Three Ways to Use Death in Storytelling

Our theme for this month was death, which might seem like an odd theme to encourage young writers to focus on. Is it healthy for Christians to dwell on death? Isn’t the difference between us and the world that we don’t focus on death in the way that it does?

On the contrary, however, death is central to the Christian faith.death_in_storytelling-1

The cross obviously stands central in Christianity. But it isn’t just Christ’s death that is central to the Christian faith. It’s our own deaths as well. Our spiritual death in Genesis 3 sets the whole plan of salvation in motion. And the reality of our physical death urges us to make the most of our time on earth by winning others to Him.

I once heard a pastor say that his goal was to teach his congregation how to die well. Death is, after all, the final test in our lives and the point where we need to have either accepted or rejected the claims of Christ.

Death is central to the Christian faith. By extension, therefore, it ought to be central to our storytelling. Although not all stories that Christians write need to encompass death, it ought to still have a prominent role overall, and when we use death in our stories, here are three ways it can be done biblically. [Read more…]

Profile photo of Josiah DeGraaf
Josiah DeGraaf is a high school English teacher and literature nerd who fell in love with stories when he was young and hasn’t fallen out of love ever since.
He writes because he’s fascinated by human motivations. What causes otherwise-good people to make really terrible decisions in their lives? Why do some people have the strength to withstand temptation when others don’t? How do people respond to periods of intense suffering? What does it mean to be a hero?
These questions drive him as a reader, and they drive him as a writer as well as he takes normal people, puts them in crazy situations (did he mention he writes fantasy?), and then forces them to make difficult choices with their lives.
Someday, Josiah hopes to write fantasy novels with worlds as imaginative as Brandon Sanderson’s, characters as complex as Orson Scott Card’s, character arcs as dynamic as Jane Austen’s, themes as deep as Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s, and stories as entertaining as Wayne Thomas Batson’s. In the meantime, you can find him writing articles here or short stories at his website (link below) as he works toward achieving these goals.

Fight Scenes 101: Planning The Fight

By Mark Kamibaya

 

More often than we would like, we read fight scenes. And more often than we would like, we read boring fight scenes.  Fight scenes that don’t keep us on the edge of our seat, but make us flip pages to see when it ends. So how can we make gripping fight scenes that engage and enthuse our audience? It takes both careful planning and considerate writing.  fightscenespost

Planning the Scene

A fight scene is a fight scene. Therefore, you should plan it in the same way you plan all your other scenes. So approach it using thesefive simple scene planning principles.

First, every scene needs to advance the plot.

This isn’t easy. It’s hard to cut scenes you’ve worked hard on. Some scenes are there just to show your great writing skills. Cut them. Some scenes don’t exactly advance the plot, but give great characterization moments (like showing a protagonist has awesome fighting skills). Cut it. Worst case scenario is the reader will put down your book because she’s always losing the plot. Any scene that doesn’t advance the plot needs to be cut.

Second, pace your scenes.

Two big secret reveals in a row? Hinges on melodrama. Two character deaths in a row? Too much angst. Two major fight scenes in a row? Boring. This applies to fight scenes even more because some authors (usually guys) love action so much they just stick it in at every opportunity for any excuse. “Well, I’ll put a fight scene in here because it will show that Bobby likes kittens so much he literally fights for their rights!” (Also a great characterization moment) Please, no. [Read more…]