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The Inspirational Element–Guest Columnist MaryLu Tyndall

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today, I’m pleased to feature a guest column by historical-romance author MaryLu Tyndall!

If you have read any of my novels, then you know that I always weave a strong spiritual theme within my plot. redemption.jpgThis is not happenstance. It is my passion. It is why I write Christian Fiction. I believe every Christian writer has a ministry. For some is may be just to provide a clean story for other Christians to enjoy, for others it may be to reach non-believers with a very mild introduction of the gospel, or provide a positive alternative to the sometimes depressing smut you can find in the secular market. My passion, the desire of my heart, is to wake up Christians who have fallen asleep in their walk, those who are drifting from God, or even people who call themselves Christians but who are not. I want them to see God in a different light, to show that He is alive and powerful and loves them. Through my characters, they see Him working in flawed people’s lives, transforming them, using them for a higher purpose, and giving them the abundant life He promises.

That is why when I begin a story or a series, I always start with a spiritual theme. What is it about God I want to reveal to my readers and how can I best do that? Each of my books so far has been based on a different spiritual theme. In my first novel, The Redemption, the theme was the redemption of a young lady who had an abusive childhood and who was searching for love in a human father’s arms. In book two, The Reliance, the theme revolved around the question: What do we as believers do when God lets us down? In The Restitution, the main 2reliance.jpgtheme was forsaking everything you hold dear to follow Christ. In a book I just completed, The Falcon and the Sparrow, the theme is strength in Christ through our weakness. The current series I’m working on follows the lives of three sisters who are examples of the three seeds in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13.

Once I have my spiritual theme, I create characters, typically a hero and a heroine, their friends and companions, and a villain, and then I decide how I’m going to reveal this theme in their lives and circumstances. I create spiritual arcs for most of the main characters. On a chart, I list under each character’s name where they are spiritually at the beginning of the book, then on the other side of the chart, I list where I want them to end up spiritually. In between, I write down my ideas on things that will happen to them that will cause them to change. Out of this chart comes my general plot and the three main disasters that will occur during the story, plus the interrelationships between the characters that will aid in their change.

Another thing I try to do in each story is include a supernatural miracle to demonstrate that God is just as powerful and involved with his creation today as He has always been. While many writers have a character-driven plot or goal-driven plot, I guess you could say I have a spiritual theme driven plot. The setting and time period are secondary and only add elements of adventure and romance to the story.

Each writer whom God calls to write will have a different way of writing and a different goal for their writing ministry. My books may be a turn-off for a non-believer who may feel they are too preachy, but someone else’s books may give the gospel message in such a subtle way that a non-believer might read it. 3restitution.jpgSo, my advice to you? Write what God puts on your heart and don’t worry about those that say you are too preachy or you don’t have enough of a spiritual theme in your book. God has a place for your writing and He has already hand-picked certain people to read your books at a certain time in their lives.

Now about “edgy” books. My books are definitely edgy. They contain violence, drinking, taverns brawls, and very wicked villains. Sensitive subjects such as child abuse and rape are addressed, which some Christians may find objectionable. Naturally I don’t want to offend anyone, but I go back to my prior admonition. Write what God puts on your heart. My books aren’t for everybody, but let’s face it, it’s a cruel, wicked world out there and it’s only getting worse. We can stick our heads in the sand and pretend everything is rosy and only deal with issues that fit in with our Christian worldview or we can get out there in the trenches and tell people about Jesus. The people I hope to reach are not the committed strong Christians, but the Christians who are struggling with temptation, the Christians who think the world has more to offer than God. I want to show them that these things do not satisfy and there’s always a price to be paid, that God’s rules do not restrict them but set them free, that following the Lord is far more adventurous than they could ever imagine.

About the Author
ml_tyndallweb.jpgMaryLu Tyndall dreamt of pirates and sea-faring adventures during her childhood days on Florida’s Coast. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. Her love of history and passion for story drew her to create the Legacy of the King’s Pirates Series. MaryLu now writes full time and makes her home with her husband, six children, and four cats on California’s coast, where her imagination still surges with the sea. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but expose Christians to their full potential in Christ. Her next release will be an adventurous Regency coming out in August 2008. You can visit her on her website at http://www.mltyndall.com or her blog at http://crossandcutlass.blogspot.com/

3 Comments
  1. Tuesday, February 5, 2008 11:04 am

    One of the first things that jumped out at me when reading Marylu’s books was the miracle. She wove in God’s power throughout the whole story so that when the miracle occured, it didn’t stand out like Devil’s Tower on the Wyoming landscape. It was a natural extension of what God had been doing throughout. I was glad the editors let her keep that part in, because God is alive and well and working miracles even today. 🙂

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  2. Tuesday, February 5, 2008 11:19 am

    Great post! I can really appreciate your thoughts on writing what God puts in your heart, even if some find the content objectionable. And I love the idea of a chart for the spiritual arc!

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  3. Tuesday, February 5, 2008 1:31 pm

    Thanks Ladies! Good to hear from you both! On the book I’m working on now, I could not do without my spritual arc chart.. and miracles? God performed one in my family just last night. He always amazes me and I wonder how many of His miracles I write off as coincidence when it was really Him? Anyway, God Bless

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