Saturday, April 23, 2011

God of the Empty Tomb

Sometimes you start a project with few hopes for its success. That's the way it was for me with our church's production of the Easter musical, "God of the Empty Tomb." We listened to the demo CD as I read the score. It seemed less than reverent to us. The singers on the CD all had good voices, but they lacked something, and that made us wonder how we were going to turn this into a production that would please the Lord.

As the choir practiced the songs, I could tell an immediate difference. The CD performers are professionals. We aren't. Despite the general lack of training for most of our choir, we still sound better than the album. As I sought the reasons, one thing became glaringly clear.

We all BELIEVE what we're singing. We've experienced God's love in our lives, even when going through trials and tragedies, and we KNOW He lives. 

I don't know how many of the performers on that demo CD are Christians. Maybe a few. Maybe many. I know the stress of performing in a studio. It can be overwhelming. That could be one contributing factor. I hope they all know Him. I pray for any who don't, to come to know Him, to believe the words written in that pageant.

All I know is this: when you have a group of people praying for the Lord to use them for His glory, He will.

How does this relate to writing? Here are some thoughts.
  • Do you believe what you're writing? If you don't, your readers won't, either. 
  • Are your characters flesh-and-blood people, or pawns you're shoving around a chessboard of plot? While some stories are designed to be plot-driven without much characterization, you still need to make your readers care about the outcome of the story. If they don't feel something for the inhabitants of the planet Xifantiroc, it won't mean anything to them when you destroy it.
  • Is the ending in doubt? Your readers will wonder whether your hero can win if you've given him setback after setback. Otherwise, they're liable to think something like, "So, he saved the day again. Ho hum." Make them truly believe he may utterly fail. It will make his success all the sweeter.
  • Is your finished work greater than the sum of the parts? It takes a lot of people to make a successful production. A story's parts must all work together to give reader satisfaction.
Writing a story and putting on a play are a lot alike in many ways. While writing is generally solitary, and a theatrical production just the opposite, the end results are the same. You put in a lot of work, and, if you do it correctly and have the right support, you bring it to a successful conclusion.

Have a blessed Passover and Resurrection Day!

Photo courtesy of and copyright by Kathleen Davis.

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