[Pic for website 2012The woman] looked closely at Peter and said, "This man was with him." But Peter denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said. (Luke 22:56-57, NIV)

A blessed day to you! Maureen Pratt here with my second CAN Blog post. This time, I'm going to dive right into the deep end and talk about writing controversial subjects, characters, and themes. I've had very recent (ongoing, actually) experience with doing this, so I'm looking at the topic with eyes wide open and have some tips for handling not only the material, but also the feedback that inevitably comes when one "stirs the pot." (Although my experience is with a non-fiction piece, I hope these thought will be helpful to those who write fiction, too).

The Scripture verse I chose for this blog post sets the stage: For many people, even the strongest believer, controversy stirs up feelings of fear, denial, even cowardice. Yet, we people of faith are often called upon to confront issues and situations and stand firm, as our Lord did throughout his life. How much inside of us is Peter's "no!"? How much is Jesus' "yes!" How can we put on more courage and write boldly and maybe, just maybe, change hearts, too?

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Kern_web shot Jan here, enjoying a beautiful fall afternoon in the foothills of the Sierras. Today I’m considering the readers of the books we are writing–the essential person that we must keep in mind.

Over the years I’ve critiqued quite a few nonfiction proposals and manuscripts. The writers pored out their souls in their manuscripts, sometimes to the point of (figuratively) bleeding on the page. Each hoped their story would make a difference in the lives of others who had experienced similar struggles.

I found the ideas of many of the stories compelling. And yet, for some, the delivery left me feeling alienated from or cautious about the heart of the message. Why?

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