Category Archives: A Stories of Life message

Man to man – a message from Craig

Craig at his writing desk

Hi, fellow writing enthusiasts!

My name is Craig and I’ve been contributing to Stories of Life since its inception in 2016.

The competition is a great way to share stories about faith and encourage others to be open to the way God works in the lives of ordinary people. I have searched diligently for other Australian Christian writing competitions and concluded that they are a very rare commodity! Stories of Life is a unique opportunity for writers, regardless of experience, to present stories which might not otherwise be told.

It has been my observation that females are more inclined to accept this opportunity than males. In past anthologies, there have been many wonderful stories by female authors but comparatively few with a specific focus which might be particularly meaningful to male readers.

Over the years of this competition, I’ve entered stories about events including a mountain rescue, outdoor adventures like hiking and rock-climbing, chance meetings with strangers and the grief of losing a close friend. Stories about mundane events can be just as compelling as exciting, edge-of-your-seat adventures. I think that male readers often gain a unique perspective from stories written by other men.

So, I want to encourage men (and boys) who might have dismissed the invitation to enter Stories of Life in the past to have a go in 2020. Perhaps, also, the many excellent female contributors might consider encouraging their husbands, fathers, brothers or friends to throw their hat in the ring. The competition will be all the richer for it!

Happy writing!

Craig Chapman.

 

2016 – 2019 Stories of Life anthologies

Stories of Life by Craig

One of the Six (Open category), published in the 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life

 

Birdman (Short category), published in the 2018 anthology, Three Dummies in a Dinghy and other stories of life

(Feature photo of Birdman supplied by Craig)

Useful links

Feedback Month

How to enter

Categories and Prizes

Feedback on Feedback Month

 

‘Thank you so much for the feedback. This was a very difficult story for me to write, but one I felt compelled to. I knew it was not right because I was focused on spelling out the injustice I felt, rather than the overwhelming grace of God in bringing about a resolution!  So thank you so much. I hope now the story has a better focus. Although I understand this is no guarantee it will be included in the publication – but I now I feel much more satisfied with my submission!’

‘Thanks a million for the feedback from Dr James Cooper. It gives me ample time  to work on the story before entering it into the Stories of Life Competition.’

These quotes are from two people who have had their drafts reviewed, and we’re so glad that our new initiative, Feedback Month, has well and truly taken off.

From serious writers to people who don’t usually write, many have written back to thank our editors, and have said that the feedback is helping them to improve and continue working on their story draft. Our editors are all published authors and are freely giving of their time and expertise. Don’t miss this great opportunity.

To submit a story draft for review, click here Feedback Month.

 

Stories of Life as a pastoral opportunity

 

As a pastor of a congregation, I have been happy to encourage our members to contribute to Stories of Life over the past few years. While many worry that their story isn’t ‘remarkable’ enough, or they are not a good enough writer, those who have gone through the process have been blessed and encouraged by the experience. And they have been surprised to discover that their story is more interesting than they might have thought, and that with a little bit of help, they could produce a well-written story.

Mark Worthing, editor and author

As a pastor one of my goals is always to help people reflect on their own journeys of faith in Christ, and to be able to communicate their stories to others. I have found that Stories of Life presents a wonderful opportunity to do this.

Many Christians carry with them the burden of a difficult experience (often an experience of serious injury or illness, a relationship break-up, or the death of someone close to them). There is much healing to be found in being able to put these experiences and the feelings still connected to them on to paper. I am continually amazed at how beneficial this is, and how many conversations it helps to open up. And, of course, if the story is published or read on radio, hundreds of others hear it and begin to think and talk about their own similar experiences.

Beyond the pastoral care benefits of writing one’s story, there is also a strong evangelistic benefit. Not only the stories of about coming to faith in Christ, but also the stories about personal struggles and how God was present in these times, provide a strong witness to the transforming power of Christ in individual lives. As a pastor I can stand in the pulpit and tell people that Jesus transforms lives, and I can tell those I meet about the good news of what God has done for us in Christ; but, in truth, there is nothing more effective than a so called ‘everyday’ Christian sharing their own experience of God’s grace. This is why pastors are always encouraging people to talk about their faith, to tell those around them about what Jesus has done for them. Stories of Life is a brilliant tool to help people get started doing this.

So, from the standpoint of a pastor, Stories of Life, and all the assistance and encouragement provided on line and via other means to the story writers, has been tremendous tool for pastor ministry.

I believe that every Christian has a powerful story to tell. Encouraging them to consider writing a story and submitting it to Stories of Life is a great pastoral and evangelistic opportunity.

by Rev Mark Worthing

Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church, North Adelaide

 

Useful links:

Feedback Month (till 30 June for our editors to give you feedback on your story draft)

How to Enter (accepting story submissions till 31 July for a chance to be published in the 2020 Stories of Life anthology and to win a category prize)