Monday, July 22, 2019

A CHRISTIAN BUT ALSO A SPEC-FIC WRITER // rambly chit-chat + i'm published in a print anthology!


Two days ago, on July 20, 2019, Havok's first anthology, Season One: Rebirth, was released to the world.

Image result for happy screaming gif
via Tenor

I'm blessed and privileged to have four flash fiction stories published on Havok's website so far this year. I could provide individual links for all of them, but you could only follow those links successfully if you have a membership to their story archive (which is super affordable, by the way XD). But anyway, of those four stories, ONE of them was chosen to be included in their first anthology!! Which is available in print as well as ebook format!!! *cue more screaming*

First things first, CHECK OUT THE COVER.



SO. MUCH. GOLD. SO... SO PURE. *doesn't know what she's saying*

Second things second, it has a page on Goodreads you can check out. AND - of course - you can find it easily on Amazon, where it's available in both print and ebook. (I've already mentioned this, but... you know. EXCITED.)

At the time I'm writing this post, I haven't received my own physical copy in the mail yet, but I'M SO PUMPED TO HOLD THE THING IN MY HANDS.

Friends, I'm so humbly blessed to have this opportunity. Every time I've submitted a story, I've asked God for His will to be done with it. Every time I've prayed about the possibility of appearing in Havok's anthology, I've asked for His will to be done. His answers to those prayers show me that these stories and their publication have been part of His perfect plan for me since... well, since the beginning of time?? O_o I'm quite frankly BLOWN AWAY by how much He cares about my writing.

Part of the reason why I'm so awed is that I am currently in the process of learning how important I am to God as a writer. Too often I subconsciously try to bridge a gap between my writing life and my Christian life, as if they're not compatible. Maybe I wouldn't have a problem with it if I wrote contemporary stories featuring Christian characters or historical fiction set during Bible times. But I don't. I am a speculative fiction writer, which means I write stories with supernatural elements - or elements in general that don't exist in our world. The umbrella of spec fic covers genres like fantasy and science fiction. 

Moreover, I have yet to write a flat-out analogy like The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis or the lesser-known The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson. All of this to say... It's easy for me to make the mistake of disconnecting my writing from my faith because I don't write explicitly Christian stories.

I could talk about sooooo many little ways God has already shown me I can and should build a firm connection between these two prominent areas of my life. It's sort of an ongoing lesson. In fact, just recently I was making the separation again and prioritizing writing over my relationship with God (double yikes). Thankfully, by His mercy and grace I'm back on track again. PHEW.

And now He's showing me some really cool things.

First of all... STORY EMBERS. If you don't know what Story Embers is, it's an epic website hosted by a group of epic Christian writers, chock-full of epic free resources + epic articles on all things writing - especially on how to write for God's glory as a speculative fiction storyteller.

...

Yeah, I'm a fan. XD

GOD'S TIMING THO.

Yellow Flowers

My current favorite article series of theirs is "How Should Christian Authors Depict _____?". The intro post realllllly inspired me and informed me on things I hadn't fully realized were confusing me (link above). There's an article on depicting darkness, an article on depicting violence, one on swearing, and one on sex. Reading through them has been absolutely amazing. It's prompted me to pray harder than ever for God to shape me into the kind of writer He wants me to be - the kind of writer who brings glory to Him in ways that are perhaps subtle but nonetheless impactful.

Then I started reading Philippians in my personal devotions and... WHOA. O_O

It all began with this verse:

"being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6)


In these words I sense God's personal reminder for me that He still has a plan for my writing. Despite my constant failure to reach out to Him with it (specifically my novel-writing) in the past, He hasn't given up on me. He's never turned a blind eye to my words. He's been there in every writing session. Even when I haven't given Him full control, He's never left me nor forsaken me.

Then the message got deeper.


"And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment," (Phil. 1:9) 


This made me think of Story Embers and their encouragement not to shy away from the dark realities of human depravity - as if I don't know about them or they aren't real -, but instead to portray sin in such a way that it contests the light and loses. Darkness causes light to shine brighter, and the light of Jesus' love always wins. I could expand on the word discernment here as well, but suffice it to say that this verse speaks to me A LOT. There's so much packed into it that I want to make more time to meditate on it. <3


"that you may approve the things that are excellent," (Phil. 1:10a)


This is pretty self-explanatory. As well as writing about bad things in such a way that exposes their badness (Ephesians 5:11), God wants me to approve excellent things by incorporating them into my writing. The challenge comes when I choose to be bold and write about excellent things the world might not consider excellent... I shouldn't shy away from those either, even if I want to reach a secular audience as well as Christians. Especially if I want to do that.

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! ~ Isaiah 5:20


"that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Jesus Christ," (Phil. 1:10b)


Uh oh. There's that dread word offense. Maybe I desire to go out on a limb for Jesus, but I also don't want to offend anyone... And I don't want to go so far out on my limb that I offend the Word of God.

God is showing me in this verse that He wants to help bring me to a place in my writing where I'm sincere and without offense. I want to be able to handle every tough topic or serious aspect of a story with tact and taste. And I can't do it on my own, but God promises He'll be here to help till the day He comes back.

And finally:


being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Phil. 1:11)


I want my writing to be fruitful.

I want my writing to be righteous.

I want my writing to bring glory and praise to the God of the universe.

Orange Flower With Butterfly

Well, I think my rambly chit-chat is over now. Kudos to you if you made it to the end! Maybe I made no sense, but hopefully I made at least a little sense? Idk, you'll have to let me know down below. XD

In summary, I'm a print author and I'm so blessed and God is growing me as a writer. And I wanted to share what I've been learning with all of you, because some things are too exciting to keep to oneself. Especially since I know a good number of my blog readers are Christian writers as well. Maybe these verses could encourage or inspire you in one of your writing struggles, or just in general.

Keep writing, my friends. And don't write for the world. Don't even write for yourself. Write for Jesus.

He wants to infuse every word that spills out of your fingers with true love and purpose.


The Lord's Truly,
What are some ways you've been growing as a writer? Have you heard of Story Embers? Which Bible verses inspire you in your writing life? Leave a comment and we'll chat!

"The world does not need more Christian literature. What it needs is more Christians writing good literature." ~ C.S. Lewis

16 comments:

  1. OMYGOODNESS!! I am so happy for you, Lila!! This is truly amazing!! <333

    I’ve been working on memorizing the chapter of Philippians 1 for the past few months now, but tbh, I never thought of how much it related to us writers. Seeing these familiar verses in another familiar context is really encouraging. Thank you for sharing this post, and always pointing back to God. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH, DANIELLE!!! I'm truly amazed. <333

      Wow, that's so cool! And I'm so glad this could encourage you. <3

      *all the hugs*

      Delete
  2. AAAH! CONGRATULATIONS! YOU GET TO HOLD A PHYSICAL PUBLISHED COPY OF YOUR STORY!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH, MK! IT'S SO SURREAL, TBH.

      Delete
  3. LILA, CONGRATULATIONS!! I can’t wait to read your story - I have the book sitting in my room RIGHT NOW but haven’t started it yet! *freaking out*

    And I love these reflections - especially the first one! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOUUUUUU!!! And eeeeeeek, I'm so excited for you to read it! ALL the epic stories. *flailing*

      Thank you! <3 :)))

      Delete
  4. This post is SO BEAUTIFUL oh my word. There was so much talk about this at the conference this week and all I can say is--it's so encouraging to have all these reminders that ALL our fiction matters to God. It's not merely a matter of straight-up allegory or anything like that. It matters to him. Thank you for reminding us of that <3

    AND A HUGE CONGRATS ON YOUR STORY BECAUSE IT'S PRETTY DARN AMAZING <3333

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, THANK YOU. I felt called to share this, so it makes me really excited to hear how it's tied in to what other people have learned or are learning. <3 You're so welcome! <3

      And YES, it's really inspiring to hear from God Himself that He cares about our writing. All of it. <3

      THANK YOU SO MUUUUUUUUUCH!! <3333

      Delete
  5. *squeals* AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THIS IS SO AMAZING, LILA!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

    And your post made total sense, I loved reading it! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *joins you in squealing* THANK YOU SO MUCH, ASH!!!!! I'M SO EXCITED!!! <333

      Yayyy, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :D

      Delete
  6. OHMYGOODNESS!!!!! LILA!!! THAT IS FANTASTIC ABOUT YOUR STORY BE INCLUDED IN THIS ANTHOLOGY.

    And also this post is beautiful and really hits home with me because I feel the same way about my writing ;P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH, I'M SO EXCITED!!!!! *tackle hugs you* *again* XD XD

      Awww, I'm so glad it touched you. Praise the Lord!

      We're in this together. :D <3

      Delete
  7. Ahhh, I was so happy to see your name on the list of authors!!!

    And yes, very familiar with Story Embers as I have friends involved with that ;)

    keturahskorner.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Keturah!!! I was pretty amazed to see my name too, ngl. O_o

      I ADORE Story Embers! And the people involved with it are EPIC. :D

      Delete
  8. I'm so proud of you Lila! Congrats!!!
    I picked this up at Realm Makers can't wait to read your story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww, thanks so much, Skye!!! That means so much to me. :')

      I hope you like it! <3

      Delete

If you haven't commented before, just know that I would LOVE to hear from you! And if you're a frequent commenter, just know that I never get tired of talking with you. <3

(Moderation has been set up for comments on posts older than 6 days, just to make sure that your message doesn't escape my notice. xD)