Thursday, November 03, 2005

BC: My Kingdom for a Plot—Part 2

A title. Hm, let’s see. The first three in the Hidden Faces series were Brink of Death, Stain of Guilt, and Dead of Night. I needed another “Hm of Hm” title. Had to be punchy. I started writing a list of possibilities. Out of Time . . . On the Edge . . . Web of Lies . . . Stroke of Fate . . . whatever came to mind. I thought and prayed on this for a couple of days. Lord, which one speaks of the story You want me to write? In the end, Web of Lies stood out as the one I should use. What this had to do with a skull reconstruction was beyond me.I happily e-mailed the Zondervan marketing director with my title.

Now for the plot. It had to be intense and full of twists. And time was seriously ticking.Let’s see. I had Chelsea with her visions and Annie doing a skull reconstruction. And the title that must speak to the very core of the story. That was it. God, help.

Meanwhile in the back of my mind a poignant memory from that September writers’ conference kept pulling at me.

Over the next few days, my brilliant line of plot-thinking went something like this.

Okay, Web of Lies. “Web” could be used figuratively. What kind of metaphorical “web of lies” can I come up with that’s scary?After much mulling on this, I yielded a big, fat nothing. But wait . . .A literal web means spiders. Spiders can be scary.A light bulb went off in my head. I know! I shall write meself a book about spiders!

Bada-boom, bada bing!

I basked in the glory of my immense creativity for a moment.

Next: so who would have the spiders? Not the protagonist.

No, silly. Definitely the bad guy.

Spiders aren’t scary in terrariums.

No, but they’d be scary if people are threatened with ’em. ’Specially if they’re big, bad poisonous spiders.

Oooh, I know. I could put ’em in a room.

That would have to be one crazy bad guy.

Hey, crazies are the funnest! (Don't tell my mother.)

So how 'bout this? Chelsea has her vision. It’s a vision about a room of spiders. With people in it.

Ooooh, cool.

Wait a minute. Which people?

Shoot. Knew I’d hit a snag sooner or later. And besides that, what does that skull have to do with the spiders? And also, how do I get Chelsea and Annie together when they don’t even live in the same town?

This idiocy aside, I was also thinking a lot about the spiritual thread. That’s as uncommon for me as backing into a story, because usually I don’t think about it at all. I just try to write the best rockin’ suspense I can, and as I write, the spiritual theme begins to emerge. But I couldn’t get that wrenching scene from the conference out of my head. God, You trying to tell me something?

At that conference I’d had the privilege of praying for numerous people and seeing some wonderful healing results. One group of four friends had asked me to pray for them. “Just whatever God tells you,” they said. I didn’t know these four people at the time.

In the prayer room, one at a time, I placed my hands on their heads, and asked God to show me how to pray. Sometimes He gives me a strong answer, sometimes not. For all four of these dear people, God would impress me with specifics as to how to pray.

I came to one of them, a young woman. This is the scene that had tugged and tugged at me. She was sitting, and I stood over her, my hands on her head. I asked God to show me whatever He would . . . and waited.

He answered, all right. Strongly. One word hit me hard in the chest.

Just one word.

~ Brandilyn Collins, author of Dead of Night and other “Seatbelt Suspense”


At 1:40 AM, Blogger Camy Tang said...

Being prayed for by you has been the highlight of each of my ACFW conferences. Thanks, Brandilyn!

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Brandilyn prayed for my husband Milton and me, too, at IRCS this summer. The things she said were right on. Only the Spirit of God could reveal what she "saw." Like her characters, she has visions. God is using her. You know, "the world" is craving the supernatural, and as Christians, we have it! That's a thrilling thought. Thanks, Brandilyn, for letting God use you.

At 9:37 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I too, felt being prayed for by you was one of the reasons God had me at ACFW conference this year, among other things. I tell you BC, reading your annoyingly suspensful posts is teaching me about end of chapter hooks. Thanks for all you do.

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay...okay... You're killing me here. what was the word? How are you going to connect it?
No wonder you're the queen of suspense!


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