Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed . ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Guest blogger: Amber Schamel

Paint a Picture

By Amber Schamel

As writers, we've heard the term "show don't tell" until our face turns green at the very mention of the phrase. We work so hard to show our readers the story, draw them into the plot and the setting, give them a read they will never forget. We want them to see the story playing out in their mind so vividly, that they forget if they saw the story as a movie or read the book. This is what it takes to be successful, right?

As Christian authors, this aspect of storytelling is even more important. Our books are more than entertainment, they carry a message. Messages of hope, redemption, and love. Stories touch a place in a person' s heart and mind that lectures, sermons and expositions cannot. A person may sit in a pew all their life and still not understand the sacrifice that Jesus made for them...but then they read a story and it suddenly comes alive.

Francine Rivers' book The Last Sin Eater is one of those memorable pictures. Cadi is a young girl who carries the guilt of her little sister's death. She has been taught all her life that there is no forgiveness for sins until after you have passed on. She lives with her guilt and misery, until a missionary comes to her mountain to bring the Gospel. Cadi and the other immigrants come to see that they've all been deceived, especially the Sin Eater, who has been living apart from all others under the impression that he can take their sins upon himself and save them all from Hell. Through heart-wrenching drama, Rivers' story portrays the stark contrast between man-made redemption and true redemption, as well as the forgiveness and freedom we find in our Savior, in a way that sinks deep into the heart and will not soon be forgotten.

"Show, don't tell" is what we do with Christian fiction. Show the struggle, the need, the pain, and then show the message and the solution.

Ministers can preach about the love of Christ, but as writers, we have the ability – the responsibility—to paint an unforgettable picture.

I have been challenged to take "show, don't tell" to a deeper level. To go write that story. Paint it in vibrant color and detail. For people who have been TOLD all their life, SHOW the reason that Christ is everything to me.

Today, I'm challenging you to do the same. What is the message of your book? How are you showing it through story?

As we chat about this today, I'd like to invite you to celebrate with me! My new book is releasing October 16th, and we're running the Name-A-Character giveaway. Click here or on the logo above to enter to for a chance to pick the name of a main character in Amber's upcoming book The Christmas Pardon. Terms and conditions apply.

Bestselling author Amber Schamel writes riveting stories that bring HIStory to life. She has a passion for history, books and her Savior. This combination results in what her readers call "historical fiction at its finest." A homeschool graduate from a family of 12 children, Amber found her calling early in life. First published at age 21, she has continued to hone her craft. Between ministry, family, and working in their family businesses, Amber loves to connect with readers. Find her on the Stitches Thru Time blog, or on any of the major social media sites. 


  1. Thanks so much for having me on the blog today, Michele! I'm excited to chat with authors about the message of their book and how they're using show vs. tell to paint a picture!

    Amber Schamel
    Bringing HIStory to Life

  2. Thanks for letting our Christian Poets & Writers group on Facebook know about this article, Amber. I'll highlight it on the Christian Poets & Writers blog - God bless.

    1. Thanks, Mary! So glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Fantastic post, Amber! Thanks for giving us these reminders! So important. I'm drafting right now, and the majority of the showing doesn't come through for me until the second draft, maybe later. I can never wait to get to that stage! That's where the fun happens! :)

    I LOVED the Last Sin Eater! Fantastic message with intriguing historical content!

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