Detail and Character

We love camping.
And I think I love just about everything about camping – yes, even cleaning up grubby pans and grills and cleaning out the car – because those pans and grills came with daddy reading to us, and cleaning it all up I can think about all the good times we have in the desert.

The desert is so beautiful, and I think this is the most beautiful campsite we’ve found yet – and it’s easy to get to. The only problem this time was wind. Setting up tents in the wind is awfully hard. Not to mention that it was cold, too, at least cold for us.

{Kiddos avoiding the cold and wind}

{setting up camp}

{Cowboy stalking something}

But then it got dark and the wind died down and we got dinner going and started looking at the stars. I know most people probably aren’t interested, but for the sake of my own memory and in case anyone is interested, and because I think it’s all amazing – we saw Orion, Pleiades, Cassiopeia, Taurus, the Orion Nebula, Saturn, Jupiter and its moons, Venus, Mars, double star cluster, a comet, Hercules, and a globular star cluster – some with the naked eye and some with the telescope. And that’s just what I was able to identify or what I was told. It’s really amazing to throw your head back and see countless stars and think about how God made all that, with a word, and He flung them out in a way that gave Him glory and set His plan in the heavens. “The gods of the nations are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens!”

Then after dinner we lit our bonfire and while it burned low, we sang and prayed and told campfire stories. Not your average campfire stories, but stories from the Bible that had fire in them. We talked about the importance of detail, and Mr. M then re-told John 21, emphasizing the detail. He also read an article by (I think) John Piper about how what astounded Indians who worshipped many Gods, what set apart Jesus from a ‘guru’ was His resurrection. We talked about how the detail in John 21 of the 153 fish is in many ways evidence it really happened – it’s one of those odd thing you remember and you aren’t sure why.

{I know you’ve already seen this picture, but I love it so much I had to throw it in again}
That morphed into a discussion about what the most important aspects of a story are, eventually deciding it was characters – because character development is what makes some of our favorite stories and movies our favorite, and because THE greatest story ever is about One Character. And because it’s kinda hard to have a plot without a character.
We also thought about how around the fire is the ‘inner circle’ where the warmth, good, and blessing is, and the bad is all ‘outside the camp.’
Then we sang the songs that are ‘classics’ with the families we were with – Days of Elijah (you can’t imagine how wonderful it is to sing “and we are the voice in the desert crying ‘prepare ye the way of the LORD’ when you’re in the desert) and Jesus, Thank You.

For the rest of the evening, we were talking, eating, and stargazing – with the naked eye and the telescope.
Sleeping in the desert is the only part I don’t like about camping. I never feel like I really fall asleep. This time I didn’t want to sleep very deeply because at 4:30 there was going to be a comet and Saturn and I didn’t want to miss it. We ended up getting up at about 5:45 to see them, because there were clouds at 4:30. But it was so worth the cold (I had to tighten up so much so I wouldn’t chatter and bump the eyepiece of the telescope out of focus) to see Saturn, the comet, and especially the globular star cluster (sorry, no pictures. But you can google pictures of globular star clusters. It’s even cooler in person, because it just looks like a glow at first, and then your eyes adjust and you see some individual stars).

I was in and out of sleep until about 7, when I got up and went back to the main camp.

At breakfast you could tell who is and who isn’t a morning person.

And then we explored for… a while. Time is hard to judge in the desert, but I think it was about an hour. We’d get to the top of one dune and see a higher one farther away and then go there. We finally reached the highest one on our side, and felt like mountain climbers on top of the world.

On top of the world.
Then back at camp we flew kites, snacked, played volleyball, talked, and packed up to go home.

That night at home, over dessert and cleaning camping dishes, daddy finished reading us “To Have and to Hold.” Then we talked about character development, and the overall plot of redemption that’s in every story.
And then today I’ve been editing some of “Faith Victorious.” Each time I read any of the stories I’ve written, I remember how much I LOVE making characters and fleshing them out and giving them stories and personalities and growing and shaping them. And while I’ll say about books and movies, “That was such a good story!” it’s usually the characters that make it so, even if we don’t realize it. Some thoughts for my writer friends, but also for everyone.
I’ve been realizing lately (more on this later) about how much more important relationships are, as opposed to ‘getting stuff done.’ The ‘stuff I get done’ won’t matter in eternity, but people’s souls will. The way people change and the way we as friends are able to shape and sharpen each other is huge and important.
… and the Ten Commandments aren’t about getting stuff done, but how we relate to God and others.
Just some thoughts, for you and for me.

Pro Christo,


One thought on “Detail and Character

  1. Lostariel says:

    I’m definitely a character writer/reader/watcher. World-building comes last for me, which is how my favorite series can get away with ridiculous stuff when they need to. It’s also why I like casting my stories, because imagining a good actor can give a lot of soul to how you write his character.


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