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Romancing the Reader

For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I’m surprised where the journey takes me. 
Jack Dann

Hello from Janice Thompson, freelance writer, editor and speaker.  I’m happy to bring you this course on Romancing the Reader. As a fiction author, I’m particularly thrilled to put together this course. If you have any questions about this (or any other) lesson, please feel free to leave a comment. You will find all questions bulleted and written in bold ink.  

The Role of Romance in Christian Fiction

LET THE WOOING BEGIN!

As children of God who are called to write, we have an obligation to “woo” others with the message(s) we present. With that in mind, take a look at the following outline and corresponding questions, then ask yourself if you are “romancing” your readers.

Me, a Romantic?

We all have a need/desire to “woo and be wooed.” Christian fiction presents an amazing opportunity to do just that—to woo the reader (gently) toward their Savior.

  • How do you feel about that?Do you have a desire to be wooed?Have you ever considered the idea that your book (regardless of its genre) might be used to “woo” readers toward their Savior?What is the difference between “wooing” and preaching?

Romancing Across the Genres

Writers throughout the ages have used the written word to incorporate spiritual/romantic elements

 “Romancing” isn’t just for romance writers.  All Christian novelists (in all genres) are called to incorporate romance into their work 

  • Can you think of ways to incorporate romance into your story?
  • Does your genre lend itself to romantic elements?
  • Why is it important to incorporate them, even if it’s difficult?

Presenting “The Sacred Romance” (the great adventure)

The Ultimate Romance – God longs to reconcile mankind to Himself

Can’t you just imagine this newspaper headline: “A Flawless God Falls in Love With A Flawed Mankind” (Amazing!)

  • How can you show the “reconciliation” theme in your story?Are your characters flawed? How can you show God’s love to/through those flawed characters?

The Quest for the White Knight

We’re all looking for “Mr. Right”

Average Joe’s must go in our writing.  We want a “Hero Among Heroes” and our readers do, too! This desire comes from being in relationship with the greatest Hero of all time!

  • So, will there be a “white knight” in your story?How is God the ultimate “White Knight?”Even if your character doesn’t play this role, how can you reveal God’s heart to your reader so that they understand HE is their “White Knight?”

Jesus, Lover of Our Souls

Jesus is the Ultimate Example of Love

He goes on loving, even when we don’t deserve it.

  • Does your book have at least one character who exemplifies this trait? 
  • Can you use that character symbolically to show your reader that God (and God’s people) will go to any lengths to love him/her?

Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places

There is a “hole” in the middle of the world

The World is in Need of Direction

  • When you read the words “There is a hold in the middle of the world” what comes to mind?How do these words affect your primary character?What can you do about filling that hole in the life of your readers?How is your character shown direction? How can your reader, in turn, be shown direction?

To Know Him is to Love Him

Our Personal Relationship is Key. We have to be in a day in, day out relationship with God. 

Before we write a word, HIS Word must be written on our hearts

  • Do you commit each writing project to God as a potential ministry outlet?
  • Is His Word written on your heart?

A Call to Adventure 

The Call of God for twenty-first century writers of faith

  • How do you feel about that? Do you feel a call of God regarding your writing?If so, how have you responded to the call?Have you ever thought of yourself as having a call to “woo” people before?

Isn’t It Romantic…

Spreading the Love/Our goal as Christian novelists

  • When you sit down to write, do you think about the fact that you are sharing Christ’s love with your potential readers?
  • What is your goal as a novelist who loves and serves the Lord?

Letting the Hero Have His Way

Listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit as we write

Incorporating God-breathed ideas

  • Do you pray and then listen for the Holy Spirit to speak through you?Do you ever feel like “your” ideas are truly God-breathed?If so, how does that make you feel? Do the words seem to have more power?

Love is In the Air

Let the wooing begin!

Creating Desire in the Reader begins with crafting great characters—characters they can relate to who share the same struggles and pains

  • How will you go about creating desire in your reader?
  • Are your characters realistic? Do they struggle?
  • How could a reader relate (specifically) to your characters?

Scrapping the Trash/Leaving the Treasure

Secular romance is filled with “titillating” moments, meant to entice the reader. As Christians, we know to trash that stuff!

Our stories need to incorporate true (eternal) romantic elements

  • How do you feel about trashing the titillating?How can you (or have you) incorporated eternal romantic elements into your story?What is an “eternal” romantic element, anyway?

Stories of the Heart

As Christians, we have a high calling. We must do away with the cheesy and develop the classy

Throughout history, writers have attempted to incorporate a spiritual/romance thread in their stories. Some have worked really well, drawing people to Christ in a subtle “wooing” sort of way.

  • What is your idea of a “classy” book that incorporated the subtle theme of God’s love for humanity (or a character)?
  • Can you give examples from literature (past and present) to define what worked and what didn’t work (as far as incorporating romantic elements)?

Wouldn’t it Be Loverly? 

Reaching the World with the gospel message through our writing is the goal. How we go about it is key. No slam-dunking, please! Gentle wooing is an art.

  • Set some goals for yourself as a writer of inspirational fictionBegin to pray about how God can use you to “woo” others into His kingdom!

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