This article should have been titled, “How To Weave the Spiritual Thread to Strengthen the Character Arc,” but it was too long. I’m going to share how I use scripture to increase conflict and shape my characters.

Barbour’s Heartsong Presents line requires a scripture verse. It’s placed on the back cover copy and needs to reflect the story.

I sometimes don’t know what the verse will be until I dig into the story, get to know my characters a little better and see their fears, their goals, their dreams. But once I have the verse, I make sure the story is filtered through it.

In Merely Players, (Available in the 3-1 Florida Weddings,) the verse is, “O Lord, Thou hast searched me, and known me.” –Psalm 139:1
The story has to do with people who hide behind masks, but God knows who they really are. They run into trouble trying to be who they’re not.

In God Gave the Song, the verse is, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” –Mark 11:25

Again, the main characters must come to terms with this verse. Their inner struggles happen when they go against it, when they refuse to forgive.

And in Crossroads Bay, the verse is, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.'” –Jeremiah 6:16

The heroine, Meranda, wants to do things her own way, follow the path of her own choosing rather than God’s.

To keep the spiritual thread strong, remember that the character’s inner struggle is because they’re bucking that verse. Conflict = going against God’s word. And then, of course, their epiphany comes when they finally align themselves with the verse. Masks come off, forgiveness prevails, there is yielding to God.

The spiritual thread is not only the way we minister in our stories, it helps us maintain a strong character arc, so that our people start at one end of the thread, but make their way to the other–stronger for it.

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Kathleen E. Kovach is an award winning author, leader of the local critique group JOY Writers, and the Rocky Mountain Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. A mom and grandmother, she lives in northeast Colorado with her husband of over three decades. Visit her online: http://www.craftcinema.blogspot.com, http://www.kathleenekovach.blogspot.com, http://www.KathleenEKovach.com.


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