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Story Sundays

Story Sunday #3: Their Flesh and Blood

Seth has questions about his adoption and his parents’ love for him.

And… we’re diving right in!

I’m so excited for Story Sunday #3! But first…

I want to say a huge thank you so much for the out-of-this-world support on Friday’s post, my predictions for When Calls the Heart season 8. (You can read that post HERE if you haven’t already.) I honestly just wrote that post for fun and didn’t expect such a response. There was so much support on it, I almost couldn’t believe. When I saw the number of views and the number of people who visited, I was just like WOW. It was CRAZY and made me so happy! I loved fangirling with everyone in the comments, both on the site and on Twitter. I even got a quote tweet and 4 retweets on Twitter! I want to say thank you so much to everyone.

(By the way, if you’re not following me on Twitter, click right HERE to do so!)

Now for the third ever Story Sunday!

Here are all the details on this week’s writing.

Number of words written: 4,425 words. To be honest, I was disappointed at this because I thought I would get so much more written. But I know God is leading me in his own good pace and his own good time, and as long as I work to glorify him he will do great things through my feeble work. I’ve been trying not to be so hard on myself, knowing that he wouldn’t be pleased by how I usually beat myself up when I don’t reach my goals.

What I did: Edited and rewrote Chapter 4 of The Apostle’s Sister. Out of the first four chapters, this was the second hardest to edit. Chapter 3 was the hardest of all, but Chapter 4 is a close second.

Highlights: Although Chapter 4 is immensely tough to write, I also thoroughly enjoyed the wrestle. It’s hard to write because it’s so packed with emotion. There isn’t nearly as much action as there is in Chapter 3, but that brings a different kind of difficulty. I actually find emotional scenes more difficult to write than the quick-paced, action-packed ones. Chapter 4 is when Temira realizes that she really does love her brother, and feels horribly guilty that she may never get the chance to apologize to him. There are touching scenes between brother and sister, although Temira inadvertently hurts Paul even more than she has yet. That adds a very interesting element and further conflict to the chapter.

Any profound thoughts? I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and praying on my future and the futures of my St. Paul novels. Right now I won’t discuss details, but after I’ve had more time to see clearly, I will probably share my feelings with you all.

On another note, I thought this week about how we think in awe: “What would it have been like to be St. Paul’s sister or nephew?” In fact, that’s what sparked the idea for TAS in the first place! But in reality, who views one of their family members as other-worldly? There’s just too much familiarity in those relationships! Of course, we’re naturally in awe of Paul and are awed at the prospect of being his sister or nephew. But I know I don’t idolize my family members, and when others express admiration for them I’m honestly surprised. I know that may sound weird, but think about it for a moment! I’m sure you’ll find it’s the same with you.

Temira was Paul’s sister, and she adored him as little sisters adore their brothers, but she was not blinded by her adoration. She still saw him as just her brother, whom she had known since he was a mere boy. She knew many parts of him, including his flaws. She did greatly admire him and saw him as extraordinary, and she did think that no sister ever had such cause to be proud. But to her, he was firstly her brother, not firstly the great apostle.

As for Seth, he of course loved Paul as a child loves his parent. But no child consciously idolizes his parent. To Seth, Paul was just his uncle. He didn’t understand the enormity of Paul’s mission, nor was he really focused on his uncle’s reputation and miracles; Paul was merely “Uncle Paul” to him. (As you shall see in the upcoming diary entry.)

Paul was firstly known to Temira and Seth as a tender brother and parent, not as a miracle-worker.

I was just thinking over all that and had to smile. I really want to portray in my books that Paul was firstly known to Temira and Seth as a tender brother and parent, not as a miracle-worker. That’s the way it would have been. I make it my mission to portray Bible figures as relatable flesh-and-blood beings who were just like us, and we’re not in awe of our siblings and parents. They’re just that – our siblings and parents. And I imagine Paul would have been uncomfortable with his own sister and nephew pressing close to him, striving to touch his robes for healing as the crowds did. The crowds took and emotional toll on him and he would have liked to get away from that for rest and among people who wouldn’t be so awed and terrified of him.

I hope everything I just said actually made sense….

Now for the moment we’ve all been waiting for! How did everyone vote on Story Sunday Survey #2? Which diary entry is the winner?

*drum roll*

*crickets chirping*

Everyone yelling: Just say it already, JC!

Okay, okay. Oh, who am I fooling? I’m so excited to announce today’s diary entry!

*realizing that everyone already knows what it is because of the post excerpt*

*announcing it anyway because that’s fun*

This week, the majority voted for a diary entry from Seth on his thoughts about his adoption. I hope you guys enjoy it! Please tell me what you think, and if there’s anything I can improve on in my writing about Seth. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

This diary entry turned out to be 667 words, which I feel is a good word count. I want to keep these diary entries around 500-600 words, and last week I failed miserably, LOL.

Without further ado, here is the diary entry!

“It’s always the Christians who take them in.”

I remember hearing that voice as if it had happened yesterday, not four – nearly five – years ago.

I felt Mama stiffen. “What do you mean?” She held me away from the woman who stood looking down at me in disgust.

The woman’s laughter grated. “Leaving children – especially sickly, starving ones – is not something that began only last week. Little Temira, are you so naïve? Even if you are the apostle’s sister.”

My new mother touched my cheek with her cool fingers and gazed up at the stranger. She said nothing, but I sensed the tension that had never wrapped itself about her before.

“It is always the Christians who take them in when they’re left on the steps or abandoned in your houses,” the woman continued. “You are not obligated – there is good reason no one else wants them. This child will die and your heart will break. I understand this is your brother the apostle’s doing, as he fears the name of hypocrite if he did not care for the orphans as he himself commands.”

“My brother has no cause to fear that name,” said the new mama, yet so softly I could hardly hear past the pounding in my ears.

I was far too young to understand then, but I understand now. Adoption is a shameful thing, as if my parents didn’t have enough of that already. Mama says the Lord placed me in their lives. I’m convinced Christ must not be pleased with them, which is impossible to understand after the trials my uncle has contented himself with for Christ’s sake. I have given up trying to understand the stranger in whom my uncle believes.

They’ve retold the story countless times since my seventh birthday, which was the first occasion I learned of it. I knew I was adopted, yet not how it came to pass. When I turned seven, Mama and Uncle Paul consulted with one another and came to the conclusion I was old enough to hear it. I listened from the safe crook of my uncle’s arm, and was told I had been abandoned at three years old. Then Mama took me home; hours later Uncle Paul returned and held me for the first time; and they vowed to become my adoptive parents.

I don’t remember ever belonging to anyone except Mama and Uncle Paul, but apparently I had. Strangely it made me feel a sense of loss, as if I were an unexpected burden placed upon their shoulders. As if I was just an obligation of my uncle’s conscience, as that woman had said.

“Did you know my real parents?” I asked.

Mama’s smile seemed pained. “Ahava,” she said, “we are your real parents.”

I perceived they weren’t pleased by the question and so asked no more, though continued to wonder vaguely about the mother who had left me.

I’m not unhappy with my parents. Mama’s only fault is too many endearments, and with such a fault I ought to see how deeply she cares for me. And I get along with Uncle Paul well enough. He generally shows his care through teaching me, reading with me, and sternly guarding what I see and hear and say. His only fault is being what others call in various terms apostle, madman, magician, and healer. Those are the most common I’ve heard.

On account of that I haven’t had much opportunity to make friends, as my mother is always urging. I’ve had too much intercourse with members of my age and don’t care for more. One such member informed me that adoption was a “way of saying” I didn’t belong anywhere. Mama and Uncle Paul couldn’t really care because I wasn’t their flesh and blood. Something told me they would be furious if I told, which is why I never have. Something else told me I shouldn’t have listened, but I did, and the more I think about it the more sensible it seems.

I really hope you all enjoyed Story Sunday #3!

Now for Story Sunday Survey #3. As usual, I’m very excited to see how everyone will vote on next week’s diary entry. Click HERE to complete the survey. (Remember that the Story Sunday Surveys close each Thursday at 11:59 PM Pacific Time.)

Make sure to tell me your thoughts in the comments! Also, feel free to give me an update how your week went. How was your writing? How was life in general? I would love to chat, and if you ever need encouragement, I’m definitely here!

You know the drill – eat, pray, write, repeat!

JC

By Joy Caroline

Joy Caroline is a fifteen-year-old Seventh-Day Adventist Christian and Biblical fiction writer. Her two novels, The Apostle’s Sister and The Anointed, are about St. Paul from the perspectives of his sister and nephew. JC also enjoys reading, sketching, watching Hallmark's When Calls the Heart, and trying delicious desserts. You can find her at her website, joycarolineauthor.com.

17 replies on “Story Sunday #3: Their Flesh and Blood”

This was fantastic, Joy! I love reading these diary entries!!
Last week was good! I’ve been trying to get back into writing every night, but I’m not quite making my goal yet! 😦

Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoy them!
Aw, I feel ya. Getting into a routine is always hard, especially when you sit down and suddenly think of a billion other things you could be doing. Keep reaching; I know you can do it!

Lovely post as always, Joy. Followed you on Twitter.

4,425 words is nothing to be down about! Slow and steady, right? At least you’re writing, and ever word counts. I’ve been learning that God’s timing is usually quite different from what I would prefer. He’ll definitely use you and your writing – just don’t stop!

I have one word to describe editing: blech. I know it’s necessary, but it can be sooo difficult and eye-crossing. Do you go back and edit after every few chapters?

Looking forward to hearing about the future of your writing (all good, I hope!). It can be nebulous at times, especially in today’s climate where it seems every day bring an unwelcomed change.

Well, you mostly kept to your word count! That’s more than I can say for myself. I intended to have a particular chapter be 1,600-2,200 words in length, but the bugger wrapped up at 3,200, give or take a few words. I *might* be the queen of letting chapter length run away from me. Or any writing, actually. I do believe this post will be longer than I anticipated.

I love the diary entry! We don’t get enough of the kids’ POVs in general, I think. I found it interesting how Seth views adoption negatively. Will this come into play later for how God adopts us?

Thank you! I followed you back.

I actually really needed to hear that right now. I feel God’s timing is quite different from mine, and I need to learn to let go. Thanks for that reminder!

Haha, I feel ya. For the first draft of TAS, I just wrote straight through and didn’t stop for editing, ’cause I was more focused on simply getting the story out. For the second draft, though, I am going back to edit.

Thank you for the encouragement! It means a lot that you care. And actually, while I wrote the first draft of TAS I was worried about it being too long, but now I’m not worrying too much about word count: I’m pretty much just worrying about the quality of the actual story.

Yay, I’m glad you liked it! Yes, Seth views adoption negatively. Something interesting I actually discovered while working on character development for him. It’s because of the things he’s heard and been told, but definitely not by Paul and Temira, who make their love for him very clear. Actually, yes, it will! I think it’s so intriguing how in his letters, Paul describes our relationship with God as one of adoption. And Paul actually tries to explain this to Seth. It’s just a difficult concept for Seth to grab, being such a young child and hearing mostly negativity against his uncle. Of course, there are lots of people who love and admire Paul but the negative voices tend to always be the loudest.

Hi Joy! So the actual WordPress account thing worked out, sorry for any confusion!
I loved this entry! So heart felt and simple but descriptive and gave me an inside view on Seth! Writing has been okay, I set a goal to finish the plot work, so we’ll see how that goes. How about you? Also, I didn’t read your When Calls the Heart post, because I haven’t seen the series, but do you recommend it?

Nice! I like your profile picture.
Thank you! That’s great you’re setting goals. I really need to learn how to do that better… so if you have any tips or want to share your method I would love to hear that. Things are going okay; still wrapping up the third draft of Chapter 4.
I wholeheartedly recommend the WCTH series! It’s only my favorite show ever, lol. The plot is exciting and the characters are compelling. The series is completely clean and is full of Christian values. You should totally give it a watch!

Thanks! I like it too!
You are welcome! I hope writing gets better! I would love to share some tips that help me!
Remember the reason your writing in the first place, and let that motivate you and inspire you to keep writing.
Fan girl over your book! The more you love something, the more you’ll want to interact with it.
Remember that any progress, is still progress and reward yourself when your productive.
Ok I will definitely watch WCTH!

Yay, thank you for sharing your tips! Reminding myself of the reason I want to write TAS should really motivate me more than it has been lately. I should remember more often. And I love that fangirling tip! So true though. And rewards… ah, girl, you’re giving me so many new ideas on how to get writing!
Awesome! A new episode emerges on the Hallmark Channel each Sunday, I believe around 8 PM. You can just head to their website, hallmarkchannel.com, to find out and be sure. Or you can purchase on Amazon Prime Video, which is what I do. The new episode came out this morning and I absolutely cannot wait to watch it!

You are so welcome!! Glad I could help you! Ok thanks! I’ll check out those links, I’m also thought I might have seen it on Netflix, but idk for sure.

Wow!!! I think you did a lot of great writing this week! (It’s definitely WAAAY more than I get done in, like, a mOnTh!) XD
Oh my goodness, I LOOOOVED that diary entry!!!!! I was really excited to see this was the one that most people voted on! 😉 It was SOOO cool reading about Seth’s perspective and his thoughts on his adoption!
Also, I noticed your comment from above and I hope you have an AWESOME time watching WCTH!!!! I watched it last night and lemme say, my sisters and I had a LOT to talk about afterwards! XD

Hi, Victoria! Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed Seth’s diary entry. The POV of a child is always a really interesting experience for me to write.
Oh, I just watched the new episode! It was CRAZY. The courtroom scene with Nathan and Allie was so heartrending, but it was so amazing how she ran to him and hugged him after. And I still cannot BELIEVE what Elizabeth said to Lucas!!! *dying inside* But I have faith. I feel like Nathan knows Jack though, even though he said he didn’t…
Ugh, a lot happened. XD

I’ve finally got to this post!! YAAAY meeee!!!! I’m soo sorry how it takes me forever and I miss a few posts. Life’s been out of control right now and sometimes I feel like I don’t even have the time to breathe, if you know what I mean. 🙂
AWESOME, JOY!!!!!!! Yeah, I don’t have Twitter (it’s too corrupt) but that’s SOOO COOL about all the AMAZING accomplishments you’ve had on it!!!!!!!!!!! WOOHOOOO!!!!!! I TOTALLY enjoyed your short story, as always. Seth is such a relatable protagonist!!!! I looove reading your profound thoughts and CONGRATULATIONS on writing 4000 words!!!!!!! YIPPEEE!!!! You should totally be proud!!! These days I can’t even get myself to write one hundred anymore, so that’s truly AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! *throws out party streamers and passes you a big ole chocolate cake*

Haha, that’s okay. My life has been literally crazy. I’m so sorry I haven’t returned your Heir to His Crown chapter yet. I will have it to you by Sunday, though. I’ve been sort of swamped by my classes.
Thanks! I’m glad to hear Seth is relatable. That’s what you kind of want to aim for with a protagonist (but really every character). And I’m really glad my profound thoughts actually are profound… lol. Thanks again! I totally get it. Sometimes energy just seems to burn out. Chocolate cake sounds good right about now…!

That is AWESOME that you got a big response on your When Calls the Heart post!!!!!!! I love When Calls the Heart (well, what I’ve seen so far anyway😉)!!! I will definitely read your post as soon as I can. I had a school paper I was writing last week for one class and another paper that I will be writing this coming week for another class. (So, I haven’t done any personal writing – unless you count prayer journaling as personal writing🙂) That is AMAZING that you wrote over 4,000 words!!!!!!!!!!!! WOO-HOO!!!!! You go, girl!!!! Keep up the great work!!!!!!!
Also, I really LOVED Seth’s diary entry!!!!!!!!!!!!💗 It was so heart-touching!!!!!!! I absolutely LOVE Seth’s character!!!!!!!! He’s just the sweetest little thing! Awesome job, JC!!!!!!!💗

Thanks! You definitely should watch all the seasons!
I relate, I often have a bunch of stressful essays to do for my AP class, and only 40 minutes to write them. No pressure there, right? Thanks for the encouragement!
Aw, thanks again! I know – I just love Seth so much and want to protect him from all harm. He’s probably the character I have the softest heart for. Everyone else can bear the troubles of the world, but Seth… Seth is just so fragile and precious.

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