Sunday, May 22, 2011

Write in the Flesh.... Edit with the Spirit

Christy here...

Write in the flesh, edit with the spirit. 

Have y'all decided I've lost my marbles?

I hope not... I'm hoping to have found them!

This is a new concept for me, as I realized when I write, I need to just lay it all down. On that first draft, I'm creative to a point. I have the scenes in my head and usually they are very clear. They are usually rough and direct. There may be more "telling" on that first draft, or it may lack in setting. In the initial draft, I can't think of all of these flowery phrases and smart synonyms until I'm "in the zone." And sometimes that doesn't come until draft 2... or 20!

But beyond flowery phrases, sometimes, I can't write a message-filled story in that first draft. I know my theme. I know the point I want to get across. I know what the characters are going to go through and I know how they are going to resolve their issues. God's grace is present through it all, but He may not show up on that very first draft that no one sees but me.

I figured out that sometimes I need to allow myself to write in secular mode. That means anything goes. I may have to use ugly words. I may have to write a love scene that would never fly in CBA. The point is, I'm fleshing out the story for myself. It will be edited out later. And writing those ugly words and descriptive scenes is what I've recognized... and hope is the Lord guiding my understanding... that I am writing in the flesh... Because I'm not perfect. I have to write "real" on that first draft.

Yet, when I edit, this is where the prayer throughout the planning of the story comes to light. Because, I know who my audience will be. I know they want to read a Christian novel to protect themselves from the nastiness and crudeness of the world. They've been there and done that. They're trying to live for Christ now and that means turning their eyes on Him. They still need entertainment. And that's where Christian Fiction enters. Give them an emotional story with much angst and adventure, but give them clean scenes and allow the Spirit of the Lord to take over.

I'm still teaching myself to write this way. The result is so clear. It's still hard to write free and be real. I'm talking on a personal level. I don't want to write ugly words or scenes, but for me as the writer, sometimes the manuscript is my outlet. Once I've let something go, then I can review it and pray over it and turn it into something I think is beautiful. And hopefully, someday, a reader will too.


  1. Ha--I don't think you're crazy-I think you are 'write' on! Writing that rough draft is a special time. Because you know nobody is going to see it when it's done-nobody but you.
    I wish we blogger had a 'like' button like FB does. I'd 'like' this post!

  2. Christy, I think this new revelation for you is God's Spirit leading you to what works for YOU. Highland Blessings didn't start out as a Christian book it was a secular novel called Promised Betrayal. It later became Promised Blessings when I converted it--and then the finished product became Highland Blessings at my publisher's urging. I think you are definitely onto something here that will work for YOU!

  3. Thanks Lindi & Jenn, I hope you're right!

  4. What an interesting way to think about it, Christy! I think we all need to do what works for us. And I love the idea of turning it into something beautiful.

  5. You have hit the nail on the head. I haven't written in several years because I would get to a point where I didn't want to write that graphic scene. Or I didn't want my characters to do things I personally didn't agree with. So I just quit. In the past few years I have been reading love inspired and Liz Curtis Higgs books. Now I want to write again and I am ready to pull out the old works in preogress a nd cut some of the secular sceens.
    Thank you for all of your wonderfull books. I reall enjoy your blog.
    Loree Ellis

  6. Yay, Loree! I hope you'll be able to jump back in. I know I miss it when I don't write.

  7. Christy, do whatever works for you :) I don't think anyone of us write the same way :)