Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins--They are all EMOTIONS

The Seven Deadly Sins

Part Three of my series on Emotion

And now today, in part three I want to talk about the power of emotions and how God made us a list of the things that can either provide a motive for your bad guy in your books or it can challenge your good characters, because we all wrestle with sin.

It’s what keeps your romance from settling in easily.

It’s what haunts your characters in their backstory.

It’s what drives the plot.

We don’t have to go digging for these emotional hot spots. God has done the work for you.

What I want to comment on is that all seven of these sins, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride can be used in different degrees.

Lust is a sin but desiring your spouse or even desiring your beloved isn’t a sin. It’s what you do with it, it’s when it tips over from perfectly God-blessed desire to lust. Usually for someone you’re not in an honorable relationship with.

Do you remember the movie Wall Street when Michael Douglas says, “Greed is good.”

Well, that’s a little disturbing to us because greed is one of the seven deadly sins. But think of it another way. Not Greed is Good, but rather, it’s human nature to try and better yourself, provide for your family, earn enough to create a good life. That’s why capitalism works because it’s so basic, so normal to work for your own betterment.

Don’t call that greed.

And envy, where is that line, where you see something and want it, or something sinful awakens in your heart because they have something you don’t.

You can see how each of these sins can be used in a powerful blatant way, or in a subtle way…driving your hero and heroine in a certain direction or keeping them apart.

I remember once, early on in my writing, telling one of my daughters I needed a crime.

I had the story and the characters and it was flowing along but I needed a bad guy and a crime. My daughter sat there and gave it some thought and said, “How about cattle rustling?”

For some reason that makes me laugh. It was a great idea and I used it. It might have been Montana Rose.

But note that my CRIME is an actual physical act. Stealing, like in the Ten Commandments. What we're talking about with the seven deadly sins ... did you notice that they are all EMOTIONS. They are all INTERNAL. After all Murder didn't make the list. Lying. Stealing. Even sexual sin isn't there. It's the emotional life that is all listed...separate from what you do about it. My rustlers no doubt suffered with greed, probably sloth, envy, maybe pride in some twisted version. But those are all internal. That they followed up with stealing is separate from their sinful internal life.

Sometimes we need a crime, a motivation, a barrier to love. So use this list. Use the seven deadly sins and slap one on your hero and heroine in a mild way, or onto your villains in a powerful version.

Come back to the list God already made for you. The Seven Deadly Sins. 

Tell me about the conflict in your book and whether it fits into the Seven Deadly Sins.

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a drawing. Today, because it’s BIRTHDAY MONTH!!! We have THREE giveaways. (It should have been seven, I apologize!)

A signed copy of Tried and True (if you have another book of mine you’d prefer, let me know and we can substitute it)

And a $25 Amazon gift card.

Three prizes, three winners, seven sins. My whole post is about numbers, huh?



Marianne Barkman said...

Happy Birthday, Seekerville!!!! I'm so proud (oops, that emotion) to share your birthday month! Thanks for the post, Mary! So enriching!

Julie Hilton Steele said...

First, Happy Birthday, Seekerville!

Second, I am printing this one out. Keeper, keeper, keeper, Mary. What a way to start the month.

Third, put me in for the Tried and True and the gift card. Already have Cheryl's great book.

Peace and birthday blessings, Julie

Melissa Jagears said...

Ha, I'm so technically inadvanced that the picture that says "one commenter could get this---->" I'm squinting and thinking "what is that?" some electronic device for certain, but beyond that I'm clueless.

Considering I'm not elderly, I think I should be ashamed.

And I love using the Aristotle's ethics chart (Virtues and Vices) which is quite like what you're talking about, the basis of emotions can be good or bad depending what you do with it.

Aristotle's Virtue and Vices

Cindy W. said...

Happy, Happy Birthday Seekerville! I love birthdays...

Great post, as always Mary, definitely a keeper. I think it would be nice done up in a chart similar to what Melissa offered with Aristotle's Virtue and Vices. Good stuff!

I would love to be entered into all the drawings except for Tried & True as I already have it and read it (wonderful).

Have a happy day!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Jenny Blake said...

happy 7th birthday the time goes so fast. I think I found you not long after you started.
I have your book already and have preordered the Christmas one. But would love to be put in the drawer for the gift voucher (to buy more seeker books).
I am still not reading much but hoping the novellas being smaller I will be able to cope better with. The pain is slowly increasing again but good news is just over 2 weeks til I see the neurologist.

Jackie said...

Happy birthday Seekerville! Hard to believe it's been seven years. Way to go!

Thanks for this great post, Mary.

I'll be thinking about these 7 deadly sins. My story revolves bitterness and forgiveness. The heroine was hurt by her father years ago. Wonder if that links in to pride?

Thanks for all you do for us.

cathyann40 said...

Happy Birthday! Enjoyed the post .

Mary Hicks said...

Wonderful keeper post, Mary! Thanks. So true that emotions can be bad or good depending on the way we use them.

This post gives something to 'ponder on' today as I busy about.:-)

Happy Birthday Seekerville!

Rose said...


I'd never thought about that before. The seven deadly sins are all internal emotions. Great, great information.

Thanks for the great blog post.

I 'plugged' your book on the Inkspirational Messages blog today. Stop by if you have time.

Tracey Hagwood said...

Happy Birthday to Seekerville and all its wonderful writers! This is my first year here, it's been great fun getting to know everyone and what makes them tick!

Like Mary, who is playing keep-away with the 7 deadly sins, except for writing purposes ;)

Please enter me in the drawing for Tried and True and the gift card.

Have a great day my friends!

Piper Huguley said...

Happy Birthday to Seekerville! It's going to be an awesome month (and I'm not just saying that because October is my favorite month)!

Thank you for this important reminder about emotion in our stories, Mary. It's how readers connect and want to keep reading our stories. I love the sound of your new story and I look forward to reading it.

Happy October!

Tracey Hagwood said...

Forgot to mention I've already ordered The Advent Bride and can't wait to read it. Looking forward to The Evergreen Bride by Pam too.

kaybee said...

Mary, this is deep. I'm going to mull it a bit and get back. Fortunately I'm working from home today.
Kathy Bailey

Jackie Smith said...

Thanks for the great post, Mary! I plan to read it over and over!
Please count me in for all the drawings!!
Happy Birthday Seekerville!

Good to see Jenny B. here; hope your health is improving each day.

kaybee said...

I think it's an I-phone. But I can't be sure.

Jan Drexler said...

Happy Birthday, Seekerville!!!

What a great insight, Mary. I hadn't thought about those seven deadly sins being internal before, but we all know that whatever is in our hearts can eventually lead to outward sin.

Pride is my current hero's main problem, but after reading this I can see where it's also the antagonist's main problem. You got me thinking....
Can't wait to work this into my WIP!

Put me in the drawing. Yes, I already have Tried and True (thanks for signing it for me!!!), and Cheryl's book, but I'd love to have copies to give away and spread the love :)

Has anyone brought birthday cake to share, yet? I'll supply today's - triple chocolate cheesecake. There's plenty for all, so help yourselves!

Cindy Regnier said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville and THANK YOU Mary! I never thought about the seven sins as parts of a story but now I will definitely use this list. Greed and pride tend to find their way into my stories (in the bad guys, of course) and I have also used cattle rustling as a crime. Put my name in the Stetson. I love Mary Connealy's cowboys!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Um, it's an iPad mini, Melissa.

Oh, look, Mary Connealy slept in.

Time to raid the pantry. I am pretty sure she set out these peach cobblers for lunch. I vote we eat them NOW. Wait, is that one of the 7 Deadly Sins? No. I see no peach cobbler on that list.

Jeanne T said...


Mary, I never, ever thought about the internal life leading to the actions of crimes committed. And the seven deadly sins. I. Love. This.

Thanks so much for sharing.

In my book, one secondary character acts out of greed when he embezzles thousands from a nonprofit organization. :)

kaybee said...

Sin originates in the heart. Which is what Jimmy Carter was trying to say years ago and got roasted for. As my husband's Bible college professor used to say, "The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart."
Matthew 15:19. For out of the HEART come evil thoughts etc. etc. etc.
In "Trail," my Oregon Trail story, Michael's issue is guilt and shame from the past, and Caroline's is unforgiveness. Don't know where they fit in here, unless her unforgiveness can be connected to Wrath. In "Town," the sequel, I think I have a better shot at this. Okay, I'll play. Oona Moriarty's issue is Wrath, she wants to go back to Ireland and wreak revenge on the people who hurt her family. Roy the villain, also Wrath. Carl the secondary villain, Lust. Pace Williams is Pride, he won't go back to Ireland with her because he knows she's planning to avenge her dead fiancé. Well that was fun. I think I will try to work these into future WIPs.
Deep, Mare.
Kathy Bailey

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Tina, Thank goodness peach cobbler isn't on the list because I am glad you mentioned it. I'm helping myself now. YUM

Sandra Leesmith said...

Mary, Great list. However, I'm not liking that I might be harboring one or two of those. YIKES!!!

Great idea to check on my heroine though. Ruthy said I need to deepen the emotions. This list is perfect. I can now focus on a way to do that. smile

Cheryl Baranski said...

Happy, Happy Birthday Seekerville!
Love your blog!!
Thank you for the reminder of the 7 deadly sins. I need to work on mine. I need to learn to let go and forgive!

Jamie Adams said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville!
Another keeper, Mary! There's always so much to learn here.

Janet Dean said...

Happy 7th Birthday Seekerville!!!!!!!

Mary, thanks for the great post on the Seven Deadly Sins that started us on the month long celebration!

I've never thought of the seven deadly sins when I've created characters, but I will now.

Some of my heroines and heroes have struggled with pride and wrath. Guilt drives quite a few. And that guilt doesn't stem from having acted on one of the deadly sins.

I brought chocolate cupcakes with whipped cream filling for the party.


kaybee said...

I would love to win, well, anything you're offering. Always up for a Mary book (got "Four Weddings And a Kiss" from library!), always up for a gift card, and really want to read and apply Cheryl's book. please put my name in hat.

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

You just HAD to mention gluttony when we're celebrating SEVEN YEARS... smh

Terrific post, Mary. Love how you discuss these sins as mental not physical, though most surely lead to that. Pride could be one we use, though May would most likely say it's persistence. ;)

(Right behind you, Tina. I'm bringing spoons for ice cream for our peach cobbler. Fruit, bread and milk substitutes work for b'fast, right?

HAPPY BARKDAY month, Seekers, from all of us! You're an important part of our lives. Thank you.

Wilani Wahl said...

Happy Birthday, Seekerville!

Thank you for this great Post, Mary.

Courtney Phillips said...


My current heroine is dealing with a bit of envy and bitterness. Great ideas in this post that I'd never really considered. I'll be implementing them. :)

And can I just say I love Seekerville?? Y'all give so much to support aspiring writers. Thank you.

Myra Johnson said...

YAY!!! We're 7 years old this month!!!

How much is that in dog years--49? Which means we are mature, responsible adults now.

Um . . . right.

Great post in your continuing discussion of emotions, Mary! There are so many ways to twist these 7 deadly sins into story conflict. Varying degrees of wrath and pride come into play in my newest release, Every Tear a Memory. I try to leave outright lust and greed to the villains, but even heroes and heroines might sometimes feel a pinch of those baser emotions. So, as Janet mentioned, guilt is quite often part of the picture, too.

Jennifer Smith said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville! I'm so glad I found you guys. :)

Two of the seven deadly sins my main character deals with are pride and envy...Good article!

jilianw said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville!
Thank you for this informative post, Mary. It's definitely going into my Seekerville reference notebook.
Pride becomes my main characters struggle after she discovers her engagement was bought and paid for by her overbearing mother.

Carol Moncado said...


Great post, Mary!

Put me in for anything but the book. I've already read it :).

Missy Tippens said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ALL OF US!! Can you believe some of us have been hanging out here for 7 years? Wow.

We're so thankful for all of you! Those who've been here 7 years and those who have joined us recently.

Welcome to those who are new today!

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, I love this. My characters deal a lot with pride. Maybe because I do too! :)

Missy Tippens said...

Melissa, thanks for that link. I hadn't seen that actual chart before.

Missy Tippens said...

The month end prize is an iPad mini! :)

Mary Connealy said...

Wow I am slow stopping in this morning.
My mom fell and is in the hospital. I'm here now sitting with her.
So that's my excuse...but she's getting physical therapy now so I'm able to play on Seekerville.

Mary Connealy said...

Marianne, isn't it true that the PRIDE that is a deadly sin is in so many ways a GOOD thing. I mean how are we NOT proud of our children?
And I think overdone, things like welfare strip away a person's pride and that's terrible for them.
So when does pride become a sin?

Wilani Wahl said...

Mary, I am sorry about your Mom falling. I am praying and hugs are being sent your way.

Mary Connealy said...

I just think it comes down to a sinful level of any of these things.

If you ENVY your neighbor's beautiful lawn and flower garden and go plant your own flowers, that doesn't seem sinful.

But if you sneak over in the dark of night and spray the words "You Suck" with grass killer in their lawn then laugh with glee as their grass dies leaving a brown insult, then yes, you're a stinking sinner.

Wilani Wahl said...

I just want to say how thankful I am for Seekerville. You have all been such an encouragement to me.

Your posts have taught me so much about writing.

Mary Connealy said...

Julie Hilton Steele, I told my mom what my blog post was about today and I made the comment that it's sort of weird that Murder and such didn't make a list of deadly sins.
She said she'd just read something about that, how the deadly sins were all internal.
But she can't remember where she saw it.
I'm so curious now.

Mary Connealy said...

I've never seen the Aristotle Ethics chart before. Very interesting.
I'm going to study it more.
And I see others have already answered but OUR GRAND PRIZE AT THE END OF OCTOBER IS AN IPAD MINI!

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Cindy W, thanks for buying my book.
A chart huh?
Does this require any computer skills? That might be a deal breaker.

Mary Connealy said...

Jenny, I'm so sorry you're not feeling well. This has been going on too long!!! :(

Mary Connealy said...

Jackie they also fit nicely into The Moral Premise.

One of these sins is the vice, pick the flip side of it for the virtue.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Cathyann40, thanks for chiming in. This is a month for LURKERS to come out and say hello!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Mary Hicks, I'm actually pondering on it, too. I think there is a lot to explore in writing and in our faith, that these sins are all internal.

I guess what it reminds us of at the most basic level is, we all sin--even if we're not out doing terrible things--and we all need forgiveness. We all need the saving power of Jesus Christ.

Mary Connealy said...



Thanks, Rose. I'll head over to Inkspiration in a bit.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Tracey, it's been fun getting to know you, too. Thanks for joining the party we throw everyday at Seekerville

Mary Connealy said...

Piper it is soooooooooo true that emotion is what is powerful on any page.

Again, I'm reminded of Vince's Rewards Per Page post.

But I know when I close a book, if anything lures me back to it, it's the scenes with powerful emotions.

Mary Connealy said...

Thanks for buying Advent Bride and Pam Hillman's Evergreen Bride.
These are two of TWELVE Christmas novellas, released ebook only, one a week for twelve weeks.

It's the Twelve Brides of Christmas series and if you go to my book there is a link that says Twelve Brides of Christmas so you can see the whole list.

Mary Connealy said...

Deep, Kathy? Really?

Uh oh, I am now experiencing the sin of pride.

I'm fighting it though.

Mary Connealy said...

Jackie Smith thank you so much for such nice things about my post.

I'm honored...really sincerely honored. Thank you all.

I'm a little sentimental today with mom being hurt. She's mending, slowly but steadily. But it's hard to watch her hurt.

Mary Connealy said...

Jan I was so honored to be asked to sign your book at ACFW. Thank you. there really such a thing as Triple Chocolate Cheesecake.

Wow, falling into gluttony here. You guys are all pure temptation today!!!!!! Shame on you!

Still, pass the cheesecake. Maybe if I only have two or three pieces we can stay on the right side of sin. (okay, I want my own cake!)

Mary Connealy said...

Ah Cindy, you sweet thing.

I know I'm being mushy today but all your kind words are just so deeply appreciated.

I'm getting a little weepy. And all the Seekers will tell you I NEVER CRY.

(Honestly never...I suspect a tear duct deformity)

Mary Connealy said...

Tina peach cobbler makes me think of Patti Jo and how could that EVER be a bad thing.
Thanks for bringing food.

Mary Connealy said...

Jeanne T, this list is a help to me because I tend to always go with greed and pride. I think this could make our books fuller, more interesting just by picking a DIFFERENT, less usual deadly sin.

I'm trying to figure out how gluttony could work but a villain? What? He robs a bakery?

And the hero and heroine...well, we all know our h/h are SLENDER so gluttony would be against type.

Still I'm going to explore these more myself.

Janet Dean said...

Mary, glad you can visit your mom and still hang out in Seekerville! Hope the pain is better and she's having a good day. Tell her hello for us.

I've never figured out how to leave a comment with my smart phone. I may be struggling with envy of those who can.


Mary Connealy said...

Kathy I love this: The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart."

I'm going to remember this.

And isn't every outward sin propelled by the inward sin? So if we can control the inward we won't ever do the outward sin.

Okay that's a little complex. I'll think on this and try again later. LOL

THANK YOU FOR TALKING ABOUT YOUR BOOKS. I kinda forgot I even mentioned that.

Mary Connealy said...

You know what else isn't in that list?


Isn't that strange? Or are all these sins manifestations of hate.
Wrath is, but not the rest exactly

Mary Connealy said...

CHERYL...I suspect only really decent nice people spend a lot of time working on their sins.

Bad people go around with unforgiveness and never bat an eye.

Meghan Carver said...

Happy birthday, Seekerville! Wish I'd found you wonderful people away back then. :-)

Brilliant post, Mary! I love the simplicity as well as the opportunity to go as complicated as you want with a character. Thanks so much!

Janet Dean said...

Melissa J, thanks for the link! I printed the table of Virtues and Vices. Like Mary's Deadly Sins, this info will help me create characters.


Janet Dean said...

Has anyone been with Seekerville for seven years?


Mary Connealy said...

Jamie, all of Seekerville is a 'keeper post'. I send people to the archives all the time.

"Look down the right side of the blog," I tell them, "And you'll find seven years of lessons."

Mary Connealy said...

Chocolate cupcakes with whipped cream filling??????????????

Seriously, Janet??????????????

I now have to leave my mother's bedside and go buy cupcakes and peach cobbler.

Gluttony rears it's ugly head.

Mary Connealy said...

You're in the drawing Kathy.

I love your Oregon Trail book, too. It's such a great idea.

Mary Connealy said...

KC LOL yes! Peach cobbler with ice cream is three of the four food groups.

It is DEFINTELY health food....good for any meal of the day.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Wilani, you are very welcome!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Ah, Courtney, you sweet thing. We have met so many wonderful people through Seekerville.
We get more from it than we ever give.

Okay, getting sentimental again.

What a nice day this is.

Mary Connealy said...

Jennifer those are such great solid motivating emotions.

Lust is so tricky in Christian fiction. Uh....the villain wants the heroine and is motivated by that?

I guess, sort of a STALKER thing. But you'd have to be so careful.

But can LUST be about non-sexual things? But if it is, then doesn't I sort of become ENVY rather?

Very confusing.

And please forgive me for including the word SEX in my comment.

Mary Connealy said...

Jilian that is so intriguing, her fiancé is bought.

I immediately want to know more!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Carol Cookie was so fun to see you in St. Louis.
You really do make great cookies.

You're in the drawing. And thank you so much for getting my book.

Mary Connealy said...

Thank you, Wilani. I appreciate your prayers.

She's healing. But she is really a lively active woman. 86 years old. And she just went from really FINE to so laid up, just in an instant.

It's very shocking.

Mary Connealy said...

Meghan thanks for stopping in. One of the great things about a blog like this is, if you DIDN'T find us early on, the archives are there to dig into.

Melanie Pike said...

Wow. As Julie wrote, "I am printing this one out. Keeper, keeper, keeper..."

The book I should be working on has unforgiveness as one of its themes, so where would that fit in? I think I'd had the heroine finally figure out (need to re-read it--it's been a while) that it became a pride thing for her.

If you want to make it PERSONAL though, I am so very guilty of coveting other people's homes or where they live. We never wanted to live in town; we wanted land. We've been in the same house in a village for 30 1/2 years.

Thanks for this, Mary! And Melissa, too, for Aristotle's Virtue and Vices. I need to spend some time printing out things, including Seekerville posts on plotting. I'm also prepping this room to be tidier and work-friendly. :)

Please toss my name into the ring for all the giveaways! :)

A blessed Happy Birthday, Seekerville!

Donna said...

Mary, so sorry to hear your mother took a fall. I hope she will be up and about real soon!

Happy Birthday Seekerville!! One exclamation point isn't enough, three is just silly. Two seems perfect.

Melanie Pike said...

Anyone else feel that Seekerville should have a "Like" button a la Facebook? ;-) So many of these posts made me want to click on "Like". Yeah, I'm a FB addict.

Mary, so sorry to hear about your mom, and hope that everything turns out okay for her.

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie I guess you need to ask what is the source of her unforgiveness.
Could that translate into one of the seven deadly sins?
Unforgiveness for some betrayal--could that translate into lust or pride or envy?

Mary Connealy said...

Donna thanks. I'm passing on all the kind thoughts to my mom.
God bless you all.

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie, thanks for the LIKE from your heart. :)

Pam Hillman said...

I am about to commit one of the 7 deadly sins by becoming a sloth...on my couch...taking a nap. lol

BANGs as in Vince's SWAT "start with a tornado" are also good for later in the book. I recently used a flash flood to solve a plotting issue. Funny thing is I had already planted several scenes with rain throughout and the flash flood was so organic to the story that I can't believe it took me a week for the light go off!

Susan Anne Mason said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SEEKERVILLE! This is making me miss all you lovely ladies who I had the privilege of spending some time with at the conference! How fun was that!!
I got to meet some Villagers too like Jan and Melissa! (sorry if I forget anyone. My brain is still on post conference fuzzy mode!)

Susan Anne Mason said...

Oh, and please enter me in any/all draws!

Lyndee H said...

HI Mary,
I am praying for your Mom. HUGS.


Pride is what caught my hero, Jack, off guard when his sweetheart up and left him. He had to make changes to win her back, and ironically, the reformed and humbled Jack discovers that these changes, and all that he has accomplished, have given his family a sense of pride in him. How can she turn him down now?

BTW, I have Tried and True, as you might remember. I took it to a concert, lol. Only read ten pages before it got too dark that night, but the woman next to me ask me about it, so I may have sold a book for you! ;)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh my stars, evil, cute children kept me away until now!!!!

(That is not true, I spent today writing and Beth and Jon took the kids on a field trip and I got 3K done... )

BUT I'M HERE NOW!!!!!! :)

Mary, this is so true, and I've never looked at the difference between the emotions of the 7 Deadly Sins and the ACTIONS on those emotions.

You rock.

I'm clearly impressed.

You have a brain.

Who knew?

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Ice cream and peach cobbler?????

I'm so in.

I am starving.

CatMom said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville!! :)

Yep, definitely a KEEPER post, Mary!

And on an entirely different note, I still giggle when I think of sitting beside you at the ACFW Gala---you are a hoot! (meant in a complimentary way, of course) ;)

Hugs, Patti Jo

CatMom said...

p.s. PRAYING for your precious Mom, Mary. And you mentioned going to buy peach cobbler - - I'm setting one out right now---straight from the oven, extra cinnamon sugar on top. ;) Hugs, PJ

Vince said...

Hi Mary:


I hope you keep adding to this emotions-in-writing series! I believe all reader-felt emotions count as rewards. If readers don’t feel the story, they won’t live it. And one of the main reasons for reading fiction is to feel what it would be like to live other lives. Especially lives in which you are loved, cherished, protected, successful, admired, and happy. Ecco romance!

I just finished reading Helen’s third book, “Ozark Wedding,” and the most memorable scene in the book, one I’ll always remember, was when the heroine’s rural house was wired for electricity. With her father in the darkened room she turned on the light switch and waited and waited for the power company to charge the lines. Little by little a weak orange light grew from a faint glow until its brilliance seemed to light up the entire world. The heroine’s excitement was truly ‘electric’ as she bid goodbye to a world that had only been lit by fire up until that very moment!

Who would think that turning on a light switch could pack so much emotional power? This is what I love about reading! I think I now know what it felt like to get electricity for the first time.

Aristotle might say that each of your sin examples resides on a spectrum and is thus part of a continuum. Thinking about this full spectrum might give a writer many more ideas for emotionalizing her manuscript.

Lust…strong desire…physical love…indifference…repulsion.

Gluttony…simple over-eating…healthy appetite…dieting…fasting…anorexia.


Sloth, laziness, activity, hyperactivity.



Pride…healthy self-esteem…shame.

Perhaps not all the above are strictly emotions but how many emotions are also states of being? And I'm sure many more emotions could be woven into each spectrum. However, we can have feelings for which we have no name. What is the state where you laugh through your tears?

Now: I said all that so I can get a chance to win your new book (even though it is sad to say goodbye to Vince and the other Andersonville heroes!)

Kav said...

Praying for your mom, Mary. So hard to watch those we love suffering. Guess I should pray for you too. :-)

This is really neat in a simple/complex way. Simple in that we can narrow it down to seven and complex because there's upteen variations of those seven deadly sins. I would say the two in my wip are greed and pride.

Oh...and happy birthday, Seekerville. That means we get cake every day, right? Cake without calories.

Valri said...

Love the post, Mary! Happy Birthday, Seekerville! I enjoy reading the posts every day! Even though it has a lot of info for writers, I, as a reader, enjoy a lot of the information too! Thanks!

Mary, your posts are always great and entertaining to read :)

Put me down for one of your books or the gift card! I would love Four Weddings and a Kiss as I haven't read that one yet but if that isn't possible, I'd take Tried & True!

Pat Jeanne Davis said...

Happy Birthday, Seekerville!

A keeper post for sure, Mary. Love visiting here. So much writing motivation and encouragement. You're all so inspiring as I too contine to stay the course.

DebH said...


the fact that Seekerville shares their birthday month with me and my little one (days 15 & 29) is just icing on the cake. (yay) now if i can just get those caricatures done for y'all...

love this insightful post. i'd never connected the sins as INTERNAL/emotional. "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (or body acts) another lightbulb moment for me today.

my hero deals with wrath. my villain - greed. as for the heroine, hmmm... not so sure. must ponder that.

please put me in the draw for an alternate book since I've got Tried and True already and the advent book is pre-ordered. will be reading T&T in the truck on the way to Delaware tomorrow.

praying for quick healing and low pain for you mom, Mary.

Seekerville is uber awesome. i first got directed here in late 2008 by Anita Mae. biggest blessing EVER.

Mary Connealy said...

Susan Ann, it was so nice to meet you and visit with you. To me THIS is why I love conferences. To get to see someone other than in a one inch square picture.
To hear a voice, to actually visit.

It was such fun and I come away feeling I know people so much BETTER.

Mary Connealy said...


Great example of a faith journey for your hero!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Ruthy you are not the first to be surprised at my extremely good brain.

I've tried to keep it pretty much a secret and succeeded beyond all expectations.

Go figure!

Mary Connealy said...

Patti Jo sitting next to you, talking, laughing, is one of the highlights of the conference. Getting to watch TINA WIN THE CAROL was a perfect cap to a terrific night.

When I heard Peach Cobbler I immediately though of you. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Well, I've been researching and can't find out what you mean VINCE by ECCO romance.

Unless you mean a brand of shoes, which does not seem to fit.

Mary Connealy said...

Vince I haven't read Helen's newest book yet and now I have too.

My mom remembers 'when the lights went on'.

She can tell that story like it's still alive and happening right now. She about five years old, was gone from home and when she came back she stepped inside and someone flicked on the light.
It was a miracle to her. You can hear the AWE in her voice when she talks about it.

And my mother-in-law talks about when electricity came, too. There's a passion in her voice about it that is riveting.

There! Helen's book is on the way. In fact, I bought it on Kindle so it is ALREADY IN MY HOUSE!

Sherida Stewart said...


Great post, Mary! My hero's sin is pride, and my heroine's sin is envy. These are interesting sins to consider.

I'm reading Writing with Emotion, Tension, and Conflict right now. Learning so much! And this book was purchased with a gift card from Seekerville and Mary. Thank you!

Sherida Stewart said...

So sorry about your mother's fall, Mary. Sending prayers of comfort.

Chill N said...

Wow, Mary, lots of insight about the degrees of emotions -- where do the emotions cross the line -- and where is that line? As I read your post, I realized those are the questions that drive the books i like to read. Hmmm.

Old-timers I knew had a way of getting around envy. It went something like this: "I wish I had that fence/gate/barn/ (insert item) and he had something even better." Gotta love it.

Nancy C

Mary Connealy said...

Vince I love your list and the progressions of the sin.

It really rings true with what we've learned about The Moral Premise.

Mary Connealy said...

KAV cake without calories.
That makes Seekerville sound like HEAVEN!

Mary Connealy said...

Valri!!!!!!! HI I just responded to a comment from you over on Petticoats and Pistols, where I am also blogging today.

Yeah, I needed more to do.

Mary Connealy said...

Hey, DebH, you're in my prayers today. God bless you.

Thanks for stopping in.

Mary Connealy said...

Sherida, I hope you enjoy Cheryl's book. It's great.

And I appreciate your kind words and prayers

Mary Connealy said...

Nancy C. My mom's mother used to tell her, when she asked for something, "We can have everything we want, as long as we don't want too much."

I used that on my children a LOT and it's a good motto. Because we do want too much, and it's a good idea to be aware of when we want too much. It's not like we're starving to death in the bitter cold, we just don't need a sixth pair of shoes. (Okay sixteenth!!!!!!!)

Chill N said...

Thinking here that my characters ... well ... between the main characters and the secondary characters, they cover degrees of lust, greed (sometimes one seems to drive the other), envy and pride. The hero really loses his temper at one point (wrath, right?), but I'm pretty sure it would be considered justifiable. Then again, not everyone would consider it justifiable. So the 'degrees' of the 7 deadly sins can also be in the eyes of the beholder, so to speak.

Gee Mary this is MAJORLY deep, you know?

Nancy C

Chill N said...

Just saw the news about your mother, Mary. Sending wishes for quick healing!

Nancy C

Chill N said...

Mary Connealy said...
Nancy C. My mom's mother used to tell her, when she asked for something, "We can have everything we want, as long as we don't want too much."

I like that! A lot. Thanks!

Nancy C

Cara Lynn James said...

Thanks for a great blog, Mary. I never thought about the 7 Deadly Sins being internal. Good information I can use.

Jana Vanderslice said...

Happy BDay Seekerville! Seven years is Forever in cyberworld! Congratulations!

Myra- "49 in dog years!" That's Hilarious!

Sandy Smith said...

Wow, I am late to the party today and already 114 comments. I guess everybody wants these prizes. Please put my name in for the drawing!

Thank you for this post. I don't think I would have thought of using God's list as a way of coming up with emotions in a story. I will definitely keep in mind.

Sandy Smith said...

I also want to add Happy Birthday to Seekerville. I am excited to celebrate it in my first year here.

Mary, I will be praying for your mom.

Heidi Robbins said...

Happy birthday Seekerville! What a fabulous article Mary! I never noticed before that the seven sins are internal emotions and not actions. Please enter me in the giveaways! :)

Lilsis said...

I am new to Seekerville and I am loving it! I can hardly wait to read past posts!

Thanks Mary for a thought provoking post.

Lourdes said...

Seekerville, Happy birthday great article Mary! Please enter me in the giveaways

Mary Connealy said...

Nancy C that is so nice.

I like being deep.

I think I'm gonna go tell My Cowboy I'm deep.

I may print out the comments just so he has proof. (I suspect it will come as a surprise to him......but maybe not!!!)

Mary Connealy said...

Jana, Seekerville is an old, gray haired hound of a blog isn't it?

Mary Connealy said...

Sandy Smith are you my NEBRASKA Sandy Smith? Love it that you're here. You're in the drawing.

Mary Connealy said...

Heidi talking with all of you today has helped me see deeper into this list of emotions, too.
It's a good day.

Judy said...

Happy 7th Birthday Seekerville!

Your post was a good one Mary! Emotions can easily cross the line if we aren't careful. I think some authors push the envelop at times. Take a romantic moment, it needs to be handled with care. Nothing at all wrong with romance when described the right way for readers.


regencygirl01 said...

Sounds great, Happiest of Birthdays

Naomi Rawlings said...

I'm here. Late to the party and it's been too long, but it's nice to stop by for a few minutes. Okay, the sin that's in both my antagonist and my protagonist for the novel I'm revising is . . . Pride. Yep. They both got it. The antagonist has it a little more severely that the protag, but the antag is also the protag in my next book. So I had to keep him pretty redeemable.

And speaking of redeemable antagonists, I so see where you're headed with that cattle baron and Kylie's sister in your Wild at Heart series. The thought already makes me smile, and I've probably got to wait a whole year until I can read what happens. :-(

Sandy Smith said...

Yes, Mary, I am the Nebraska Sandy Smith! :)

RW1010 said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville!! October is my birthday month too!! Woo! Those deadly emotions!! Tough to control sometimes!

Laura said...

Happy birthday Seekerville!

Tanya Agler said...

Happy Birthday, Seekerville.

Thank you for all the wonderful posts by all the people who have shared their time and talent with readers of this blog, this one included.

Thank you, Mary, for today's insight into the seven deadly sins and how they can impact your characters. I use pride a lot in my books. Only upon looking at the whole list did that remind that I might want to diversify a little.

(And I hope Mary's mother is doing better as well.)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I have to agree with Mary <<<>>>

That I love meeting people at conferences. That's what I miss about staying home. I know i've got a Good Will Hunting kind of attitude about spending the bucks... remember him dissing the Harvard guy's education and besting him and then saying he got his for $1.75 in late fees from the public library?

That's how I see conferences, BUT... I'll come to see people because that's the fun part. I love people. Just sittin', chattin' fellowship, talking.

THat's the best.

Mary Connealy said...

Lilsis! WELCOME!!! You picked a perfect time to get involved.

Prizes everyday for 31 days, plus weekly special prizes and at the end of the month our GRAND PRIZE!

Deanna Stevens said...

I got to preview The Advent Bride.. Loved It. thanks for the contest :)

Jan Christiansen said...

As always, I get so much out of your posts, Mary. Never thought about tapping into the 7 deadly sins to stir things up in my stories. I will from now on! :)

Crystal @ Serving Joyfully said...

Great post, Mary! I'd love to be entered into the drawing, except not for tried and true because I already have that one :)

Jenny Blake said...

Thanks all for the support. yes its been too long but I have learnt I have a chronic pain condition we think called Occipital Neuralgia which causes headpain. (think bad migraine 24/7) My pain is mainly frontal on the right hand side and for me the neck was an issue but thanks to physio and exercises that is much looser or else I would really be in trouble. What it means for me is on good day the pain will be around 4 our of ten but at present the pain is starting to rise again and often is at 6 our of ten. without meds its above 8 with the feel of someone using a nailgun in the head. I also have a super sensitive to noise. But some are 10 out of 10 all the time so I am much better. The meds affect me and we have stopped one which has caused a lot of issues (including the sedation and exhaustion). Gardening is my calming exercise right now. I see a Neurologist on the 17th and pain clinic 20th I just ask if you will pray I get one who understands my condition and who will listen and help me. I have heard of many having to go through 4 or 5 to get a caring and helpful one. But I know God is before me and has it in his hands and I know having friends praying he will provide the right one for my needs. (sorry for the novel but wanted to update and ask for prayer im sorry also if I seem to be complaining a lot).

Sherida Stewart said...

Jenny, you are in my prayers. Hoping that you find the right doctor who will find the right solution soon! Blessings!

Mary Curry said...

Happy Birthday, Seekerville. Thanks for seven years of friendship and fun.

Fascinating post, Mary. The villain in the book I just submitted was motivated by greed.

I'll have to ponder that for the one I'm working on now. It's really misplaced loyalty that goes wrong, but I guess wrath takes over.

Mary Curry said...

Thanks for letting us know, Jenny. I will keep you in my prayers - for the right doctor and the right help.

Vince said...

Hi Mary:

I am so used to using the Italian word “Ecco” which has no direct translation in English but is so useful in Italian that I now even use it in English by habit without thinking. In Italian it can mean ‘behold’, ‘and thus’, ‘here it is’, ‘now I understand it’ and it is derived from the Latin which you’ll see as “Ecce” which means ‘behold’. As in the Bible when Pilate presents Jesus to the angry crowd and says “Ecce homo” – “behold the man”.

I meant by “Ecco romance” something classical like “There you have romance”!

And thus:

“Ecce Seekerville” – a very happy birthday!

Mary Preston said...

How fascinating thank you. I will be more aware in future.

Walt Mussell said...

Mary, as I read this, I'm thinking about my 19th century historical set in the Pacific Northwest. I'm thinking that my heroine has wrath, and that makes somewhat like the villain (though the villain has envy, too). I need to develop this side of my heroine's personality better.

Happy birthday, Seekerville!

Patsy said...

Enjoyed this article.
October is my birthday month too!

Mary Connealy said...

Mary Curry, I missed you at ACFW. I know you're back at work and in fact probably haven't gone much if ever but I associate you with fun at a conference!!! :)

Mary Connealy said...

Walt hi there. I had an early night last night and didn't see all of these nice later comments.
Thanks for stopping in.
You....all of you ... are in the drawing.

Mary Connealy said...

Vince, thanks for stopping back to talk about ecco.

I've learned some Latin and some Italian now. Long over due.

Dan Rugg said...

Happy Birthday I would like to be entered in all of your wonderful draws and thanks for the chance to win these amazing prize.

Caryl Kane said...

Happy 7th Birthday Seekerville! Have lots of fun this month!

Rebecca said...

I never thought of the seven deadly sins being emotions and not physical sins. This is a great brainstorming idea.

Anna Weaver Hurtt said...

Great post, Mary. And awesome giveaway, too. :)

ladyinwaiting16 said...

Thank you for all you guys do to encourage us.

Happy Birthday Seekerville.

Janet Kerr said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville!

bonton said...

Hi, Mary!!

Congrats on "Tried and True"!! I'm loving all the Christmas novella collections releasing this year - so looking forward to both "The 12 Brides of Christmas" collection and the "Hope For the Holidays" collections!!

Loved your post - I love as many of the 7 deadly sins as possible in the books I read. I'm an emotion and passion person, all the way!!

Thank you for the many hours of reading pleasure and inspiration you have given through your books!! I love your sense of humor!!


Carol Garvin said...


Nobody's going to find this comment two days after the fact, but I'm behind in my blog reading and I can't let the birthday kick-off go by unacknowledged.

I hope by now your mother is on the mend from her fall, Mary. Bad things should never happen to good people, but life never seems to remember that. :(

Janet asked if anyone's been around for all of Seekerville's seven birthdays. I wondered that, too. I haven't, but have been here for at least three of them. (It's a little scary how fast those years have gone by!)

I'm off and running now...gotta catch up on yesterday's post so I can finally read today's. I always seem to be playing catch-up!!!

Connie said...

Happy Birthday Seekerville and Congrats Mary on a great, thought-provoking post. We all struggle with Sin but we may not deal with it in the same way.
I would love to win ANY of these prizes. Will you please enter my name in Al
Thank you and God Bless!

Crystal A Murray said...

Happy 7th Birthday, Seekerville, and thank you for many helpful posts along the way.

In looking at my main character, I suppose his false guilt can be driven by pride. Knowing that should help me round him out just a little bit more.