Rachel Hauck

Best-selling author and award winning author Rachel Hauck lives in central Florida with her husband and loving pets. She earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Ohio State University and spent seventeen years in the corporate software world before leaving to write full time. Rachel loves to teach and mentor writers.

She is a Book Therapist at www.MyBookTherapy.com, a daily craft blog and community for writers. In the past, Rachel is the president of American Christian Fiction Writers and now servers on the Advisor Board. Visit her blog and web site at www.rachelhauck.com.

Discover the Onyx Stone

zebra agate

But how can the contrasts of this lovely stone—black swirled against white—help us understand fiction...

The onyx stone is a black-and-white banded variety of quartz, called “zebra agate.” A completely black stone is called, you guessed it, “black agate.”

Onyx has been used through the centuries for art and pottery, as well as jewelry and ornamental building material.

But how can the contrasts of this lovely stone—black swirled against white—help us understand fiction? Love versus hate. Good versus evil. Light against dark. Perhaps some themes are more subtle like lost dreams, hope deferred, misunderstandings.

As readers, we look for contrast in a story as conflict and tension. We can call it the “onyx” of the story. Without those elements, a book isn’t very engaging.

How fun to have two characters on a page striving to achieve the same goal but for different reasons. And each one wants to win. We find ourselves engrossed, cheering for the underdog and turning pages.

The onyx of Ted Dekker’s thriller Blink of an Eye is the contrast of cultures and worldviews. A Muslim woman risks her life to escape a marriage forged by a political alliance, while an American man with an unusual gift risks his life trying to save hers.

Dekker tells the story with classic good versus evil action. We want to save the protagonists and punch out the antagonist.

What about a story with lesser stakes, less action—perhaps a romance novel or women’s fiction? In Deb Raney’s Beneath a Southern Sky, Daria and Nate live out their dream and calling as South American missionaries—until he is killed. Raney’s story onyx is life and death, and a picture of how wounded, hurting people keep hopes and dreams alive in their darkest moments. In Denise Hunter’s Surrender Bay, the onyx is an eleven-year-old secret.

Too often we read books so quickly we don’t notice the gems the author scatters throughout the prose.

Kristin Billerbeck’s Ashley Stockingdale series is a humorous tale of a single Christian woman’s love life. But between the laugh-out-loud moments, we see a deep longing in the heroine to live a life of meaning. She may love Prada handbags, but she also loves justice. We can identify with her.

I feel inspired after reading many of these stories. While the characters are fictional, I know they reflect real-world dreams and disappointments, courage and fears.

True, most fiction is about fun and escape, but it’s also about discovering a little piece of ourselves, and a little piece of humanity, in the stories and characters we read.

On your next fiction read, slow down, look a little deeper, and discover the onyx stone.

Love Starts With Elle