Offense, vice, crime, scandal, misdeed, misdemeanor, transgression, infraction, violation, felony, disobedience, misconduct.

They sound awful, don’t they? Shameful. But they refer to an act, not a person. It may be what you've done, but it isn't who you are.

Sin is a one-time event. The same act can be repeated over and over, but it is an act that exists within the boundaries of time. Each of those acts is a separate event. Because I sinned yesterday, that doesn't mean I will surely commit that same sin tomorrow. If I do sin tomorrow, there is a way to overcome it.

How do we overcome sin and not let it overcome us? I write my characters into trouble, and then I write them out of it. When I get into trouble, I have to talk to the author and finisher of my faith. God is the one who has written me out of trouble time and time again.

There are several ways to stop yourself from getting back into sin, but there is only one way to be free of the stain of sin.

The blood Jesus shed on the cross is a stain remover like no other. I've experienced the cleansing power of a liquid so expensive it cost a man his life. However, that life was born of God and given by God and raised by God.

Just as God multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed thousands, He multiplied the blood of one perfect man to wash away the sin of the world.

There is blood enough to wash away my sin and yours. God forgives and He hears you.

It's okay to thank Him now.

Noah Lukeman's advice

I should've posted this yesterday. Sorry. I'm sure everyone's as busy as I am. I'll try to post on time next week.

My current carpool waiting line book is Noah Lukeman's The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life. I'm not finished reading it yet. I'm reading slowly because it makes me think about the stories I'm writing.

I liked the excercises on pages 78-80. Some of them were common sense ideas that I'd read and think: Why didn't I already come up with that? It takes time to go through the whole manuscript and pick out slow parts to beef up with more action or emotion, pull out a character, put in a different character, create more dissonance to work through.

Conflict is necessary for interest. But satisfying a reader takes more than giving your character a hard time and letting him get the victory at the end. There are surface journeys and profound journeys. Lukeman brought up thoughts in me that help draw more intricately detailed pictures of my characters' journeys.

Much of the book is question after question. But they're the right questions. Each author answers them differently for each of his stories.

Every author should own this book.

Sarah Wray

Hop on over to Scenes & Beans and check out Sarah Wray's post for Tuesday 10-17. I wrote this post so Sarah could tell a little about her husband.

Sarah is the owner of Simple Pleasures, a gift shop in Kanner Lake, Idaho. Sarah and Kanner Lake are only found in the Scenes & Beans blog and in Brandilyn Collins' new book Violet Dawn. However, Simple Pleasures is a real store.

It was fun writing the post as Sarah. She's an interesting person, full of life and love. And this week, a special celebration is being remembered!

Don't send cards or flowers, just leave a comment after Sarah's post. She'll be so pleased.

Growing Pains

Back to work! No goofing off!

I've just completed an online course called Deep Editing, taught by Margie Lawson. I highly recommend it. There was an incredible amount of teaching in just thirty days of posts. It is said to be a graduate-level editing course. Yes, it's hard work. But I believe the work is necessary.

The term "growing pains" is used for a reason. Going through that course was like having a funnel full of molasses poured into my head. It's sweet, but slow. Getting it all in there is a process. Patience is required.

My head felt like a sponge. When it was full, I had to squeeze out something to make room for more. Read, study, apply, check your work, and repeat.

Writers must push themselves to continually produce their best work, continually learn more, continually grow. When someone ahead of me reaches down to pull me along - that's what happened in this editing course - I'm thankful. Thankful because I felt like I was picked up and dropped onto a skateboard. Now I don't have to walk the lonely road so slowly. My feet have wings, or at least wheels. The length of the road didn't change, just the speed in which I travel.

I have a whole manuscript to edit, and I'm going to be very busy. No one can do this work for me.

Sigh. Back to work.