Saturday, December 2, 2023

Superhero Tools for Writers: The Gift of Discovery

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

For the last few months, we’ve looked at superhero tools that writers have in their tool chests. This time we’ll look at a superhero tool that fits right in with the Christmas season.

Finally, we can all agree to start the Christmas season. We’ve spent so much time fussing—I mean discussing—when we should start putting up Christmas decorations and listening to Christmas carols. I admit, it does get messy when the stores put out their Christmas merchandise when we’re still sitting by the pool. And I get where you’re coming from when you say we should first celebrate Thanksgiving (Maybe my favorite holiday.) Or Halloween. Or Labor Day.

But now it’s December. It’s time to blast those carols in our homes and cars, to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Feliz Navidad, and to dig into those favorite Christmas dishes.

In case you haven’t gathered, I LOVE Christmas. It’s my favorite season of all. (We should start celebrating in July. Right after we take down last year’s tree.)

Foremost, it’s the birthday of my Savior. When God, the Ruler of everything, came down from the golden streets of Heaven and entered a hay-filled stable as a baby. The Creator became a helpless infant.

Now that’s being creative.

When I think of Christmas, I first think of the Christmas story. Then I imagine the spirit of the season. That excitement that tingles in the streets and stores all over the world. The joy of seeing old and new friends. And the spectacle of pageants and festivals that we attend dressed in our finest.

And I remember an old commercial. I don’t have a clue what the product was. But the ad showed a young girl with blond curls opening a gift from under the lit tree. As she opens the present, a glow comes from the box and the look of astonishment shows on her face.

That joy of discovery is such an important part of the Christmas season. The lights, the sounds of the Christmas music and festive crowds, and the smells of the greenery and the food.

Ah, Christmas food; cookies, fudge, and hot chocolate.

It’s that feeling of discovery that we writers hope to give to our readers. Whether it’s through a book or a devotion, fiction or nonfiction, we want to leave them with fresh experiences and feelings. And we can share this gift of discovery in three areas.

Three Areas Writers Use the Superhero Tool of the Gift of Discovery

1. Facts

The goal of much of our writing is to share knowledge. It’s such a pleasure to be able to share things we think are important and meaningful. Seeing that look in their eyes when they get it. Let’s face it, why else would we have math teachers?

2. Emotions

An important role writers have is to help our readers have empathy—to understand the feelings of others in a different culture or situation. That is why telling a story is so powerful. It could be one reason why Jesus spoke in parables. He shared a large part of His teaching through His stories. He could teach for years how His followers should show compassion to others, and we would debate what He truly meant. Instead, He gave us the parable of The Good Samaritan, and we all know and share that story.

3. Experiences

One of the basic purposes of communication was to share our experiences with others. We all have experiences that are uniquely ours, but that we share type the moment with others.

I will always remember the birth of my son. Holding him in my arms in the hospital room and being amazed at all the cars passing by on the highway. Now many if not most of them had had their own children, but didn’t they know what had just happened in that hospital room? The miracle and what a precious bundle I held in my arms. I thought they should all stop and come to our room to celebrate this miracle with us. Sort of like the shepherds. I understood why God wanted someone to share His joy.

By sharing facts, emotions, and experiences, we grow closer and wiser. Writers have the opportunity, and to some degree the responsibility, to show that all of us are part of something bigger, something that holds surprises all around us, something that Someone made just for us.

One of my favorite Christmas stories comes from a master of storytelling, Paul Harvey. It’s the story of The Man and the Birds. (Here’s the link. The Man and the Birds Christmas Story) It’s about a man who saw a flock of birds in the freezing snow. He felt bad for them being out in the cold, so he went outside and opened his barn. But the more he tried to get them to go inside, the more they scattered and flew away. He realized they were afraid of him, even though he was trying to save their lives. And while he thought of different ways to get them to the warmth of the barn, he wished he could become a bird so he could get them to understand.

Then the church bells rang.

So, this Christmas season, in your writing and stories, I hope you’re able to share in spreading this gift. And I hope you hold on to that childlike ability to enjoy discovering the magic of Christmas, of Emmanuel, that will be all around us.


Don't Miss the Other Posts in This Series of SUPERHERO TOOLS FOR WRITERS


Tim Suddeth is a stay-at-home dad and butler for his wonderful, adult son with autism. He has written numerous blogs posts, short stories, and three novels waiting for publication. He is a frequent attendee at writers conferences, including the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and a member of Word Weavers and ACFW. He lives near Greenville, SC where he shares a house with a bossy Shorky and three too-curious Persians. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter, as well as at and


  1. Thanks Tim, for getting the Christmas Spirit revved up in me.
    Great examples. :)

  2. Good post, Tim. It was inspiring to me and all writers. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.