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I am writing a novel right now. And I have a certain perspective on the process. According to Jerry Jenkins, who wrote the Left Behind Series, and actually several other experienced authors, there are basically two kinds of fiction writers. Some are out-liners. There is an integrity to this kind of writing. And in fact, this includes writers, like Davis Bunn and others whose writings I love.

But I am not an out-liner. I am what is called a seat-of-the-pantser. I write by the seat of my pants. Stephen King wrote one of the best explanations I have ever heard of this. He said, “I put my characters in difficult situations and write to see what they will do.”

I am not sure who said this first. I remember laughing as I read it several years ago. But when I Googled the statement, I found at least three other novelists said it. But as I first read it a novelist got an angry letter from a fan saying, “You killed my favorite character!” She wrote back, “I didn't kill him. I found him dead.”

I actually suspect this is just as true of the out-liner as it is of us seat-of-the-pantsers. But I am often surprised by what happens in a story. I too am shocked. I am saddened. I have even written with tears of of grief or joy in my eyes.

There is a real sense in which I discover the story as I am writing. In The Mind of The Maker, Dorothy Sayers compares our creativity to the creative work of God Himself. One of the things I took away from that book, is that our highest creativity comes as we personally connect with God. And I am convinced that God who is omniscient knows what I am writing. And in fact, it is His story, not mine. I have the privilege of discovering the story that I am writing with God's help.



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