Writing Books

 

I like reference books. When I buy a writers’ book, I often begin working the examples. One of James Scott Bell’s pieces of advice suggested to read through the book once and highlight what grabs you. Then, read through it again and underline the thoughts that really stand out in red. I’ve done that. I began with his book, Plot & Structure: Techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish.

 Front Cover

It was copyrighted in 2004, and published by Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio. The photo is from: https://books.google.com/books/about/Write_Great_Fiction_Plot_Structure.html?id=0arFsgEACAAJ&sorce=kp_cover

 

 

 

Another of his books I like is The Art of War for Writers: fiction writing strategies, tactics and exercises.   

Front Cover

This photo is from: https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Art_of_War_for_Writers.html?id=9vwzOJFKtc8C&source=kp_cover

 

 

He copyrighted it in 2009, and Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH published it.

 

Yesterday. I mentioned that we are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore, we are creative beings. I read and implement strategies from a variety of published authors that move from fiction to writing non-fiction about what helped them in the craft. Each book is unique because we are all individuals.

 

I’ve enjoyed learning from so many writers over the years, whether in person at writer’s conferences or through their expertise on the written page via paper or electronic devices. What a privilege. After the learning comes the doing, putting words on paper or screen.

 

Where we differ from God: He creates and it’s perfect. We attempt artistry and if we leave it alone for a few days, when we read it, our masterpiece doesn’t make sense or present the image we pictured in our mind. Then the editing begins.

 

Also, we may face fear of ridicule or rejection. God’s Word tells us that perfect love casts out fear. God’s love is perfect because He is love. 1 John 4 talks about His love.

 

Apostle Paul wrote the Colossian believers and in the following verses he talks about Jesus:

Col 2:6  As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Col 2:7  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Col 2:8  Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Col 2:9  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

Col 2:10  and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

 

From these verses and others in the Old Testament, I believe Jesus is God, the Son. I can’t say that He didn’t fear when He took off all His godly attributes and took on the form of man. Before the crucifixion, it says in the Gospels that He sweat blood because of the anguish He experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane during prayer.

 

In the book of Hebrews, it tells us that Jesus understands us completely because He became a man, but He was completely filled with the Spirit of God. As humans, we can experience an infilling of the Holy Spirit at times, but we have to seek God for more of the Spirit. It takes work because we’re in a spiritual battle and our flesh wants to do what the body wants to do.

 

It’s the same with writing as a career. I find that I can’t give up trying to learn more and trying to face down a tired mind and a weary body when I need to get something done for a client or a deadline. Also, keeping up with technological changes and industry standards and marketing takes stamina and using more brain cells.

 

To me, staying the course in Christianity and keeping on track for writing are worth the effort and bring me joy. The latter is a lesser joy, but if I give up there’s something within me that urges me back to the creative endeavor.

 

For a while in college and then for another seven years, I pushed God aside and lived as I saw fit. As a newlywed and a new mom, it should have been the happiest years of my life. Things and people satisfied for a short amount of time; selfishness caused discontentment and frustration and sorrow.

 

When we moved to another town, God allowed me to run into Christian neighbors and at first, I resented them. Then, they were so stinking nice. One said to me after I started to argue about a Christian public figure whom I knew nothing about, but I’d been hearing newscasters bashing him, “I thought you said you were a Christian? Can’t we agree to disagree?”

 

What could I say to that?

 

More than thirty years later, I’m still following Jesus and even in the hard times, I’d never turn back.  That’s my fervent prayer and hope. I don’t trust myself, but I’ve prayed, “God keep me.”

 

When I first read the Scriptures where Jesus said if they persecuted Him they’ll persecute His followers, I stopped and pondered that a while. I’d rather be persecuted here on earth for a short time than to be in hell, tormented forever.

 

Christians are persecuted more now than ever before in history.

 

I heard the stars and planets are lined up exactly as they were when Jesus came to earth. Some folks believe Jesus is coming back for His church on Saturday. My daughter said when they start saying the day and time, then we know that won’t be the day or time, because Jesus said we won’t know the day or hour.

 

With all the earthquakes and hurricanes and tumult in the world, it seems closer than ever. I guess we’ll wait and see.

 

May God bless you. I’m grateful for the opportunity to write. Thanks for reading this if you stuck around for the whole thing. I didn’t expect to say so much.

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Squeezing in Time for Thoughts

I’ve been working on sending out manuscripts lately. I entered one short story in a fiction contest and I was a bit dismayed to see they’d extended their deadline. They accept more than one entry, so perhaps I’ll send in another one.

Last week I started reading One Great Way to Write Short Stories: A Step-by-Step Approach by Ben Nyberg. Copyrighted in 1988, and published by Writer’s Digest Books, Cincinnati, OH, the author gives the first writing assignment on page 49.

So I came up with a few ideas of events from my childhood and decided to write about an experience with my best friend.

The second exercise is to consider this person’s character traits and tell the story over again from my best friend’s “standpoint.” Page 62.

I enjoy this kind of activity. I took time out to change the clock battery just after I told my husband I was going to blog. He saw me sitting quietly. “I thought you were going to blog. Why aren’t you typing?”

“I have to think before I write.”

He smiled and made some kind of joke. He’s finishing his sermon, so his mind is fully engaged in one room, while I transcribe my thoughts onto legal pad papers across the way from him.

Sometimes when I ask him to edit my manuscripts, he lets me know he hates doing that sort of thing. One – he doesn’t want to hurt my feelings. Two – he’s busy with his own stuff. Three – he doesn’t see why anyone would want to write.

He reads magazines and Bible commentaries and stuff on the Internet, but I haven’t seen him read a fiction book for a few years now.

I probably read three novels a week. I squeeze in a few pages here and there when I’m busy. When I’m less busy or I need a break, I’ll read a few chapters at a time.

A writer needs to read other people’s works.

I took out a book from our local library, The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, It’s the Third Annual Collection, copyrighted in 2002 and published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC; A Forge Book; New York, NY.

I was grateful that the editor gave a small synopsis of each story. One or two sounded too graphic for me. Someone I care about told me she feels more sensitive inside the longer she follows the Lord. I understood. Maybe tender is a better word; I don’t remember her exact phrasing.

Anyway, when I hear the news and people are hurting other people over religious differences, cultural differences, skin color, or selfish reasons it brings tears to my eyes. I have to pray and then put my mind on positive things so I don’t stay distraught and not be able to function.

Years ago, I stopped listening to the news because I was getting depressed. I’m able to handle it better now because of God’s help. As I’m reminded in Neh_8:10,(ESV): Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

I enjoy reading and writing and they inspire me to contemplate situations characters go through. I can determine what actions seem plausible in various circumstances.

Maybe my husband sees writing as a chore – that’s okay. If everyone was the same, life would be a mess. We need variety to function and not to be bored, bored, bored.

God Bless!

 

To Blog or Not to Blog This

Have you ever blogged and became emotional and wrote almost a thousand words and realized you could not send it out without time for it to rest and without a good editing. That was me tonight.

I grew up in a moderate sized city and recalled childhood friendships that died because our city experienced race riots. Its aftermath rippled into the lives of children, too.

We had a multicultural neighborhood and I loved people of diverse backgrounds most of the time. So, it was painful when the city erupted into chaos and looting and possibly violence. Being so young, I’m sure my parents sheltered me from some of it.

I’m glad God made people with a variety of skin tones and kinds of hair and cultural experiences. I’ve felt sad when it got in the way of connecting one with another, years ago.

My sister Mary went to be with Jesus two years ago. She used to attend Monroe Community College in downtown Rochester. She’d often tell me that she wished she was black because the gals would sit at a table and get talking about their boyfriends or some other “girl talk” – and they would laugh and laugh.

There are no divisions in heaven, no crying, no favorites in God’s eyes there and here. I like these emotions I’m feeling now. 🙂