Sep 26, 2009

Update Time!

     It's been a week since my last post already??? Bad, bad!
     I have completed my book proposal!!! At least, I just have to read over it, maybe fix a few things, and then it will be done. Truthfully, it should have been done a week ago, but am very distracted right now with the Alternate Reality Game that Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper are hosting on their forum, The Underground. *sigh* I am a terrible fantasy nut!
     Anyway, the proposal should be done by tomorrow, and when it is finished.... bra-ha-ha.... THEN the fun starts! I will send it to the agent and await their response. I know it's going to be terrible; I can hardly wait for books to be delivered from Amazon, and I'm supposed to wait for two months to hear if my very first book has been accepted or not?! Wonderful. :)
      I still haven't heard back from the publisher I contacted about the agent. I can tell you that I sure won't be looking into using them when the time comes to seek a publisher! Not if they're going to ignore people, no way.
      Last thing: THANK YOU EVERYONE who has taken an interest in my blog!!! You are all wonderful encouragement and totally awesome!!! Thank you SO much!
     I'll post again when I have sent out the proposal.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Sep 19, 2009

You Might Be a Creative If...

     Just for fun, I want to share a blog post from one of my favorite authors, Wayne Thomas Batson. Mr. Batson is the writer of the Door Within Trilogy and the Isle of Swords pirate books. He is currently co-authoring a new fantasy series with Christopher Hopper; their first book, Curse of the Spider King, is due out next month. I hold Mr. Batson in high respect for his great imagination, kid-friendly characters and story lines (although older people may certainly enjoy his works), and especially his obvious love for God.
     I found the below post on his blog and loved it. I hope you will, too! (And yes, I identify with most of the "ifs") Enjoy!

I've had a lot of time off of work lately. It began with my kids getting a stomach virus (that was fun). Then, my school system had parent conferences, so I had Friday off. We had Tuesday off for elections, and then an ice storm hits so Wednesday, I'm off again. Wednesday morning, lucky me, I spike a 103.1 fever and come down with the flu, so there goes the rest of the week. So, I've had a lot of time off. Besides doctor-ordered rest, guess what I did?

I fired up my computer, loaded up my 3D art program: Bryce 3D (by Daz Studios) and CREATED. I created my fool head off. I was picturing one of the settings for my new fantasy series and trying to make a 3D rendering of it, and you know what? I had SO much fun doing it! That got me thinking: I am a Creative. God made me that way. In fact, to one degree or another, I believe God made us all creative. God did, after all, make us in His image. And He is The Creator. Ever seen a sunset or the forest after an ice storm? Nuff said.

But I believe it's abundantly clear that God has given some people a special talent for creating--and not just the talent--but the DESIRE to create. These people are CREATIVES. I started thinking about the special kind of nutty-ness that defines us creatives. Think about it this way: sculptors, architects, painters, artists, musicians, writers, etc.--we spend days, weeks, months, even years creating something that our audience will devour or experience for a relatively short time. I just got reader mail from a 12 year old who read my whole Door Within Trilogy in a weekend. A WEEKEND. Those three books took me a total of FIFTEEN YEARS to write, and WHOOSH, he's done in two days. Look at some of the brilliant architecture in the world, esp. Europe. Breathtaking---absolutely breathtaking. And yet the tour bus drops off people to look at it for a few hour, maybe, and off it goes. It's like your mom when she spends days working on Thanksgiving dinner only to have it gobbled* up in a brief feeding frenzy that would put a school of bull sharks to shame. WHOOSH, and it's over.

So, why do we creatives do it? Why spend so much passionate effort to create something so fleeting? I think the answer is multifaceted. Part of the answer, I've already mentioned: we were made to create. We create because we need to. It's in us and we need to let it out. We create because, if we didn't, part of us would go clinically insane. It's who we are. In his mega bestselling book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren talks about the importance of doing what "we were made to do." There is a satisfaction we feel when we create. If we didn't create, we'd walk around feeling like something was unfinished...and waiting.

But I think also, we create because we want to please others. Now, don't misunderstand me. My main goal in life is to please God. Jesus said the greatest command is to love God. But then what? Jesus said, love your neighbor. I believe that creativity in its many forms (art, music, fiction, etc.) shows love to out neighbor. People are encouraged, uplifted, inspired, provoked, and comforted by creativity. Why else do we hang paintings or matted photos in our homes? Why do we have little crafty knick-knacks on the shelf? Why do we feel moved when we hear a certain song? Art touches people. Imagine a world with an absence of creativity. What would that be like? Uhhggh. I don't like the looks of that picture either.

Our creative expression can be love and light to the world. And I don't just mean paintings of Jesus, praise hymns, and conversion stories. Nothing wrong with those things--all good. But any quality expression of our creativity. A painting of a sunset. A song about your wife. A good old adventure story. It all** shows love to the world. The only thing is that love and light have to be broadcast to other people. You can't hide a light under a basket. You can't keep your love to yourself. What good does that do? Sure, I can draw something and enjoy it myself. But why stop there. Maybe someone else would find joy in it as well.

But that's where another characteristic of the Creative can get in the way of our desire to create: we tend to be our own worst critics. Creative types tend to want their creation to be "just right." And that's a good thing to a degree. We don't want to publish a story that is poorly written. We don't want to record a song if the tune is discordant. But we cannot allow our own perfectionism or self-doubt to keep us from loving the world with our art! You might think that your work isn't good enough. But how will you ever know? If you don't have someone else experience your creative expression, how do you know if it's good? Sure, start small. Share it with one other person, a parent, a teacher, a trusted friend. But do share it. Get some feedback. Get some training. Practice. And then...share it some more!

I am convinced that RIGHT NOW, sitting in various places all over the world there are the following people: a) photographers and artist whose images *could* adorn galleries and homes and remind people of the greatness of God's creation. b) composers and songwriters whose melodies *might* lift thousands from the jaws of depression and give them hope. c) writers whose stories *could* change the lives of a generation. I have no doubt that there are thousands of such CREATIVES out there, but still dormant. And for every thousand of those whose works *might* have a sweeping impact, there are hundreds of thousands of people whose creativity *could* impact on a smaller, more local scale. Maybe the one kid at school who listens to your song, looks at your picture, or reads your story, maybe he was contemplating suicide…but won't go through with it because of your loving him though your creativity.

So, are you a CREATIVE? I bet you know if you are.

But just in case you don't, here's a little nonScientific/nonAuthoritative way of finding out. I put this in the format made famous by comedian Jeff Foxworthy and his "You might be a redneck if..."

So here is:

You might be a Creative if...***

1. You find yourself sizing people up for future characters.

2. You're watching a movie and think, "I could do better than that!"

3. You have rock-hard callouses on your fingers from clutching a drawing pencil, as well as, smudges all over the side of your pinky finger and palm.

4. You're left handed.

5. You just can't get that little melody out of your head.

6. You find yourself scrawling little story ideas on napkins, sticky notes, church bulletins, your arm, and...your little brother's arm.

7. You call your cell phone to leave yourself a story idea.

8. You can't wait for __________ to end so that you can go work on your story, song, etc.

9. You're angry because your computer's art program only works with 600 colors.

10. You find yourself laughing OUT LOUD at something you've written.

11. You nearly run off the road because you've got an idea that MUST be written down.

12. Your dream was so offbeat there just has to be a story in there somewhere.

13. The most wonderful thing you've ever seen is: a blank sheet of paper.

14. The most terrifying thing you've ever seen is: a blank sheet of paper.

AND FINALLY, you know you might be a CREATIVE if: You find yourself giggling like an idiot when you make something YOU KNOW IS GOOD.

I think it's time to take the basket off of our light. Don't you?

*pun intended.

**Like any good thing that God gives us, creativity can be misused. So art, music, fiction, etc. that leads people away from God, isn't cool.

***Official Disclaimer: If these things are not true of you, that does not necessarily mean you are NOT creative. These are just humorous reminders.
Posted by WayneThomasBatson

Sep 16, 2009

Writing the Book Proposal

     A few days ago, I resent the e-mail to the second publisher asking about the agent. Let's hope they realize that I am serious for an answer this time. :)
     While I'm waiting for a response from the publisher, I have begun to write my book proposal. It is going to take more time than I thought! Apparently, there is a certain way to do this, according to Michael Hyatt (the CEO of Thomas Nelson, you'll remember). I am under the impression that the proposal does not need to be followed to the letter of the law, but since this is my very first one, I don't want to experiment too much. When I am a million dollar author, I won't worry about it as much, but until then.... (ha ha, a millionaire, right.In my dreams!)
     If you don't know, a book proposal is an overview of what you are presenting to the agent. It contains all the information, and I mean all. From the the manuscript length, to your selling ideas, to your biography, to a description of what your audience will look like. Yeah, a lot of work. And it doesn't help that every time I think about it, I get butterflies in my stomach!
     It is so close now. Soon I will know if I am to be an author. Very scary.
     I know that most first time authors get rejected. That's alright. God's plan will come about. If getting published is His plan, then whoopee!!! If not, then He knows best.
     Just this experience is getting me all hyped up. This whole process is my dream coming true.
     So, that is the short update. 

     Post Tenebras Lux,

Sep 12, 2009

First Week Down... Who Knows How Many More To Go!

     This blog is officially a week old. Whew! It felt like a lot longer.
     Ok, so, update: At Michael Hyatt's suggestion on his blog, I contacted several authors and publishers about an agent I found who looked promising. Basically, I asked them what they thought about the agent. Thus far, all the authors have responded, but only one of the publishers has gotten back to me, so I am waiting for the second response. Because everyone has told me only good things about this agent, I am not sure how long I will wait for a reply from the publisher. Although the silence makes me suspicious....
     As far as the editing goes... eh heh, well, I've been a bit distracted this week. (Go ahead and give me a virtual slap) I have enough to send to the agent (I'm more than half way through), so that's probably why I've allowed myself to slack a little. Still, bad bad.
     Right now, I'm in a stage of waiting and making decisions. The closer I get to really, seriously pursuing the agent, the more anxious I get. Is my story good enough? Am I skilled enough, learned enough, talented, or smart enough? For the world, well, I'm just not sure yet. Sometimes I'm sure I am going to knock the socks off of the agents, publishers, and bookstores. Other times, I am sure that no one will ever consider my manuscript. It's hard to remember that I'm accepted by God just as I am.
     All I can say is, I'm glad God has my life all figured out, because I sure don't! It's much better to rely on Him to guide my paths than try to do it myself.
Post Tenebras Lux!

Sep 8, 2009

The Common Phrase

     There are times when the unbelievable characteristics of God just hit you in a way that makes you go "WOW." When you are still and simply contemplating His awesomeness, doesn't it blow your mind? Fill you with a fire? Make you want to run and leap and laugh and cry and dance all at once? Sometimes the beauty of nature makes you stop and think about it, or sometimes it's something you read. God reveals Himself in marvelous ways, truly. I wrote the following during a moment of being in awe of Him. It isn't exactly a story, just my ponderings over something that has become so ordinary, we hardly ever think about it. I hope you are encouraged.

"God loves you." We hear that phrase a lot, but do we often stop and really muse over the meaning of those words? Think about it:

GOD... the One who created the entire universe; every star, every blade of grass, every little atom. The One who makes the sun rise and set. The One who holds everything together. The only One who gives life. (Gen.1:1)

... with an agape love that will never ever cease, no matter what happens, no matter what you do. His love is a constant stream that never fails. An endless song. A forever refuge. A Father's care. (1 Cor. 13:4-8)

YOU... though you have betrayed Him countless times. You have broken His commands, denied His truth, pushed Him away, fled, and tried to hide from Him. You are well versed in finding excuses for your sin. You do not deserve Him. (Rom. 3:23)

     "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom. 7: 24-25)
      GOD LOVES YOU! He actually loves you!!! Isn't that amazing??? GOD LOVES YOU so much, He gave you His Son, so that you don't have to be under sin's bonds! So you can be with Him forever! So you can really know Him!
      What are you waiting for? Don't you want to love Him back? He wants to be in your life, wants a deep relationship with you. Tell Him. Talk to Him. He Loves You.


Sep 6, 2009

My Journey so Far

     This blogging is going to take some getting used to! As you will see, I am a random writer; depending on my mood, I can be as poetic as I was yesterday and then suddenly break out in slang... y'know what I'm sayin'? This is good for creating character voices, not so good for blogging. I'm going to have to find my middle ground....
     Anyway, as I said in my last post, I am in the process of publishing a book I have written. I can't give too many details about the book on this blog, for the obvious reason that they could be stolen. I'm sure you can understand why that would be a bad thing. I can say that it is Christian sci-fi/fantasy, and I guess the age group would be teens, although I think it is good for any age. The book stands at approximately 300 pages and over 100,000 words. I am in the process of the final editing, but the numbers shouldn't change drastically.
     So, where am I in the publishing process? Well, in between editing, I am searching for an agent. In order to be recognized by any large publisher, you have to have an agent. If you send in a manuscript just out of the blue, they will not even look at it. But finding an agent is almost as difficult as finding a publisher. Agents are besieged by author wannabes, and finding the right manuscript is like looking for that old needle in a haystack. But if the needle is solid gold, then it is worth the search. That is an agent's job; to find that gold needle.
     Agents don't have time to read every manuscript, so along with your book, you have to send in a query, which is basically a mini book proposal, from what I have gathered. The query tells the agent the basics of your book. So I will soon be whipping up one of those, too.
     I have found an agent who looks promising, and I expect to be sending in my book and query soon. It is incredible how God has been opening doors for me!
     My book was not originally written for publication. I wrote it for fun, to be read only by my friends and family. Everyone kept asking if I was going to publish, telling me it was really good. I just thought, "Yeah, well, that's just cuz you're my friends. You wouldn't really think it was good if it had been written by someone else!" Then one of my friends sent it to someone I had never met (and still haven't met, in fact)... and this person was captured by the story! It was the first time someone I didn't know had read something I'd written, someone who had no obligation to say they liked it, and they thought it was good. I was... well, flattered! If that person liked it, then maybe other people would, too. I finally began to consider publishing it.
     Since then, I have been slowly moving in that direction, but it wasn't until recently that it has begun to really come together. It is crazy how God seems to be letting all this happen. We'll see how it goes from here, but for now, I am going to keep pursuing getting this book published unless God tells me to knock it off.


Sep 5, 2009

I have a story to tell you....

     Beginnings are incredible gifts. At first, they seem scary, and you are unsure where this new path will take you. But they also bring the thrill of adventure, the excited discovering of unknown places. What will happen? You don't know. All you can do is trust the One who does.
     This is where I am now. You are reading my first public blog post. Talk about a begining! This is a brand new journey I am about to embark on, and I am so happy to be able to share it with you.
     Who am I? I am a storyteller. At the moment, I have written a Christian sci-fi/fantasy book that I am seeking to publish. This is my first book ever, and I am traveling on unfamiliar grounds as I try to contact the right people and gather the right information. It has been a wild ride so far, and to be honest, sometimes it's scary. That is what this blog is about; a writer's journey into untraveled territory.
     Who am I? I am a child of the King of kings. Jesus Christ is my one and only Savior. He is my best Friend. I trust Him far more than anyone else. He is the Author of my faith, the Writer of the best-selling Book of all time, and the Source of my creativity. It is my wholehearted desire to bring Him glory in my life, because life is worthless without Him.
     I hope you will enjoy my journey along with me. I don't know how often I will be able to post, but I will when new things happen. Random writings will also appear, I'm sure; stories, thoughts, ravings.... :)
     Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I hope and pray that you will return.