Nov 30, 2009

The Truth about Clear Truth

     There is something that annoys me a lot, and that is when authors are vague in their descriptions of truth for fear of being "preachy". It makes me so sad when I see Christian authors try to water down the gospel so as not to offend anyone. God has given us a Truth that needs to be told, whether people want to hear it or not.

     Don't get me wrong; I am not saying we should shove it down their throats and beat them upside the head with it. But I think we certainly do not need to be cautious about pointing to God in fiction. People can interpret "truth" and "faith" and "love" as meaning anything they want it to in this day and age; from Islam to New Age it differs. But real truth, love, and faith can only be found in one place, or rather, in one Person.

     Do people even care? Will it really affect anyone? Yes. I can tell you from experience that God can touch a hard heart through fantasy when nothing else could.

     No, I'm not going to tell you that I was saved through The Princess and The Goblin. I became a Christian when I was six years old, and lived my whole life going to church and believing in God. However, when I was in my early teens, my family decided to move across the country, away from our friends and everything I had grown up with. I became very sad, although if you had asked me then I would probably have said I was fine. I began to build walls around my heart in a sort of quiet rebellion against God and my family. All I wanted to do was be alone and read fantasy. I went through so many books during that time.

     Finally, I picked up C. S. Lewis's fantasy book The Magician's Nephew. I had already read all of The Chronicles of Narnia years ago, but I had run out of stuff to read on this particular day. I remember sitting on my bed, recalling the plot as I read. If you don't know the story, GO READ IT! But seriously, the gist of it is that a boy named Digory accidentally brings an evil Empress into the fantasy land of Narnia. In that land, Digory sees Aslan the Lion, who is the Christ figure of the story, and realizes that Aslan can help Digory cure his dying mother. Desperate, Digory attempts to ask Aslan for help, but because Digory brought evil into Narnia, Aslan appoints Digory to go on a quest that will defeat the wicked Empress. Digory agrees, knowing that it is his duty, but feels ignored by the Lion and thinks that he will now never get a cure for his mother. The scene comes to a point where Digory at last blurts out:

     "But please, please - won't you - can't you give me something that will cure Mother?" Up till then, he [Digory] had been looking at the Lion's great feet and the huge claws on them: now, in his despair, he looked up at its face. What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life. For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion's eyes. They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory's own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself.

     "My son, my son," said Aslan. "I know. Grief is great...."

     I started to cry as I read this, because it reminded me that God really, truly cares. He doesn't just care about us, He cares about the things we care about (as long as they are not sinful, of course). This passage was a moment of truth, real truth, for me. I saw that He knew my heartache, even knew my rebellion, and still loved me. I had been looking at His giant claws, expecting them to rain wrath on me for my rebellious spirit, but all the time He knew my pain and was aching to comfort me, He just wasn't able to until I let Him. It didn't all end there, but my regression from rebellion had begun.

     This is why I believe vagueness doesn't help anyone. We are up against so much, from Harry Potter to Twilight; people who read fantasy are just not hearing the truth.We can reach people though fiction, even fantasy. So why would we not? To create a bestseller? Oh, yes, I'm sure that's what Jesus would have done. (Excuse the sarcasm, bear with me.)

     There is nothing wrong with writing for entertainment. But why not use the gift God has given you to encourage and point people to Him and Him alone? I challenge you to write with godly purpose. It will be rewarded.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Nov 27, 2009

The Search Continues

     Happy late Thanksgiving, guys, gals, and Elves! I hope you had a great one! I sure did.

     After ten days of consideration, I have decided to continue my search for an agent. The decision has been gradual, but I believe it is better than getting an editor or working on another project. This time, though, I will be sending the manuscript to several agents at once.

     I have many hours of research ahead of me; I need to look into each agent to see if they are respectable and fair people who will not take advantage of a novice writer. To do this, I will e-mail a few of the authors and publishers who the agent has worked with and ask for their opinion of the agent. I did this with the previous agent, and it was time consuming enough with just that one. Now I need to do it for several agents!

     I do not know when I'll have the time to do this, as I am busily preparing for a certain holiday called... um... oh, yeah, CHRISTMAS! After the season is over, I expect to be able to resume my quest properly.

     So if you know of an agent that I should look into, let me know! :)

Post Tenebras Lux!

Nov 17, 2009

The SASE I Hoped I Would Never See Again

     An ominous letter came in the mail today. Addressed to myself... by myself... with the return address of the agent in the left-hand corner. I think I literally gulped as I opened the envelope and unfolded the white sheet that was tucked inside.
     The letter got right to the point (unlike this post). The agent thanked me for sending my proposal, but said it was not what they were looking for.
     But there is more. The agent was very kind and said that my proposal was well done (thanks for your help, Dwarf!). The agent also commented that my writing skills are high (not to toot my own horn or anything...), but I need to work on the crafting of the story. All around, the note was very encouraging. I would pick this type of letter for any writer's first rejection notice.
     I am not as disappointed as I expected to be. For years I have been imagining what a rejection letter would feel like, so I think that has helped build a wall against becoming depressed. My family is super supportive. I have a God who still loves me like crazy. Basically, life is still awesome.
     I do have some decisions I need to make now. Do I continue to search for the right agent? Do I send the story to an editor? Do I put it aside and work on something else for a while? I definitely need to seek God's guidance at this point (as I should be always, anyway). I'll post when I know what I'm doing, of course.
     THANK YOU ALL FOR PRAYING!!! It didn't work out the way I had hoped, but that wasn't what I was praying for. Obviously, God has a different plan. Thank you, thank you, thank you guys and gals for keeping me in prayer and supporting me during this time. You are the best.
Post Tenebras Lux!

Nov 6, 2009

Writing Tips

     Many authors have offered writing tips that I have found to be especially helpful. I thought it may be a good idea to list a few that I have been taught and some that I have learned myself.
  1. NEVER GIVE UP. Author Bruce Coville first taught me this. If you want to write, you must never give up. It will take work. It will take time. But you must not throw your hands into the air. Just keep on writing.
  2. READ. I have learned from experience that reading is quite possibly the most important step toward writing something amazing. Fill your mind with the same thing you want to write about. There was a time when I thought that reading would only give my brain more material to copy and reincarnate into another story, but I have since learned that is not true. You learn and your creativity is fed by reading.
  3. WRITE. Sigmund Brouwer says in his book Short Cuts, "Writing is like sports. Hit ten thousand slapshots in hockey, and you can't help but have a better slapshot. Write a couple thousand pages, and you'll improve. Guaranteed."
  4.  BE ORIGINAL. I found this quote from Bryan Davis on Wayne Thomas Batson's blog, and I think it makes a lot of sense: "Don't copy what has already been done-another form of Middle Earth, a new Narnia, or a Christian imitation of Harry Potter. Be bold. Write themes you're passionate about rather than what you think the market wants. Don't be afraid to make real heroes."
  5. PRAY. God is the Creator of creativity. Think about that for a second. Because He is the Creator, He controls everything, even creativity. That means He can also give it. So pray, ask Him to grant you creative ideas. I have personally prayed for that, only to be stuck by an idea I never would have thought of myself, an idea that could only be a gift from God. Don't just pray about creativity, though. Pray about everything. He is more than capable to guide you and help you. The best part is that He wants to. 
     So there is my mini list of tips and tricks.

Post Tenebras Lux!

Nov 3, 2009

Book Review- Curse of the Spider King

     What would you do if you discovered you were an Elven lord from another world? What if you were being hunted by beings who could take on the form of anyone, even your most trusted friends and family? What if you suddenly gained incredible power that could enable you to see the future, walk on air, or read thoughts? These are the exciting questions Curse of the Spider King asks.
     Hundreds of years ago, the mighty kingdom of the Elves was overtaken by the Spider King. Though the Elven Sentinels of Allyra fought valiantly, they were no match for the Spider King's forces, and the enemy succeeded in capturing the seven prophesied lords of Allyra, all of whom were still only babies. 
     The surviving remnant of Elves were forced to flee underground to escape total annihilation by the Spider King. There they hid for centuries, until rumors spread that the Elven lords were still alive... but not in the world of Berinfell....

     Curse of the Spider King follows seven young teenagers- teenagers who think they are human. But there are others who know better. Some want to bring them home, back to their rightful place in Berinfell. Some want them dead. Who can be trusted? There is nowhere to hide. Will anyone escape the wrath of the Spider King?

 I found Curse of the Spider King to be very intriguing. All around, it was a very good book that I would recommend to any teenager. My favorite thing about it is how the evil Wisps can only be slain using words that parallel the Scripture!

If this book sounds like something you would enjoy, click on the link on the side bar.

If you want more information on the authors of this book, here are the links to their blogs: