Saturday, November 29, 2008

Real People (Two Types)

As an apropriate "first posting", I want to just spend a few minutes talking about REAL PEOPLE. You know the type. When we claim someone as a good friend, part of the reason they are dear to us, we say, is because they are "real". They are approachable. They are honest.

I'm going to talk about two types of "real people". One type are Christian authors.

One of the blessings of going to a writers' conference—and I'm referring to a Christian writers' conference because that is my sole frame of reference—is the opportunity to learn from, meet, and talk with popular writers. Did you know that most of them are real people?

New writers can feel pretty intimidated meeting these big-time professionals. But it's amazing to discover that famous Christian authors often feel just as insecure as anybody, and they are candidly honest about it. Yet, they are almost always willing to meet with and encourage beginners. I believe that a large part of that is because they have the right perspective. They have retained the humble realization that their gifts and opportunities have come from God. It keeps them grounded.

I have also found that among Christian writers, there is a distinct lack of cut-throat competitiveness in an industry where you have to get yourself noticed. Still, even while one writers' manuscript might shine brighter than another's, we frequently find people rejoicing with others who make sales, whether or not they make sales as well.

And, Christian writers, at least the ones I've met, are honest and open about their work, including their struggles. I don't think that writers who produce memorable work can do it if they aren't willing to be real.

The other "real people" I want to mention aren't really real in a living sense at all. You've got it. I'm talking about characters. (The ones in our books - not family members. Ha. Ha.)

Real characters are characters that are honest. They aren't one dimensional, with perfect solutions to stereotypical problems. They suffer and they trip up a lot when they try to do the right thing. They give us glimpses into their realities in ways that we real people can relate to. They inspire us by being somebodies who go through the same emotional upheavals and stumbling blocks of sin that we do. And they point us in the direction we need to find hope. They don't come to it too easily, with everything wrapped up in a package. But they make their way there in all the twisty turny ways that we real people do as well.

Hopefully, as we go forward with our stories, we will BE REAL in our writing, and we will CREATE REAL people who will encourage others.