?

Is Christian Fantasy an Oxymoron?

Fantasy is a genre that uses magic and/or other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting.

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”- Albert Einstein

Fantasy is a far better word to describe such stories, for the word contains connotations of both ‘fantasizing’ i.e. dreaming, imagining, freeing oneself from the bounds of fact; and of the fantastic, a quality of strangeness and wonder. Fantasy (in this sense) is, I think, not a lower but a higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and … the most potent.” –J.R.R. Tolkien

For many of us interested in the fantasy genre this is a question we have all asked ourselves. The world of fantasy has captivated the imagination of children and adults alike since The Epic Journey of Gilgamesh. However in today’s Harry Potter happy society lots of people are now asking the question, is fantasy appropriate?

What is the difference between Christian Fantasy and Secular Fantasy? I pose that the real underlying difference between these two writing forms is, in essence, basic worldview. A common misconception that I think we run into is believing that all Christian works must be specifically “Christian” (I.e. they speak the name of Christ in a form other than profanity or present the gospel message).

While it’s possible to read C.S. Lewis and not pick up on the Christian analogies, Tolkien’s works are a bit more toned down in nature and easier for the non-believer to overlook. Few who read Lewis’s work doubts the allegory he has expertly woven into his tale, but many across the board fail to recognize the worldview deeply rooted in Tolkien’s work. Does this classify Tolkien as a Secular Fantasy Writer? Of course not! The basic worldview of Tolkien’s masterpiece is inherently Christian.

During the 16th century fantastical tales were told to children to teach them biblical truths. During this time England proclaimed an official state church. Any other religious teachings were strictly forbidden. So for the next three centuries those who refused to join the state church developed creative ways to teach their beliefs to their children. A perfect example of this is the song The Twelve Days of Christmas.

While the song seems very harmless and, dare we say, fantastical, it actually has a hidden Christian message. So just what do french hens, golden rings, and milking maids have to do with Christian faith? In the song, My True Love is a reference to God. The children could openly sing about their Savior in the streets without fear of punishment. Each day goes through the Christmas story, telling the tale of Christ. The world has taken songs like The Twelve Days of Christmas and completely secularized it so that you can no longer recognize its Christian origins. Because the song does not specifically name the name of Christ does this make it any less of a tool that teaches the concepts of Christ?

This leads us to bring up an interesting question. If Christ is not specifically named in a work of fiction then can we classify it as Christian Fiction? Look at works like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Sherlock Homes, literary classics that present truths to our children and young adults that are vital to their development. However they are not packaged as Christian works. This does not make them any less of a valuable resource or a good read, does it?

Fantasy has been a tool used throughout the ages to teach morals and heroism to our young people. For countless generations croaky voiced, grey haired grandparents have taken their grandchildren on their knees and spun wondrous tales that filled their minds and sent their imaginations soaring. These tales were told to spur them to emulate the character portrayed, a character almost always put against insurmountable odds and overcoming them through it all. They were characters who challenged us to a higher standard, to push ourselves beyond what we think is possible. Unfortunately the youth of today’s culture don’t have very many good role models to imitate.

The desire of Christian fantasy writers should be to present a Christ centered worldview in their writing, even if the Deity of Christ is not named or alluded to. I believe there is one main opponent that draws the line between Christian and Secular Fantasy. Christian Fantasy battles the corrupted idea that the universe revolves around self. This form of me centered narcissism is a theme prevalent in secular works of fantasy. Works of this nature revolve around themes that imply the universe revolves around you, the individual. This idea is rampant throughout our culture, not only in works of fiction, but across the board. Greed, envy, malice, and violence all stem from the belief that your momentary desire is the only thing that truly matters. Therefore, it should be the desire of Christian Fantasy writers to debunk this thought process and challenge their readers to selfless acts of heroism and sacrifice. I think this is what differentiates Christian Fantasy from Secular Fantasy. Fantasy should reveal the world or life view of the author.

I propose that instead of abandoning the fantasy genre, something long held as a Christian tool, we should reclaim it. Don’t abandon this wonderful God given gift just because the world has skewed it, rescue the wonderful art of storytelling and use it once again to enhance young minds to do great things. Christ created music as a wonderful outsource of our praise and worship. Satan took that beautiful creation and twisted it into something evil. Does that mean we reject music as a whole? If you answer no to this question then why do we change our standards when it comes to Christian Fantasy?

The threat of sorrow and failure is a very real feeling for readers. What Fantasy does is take that feeling and give you a fleeting glimpse of joy and discovery as an underlying reality or truth. Fantasy fiction does not deny or diminish the existence of sorrow and pain, as so many people seem to think. Instead it gives us the possibility of failure so that we can feel the piercing sense of joy when victory is with difficulty won. You cannot experience exalting victory without first tasting the bitter reality of hardship. You see, fantasy casts a shadow at the same time it illuminates. Fantasy offers the hope that a happy ending is possible. Children need to believe this. Fantasy denies ultimate despair. It holds out the hope for a better world.

I believe Fantasy is vital to a child’s ultimate development and growth. If you take Fantasy from them it causes creative atrophy. If we only expose kids to what actually exists, we have for all intents and purposes limited them. How can you dream big if you have no imagination? Tales of fantasy show us what the fantastical and impossible might look like? If you’ve never seen a hero conquer seemingly insurmountable odds and achieve them, where will you find the courage to try? If you’ve never read about someone reaching for the impossible and attaining it you might not have the bravery to try. Our imaginations are vital to our existence. How can we empathize with someone, if we can’t imagine what they must feel like?

Fantasy literature has the capability to move a reader powerfully. Kids hunger for a sense of wonder, especially in today’s world of Wiis and iPhones (not that I have anything against either). The previously unexplainable and unbelievable is now a reality. Today’s kids are even hungrier for that sense of magic, of exciting and surprising mysteries that we don’t understand.

Our imaginations were meant to soar through the skies on the backs of Dragons. They were meant to engage in hand to hand combat and rescue the damsel in distress. If we take away Fantasy from children then we have robbed them of a very wonderful gift the Lord has given. The Lord gave man dominion over all things. Fantasy is just another aspect of our dominion. God gave this wonderful creation as a gift. We should take it and use it for the glory of God.

So you be the judge, is Christian Fantasy really an oxymoron, or have we just let the world dictate to us that it is?

Submitted by Airianna Valenshia/Kaitlyn E

Ímlën-Ínui

Ímlën-Ínui is a continent south of Tskarnor, somewhat smaller than Australia. It is primarily divided into two halves, the western one known as Ímlën and the eastern one known as Ínui. Before the 700 years war these were not well known to the great civilizations, and missed the colonization following the Deluge. During the 700 years war, however, it became a handy stopping point for mercenary pirates and freebooters plaguing the shipping and war craft going from the East Sea and Tskarnor to Aschu.

It was a primary target of war for Ölva, which was greatly harassed by their attacks. And when the war was won, Ölva was the nation that set up the port on the northern coast of Ímlën. This port became the way of entrance for colonizers from Tskarnor and Räschíth, who set up a strong and righteous nation in Ínui. The pirates fled south and occupied the wilds in the south of Ímlën and the smaller island in between the two halves.

The Ínuinien nation grew to a strong power, and shone as a light for many decades like Tskarnor. But a powerful darkness came to the renegade forces of Ímlën, and they were invaded and conquered. It was many years before they were able to throw off the corrupt usurpers.

Ímlën-Ínui is warmed from the north by the water currents from the East Sea, but its south regions are still bitterly cold in winter. The southern islands are lashed by rain and snow the most part of the cold season, though never locked in ice like the south regions of Aschu sometimes are. The north is almost tropical in parts, with dense jungle on the slopes of the mountains and desert below the vale of the Ínuiniens. The southern regions of Ímlën are rugged and hazardous to those who do not know the treacherous paths through it, while the north is relatively mild and fortuitous for travelers.

There is a wide diversity of flora and fauna on Ímlën-Ínui, many kinds of which are utterly unknown elsewhere. The jungle crabs (massive crustaceans larger than many men that live on the river bottom in the jungles below the Ínuinien vale) and giant scorpions (they are the size of men and live in the desert below the Ínuinien vale) are prime examples of this. There are very very few wyverns at all in Ímlën-Ínui, and those that are there are imported from Räschíth. Other animals include crocodiles in the jungles, Mucal (two legged, horned, hunting kcumai), buffalo in the southern plains of Ínui, and tiny Sukyl (long necked scavenger birds from Aschu).

I will end up describing more of these things in detail as you pick more localized areas within Ímlën-Ínui for me to expound upon.

Gaddhvu, Schveis, and Acor

Here is the first post in my series on the development of my world. It will continue based on the feedback from this post. Check it out and give me another assignment!

So the first request for a ‘development spill’ was from Elanhil on a small group of islands in the north west of the world, off the westernmost tip of Tskarnor. He happened to pick one of the less inhabited, and thus less developed locations, but that is fine.

These islands have names, and climate, but precious little culture or anything else, since its population is one.

First, the climate. It is a lot like Scotland. That is, barren, wind-swept, grassy, hilly, worn, ancient, cold, and weird. (For the record, I love Scotland.) The cold from the north sweeps down on it constantly, with little shelter. It is a forgotten corner of the world, little liked and little trusted.

Which makes it the perfect place for a hermit, a recluse, someone who wants to leave society and die in relative peace with the winds driving over him.

There is only one habitation, with one inhabitant, thrust into the only mountain, overlooking the only (sizable) lake. He is a giant, named Lord Goldo. He fled, or was driven from, the slightly more populated lands of north eastern Tskarnor (also known as East Karna by the more ‘civilized’ people in Räschíth and Amos Maracca).

Here is a map of the islands with their names and a marking for the location of Lord Goldo’s castle.

Gaddhvu, Schveis, and Acor

Challenge Me

Hey everyone, this is Jay here.

I recently voiced an idea I had on our Facebook page, and I got some interest in it, so here I am trying it.

Here is a map of my world, Ithelak.

Ithelak

That is only one side of my world, sadly, since the other half isn’t mapped out of my head yet. This half is where most of my stories are anyways, and where it is mostly developed. So it should suffice.

Ithelak is as big as Earth, meaning that those blotches are full-sized continents. I am the only person I know to have a fantasy world as big as Earth (that is anywhere near reasonably developed at least). So I am offering you the opportunity to challenge my development of it.

Pick a spot. Any spot. Anywhere on the map. Well, anywhere on the land, since the chances of you hitting one of the sites on the oceans that is actually interesting is kind of slim. Could happen though, so I won’t keep you from trying, but don’t expect much.

Once you pick a spot, let me know about it, and I will tell you what I have developed for it. What I say will depend on the degree of development of that spot. You might, you just might pick a spot that I haven’t even thought about (I would be surprised though if you did), and I will either give you a blank stare or invent something for it (so you get to help me fill in my holes). You might pick a spot that has multiple novels and a few millenniums of history on it, in which case I will mercifully give you an overview. Most of the time you will probably get a name and a brief history of the location and what is there. In any case it will be fun.

Each answer will be its own blog post, so the more spots you guys pick the more posts I can write for the blog. 🙂

You can either let me know what spot you picked via email or via commenting below. If you have no idea how to describe where it is, simply download the image (right-click and hit ‘save target/link as’) and then paint a red dot or something onto it in paint or your image editor of choice and email it to me.

My email is [email protected] if you didn’t already know that. 🙂

I am looking forward to seeing what you have for me! Cheerio!

Fantasy Vs. Sci Fi

So what in the world is the difference between fantasy and sci-fi? Does anyone know the precise line of demarcation?

I don’t think so, honestly.

Because I don’t think there is one.

Don’t get me wrong: there is a difference between fantasy and sci-fi, but it isn’t really universally definable. Of course each person, each author, each publisher, each reader, each movie maker can define for themselves how they separate the two, but there is no concrete difference that goes across the board. At least not in my opinion.

There are generally some works that are obviously and entirely on one side or the other, but there also always those nuts that try to put them on the opposite side (like that guy who wrote a whole book explaining how Lord of the Rings was really sci-fi and not fantasy at all).

But what about those many many works that seem to fall in the middle? What about them? Well there are a few definitions that seem to help clear the waters, but of course, they contradict on a few cases.

“Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with the impact of imagined innovations in science or technology. It differs from fantasy in that, within the context of the story, its imaginary elements are largely possible within scientifically established or scientifically postulated laws of nature (though some elements in a story might still be pure imaginative speculation).” – Wikipedia definition of sci-fi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sci_fi)

“Fantasy is a genre that uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, and/or setting. Many works within the genre take place in fictional worlds where magic is common. Fantasy is generally distinguished from science fiction in that it does not provide a logical (or pseudo logical) explanation for the scientifically impossible events that occur…” – Wikipedia definition of fantasy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantasy)

“Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science fiction is the improbable made possible.” – Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone

To summarize these definitions, let me put it this way: “Fantasy focuses on impossible events occurring in places outside of our universe, using magic (which I prefer to call ‘cobha‘). Science fiction focuses on theoretically possible events occurring in places inside our universe, using technologies not yet invented.”

Alright, so that seems to cover what everyone says the difference is, and it covers practically all the cases. But…

It is very easy to not only find, but create cases in which this differentiation falls to pieces.

Such as this one.

———————————————

Jodça Balbroia, S.F.U. 35189, 8th Levelman

Immersive Report on the events of the 94th day of the 3104th year Nau-tSica

I hate paralysis. Especially artificially enforced paralysis. Especially when I wake up in it and have no idea where I am. As my consciousness slowly came awake, I wasn’t rid of the terrifying feeling of immobility.

Artificial immobilization always reminds me of the feeling of the threshold between the wakeworld and the dreamworld, and no amount of training can get rid of the feeling of utter helplessness that I feel in that state.

Thankfully I had been frozen with my eyes open, and I examined my surroundings minutely. Or as minutely as my peripheral vision allowed, since I couldn’t move my eyes.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much to see. Above me was a blank white ceiling. Close to my right was an equally white wall, maybe a little over an arm’s length away. Close to my left was a different kind of wall – more like a floor.

Or was it actually a floor?

I examined my senses more closely than before, and quickly recognized the odd buzzing feeling that comes from an alteration of gravity by a Hethla surface. Yes, that must be the floor over there, and I was pinned to the wall like a fly to a card in a boy’s treasure box. Gedde-

No curses. Old ways die hard.

I turned myself to more useful tasks than spewing profanity at my problems, and activated my Oketsna 34 to begin scanning my surroundings for neural networks. I found several, but the one that interested me was the one controlling the Hethla surface I was stuck against. Of course it was protected, but it didn’t take a minute to split its defenses and release me.

I instantly shot sideways until I hit the floor with a hard thud. I laid there for a few seconds, letting my muscles snap out of their enforced disability. At last I was able to stand and flex my sore limbs. I looked about me and saw that I was in what was obviously intended to be a cell. At each end of the blank corridor a heavy, plain door stood blocking my exit.

Other than that, I had no idea where I was, and no idea of what I was to do other than get out. This could be a zero briefing mission for training purposes, or it could be a real attack by Nectors enacted against a rising Elf Levelman. In either case I needed some sort of weapon, and after a quick check of my person, I verified that I had nothing but my body and my mind. Not that I should discount those, not at all.

I bowed my head and began to probe carefully into the networks around me. I didn’t want anyone watching to know of my escape. Well, the beginnings of my escape. The security was strong, but I was already getting headway on hacking the signature IDs of the doors when I heard footsteps in the hall.

I immediately flung myself into the air, snapping out a command to the Hethla surface. It altered the orientation of the gravity and I laid myself down against it just in time. As the door opened I composed myself to look as comatose as I could.

The Nector took forever to come into my view.

As soon as his dark glasses were visible I shifted my signature to the opposite Hethla surface. I brought my feet up in a devastating kick as I flew across the corridor, smashing my heels against his jaw and colliding his head against the wall.

I disengaged and we both fell in a heap to the floor. I quickly rose and stepped back, and he followed right along with me. Nector are anything if not persistent. His glasses lay on the floor, and his black eyes stared at me with an intense hatred, he pulled his gun and rammed it into my chest.

I swiftly taught him that you don’t do that if you want to kill someone. I struck the gun aside and in the same motion came back to ram my elbow into his face. He jolted back just enough for me to deliver another kick to his middle and then to his throat. He fell to the floor and I stepped back in a defensive posture, watching his gun.

But he didn’t rise. His eyes gazed vacantly at nothingness. I nodded in satisfaction and bent to examine him.

I sent a quick All Clear signal from his rapidly fading, very primitive, extended computation system, and readied a vmware segment in my brain to transfer the contents of the Nector’s X into it. I don’t like doing that in general cases, since people can have any number of disgusting things stored away in there, but this was an emergency, and I needed his signature ID to get beyond these doors with any amount of haste.

Then I began exchanging garments with him. I wished I could face morph to match him, but I wasn’t leveled up enough for that. I would have to do without, and avoid being seen, if possible.

When I finished I quickly locked him into the immobilization protocol I had been in just minutes before, and picked up his glasses. Marvelously, they weren’t broken. Very good for me, too, as they would hide my brilliantly blue eyes well. Elves look better in dark glasses, especially in Nector territory.

Then I indexed my newly acquired weaponry. A Szechtzy 561, and an extra clip weren’t much, but far, far better than nothing. The Szechtzy had extraneous features, like a safety, but I could use it, and it carried 11 rounds: only four less than my limited issue Talso. I missed it, but I had been trained to not rely on any weapon but myself: I was the weapon. These were only accessories.

The 8 rounds in the extra clip gave me 19 shots to freedom. Quite a bit, but I would have to watch each shot as carefully as a girl preparing for the Numath dances watches her meals.

I looked back at him, sorrowfully. At least I now knew that this was a serious situation. He had obviously been sent to execute me. That meant there were zero negotiations. I had to get out alive, and I would likely have to kill many more Nectors before I succeeded.

I exited with no trouble, and began to follow the floor plan he had handily installed in his head. As I went I began examining his X and trying to pry into the local network.

Suddenly I stopped.

There was a whole other system in there, on top of the first one, and in it was a security mechanism – tripped.

I groaned. They were on to me, and probably also knew exactly where I was. In all probability I was walking into a trap.

But they weren’t going to take this Elf. No. Not while I had any sense left.

I immediately disabled all tracking and notification mechanisms in that dratted Nector’s sector, including all his stupid social networking apps. I also sent a tracking probe along some of his lines to what I guessed was headquarters to see if I could hack into their internal system and give me an edge on their own troops. It would take a while though.

I drew the Szechtzy and kicked in a door to the side of the corridor. There was no reason to try to pretend to be anyone anymore, at least not at this time. The signature ID was already compromised.

I entered, gun first, and began swiftly penetrating into the interior of the fortress. I knew that if I stayed in the small passages I would soon get lost and cornered, but I needed to get off their radar for a bit.

After several turns I chose a largish door and did a subtle hack through it so that their tracers would have to spend days trying to find out which door I went through, and by then I should be far away. Hopefully.

I eased it open slowly, covering each inch of exposed space beyond as I did so.

It opened into a large office complex, divided vertically by an open space. The roof was covered with cubicles just like the floor, each divided into its own separate Hethla sector.

Each cubicle contained a Nector soldier.

I leaped back and pulled the door to, but it was too late.

The doors shot open irresistibly and I shot into the room, tumbling through the air to the far wall. They had used the guard’s signature to bind me to the opposite wall, over 50 feet away. I quickly terminated the signature and locked onto the floor, tucking into a desperate roll that brought me, alive but breathless and bruised, to safety.

For less than a second. I didn’t wait to nurse my wounds, obviously. The bullets were already singing about my head as I dived to concealment under a long table.

I scurried along for a few feet, moving away from my place of initial entrance, and tried to quiet my breathing. I needed time. A bullet smacked into the metal by my head and glanced away from me. I thanked God for his protection and shifted my gravity to below my feet.

I slid a few yards and then I switched back again. I only had a few more seconds before those bullets found my new location.

I probed into the network to see my options and made a decision. The bullets were coming closer, striking through the table above me like paper, and I heard footsteps running.

All the computers in the room exploded in a blast of sparks and flame. I wish I could have seen it. As it was the Nectors stopped momentarily. I hoped some of them had been wounded, but I couldn’t be sure.

Then I got it. At last I had the sector control I needed, and I instantly exploded into action.

I disengaged the lower sector from its Hethla surface. The entire complex plummeted away from me to the ceiling, burying most of the soldiers in the wreckage.

I leaped to my feet and sprinted for the doors, while I switched both sectors again to the wall opposite me. I fired into the disaster over my shoulder as I ran for my life. The best cover is behind a moving bullet.

But several soldiers were already disengaging themselves from the mess and taking control of their gravity. Bullets zipped by me, but I took out two before I got to the doors. It was only a matter of time before they got my signature, and then I would be at their mercy. I had no time to hack the locks.

I shot the electrical cords that powered the bolts and triggered the mechanical catch manually. And got a bullet in the shoulder as I reached for the handle.

I dropped to my knees in pain. I gritted my teeth and tucked my gun into my belt, grabbing the door with my good hand.

Then I engaged the opposite wall’s Hethla surface.

We all shot backwards, and the door flung open, with me hanging onto it with one arm. I reengaged myself and fell into the corridor. I stumbled to my feet and began to run, even while clutching my fast bleeding shoulder. Elves heal, but not that fast, and I needed time to focus on it.

Time. Always time.

Gunshots echoed behind me. They were coming.

I switched to the wall next to me and ran on it at an angle until I reached the roof. I continued to run down the corridor in a spiral, desperately evading their fire that I could not return.

I only had 2 rounds left.

And my loss of blood with the spinning was making me dizzy. I could not focus, and a door was ahead.

Bullets drove into it as I neared the steel barring my way to freedom. If I could remember the floor plan right, this was the way out. But how could I open the door?

That was answered for me as I came at it, upside down, panting, and reeling.

It opened.

And on the other side stood my Report Officer, standing stolidly looking at me with his rifle in his hands.

“Get out of the way, Balbroia.”

I complied as quickly as I was able, collapsing to the ground and moving behind him while he opened fire. I was outside. Another Levelman was here. I was safe. That was all I knew.

And I had time to black out.

———————————————

Alright, so there you have it. Not much of a story, if you ask me, but it had these features:

  • Separate world and universe (with language, culture and races)
  • Alternate cobha (hence the ability to shift gravity with technology), also known as ‘magic’
  • Advanced technologies not yet invented yet within possibility (practical mental communication with computers)

So if you ask me, it was more fantasy than sci-fi. But its feel was decidedly more sci-fi than fantasy.

So what do you think? Was it fantasy, or was it sci-fi?

With joy and peace in Christ,

Jay Lauser aka Sir Emeth Mimetes

P.S. And yes, I did write this article just so I could write and post that story here. 🙂

Laying the Foundation

While the purpose of Holy Worlds may be writing fantasy stories, creating fantasy worlds comes in a close second. And I know that I, at least, find world building my primary purpose, and story writing my secondary (but equally important) purpose.

I imagine that many of us have often wondered what the point of world building is, aside from the story angle. It might surprise you to know that many world builders never write stories at all. Is the world building wasted?

Hardly.

I see world builders as explorers. We travel to uncharted terrain. Why? For many of us, it is an irresistible desire to create. For others, it is a desire to explore. But, regardless of our intentions, our explorations provide an avenue for scientific study.

Case in point: Conlanging.

For those of you who don’t know, conlanging is the invention of a language. Some conlangs (the results of conlanging) have tangible value: logic languages, for example, are languages which constrain the speaker to obey the rules of a theory of formal logic. Clear and precise communication is the result.

However, many made-up language don’t seem to posses value. But these languages have already begun (and will continue) to provide linguistics a way to explore concepts and examine theories, and may one day actually be used (as logic languages are beginning to be used) as tools for situational communication. But the most tangible value of these languages is the greater understand of language that the inventor will gain.

Another example is the exploration of fictional histories, which may allow historians to improve their understanding of cultural phenomena. Many fantasies explore very simple themes with profound results. For example, what effect will a little boy throwing a rock through the window of an unknown middle-class widower have on national politics two hundred years later? Historians (or at least the ones who are worth something) enjoy these concepts, and we can all find them useful for remembering the big picture.

I have referenced language and history in world building because these are the most developed aspects of world building. Other aspects, such as the effects of local geography on the biology of a given race, are more limited because of limited knowledge of genetics we currently posses. However, as genetic science advances, a wonderful alternative to genetic experimentation is to host the experiments in made-up worlds. The ability to alter variables would be limitless, and the scope of experiments far less ethically restricted.

What is our place in all of this? Well, as I have demonstrated, world building will be very useful to science in the future. But we don’t live in the future, so we must be satisfied with being the foundation layers. We are learning how world building works, so that future world builders can concentrate on using world building.

We are experimenting to invent the processes that future world builders will use to invent their own worlds. The inventors of fantasy were the trail-blazers. We are the cartographers. Soon, the people who will use the treasures of the vast land – which we are opening up – will come.

Possibly, some of you may be wondering what the point of advancing science is. Well, aside from the obvious things like using genetic science to end cancer, or using historical theory to learn how we can prevent future societal disasters, there is also a verse, inspired by God, which says something like this: “It is the glory of God to hide a thing, and the glory of kings to reveal it.”

Science has uncovered many things. Science has helped reveal logic (arguably a science in and of itself) as the human expression of God’s thought process. And Science has always helped us do what God has commanded us to do: help the needy.

So, we can continue our small scale world building, knowing that we lay the foundation of a useful tool, both to fiction, and to science, which in turn will help improve world building.

Build on!

Journey of a World Builder: The God Factor

Journey of a World Builder

Forward:

In recent times there has been a great return to the writing and reading of stories about the fantastic. Fantasy novels fall under a lot of classifications, “high fantasy” and “pixie-dust” to name a few. Despite their various names, they all share a common theme of exploring the impossible or the unbelievable.

This series is targeted mainly at aspiring writers of Tolkien-esque high fantasy, but it will have value to all writers of fantasy, perhaps even to writers of other genres such as science fiction.

Part One: Fundamental Principals

Article One: The God Factor

The purpose of the Fundamental Principals is to explore several truths that writers of Christian Fantasy writers must include. I will begin with perhaps the most important, God.

God, specifically the God of the Bible, must exist in some way in your books.

Examples range from Chronicles of Narnia, in which God goes by a different name and operates under a different form, to The Door Within Trilogy, in which God makes physical appearances as the allegorical King.

God is the foundation of everything we believe. God should be the foundation of everything we write. Fantasy stories without God are like creation without the creator. After all, humans really only practice what some call “sub-creation,” God actually created the raw materials, including our minds, that we put together to mold a fantasy story.

While God is a necessity for a Christian fantasy, there is the danger of being to preachy about God.

Many of us use our writings as tools to demonstrate truths, and that’s good. But many of us go about the demonstration in the wrong way, and the result is what people call “preachy” writing. In my experience, “preachy” is really a stylistic problem.

An author has two basic means to communicate a truth, outright stating a truth, or demonstrating a truth through our writing. Stating a truth, through means of having a character make an argument in defense of a truth, for example, is appropriate for some truths. However, there are other truths which are more adequately explained through the story itself.

Suppose that, using the second method, I wish to demonstrate that God is all-powerful. I can do this by have God override laws of physics in my story, demonstrating that God is above the laws of physics. Wonderful (though debatably too plentiful) examples of this technique can be found in L. B. Graham’s Binding of the Blade series.

The reason that these two methods receive different receptions is what author Christopher Hopper calls the “dragons” of our minds. We set up guards in our minds to protect us from thoughts we don’t like. A well told story can get in the “back-door” of our minds, getting past the dragons without our noticing. Of course, this can be used negatively to try to get an un-truth past your dragons without you noticing. Do not be caught unaware.

Be careful how you go about this method though, for we now find ourselves in the dangerous territory of portraying God. It’s important to consult the Bible in all matters, and special care should be taken in this area. So, let’s talk about portrayals of God in various works of fiction.

The most obvious is Aslan of Lewis’s Narnia. For the sake of discovering some of the pitfalls one can come across when writing about God, I will analyze a statement of Aslan’s.

Aslan says at one point that he must follow the rules of the great magic. The great magic is set in place by his father, the Emperor. At first, this seems a relatively obvious statement. After all, God is incapable of sinning.

But the reason God cannot sin is because God’s law is formed out of his personality. He is not subject to the law, because the law is simply a manifestation of his Godly nature. If He went against His nature, He would no longer be God. In fact, because God is unchanging, He cannot go against His nature.

One can see how Lewis easily slipped into writing something un-true. This is why care must be taken while writing about or for God. Because we cannot fully understand God, we often fall into believing things that are not true about him simply because we haven’t seen what the Bible has to say about the matter.

Another portrayal is the allegorical portrayal of God, the King of Wayne Thomas Batson’s The Door Within Trilogy. Batson avoids having the King say anything that God wouldn’t say by essentially making everything the King says a paraphrase of various biblical passages.

I think this is a good idea. To avoid a wrong portrayal or understanding of God, in the case that you actually write something your Godly character says at some point, you can simply write paraphrased statements from the bible.

Perhaps the most profound portrayal of God is Tolkien’s Iluvatar. Iluvatar may have been meant to demonstrate the all-powerful, all-knowing aspects of God’s person. It can be also be noted that there are several times when Iluvatar interacts with nature dramatically like God in the Old Testament, not visible to humanity, but at the same time performing powerful, undeniable miracles.

To cap off what I’ve said, I’ll recommend several different books to read while deciding how you would like to portray God in your story. (Please note that by portray I do not mean to cast in a certain light, I merely mean to write about Him in some way within a fictional story.)

The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis): Analyze Aslan’s behavior and speech and see how it lines up with what is said about God and Jesus in the Bible.

The Binding of the Blade Series (L. B. Graham): Analyze the Allfather’s acts of intervention and the times when he overrides the laws of nature, and compare these acts to God’s acts of intervention in the Old Testament.

The Door Within Trilogy (Wayne Thomas Batson): Analyze the way the King interacts with his subjects, and see how it lines up with God’s interaction with the saints.

The Silmarillion (J.R.R. Tolkien): Analyze Iluvatar’s behavior in the Music of the Ainur and see how it compares with what the Bible says about God’s character.

I pray God blesses you through this writing.

Your brother in Christ and fellow writer,
-Neil of Erk