by: Staci Stallings
I think people who don’t write have a notion about how the process goes. They think that a writer gets an idea, mostly fully formed, then they sit down and plot the book out, crafting all the twists and turns on paper before they ever start writing. The writing is of course an idyllic time of peace and tranquility punctuated with tea and scones in the afternoon and long gazes out a window filled with inspiration.
The truth, however, is often much different, and when you write with God as your partner, that difference can even take a writer who is used to it by surprise. That’s what happened with “Deep in the Heart” for me.
As with most books, I was writing a different one at the time, and it was going quite well (God likes to see how obedient I will be in following what He puts on my heart at the most inconvenient times). Then one morning I awoke with a name.
Not a story. Not a plot. Not even a glimpse of any of it. All I had was a name that whispered through my soul and wouldn’t leave me alone.
Even stranger, I knew this name had a specific presence. I knew what he looked like though I can’t tell you how because honestly I never saw him in a dream or anything before that. I also had a gut-suspicion that he was a real person though I don’t think I had ever seen him before or knew who he was prior to that morning.
So I got up, drawn to the computer like iron to a magnet. I typed in the name, and sure enough, there in living color was exactly the guy I was picturing! That morning I sat down and with only that name to go on, I started writing “Deep in the Heart.”
The beginning of that book was so interesting as I stumbled around trying to find the pieces God had thrown out there for me to use. I changed the heroine’s name about five times. I changed the name of the book at least that many times. But the plot itself–complete with every twist and turn came out so naturally, I know it wasn’t me writing this story at all. It was God.
Things happened in this story that I didn’t plan for or plot out. Things that surprised even me. At one point I had to quit writing because I was so stunned by a twist. But as a whole, the story is a powerful one of redemption and love and trying to do the right thing even in impossible circumstances. All these years later, I still love this story, and I love most of all how God gave it to me.
It taught me to follow Him even when He doesn’t lay the whole thing out for me, even when all He gives me to go on is… a name… the thinnest thread of all.