Why, helloooo, everyone. *looking specifically at those who are here for Escaping the Blogosphere* Welcome to yet another crazy day!
I am literally so excited for today’s post. (Do I say that every post? *sheepish grin*) Well, it’s ’cause I really mean it.
I told you guys not to miss this post, because it was gonna be AWESOME! And now I am here to prove I was telling the truth.
Wondering about the title? The Anointed? What is The Anointed? I’ll explain that in a minute. But first *epic drum roll* I am presenting to you…
ESCAPING THE BLOGOSPHERE STOP 6!
Sadly, I am not gonna give you the clue until the very end of this post. (Sorry, that may or may not be because I’m trying to get you to read the post XD) Just kidding, you are more than welcome to scroll down to the bottom of the post and go right on looking for the clue! I know you’re excited, and I’m glad you are!
*whispering* But come back to read my post.
*another drum roll* I now introduce to you my new WIP, The Anointed.
Before I start, Issabelle sent me an awesome gift the other day: a mock book cover she created for The Apostle’s Sister. I thought that was so nice and wanted to share her artwork with y’all here:
Here it is! I thought the modern style of the cover was quite unique for a Biblical fiction book. Not sure if that’s what you meant to do, Issa, but if it was, I think it was genius. (And even if it wasn’t on purpose it’s still genius!) Another round of applause to her for making this for me. *claps*
Now it’s time to start talking about The Anointed. I am so excited to share this new WIP with you guys, and hope you like it!
1. Back-Cover Summary
I don’t know if I ever mentioned this before, but I absolutely delight in writing back-cover summaries. For some reason I think it’s so much fun. It makes my story sound like something I’d pick up in a bookstore and go, “Wow, this looks interesting! I have to read it!” Hehe.
Without further ado, here is the beautiful summary.
When only three years old, he’s abandoned and dumped at a “shelter for orphans.” That’s where he meets Temira, a gentle deaconess who becomes his new mother. Carried to her home, he is nursed back to health with the help of her brother Paul, a strange man others call an apostle.
Mama and Uncle Paul rename him Seth, informing him he is anointed of their God, Jesus Christ. Though not knowing what that means, Seth enjoys his new name, forgetting his old one. But it isn’t long before his new life brings new trauma. With horrible events etched in his mind, he gives up belief in the God his uncle preaches. To dull the pain, he forms a friendship with a young girl named Jerusha – whom no one else can see.
When more tragedy strikes, Seth finally decides to take matters into his own hands and discover his real self. In the process, he finds another young friend – a girl who is, coincidentally, also named Jerusha.
With Jerusha alongside him, Seth begins to unveil the harrowing details of his past. Mama and Uncle Paul can never know his true identity, but it’s only a matter of time until they find out. What will happen then? And where does Jesus Christ – whom Uncle Paul calls love – exist in all this?
The Anointed is a story of compassion, suffering, and unconditional love – the story of one insignificant life anointed by God to save an empire.
That’s the main story concept. I did write my usual 20-page outline, but many details I could not yet work out very well. (Trust me, if you saw the outline, you’d be confused.) The main story concept will not change, but plot elements may be subject to it.
Let me just say that The Anointed has a CRAZY plot. Like, I really did think out of the box for this one. Honestly, the plot is so crazy that I still have no idea how I’m going to handle it, but I really, really want to try. Seth’s character and story has officially captured my heart, and once that happens… yeah, I will move mountains to get it written. (I promise I’m not being dramatic.)
You know how I mentioned that Seth’s past is so harrowing he would do anything if only Paul and Temira never found out about it? That idea totally captured me, but I still don’t really know what about his past makes Seth so guilty. I could not outline that part for the life of me, so I’m doing something I rarely do: just writing and seeing what I discover. We’ll see how it turns out.
Just one more note before we move on to the next question, I PROMISE! The Anointed is absolutely not causing me to abandon The Apostle’s Sister. In case that thought crossed anyone’s mind. The Anointed is a companion to TAS. Without TAS, The Anointed would never have been born. And as I said, I don’t know what the future holds for The Anointed – it’s just something I’m having fun with and seeing where the experiment goes. Who knows? This might go well. Or I might decide never to let anyone see it! 😂 I originally thought to keep my experiment a secret, but then decided it would be much more fun if I shared it with you guys.
Enough chatter on that one. Next question!
2. Why did I decide to write The Anointed?
Oh, my word. I have so much to say for this one. I think you guys know that Seth is one of my absolute top favorite characters from The Apostle’s Sister. I just love the kid. XD I feel like after he was introduced, TAS got THAT much more fun to write! Like, even more fun than it was before.
I got really attached to Seth from the moment he was introduced, when Temira adopts him as a sickly three-year-old who’s the size of a one-year-old. His character just grew and grew the more I wrote about him. At first I thought he was going to be just one of the supporting cast, like Luke, Silas, Barnabas, Mesi, etc. Those characters are definitely important, but they don’t play a huge role aside from being Paul’s sidekicks, so they don’t get as much attention. I develop them, of course, but they don’t have any storylines or plot threads or things we don’t know about them. If that made any sense.
Anyways (seeing that probably did not make sense *nervous laughter*), Seth became one of the main characters. Like, right up there with Temira and Paul. After all, he is such a significant part of their lives. Giving them another child to raise (after Reuben) really took their character arcs to a whole ‘nother level.
All this to say, Seth completely captured my heart as I wrote him. I just loved everything he brought to TAS. He made everything so much richer, somehow. And upon finishing the first draft of TAS, I realized that being such a significant character, Seth’s story receives too little attention. I left so many gaps, so many incomplete parts.
We never learn anything about Seth’s backstory. He was already three years old when Temira and Paul adopted him as son and nephew. Three years is quite a chunk of time spent with his biological family. Yet we never learn about that family. Seth never mentions the fact that he’s adopted, and Temira and Paul never talk about it with him. I realized just how big of a gap this is. What happened? Did Seth simply forget about his biological family? Does he have no memories of them whatsoever? What were they like? I do give evidence that they didn’t care about him, since his mother abandoned him with the words, “I heard you take orphans, and as far as I’m concerned he’s an orphan.” But why didn’t they care? Did he have any siblings? Any uncles before Paul? In fact, after the adoption scene, Seth’s backstory is completely forgotten.
We never even find out Seth’s name, the one given by his biological parents. Did he just forget that, too? Why did Temira and Paul rename him right away instead of waiting to see if he could tell them when he got well?
And Acts 23:16, the very verse that gave birth to TAS, is overlooked. We learn from that verse that Paul’s nephew saved his life. And Seth of course does this in TAS, when he’s only eight years old. But I really just skim over it. Seth overthrows the Jews’ plot and saves his uncle’s life, and then it’s just over. I don’t mention it again aside from Paul’s affectionate dialogue to his nephew. I failed to realize the enormity of what Seth did. If it wasn’t for him, a mere child, Paul would have been killed, his life ended right there. Millions would have been kept from hearing about Jesus and believing in him. Paul would never have been able to convert Rome, including *gasp* many in Emperor Nero’s own household (Philippians 4:22). So by doing something that undoubtedly took a lot of bravery, Seth was used by God to save an entire empire. And I just skim over that! I’m absolutely convinced that was a mistake. And judging from Paul’s love for family (1 Timothy 5:8), I’m absolutely sure he would have said, not only to Seth: “I’m still here because of my nephew.”
So, yes. All this made me realize that Seth absolutely must have a novel of his own. He’s too important of a character to be simply skimmed over. I wanted to explore his backstory. I wanted him to have a novel that centered on him wanting to discover his past, perhaps even his biological family. But I don’t wanna give too much away, so I shall stop there.
3. Other Facts About The Anointed
A big similarity between The Anointed and TAS is that Paul is the protagonist for both. But in The Anointed, we see him from Seth’s eyes instead of Temira’s.
Here’s the thing. I would like to know what you guys think about this, if you had any thoughts about it as you heard me talk about TAS. One of my biggest struggles with TAS was making Paul not perfect. (Hope that made sense.) In both TAS and The Anointed, Paul is the moral compass. I realized while reading through the first draft of TAS that Paul rarely makes any mistakes. He rarely struggles between right and wrong as the other characters do. He always knows what’s right and never fails to do it immediately. And that’s something I need to work on: Paul is simply too perfect to be relatable. And the very point of my writing a fictional novel about him was to make him relatable to readers, young readers in particular. But Paul’s seeming inability to make mistakes is certainly not relatable. I want to see him actually struggle with right and wrong, and I’m sure many readers do, too.
One reason I really loved Marjorie Holmes’ Two from Galilee series was that she made even Jesus humanly relatable. And Jesus was a sinless human. One would wonder how an author could possibly make that relatable. But Holmes did. She showed Jesus being tempted by the things other teenage boys in his time were tempted by: popularity, crude jokes, even girls. I want to do the same thing with Paul. Of course, he’ll still be the moral compass, but I feel like that would be showcased better if he struggled with sin more often in the books.
I find that when I write from the POV of a young character, I get many more ideas. So I used Seth to brainstorm how I could make Paul less perfect and more humanly relatable. And, as always, my young character gave me the answer.
The thing is, kids see things from such a unique perspective. They say what’s on their mind; they’re very direct. There’s a reason why people tell you, if you want to know if you look good in that outfit, just ask a kid. Or if you want to know if your stuffed bell peppers are any good, just let a kid do a taste test. Kids are SO honest! Seth’s honesty about the way he saw his uncle helped me to write about Paul as he was – certainly not a perfect human being.
Seth clued me in to many of Paul’s mistakes that I missed in TAS. For one thing, Paul loved his nephew very much, of course. But in writing The Anointed so far, I realized he could be a bit of an absentminded parent. He was kind of remiss in some areas. He knew how to wisely lead, or “father” his churches, but he focused so much on that, that when it came time for him to be a parent to his nephew, he tended to fall short. He did fail, sometimes, to realize that God gave him a family he needed to give equal time and care to.
Seth was dealing with trauma, but Paul chose not to talk about it simply because it was easier not to, and he didn’t want to deal with his own pain. Seth had problems he didn’t know how to handle himself, but Paul didn’t notice because he sometimes focused merely on physical well-being instead of spiritual. These things, and a few others, led to misunderstandings and sometimes even made Seth think Paul didn’t take him seriously, or maybe just didn’t care enough. In other words, Paul was not a perfect parent. No one is. And they’ll find encouragement in knowing that even God’s “apostle of grace,” who wrote most of our New Testament, fell short in his own duties.
And something else I realized? That Paul would absolutely not appreciate a portrayal of himself as a faultless person, because that’s not reality. He himself was the first person to admit he was not perfect:
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19).
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24)
Anyways, that’s one major thing I LOVE about Seth’s voice, that he helped me see this. Through the innocent, honest POV of a child. Another thing about Seth’s voice I really enjoy is his brutal verbal honesty, which all kids do possess. He’s got a temper, and he’s not afraid to tell his parents what’s on his mind. This often gives my other characters pause, as they realize that Seth knows more than they thought.
I love writing from the perspective of a child, because it gives me such a fresh view, too. Not to mention that it’s super interesting to think about! What would it be like to be the nephew of an apostle? What would it be like to watch your uncle heal sick and raise the dead and cast out demons with just a touch or even a word? What did Seth think when he saw the people bringing their handkerchiefs and aprons to Paul to touch? It’s just so cool to write about!
It’s also intensely emotional, though. I feel like the torture scenes and aftermaths in The Anointed – there are four in total – are even harder to write than they were in TAS. It breaks my heart to write about a very small child who has to watch things so horrible happen to a guardian he loves so deeply. Seth’s trauma caused by watching Paul tortured is one of the biggest conflicts in The Anointed. It’s honestly painful for me to write about, because that’s not an easy thing to portray. I feel like this subject could definitely be a whole post – how do you write about trauma so horrible in a child? Seth’s haunted by those experiences, of course, and they stay with him forever. So that’s a really difficult part of The Anointed. But it’s also one of the most beautiful. Suffering and sacrifice are awful themes, but they’re also the most powerful themes, as I learned while writing TAS and which I expect to learn again while writing The Anointed.
Anyways, I’ll end the post here. I just wanted to do a quick little introduction to The Anointed, to let you guys know about this exciting experiment I’m doing. What do y’all think? Do you like the idea of a novel from Seth’s perspective? Let me know your musings on all this! (Musings? What an nice, old-fashioned word. LOL.)
Also, I did actually intend to share a few snippets from The Anointed today. But sadly, I didn’t get much written in the manuscript, as most of this week was spent outlining. Keep your eyes out for snippets, though! I promise there will be more posts on The Anointed as I give you guys updates on how the experiment is going. I will be sharing snippets as soon as I’ve got some decent ones for you to enjoy.
Before I end, HERE is the clue for all you scavenger hunters!
In the category “Poetry” you’ll find below
You’ll discover a post I did not write too long ago
Go on and escape the blogosphere, and have a good day!
Love and Light will carry you away.– a sincere attempt at an epic rhyming clue by yours truly
Hope you guys enjoyed! Blessings. And remember, if you comment on this post, you earn an extra entry for prizes! (*me subtly trying to get people to comment* XD)
You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!