Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Storyteller

Novelists are often challenged to write like Hemingway -- concise, void of adjectives and description. The opposite is flowery, long, flowing sentences with metaphors and similes out the wazoo. Both styles have their pluses and minus and both have won their share of international and national book awards.

As we contemplate the Christmas story during this season of the year, it is interesting to think about those early storytellers/writers. They wrote on papyrus or on animal skins with crude writing instruments and ink. Note they were frugal with their words, yet managed to create suspense, emotion and action, while conveying a sense of time and place.

From Luke: Now there were shepherds abiding in the field keeping night watch over their flock (setting, characters, time). The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear (supernatural, character reaction). The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all  the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you; you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." And suddenly, there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."

Descriptive. Clean. Conveys action. Includes music. Gives direction. Relates fear -- dark of night; supernatural beings; something out of the ordinary is happening.

This story has lasted over two thousand years. Not bad for a writer with crude writing instruments. You'd think he was inspired or something :-)

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