Friday, August 03, 2007

BOM: The Research



As I type this, it is 2:17 AM on Friday morning--I've just gotten in from Oregon, and what a blessed trip! I had such a wonderful time at Oregon Christian Writers--I don't know if I did anything for them, but those folks blessed my socks off! Such lovely people and warm hearts . . .

Anyway, I have to catch some zzz's and go get my puppies out of the kennel first thing in the morning. I am suffering loads of mama guilt just thinking about them away from home. Charley Gansky gets really homesick. :-)

Okay, back to the topic at hand--You might think that a book set in contemporary times doesn't require as much research as a historical novel--wrong! (Well, I suppose it all depends upon the topics you address.)

I had to learn about my setting, of course (Charlottesville, VA), my heroine's occupation (physician's assistant), and a wee bit about sperm banks and genetics. Enough to sound credible, at least. I also had to learn about computer encryption, reference librarians, and how to vanish under a fake name.

I "refreshed" the manuscript before I handed in the Thomas Nelson edition, and in addition to cutting thousands of unnecessary words I also found a couple of places where I'd written, "He logged on and waited for the modem to dial his connection . . ." LOL! Technology changes quickly!

The research wasn't difficult, though, and as I said, I only had to learn enough to sound credible. The point of the story isn't technology--it's Lara's feelings about this special child, and her decisions about whether or not to live a lie or honor truth. Yet even that took research. I had to grapple with the Scriptural examples of people who lied and God seemed to bless them for it--the midwives in Egypt, the prophet who sent the enemy warriors to the wrong house, even Rahab. I wrestled with one question for a long time: is it ever right to lie? Before you answer, ask yourself what you'd tell the Nazis who came to your door . . . if you were hiding Jews in your attic. Hmmm.

Tomorrow: the writing.

~~Angie

3 comments:

Timothy Fish said...

Is it ever right to lie? It does seem like it is a question that is much more difficult to answer when we take into account that there are situation where the lie may be what stands in the way of something bad. The Lord has certainly blessed some people who have lied. He as even used lies as a means to bless people. The Lord has blessed the Jews many times because people have been willing to lie to protect them, and yet, the Bible has strong words to say about deceit and a false witness. The issue is difficult to resolve based on the actions of people in the Bible because they were subject to like passions as we are and we have a tendency to lie when faced with a difficult decision. The one exception is Jesus, and to the best of my knowledge, he never told a lie. That is not to say that he always gave people the answer they wanted. At the age of twelve, he did not bother to tell Mary and Joseph that he was going to the temple rather than staying with the group.

I think the best way to resolve issues with lies that God has blessed is that there are some instances when people do not have the right to know the truth. There are some truths that, when made known, people will use against another person. Even if it is always wrong to lie, it is not wrong to hide the truth from people who have no right to know that truth. We, being the weak, sinful people that we are, may have trouble hiding the truth in dangerous situations without lying. God knows our weaknesses and that may be why he is so willing to overlook some deceit on our part and even bless us because of it. That is not to say that we should take telling the truth lightly. There is a difference between not wanting someone to know something and it being wrong for us to reveal something to a person.

Kay said...

It's interesting that you mention those liars. I have done a lot of thinking about that myself.

And the Nazi example is the exact one I always use.

I used to think that a person should just tell the truth across the board and trust God to work it all out. Do something supernatural to distract the Nazis or something.

But then I began contemplating those Biblical examples...
I wonder if the heart -- the motive -- is the key?
Is the motive to do harm or to help?

I would like to know your conclusions, Angie. If they are in book, forgive me. It's been a long time since I read it :)

Judy said...

Angie, never fear, you blessed all of us at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference with your messages and Christ-filled presence among us. Thank you for your servant heart.