Ocean Depths and Character’s Journey

The ocean is a beautiful mystery, its depths waiting for discovery. We may never learn every species and mystery of the deep, much like the depths of God’s love and the truths of faith.

Each layer of the ocean has its inhabitants that live and thrive, just as Christians live and thrive with different levels of understanding about faith. One isn’t better or worse than another. Each level or layer is unique, with its own beauty.

So, how do we as author’s meet our readers where their faith needs lie when they are all so unique and different? We will never be able to grab every reader right where they are, but we can layer in the spiritual truth in our novels in a way that reaches a wider range of faith walkers.

Step 1: Identify the main faith thread.

This is the very basic faith element that will be explored throughout the novel on a variety of levels. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering, but it is the very foundation of a deeper truth. For our example I will use the following truth:

*God is real and he cares about me.

This truth can be explored on a surface level by one of your POV characters. It is part of their journey. You don’t always choose to explore every level of the truth thread, so you may decide not to start this far on the surface. It is really up to you. The main thing is that you try to have a few layers of faith, at least two.

Step 2: Deepen the main faith thread.

This is a deeper understanding of the basic truth. It may be something you explore with another POV character, possibly your hero or heroine. Often if you are planning to take on some deep truth than you will need one of the lead POV characters because it will take longer to explore its depth. To show the acceptance of the truth in the character. This is the deeper truth that comes out of our basic truth:

*God is always with me. (This is one of many possibilities)

You will need to pick a POV character for this truth, or you can choose to have your character go through layers of a truth as they grow spiritually. Maybe they start on the level of God cares about me, progress to accepting God is always with me. So, you can layer your spiritual journey in one character or divide it among the characters. Usually, I do a combination of both.

Step 3: Deepen the main faith thread one more time. Determine the POV character who learns it.

This final layer of depth will most likely come from a different POV character. Probably the hero/heroine because the depth discovered here requires quite a bit of time on the page. Here is the deeper truth:

*God doesn’t leave me, even when bad things are happening He is still with me. When I walk through the fire, He is there. I can trust Him to hold me.

This truth is deeper, but you may decide to stay one layer above this in your novel. Every story is different so follow the whisper of the Holy Spirit as you plan your story.

This method is just one way of deepening the layers of your spiritual thread to reach more than the new Christian, but you may also decide to explore varying truths with your POV characters. If you do, you can still pick a range of depth in the spiritual layers. Be careful not to overcrowd your story, but deepen it.

What strategies do you use to deepen the spiritual truths in your novel?

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About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

4 thoughts on “Ocean Depths and Character’s Journey

  1. Great ways to strengthen our stories, Michelle. And just when I needed it as I begin a new book. If we keep this in mind, it helps with character building and also the plot!

  2. bethkvogt says:

    I would say “Great ways to strengthen our stories, Michelle — and just when I was doing my rewrite!”
    :O)

  3. Michelle Lim says:

    Glad to hear it, Beth! The rewrite is often when I look more closely at my spiritual thread and deepen it. My rough draft is a bare bones affair.

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