April 11, 2012

A different way to think about character development

Photo illustration by Beniamin Pop
Os Hillman, writing at Marketplace Leaders, talks about three stages we go through in our Christian walk:

Stage One: “Bless me, Lord.” This is where we accept salvation. It is understanding that Jesus saves us.
Stage Two: “Help me, Lord.” Some of us reach this stage only when a crisis comes. It is understanding that we can do nothing in our own power.
Stage Three: “Have me, Lord." This is bowing to the complete lordship of Christ. it is understanding that we must yield our will to his.

Hillman asks, "Where are you today?" and this is a question we all need to answer.

But as a fiction writer, I also have to ask, "Where are my characters?" These stages are as applicable to the faith journey of a character in a novel as they are to the development of our own character. In any novel, the hero's inner journey -- in Christian fiction, his spiritual journey -- is as important as the outer journey described by the surface plot.

I recently completed the first draft of a novel in which the hero goes from agnosticism to Stage One. Meanwhile, the heroine progresses from Stage One to Stage Two. I hadn't realized it until I read Hillman's article, but that's what happens in that storyline. By keeping this in mind as I edit, I think I can bring these spiritual journeys into greater clarity.

No comments:

Post a Comment