Monday, March 4, 2019

Divine Intervention

Do you believe in it? I do. I've experienced a lot of it in the last few years. The definition of divine intervention, according to is "a miracle or act of God (or gods) that causes something good to happen or stops something bad from happening."

Christian fiction is filled with moments of divine intervention. In fact, all fiction has elements of it. Don't you think? Like when the detective miraculously finds the final clue in an unexpected location just in time to save the missing child before the kidnappers kill her. The problem for me is when an author uses it to progress his story, or even worse, resolve the main conflict with a moment of divine intervention that doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the work. I recently read such a book, and I loved it. Up until the end, that is. The moment of divine intervention seemed like a crutch the author used to get his character from point A to point B because he couldn't figure out a better way to do it. It felt forced and unnatural. And it was not believable.

After I finished the book, I kept trying to figure out why this "miracle" didn't sit well with me as a reader. And I finally figured it out. The hero wasn't actively trying to solve his problem. The solution just fell into his lap. And then it was over. The problem was solved. End of story. Take my poor example of the detective above. He is actively trying to find clues. It just so happens that the he stumbles across the clue he needs in a place he isn't looking. But he IS looking. He IS doing something. And, the clue itself doesn't solve the detective's problem. It only gives him the tools he needs to solve the problem. He still has to go find the child and save her from her demise.

Miracles in novels are great. I love them. But they can't take the place of the character's actions. And they can't solve the main conflict all by themselves.

What about you? Read any books with divine intervention lately? Did it work? Did it not work? Why?


janet smart said...

Hi, Susan. Writing is a path where we keep learning (or hopefully so). I'm constantly going back to my manuscripts and adding meat to the bones, so to speak. I think divine intervention will work, but like you said, the character has to keep actively trying to figure out the mystery himself. You don't want to make it to easy.

DUTA said...

I am not an expert about characters in books.
In reality, I always pray to God to guide my thoughts and actions in the right direction. And only if they fail me, to intervene and perform the miracle.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

When I want something to happen in a story, I have to work backwards from there and work out why that something has to happen, and how it can believably happen. It's not always easy, though.

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Anonymous said...

I like divine intervention. His name is Jesus Christ.