Last night Andrea sent back her comments to my first ten pages. I’m surprised and pleased at how fast she was. I procrastinated on looking through it until this morning.
The dread I felt after I sent it punched me in the guts, and tried to convince me not to open the document.
A few days ago, the subject of my daily devotional centered on procrastination. By putting things off, we worry, and they begin to loom larger in our mind as almost insurmountable. Yet if we tackle all we need to do the moment we think about them, then we don’t have time to worry.
It’s like coming home to a messy house. The more the dishes, clothes and toys pile up, the less we want to clean. Yet when we do, we feel so much better.
Andrea’s edits needn’t have worried me. Her suggestions pointed out mostly passive voice (which I thought I eliminated, darn it). I told how a person felt instead of showing via their actions. My chapter breaks also didn’t look right, but that’s easily fixed.
Heck, I’m so focused on her suggestions, I can barely write this entry! I keep editing as I go here.
That means she did her job well.
One question, though. The bulk of my main characters are telepaths, created through genetic and bio-engineering. Andrea pointed out that from a theological standpoint — and the Bible is clear on this — any telepathic sense is the result of demonic possession. If I am to be theologically accurate, then it changes the entire dynamic of my story — in fact makes it useless. I can’t go any further with any of my books, because in a way I’m glorifying demonic powers.
I’m not saying I will, but her thoughts give me pause.
Will other publishers, agents and prospective readers feel the same way? Should I start over with a different premise and characters?
What do you think?
13 thoughts on “Your Thoughts”
What scripture reference mentions telepaths? I know there are verses on spiritists and mediums–is that what she’s referring to?
I think as Christians we have kind of a “sixth sense” in the respect that we have a line of communication with God. Not sure that can help you with your story, but I thought I would mention it.
Facing a similar struggle with my work,
Yes, she was referring to mediums, et al, because telepathy is not directly mentioned. In biblical times, I don’t think it was a word; although likely a concept. Don’t mediums and witches claim to read minds along with their other “powers”?
As far as communicating with God, my characters are a bit more sensitive to God’s voice, but they heed it no more or less than my normal characters.
Besides, the larger point isn’t telepathy, but eugenics – the attempt to create a more advanced human at the expense of their humanity and their soul.
Still, if Christian publishers and readers are going to balk at telepathy, I need to rethink a few things.
I’ll talk more about that tomorrow methinks.
Hi Andra, I was thinking along Cathy’s lines, I didn’t remember telepathy per se in the Bible. Maybe you could change the character of the telepathy just a bit: your characters have heightened sensory acuity of some sort instead. After all, don’t good poker players count on very subtle clues of what a person is thinking? For example, your eugenics people could have augmented wavelength visual acuity, olfactory capacities, hyperacute hearing that can detect a pulse. Particular emotions (anger, deceit, happiness) all give off a sensory complex that can be detected by these hypersensitive senses. In other words, you could make something completely natural (ie within the realm of eugenics) that could still allow the person to *sense* what a person is feeling.
Although even as a Christian, reading about telepathy doesn’t bother me at all. Now I’m thinking, should it? Thanks Andra for a disturbing thought 🙂
Good suggestion, Amy! It would work quite well with my story, and I wouldn’t have to change much.
You know me and how blunt I am at times, so: the Bible is largely open to interpretation depending on what you want to find.
And, if there are telepaths, who in real life are equivalent or close to the same as those who are very intuitive and do see things others can’t, God made them that way. What makes us think we have the right to say He was wrong for doing so? The demonic possession bit was used for things they didn’t understand during the time of the writing of the Bible. Schizophrenics would have been called demonically possessed when of course they aren’t.
I’m very intuitive. I’m not however, possessed or evil or any closer to that than anyone else is.
As far as your characters, if they were created genetically then yes, you’re seen as saying that playing God (eugenics) is a demonic act (sinful). I don’t see why even the most fundamental Christians would fault you for using telepathy in that manner.
I won’t be surprised if many do. Then again, those aren’t necessarily the audience I’m writing for.
Well said, Loraine. Thanks!
I’m jumping in late on this, but hmmm…
Interesting question. I do think some people can “see” into the spirit world in ways others cannot, and if I am right in my belief, than God must have given them that gift for whatever reason. One would have to be very careful with it obviously, and “channeling” a spirit would be a definite no-no.
However, the ability to “read” someone’s thoughts seems like it might potentially fall into a different category. Particularly if you make it clear your characters are not using “astral projection” to do it. In other words, their spirit always remains in their body, and they never allow another spirit to “enter” their body. I do think you would have to make it clear that there is a difference.
It is something to consider.
When my telepaths use their abilities I say, “reached out with he senses,” or “opened his mind to.”
I don’t think it could be interpreted as astral projection. What do you think?
Sounds like you are on the right track. Another book you might want to check out (if you haven’t already) is Frank Creed’s Flashpoint. His characters can read minds.
Thanks for the suggestion, Jessica. I’ll check it out (so groans my bookcase).
Andra, I know that feeling well!
Seriously, Adam introduced a telepath to Laser & Sword, and I threatened to quit unless he found a work around on this very issue! The way he made his assistant editor happy is nanotechnology. Revelator now has a nanobiotic brain implant that allows him to intercept brainwaves, allowing him to eavesdrop on people’s thoughts at will.
Frank Creed’s Flashpoint features “mindware” that effectively allows users to call each other from their heads.
Throw in advanced enough technology, and make it believable as a natural source of the power, and you can get around the demonic aspect of any nearly any magical element.
Any other questions?
BTW, fiction wise, you are not required to have the nature of the telepathy clear within the first ten pages; theological advice is just part of the package deal.
Also, God can reveal the thoughts of the heart if He chooses to–Jesus is depicted in the bible as knowing men’s thoughts and scripture indicates the power He used in His earthly life was that of the Holy Spirit, not His own in Glory above. So the Lord may occasionally reveal to a prophet what someone else is thinking. That is rare in real life, far as I know, however.
You will most likely want a technological wonder. Though, depending on what you want to go with this, you could also rework the demonic side into it. Being an unbeliever thus far, the main character is by nature a captive to the enemy.
Thanks, Andrea (darn it, I spelled my own name again). I have given your take on the telepathic abilities serious thought, and I decided to keep them as is. I do go into more detail about how the powers work, including their weaknesses and the damage they can cause to the users.
Forgive the shameless plug, but I show how the Christian telepaths in my novella, “A Reason to Hope” use their powers much differently.
I won’t give away anything more. You’ll have to read it :).
The serialization is still up if your interested at almarquardt.blogspot.com
If you read it, please let me know what you think.