The Hidden Message

We hold this truth to be self evident that not all books are created equal. 

There’s nothing like being snowed into a warm and cozy house for the weekend to make me want to curl up with a book and spend hours diving into someone else’s head although that sounds a little barbaric. Saturday night I almost cried at the sheer brilliance of an author when eighty percent of the way through the book I suddenly realized what as going on. It wasn’t a plot twist (there wasn’t one), it wasn’t a realization of who a character was (I had them pegged pretty well), it wasn’t a writing style (nothing crazy in that) or a specific voice (it wasn’t particularly memorable) that made me gasp with amazement. No, instead it was when I realized that the book I was reading was a retelling of a certain account in the Bible. 

The reason it stopped me in my tracks is because I’ve studied writing and read so many books in recent years that rarely do I find myself stunned by anything that happens. Most of the time I’ve got the story figured out within the first few chapters and then I read to figure out the way the author is going to bring us to the ending point and what plot twists will take us there.

With this book I was enjoying the story and totally engrossed in it. At one point I was even like, Haha, that sounds like such-and-such account from the Bible then I continued reading, none the wiser. A few chapters later my reading/writing brain cracked open Ewww, that sounds barbaric again when the pieces of the puzzle slipped into place in my head and I was able to see the bigger picture. I think I actually put the book down for a few moments and laughed out loud. It felt like a breakthrough in my reading world. I went to sleep marveling about it and woke up doing the same. 

You see, it’s not just the book I was reading. It was the possibilities that were opened up to me. How many other books have I read that have hidden messages in them? Messages that are so hidden that most of the world will never even know they exist? Adding a parallel story to an already-complete story is an amazing idea to me. I love the idea of one day being able to dive down so deep with my writing that it leaves my readers gasping for breath after picking up on my clues and finding the treasure.

 The book was so wonderful to my writing brain that I bought another book by the same author yesterday and read it. The second one didn’t have quite the zing to it that the first one did, though. I’m not sure if that’s because I was looking for a hidden message, or if it was because this one wasn’t as developed, or if it was because my expectations were so high.

All books are not created equal, but that doesn’t mean I can necessarily judge an author’s work off of one of her books.

That gave me hope with my own writing. You see, sometimes I work on writing for hour after hour and don’t feel as if I’ve reached any level of okay-ness with the words I’ve labored to type Which is where major editing and re-writing comes in. Other times I sit down for a few minutes and pound out a scene that leaves me going, Wait, I wrote that

I’m learning about writing. Hidden messages, mediocre writing sessions, mind-numbing intricate work, continuing to go, happiness when something falls into place and pushing through discouragement are all part of my life right now. And it’s going to be good.

* * *
What about you? Have you read any books that you suddenly realized contained a hidden message or parallel story? I’d be delighted to hear about it?
And, um, has anyone else decided this is the perfect weather to listen to Christmas music? Or am I the only one… 

4 thoughts on “The Hidden Message

  1. Keturah Lamb says:

    What book was it? I've had that happen when I first read Twice Freed by Patricia St John and Darius' Rise by Focus on the Family. Lol, I listen to Christmas music all the time!!! Love the opening quote. Oh, and I got the package in today, and love it!! Thankyou!!


  2. Aidyl Ewoh says:

    I read Twice Freed a long time ago, but I think I knew what the story was about when I started it, so I can't remember finding anything very shocking about it… (That is actually my least favorite of her books, probably. It was a lot 'darker' than most of them. That and The Runaway, although I ended up really liking that one the second time I read through it.) The book I was talking about is First Date by Krista McGee. The title is a play on words, which is pretty cool.
    I don't generally like listening to Christmas music all the time, but I do far more often than the rest of my family. 🙂


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