Inquiring minds have asked me why I call Timothy’s Adventures and Kaylee’s Adventures devotional books and not a collection of short stories. I also received one harsh message stating that I needed to learn how to write a book because Timothy’s Adventure was clearly not a novel.
They were, of course entirely correct! It is not a novel. And I do not market it as a novel or a short story.
Timothy’s Adventures and Kaylee’s Adventures are devotional books.
So today I thought I would do the mundane Monday task of taking a look at some definitions to answer these questions. And clear up any miscommunication or misunderstandings that may still be out there. Often miscommunication or misunderstandings happen because people are not using the same definitions to define a word. So here are the definitions that I used when prayerfully choosing how to describe my work.
A book as defined by a quick Google search:
1) A written or printed work consisting of pages glued or sewn together along one side and bound in covers.
2) A bound set of blank sheets for writing or keeping records in.
I would define a book as a collection of pages that may be either bound and printed or kept together in e-format. These pages may contain non-fiction, fiction, pictures, puzzles; abstract lines (as in accounting) as their content or the pages may be blank (as in journals).
A story as defined by a quick Google search:
1) An account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment.
2) An account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something.
Google defined a short story as a story with a fully developed theme but significantly shorter and less elaborate than a novel.
Google defined a novel as a fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.
Merriam Webster defined a novel as an invented prose narrative that is usually long and complex and deals especially with human experience through a usually connected sequence of events.
Which brings us to defining a devotional. Google defined a devotional as: of or used in religious worship. This definition is not very useful in the context of my devotional books.
Merriam Webster defined devotional as:
1) Of, relating to, or characterized by devotion
2) A short worship service
Once again this definition was not very useful. Given these definitions, I decided to ask myself how I would define a Christian devotional.
For me, Christian devotionals are for personal edification and to assist with spiritual formation. A devotional may be read on its own or alongside the Bible. They have some form of prayer and meditation to guide the reader’s thoughts and prayers.
My devotional books are a collection of short story devotionals. Each chapter may stand alone as a devotional taking advantage of the valuable parent/child discussion time. Or you may choose to read the devotionals as part of an ongoing sequence.
I shared in another blog post that my son was often disappointed that his devotionals always had different characters. He was sad that he never got to know the characters, which made it harder for him to relate to them. I found he always wanted to know more about the characters, his little mind was imagining the rest of the story.
For this reason, I’ve written my devotional books so that children may connect with the characters and their friends. This allows for a meaningful connection with real life and the scriptures.