I write dystopian. So, of course I went and saw the new movie, Divergent.
Yes, I read the book first. Don’t panic.
Guilty confession: I didn’t have high expectations for the movie. In fact, I expected it to be average at best. I’m not an enormous Divergent fan, mostly because I felt like the plot/characters/draw-to-keep-reading declined the more I read. But often times, it’s the one-eyebrow-up movies that leave you with your jaw scraping your tennies.
I adored the movie.
I saw it twice, in theaters, in three days…and that’s not something I do unless the movie left an astounding impact. The greatest impression targeted my writing. At first, it wasn’t pretty.
“I’m an awful writer,” I groaned to my husband on the 45-minute drive home from the theater. Being the wonderful husband he his, he promptly informed me I’m a fantastic writer and reminded me of where God’s brought me.
I just needed to choose to believe him.
The Divergent movie left me with a…feeling. A feeling of something great, worthwhile, powerful, and all those other soul-moving emotions.
There was a time when, if I read my own book — A Time to Die — I left feeling the same way. But now I’ve read it too many times. In my mind, it feels flat, even though it’s not. It feels weak because it hasn’t gone up against the world yet. I know what I want it to be, but I don’t know that I have the power to take it there.
I was so inspired and depressed that night (great combination, right?) I couldn’t sleep. I just lay in bed for hours, wondering how I could change the world. Wondering what my writing needed. Wondering if I could ever write something that affected other people the way these dystopian movies affected me.
The next day, I vaulted out of bed and wrote. I tweaked areas of my book that bugged me. I applied all the little edits I recently received from my editor. And then I jumped into book two.
That’s what I found by delving into my own work (which, I will never see as just “my own” work.) God used my own story to re-inspire me.
Boy, He sure knows how to woo a discouraged author’s heart. 😉
Later on in the day, I discovered Psalm 118:16-17.
The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly. I shall not die, but live, and tell of the works of the Lord.
I loved the Divergent movie, and it reminded me of how precious story is to the reading world. Why did I love the movie? Because of a powerful story. A world soaked in imagination. A hero. A push to live in an active and purposeful way. (The phenomenal actors may have played a part, too.)
What is better than a strong story with a hero that pulls at every emotion ever created in your tiny human form? How about a strong story and a hero with God in the very midst? I know, I know — a Christianese answer, right? But it’s true. The level of “fame and greatness” God sees might be different than that of the world’s. But God does valiantly. The Lord is exalted.
And that’s the goal, isn’t it?
When I saw Divergent a second time, I left encouraged. I poured every ounce of passion into my own writing. Because I want to tell of the works of the Lord.
I’m not sure what message I intended to leave you with through this blog post. I guess it would be that, when you experience something incredible…let it be an encouragement. Pour that experience into your passions. Pour it into your lives.
And remember, if God’s called you to something — like writing a dystopian book in the middle of a giant dystopian trend — it wasn’t without purpose. Sometimes it takes jumping back into our own work and our old vision to remember why we live in such bliss under our great God.
What movies tend to affect your writing?