One of the benefits of writing is that I get to let my fans peek into my world. To give them a sense of how I come up with things. What moves me to write, and what some of my thinking is behind certain elements in the story. After reading some reviews and interacting with readers, I thought I’d share some of the thinking in response to some of the feedback I’ve received from reviewers.
One of the criticisms of my story is that “the author would continuously use human metaphors and similes when describing how an angel perceived different events.”
The reader noted that this was something that as an author they had a problem with it, however not so as a reader. In my “Thinking about the Third Heaven”, I actually address this issue.
The real issue is how do you describe something like the color red to someone who has never seen red before? How do you describe music to someone who cannot hear?
What words can used to describe something that prior to that time does not exist? This was my challenge as a writer. Angles had never experienced certain emotions and various things (I’m assuming) prior to Lucifer’s rebellion. How would they then be introduced to said events? How would they react? What words would they use to describe these new experiences and more importantly how would this be communicated to a reader?
I tried to address this on some level by couching the whole story within a flashback. The “real” story is taking place within the prologue. Each book is an advancement of ‘that’ story. Lucifer and Michael’s conversation is the ‘real’ story. Everything else is simply a giant flashback on Michael’s reminiscing on how they arrived to that point. Therefore, not only would they have the language we use today, but even more so as the events of the prologue take place beyond our current history. So in other words the story teller, (Michael) is very much aware of the current “modern day” language we use to tell the story. How well this device is “pulled off”, I will have to leave to the reader.
On a secondary front I think I believe I simply reached my capacity as a writer to describe experiences that prior to did not exist and communicate those experiences in such a manner that a reader connects said experiences with their own. The reviewer stated it this way, “Even though the reader can understand what is being conveyed in these instances, these references are not appropriate given the voice of the book. While it would have been much more difficult to write this book if this type of reference was omitted, I think it would have made it much better.” The reviewer was correct. In that, it would have been extremely more difficult. I also believe it would have been a better book. I just confess I had reached my ability to bring it to pass. Nor did I feel it necessary for the majority of readers.
I recognize that I could have researched perhaps the writings of other authors who had experienced something like this. But then I think I would have poured more than I wanted to in investing in that aspect of the story. In the end as an author, you have to do what feels right to you as the creator.
After much thought I decided that it was not important overall. Some readers are more sophisticated than others. I wrote for the person who enjoys Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, and the Avengers so such persons already know they are entering fictitious worlds, and can forgive “minor” issues, like the physics in such movies, because they appreciate the spectacle that they are seeing. There is simply a lot about a story like this we do not know. I have tried to marry what we do know with speculation to come up with an entertaining story. Overall, I would like to think I succeeded.
I’m glad writing this novel is over! It was definitely a challenge to write!
What makes this book such a challenge for Christians?
I think the biggest challenge was simply writing this book for Christians. The reality is that the body of Christ is a “fragmented” bunch. We are Protestant and Catholic. Some believe in demonic possession, speaking in tongues, etc. We are pre and post trib, and I could go on and on. In addition, some just feel writing about how Lucifer fell is a moot issue to even discuss, possibly even sacrilegious. Others are afraid of such a subject. I’ve received a lot of input from members of the body of Christ. Mostly good. Some of the comments have been so praiseworthy as to say its better than the epic poem of paradise lost, to ” the story line is chilling to me.” to my book being called sacrilegious. So obviously, the reaction is all over the map.
“I’ve had people describe my take on God the Father as “loving”, “powerful”, to “too human.”
The reality is that its not possible to write to everyone’s tastes. As an author writing such a challenging story. My desire was to show the epic powers that are moving on both God and the enemies behalf. To give the Christian a greater appreciation of who composes that “cloud of witnesses”. And that the Bible is a supernatural book, with beings that are in epic conflict with one another. It was an attempt to peel behind the veil of the spirit and speculatively ask, “what might Heaven be like, and the angelic host.” To speculate on the 21 days that took Gabriel to get his message to Daniel. To look at things from the point of view of the angels and wonder what are/what were they thinking about all this?
I find that I am simply too limited to accommodate the whole of Christendom’s expectations and feelings on such a grand topic. What I can do is write in such a manner that tries to be faithful to the major story arcs most of us share. To add that “geek” element to our stories if we had the monies to bring such a story to the big screen. In essence, I wanted to tell a great story that as a Christian male I wanted to read. Since I am a lover of sci-fi and fantasy. My stories will probably appeal more to that demographic. Typically men, which I see as a great thing! (We need more men reading Christian fiction that caters to them.) So yep, the battles are a bit long. Because hey, we fellas like action! I wrote the book for the kid in me. So if you like, epic battles I think you will like the book. If you like, Braveheart, Lord of the Rings, Return of the Jedi, and of course the Bible. I think by the time you get to the end of the story. You will go “wow!” If a person approaches the book, looking for something that is 100% in line with how the reader pictures the spiritual world a reader will probably be disappointed.
Another piece of feedback was on how fast angels move from their innocence to sin. As an author, I am forced to determine the pace of storytelling. My rational is that in the garden we went from biting the proverbial “apple” to murder. This is a very quick escalation of events. While we do not know how long the actual time frame was from Adam and Eve’s sin to the death of Abel. We are given to see how things can quickly escalate out of control. How much more then can I speculatively ask could things go awry among beings that are not bound by time at all?
Let me close this longer than normal blog post by mentioning that soon I’ll be releasing the next novel. The prologue will be out shortly for people to read, and those that sign up for my newsletter will get the prologue and first chapter for free. I am thinking of writing a short novella as a companion to the story. Keep coming back for new updates and insights!
Until then have a great Christmas and enjoy the holiday season!
With much love,