Is it Getting Hot in Here, or What?

Life really pushes us around sometimes, testing our strength, our patience, and sometimes our faith. Writers test their characters just as hard, sometimes harder. We can put them in situations we hope to never face ourselves, then either shove them over the brink, or pull them back at the last second and pick up all the emotional pieces left in disarray.

Now, you might think writers are really just like a mean kid with a bug and a magnifying glass on a hot summer day. But really, we don't enjoy tormenting our poor characters. We feel their joy, disappointment, and grief just as strongly as if it is our own. In the process of exploring their circumstances and emotional reactions, we learn something about ourselves, and about people in general. Our writing is often an invitation for our readers to do the same--to put themselves in our characters' shoes just as we have during the writing process.

Einar is tested to the limits of his sanity in Into the Shadow Wood. Likewise, Elowyn faces the greatest test of her young life in Ancient Voices (I won't go into detail for the sake of those who haven't read it yet). I dreaded putting her through it, going through a writer's version of a stubborn, sulking, toddler-like tantrum where I didn't write for months. I tried to talk myself out of it a hundred different ways, but as I followed all of those different possibilities to their eventual outcomes, none of them took Elowyn where she needed to go. Without that defining moment her life would have been simpler, happier maybe, but not nearly as rich or significant. She could never be the person she was intended to be.

I eventually came to accept that Elowyn's test was bringing about a necessary pain. So I gave up my tantrum and got down to writing. I got angry. I shed real tears as I wrote, and if anyone had asked me what I was sobbing uncontrollably about, they probably would have thought I was crazy. Maybe writers have to be...just a little, anyway.

In my final acceptance of Elowyn's fate was a real life lesson for me as well. Parts of my life have not been easy, and I've sometimes thought how much better everything would have turned out without them. If I had power over the master delete key, and could go back and remove all those difficult chapters where I was tested, would I? How would that irrevocably change me, since I am a far more complex being than a fictional character? Would my life have been simpler and happier? Would I be a better person without them? I have no way to know, and I am not done being tested, or growing as a result.

Yet I do have faith that what the Bible says in Romans is true, that God really does work for the good of those who love Him. He can take the horrible things we go through and use them to make us spiritually rich and significant in the lives of others--if we let Him. Elowyn can't see my plans to turn her pain into a blessing. If she was real, she might very well think of me as a mean kid with a magnifying glass. I am equally blind to God's plans for me.

In dire times it's natural to wonder why God doesn't stop the bad things that cause such pain. But if He has a magnifying glass, its purpose is not for torment, but to give clarity and a tool for self-examination. If I can use Elowyn's trials to write her into her most beautiful future self, how much more so can the Author of all Life write my story into something more glorious than I could ever imagine?

Book Cover Survey Results

Thank you for taking my poll! Your votes and comments have been very insightful to me. This is how the results have come out so far. If you didn't get a chance to vote, you still can. I think I have some great ideas to discuss with the artist, and of course I will get his input too.

Character Spotlight - Elowyn

I've already written a character spotlight for Morganne. Now it is Elowyn's turn! As much as I relate to Morganne, there are also elements of my personality infused into Elowyn. She's an introvert too, who has difficulty sharing her innermost thoughts with others, especially out loud. That doesn't mean that she doesn't feel deeply--indeed she feels more deeply than most, even if her expression is unyielding, and her voice goes silent. 

A child of the wood, Elowyn inherently feels the majesty of creation and is drawn to the natural world.  Her mother’s volatile temper and lack of interest in her upbringing has fostered in her a sense of solitary independence and self-reliance. She is a highly sensitive, empathetic and observant child, easily awed by beauty, but equally horrified by the suffering of others.

Elowyn is very often misunderstood, which sometimes makes her feel disconnected from her family and the larger community around her.  Through the course of her life journey, Elowyn must find the courage to form loving bonds with other people, and to trust Aviad’s guidance over all else.

Is there a particular character in my series that you relate to the most?

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Discover New Authors

Indie and small press authors work hard to market themselves, and we all depend on each other for support. So I've signed up with NewsletterSwap (now bookBoast), where authors can feature each other in their newsletters. It helps readers too--you never know what unknown book, or author, will be your new favorite!

Full disclosure, here--I may not personally read all of the books I feature in this section, but I am actively seeking Christian fiction and/or CLEAN READS. If nothing else, these books should be safe. I will only feature one new author per newsletter as requests come in. If you find a new favorite from these sections of my newsletter, I'd love to hear about it!

A Michaelmas Wager

How much would you gamble for love? Rufus Lovell has been thrust unexpectedly into riches, and gained a new set of friends who delight in wagers and bets, with nothing too small or too big to gamble on – even marriage.

So when a tipsy party joke becomes a wager on Rufus’ marriage, he knows he should said no.

But Juliana Honeyfield, the unwitting and unknowing focus of the gamble, is not the simple and malleable young woman that Rufus’ friends take her for.

She demands a lot more from her acquaintances, and the challenge of understanding this intriguing woman and keeping the truth of the wager from her starts to wear thin on Rufus.

Especially when his belief in marriage has already been so greatly rocked, and his family history is sunk in crime, alcoholism, and prison.

Will it be possible for Rufus to charm the winning Juliana?

Does he owe her the truth about his initial interest in her?

And who will eventually win the Michaelmas wager?

A Michaelmas Wager is a charming Regency romance novella about the unlikely consequences of spur of the moment decisions.

Get A Michaelmas Wager FREE

Allison D. Reid, Christian Fantasy Author