Yes, how the great writing year of pandemic blessed me immensely. But it also started with clarifying my purpose for writing fiction. I can finally just write it out. I want to produce fiction which will transform lives.
The year started with the death of my wife of 44 years. I needed to keep busy to deal with the grief. So, I finished book two of my Christian heroic Fantasy series: The Ferellonian King. I was pleased with the book, but it seemed to be missing something. I had gotten glimpses of being powerfully anointed by the Holy Spirit to add things which would have never occurred to me in the natural. I wanted more of that—wanted it badly.
I published and released it the end of February. And I started book three, The Staff of the King on March 6, 2020. That’s when the great writing year of pandemic blessings started for me.
The new focus of the great writing year of the pandemic
I wasn’t satisfied with what I’d written so far. The books were strongly Christian, fun, entertaining, and all of that. I really enjoyed them. Even editing and proofing the stories was a joy to me. But I was not convinced that they were transformational.
I had experienced what a difference it made when the Lord anointed my writing. It seemed like the same writing process, from inside my head, but the results were far beyond my abilities. So, I started seeking the Lord about getting a fresh anointing daily.
Being alone and writing, or at least working on the book, 8-12 hours a day gave me time to vigorously seek the presence of the Lord. He and I talk a lot [on my good days]. That’s been part of my life for a few decades now. So, I started asking Him how to do what was necessary to get a daily anointing. A fresh anointing every morning. The results were startling.
I’ve never been a plotter. I’ve done outlines [in fact, I have a half dozen or more of book one in the Ferellonian King, the Staff of Light]. I never last more than the first chapter or two before I have a new revelation and have changed the entire focus of the book.
I learned plot development as an act of worship
I knew what had to happen in book three, that had been the background theme of books one and two. But how to get there from where I was at the end of book two was not very inspiring to me. If I wasn’t excited, how could I expect the readers to get excited? This is where the great writing year of pandemic blessed me.
What happened was simple. Basically, the Lord said to me, “If you want me to bless the book, hand it over to me. Then I can anoint you to write it.” Slowly but surely, that’s what I began to do. By the end of the book I was starting each day with a heart-felt prayer, “Lord Jesus, I know that it’s beyond me to bring about transformation in the life of my readers. I need you to anoint me, revealing the plot, and showing me how these characters should react as they follow you in this quest.”
I would basically start with no idea what to write about. Sometimes it took a day or two. During that time I could work on the cover, or the description, or numerous others things. But once I started writing, the story took wonderful twists, revealed spiritual truths I hadn’t imagined I should cover. I came to an epic conclusion, 125,000 words later, in Late May. The book was released June 2, 2020. It was far above what I had imagined. I found myself pausing to raise my hands in worship as I was writing—quite often. The Lord’s hand was deft, witty, hilarious, touching, edifying, and simply wonderful. But it was almost easy. I’d been working on this trilogy since the 1990s. I knew the world I had built better than the one I actually live in.
But the great writing year came to fruition with the new Ascended Light series
When I finish a project. I kinda revel in it for a few days. Then I start dealing with places where I blew it, things I could have done better, and the dreaded question: What the heck can I write next? Now, the great writing year of pandemic blessed to a whole new level.
I took a leaf from one of my favorite writers, Jeffrey McClain Jones. He says he starts with a general, what if Jesus did this in real life today? So, that’s what I did. I set it in Albuquerque, where my wife and I lived from 1980 to 2005. We both missed it terribly when we left. Then I said to myself, What if Jesus radically saves a first-year college student and thrusts him into a radical ministry of spiritual warfare to save the city? Nothing big… I had a general idea of what the plot was: Dealing with the demonic and occult background of the anarchists and their violence during the riots. I wanted the story of a new believer called by Jesus to do something about all of this set in the near future. But I really had no idea how to go about it.
I made a couple of false starts. The results were terrible. Finally, it dawned on me that I needed to do what the Lord had led me to do with book three. Only this time I was giving him nothing except a general idea, and a location. I was doing a lot of research, discovering how much had changed in the fifteen years since we left. The research was compromised because everything I wanted the characters to do was outlawed by COVID paranoia. So, I set it five years or so in the future.
But I began each day with the same prayer I shared above: Basically, Lord, HELP! I don’t know what to write, what’s going to happen. Show me what to write and where to go. Anoint my writing to create a story that will change the lives of the readers. I trust you to do this, because you said you would do it.
Then I’d start to write. The results were amazing. I found myself immersed into a story that was revealed as I wrote it. It seemed like I was writing the same as I have since 1994. But the results were immensely different. From inside, I was just writing. After it was written I was amazing at the character development, the twists and turns, the relationships. It all just blew me away as I read it.
I finished Peace in Chaos, Book 1 of the Ascended Light series toward the end of September. By the time I released the book at the beginning of October, I realized the Lord has indeed blessed me—lifting me to a whole new level of writing. I know I’m just beginning to learn how to write fiction. And, it remains to be seen if any readers will read it. And if they read it, will they like it. And will I start to get reports of people’s lives being transformed?
But now I’m at 60,000 words on book two, which I started on the first of November. No title yet. The book’s twists and turns keep blowing my mind. It’s headed for something I really like, but which I had never even considered as a possibility. I’m convinced the Lord is in control of this venture. And that’s all I really care about.