In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Dear Lord, You whose will brought forth the worlds, whose love enfolds them still, from whom all true creations come, hearken to the plea of a lowly storyteller, one who has dedicated his gifts to Your service.
Let my tales resound with the truths You have written into all things. Let me speak of them through events that embody them without undue artifice, in humility and sincerity, such that at the close any one of my books, the reader will smile in satisfaction and say to himself “Of course. I knew it all along.”
Let my plots be as realistic as my premises will allow. Should I choose to depart from the laws of this universe as You have written them, let me at least be consistent with the rules I have crafted. Help me to avert dei ex machinae.
Let my characters have character; let them not be caricatures. Let them be people with plausible profiles, who have desires, fears, and beliefs the reader will recognize...and with which he’ll empathize. Let me compose contexts in which they would naturally appear and stimuli that will evoke their most fervent emotions. Let their responses be both plausible and dramatic. Let me not speak through them, but rather have them speak through me.
Let my writing be limpid and artless. Let me not succumb to the vanity that impels many a writer to spin verbal arabesques in the hope of garnering praise for “style.” Rather, keep me focused on the people of whom I write, for all worthwhile stories are told about believable people dealing with believable problems...believably.
Let me keep forever in mind that in the English of the Twenty-First Century, to deliberately split an infinitive is perfectly okay. Neither is it odious if, every now and then, I should knowingly insert an adverb into the middle of a compound verb of some other sort. Help me to bear the twinge of guilt I feel when I allow a sentence to end with a preposition, if it helps the reader to know what my characters are up to.
Above all, dear Lord, help me to resist the urge, which I feel occasionally even today, more than ten years after “going indie,” to send a manuscript to a conventional publisher or literary agent, “just to see what they think.”
I make this plea through Your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.