Category Archives: writing
So many writerly things happening lately. After being on a bit of a (if unasked-for) hiatus for a year, these past several months my imagination has felt the need to make up for lost time. After about a month of simply trying to get the skeletons of all my ideas down on paper, I finally had to take a step back and decide which one to pursue first. As you may remember from a previous post, I chose to focus on a chapter book for children (ages 7-12) and I am happy to announce today that my revisions for this story are finished at last.
You know what that means! I will be asking 2 or 3 beta readers to look over the story and offer feedback, criticism, and advice. Never having written anything in this age category before, I’ll admit I’m a little nervous of the results. But it was a story I felt I had to tell, so though it may need even more revisions, I am ready to share it with at least a few others at this point, and with everyone a short way down the road.
I wished to put off writing a full-length novel for the time being, simply because I have so many other things going on in my life that I know I don’t have the time to devote to it. Despite this, a story idea for a trilogy (YA fantasy of course!) has been stubbornly clamoring at the back of my mind for a long time now and I had to give in finally and at least write the outline for the first book . . . which led to writing the outline for the second and third books . . . which led to writing character sketches and fleshing out some scenes that I had in my mind . . . which . . . well, you get the point. This trilogy is daunting to me, and will probably not be written in full until some time in the future, but it is most certainly not an idea that is fading. The opposite, in fact. When characters start talking to you in the middle of every-day tasks on a daily basis, and when scenes play out so vividly in your head that you rush to the nearest scrap of paper to get them down, you know there’s no escaping the story.
In the meantime, to fill my time between outlining trilogies and revising a children’s book, I have also been working on some fantasy short stories which I would love to publish as a collection one day. So many of these ideas are so exciting to me, yet aren’t full enough for a novel. Answer? Put it in a short story! I’m so thrilled about some of these stories, I can’t wait to get all my ideas explored and written.
With my newly-written and revised children’s chapter book has also come my desire to add a few illustrations within the book itself. I won’t decide on this for certain until I’ve spoken with my agent and some others who have had experience to see if this is a feasible option. But it has led me lately to scouring book store aisles and Pinterest boards for samples of artwork that I admire.
Illustrations have such an impact on our feelings for a story. I’d love to know what some of your own favorite illustrations or artists are!
Also, what have you been up to this end-of-summer?
Rooglewood Press is delighted to introduce their third fairy tale novella contest—
Five Magic Spindles
a collection of “Sleeping Beauty” stories
The challenge is to write a retelling of the beloved fairy tale in any genre or setting you like. Make certain your story is recognizably “Sleeping Beauty,” but have fun with it as well. Make it yours!
Rooglewood Press will be selecting five winners to be published in the Five Magic Spindles collection, which will be packaged up with the phenomenal cover you see here. Maybe your name will be one of the five listed?
All the contest rules and information (how to enter, story details, deadline etc.) may be found on the Rooglewood Press website. Just click HERE and you will go right to the page.
Rooglewood Press’s first collection, Five Glass Slippers is available for purchase, and our second collection, Five Enchanted Roses is scheduled to launch on July 27, and is currently available for pre-order. Be certain to get a copy of each and see what previous winners did with their wonderful retellings.
*This cover illustration was rendered by Julia Popova, “ForestGirl.” You can find out more about this gifted artist on her website: www.forestgirl.ru
God in allegory. Even though I’m an allegorical writer myself, I often have issues with this one. Well, maybe not issues. Let’s just say I approach it carefully.
God is sovereign. God is almighty and all-knowing. His ways are not our ways. How, then, can any writer really do Him justice in an allegory? We seek to know Him, but we’ll never know Him completely. Not on this side of death, anyway. If we did, He wouldn’t be God, right? But if we don’t understand Him, how can we write about Him in a way that will satisfy readers who want to see Him in all His wonderful, awe-inspiring glory?
I don’t have a cut and dried answer for this, really. I only know what I prefer when I read allegory, and the rules I personally follow when I write God into an allegorical story of my own.
An allegorical representation of God should be as mysterious as the true God. So we don’t understand all the facets of this God-character we write about. So our readers don’t. That’s ok. Use the mystery to good effect. Let the unknown deepen the reader’s experience of this God whose ways are not ours, and thus deepen their awe of Him.
Large or tiny. Roaring or whispering. God is anything but a lukewarm, mediocre Being. C.S. Lewis uses a great lion to represent God in his Chronicles of Narnia. In one scene of my book I represented God as a field mouse, whispering encouraging directions in the ear of the protagonist before a battle. Anne Elisabeth Stengl represents the holy spirit with a wood thrush, which I absolutely love. Whether it be intriguing, awe-inspiring, or even quirky, the character a writer chooses to represent God has to be worthy of the reader’s attention and respect.
God is to be feared. We fear His wrath, His judgment, His anger when we have chosen to disregard His Word. But take away that fear and you’re left with little love and no respect at all. That’s not a the type of ruler I’d want to follow. Whatever creature or person a writer chooses to use as her representation of God within her story, it should be one whose actions and power inspire a healthy fear. God has the power over life and death and time and all the earth. Fiction shouldn’t show Him as anything less.
Yet beyond the fear, a writer must be sure to show the deep and unconditional love God has for His creation. Fear alone can perhaps turn our heads and keep in our minds what will happen if we stray. But it’s love that binds us to Him, heart and soul. It’s God’s mercy and forgiveness and sacrifice that give us the passion to follow Him to the ends of the earth. So why should an allegorical God be any different?
Do you have any preferences when reading Christian allegory? What are the things you like to see in a symbolic fictional God figure?
Everything I’ve done up to now has started with faith.
The faith of my parents when I was only a little girl, handing them a scribbled story.
The faith I’ve been taught God has in me as a soul of worth, as a creature who belongs to Him, and the endless love that accompanies that faith.
The faith of family and friends who have prayed for me and encouraged me both in life and in the growing of my creativity.
The faith of an agent and a publisher who were willing to take a chance on both me and my book.
And, of course, the faith of you, the readers.
Sure, a lot of people are willing to pay a few dollars for a book that catches their fancy. But fewer of them are willing to invest precious hours of their time to dive into its story, bond with its characters, and open themselves to be changed by its message. That takes an enormous amount of faith – one I hope I never disappoint.
So thanks to you, my readers and future readers and even you “maybe” readers and “just-passing-by” readers! And also to everyone who has ever offered encouragement and truth and wisdom.
Now my own faith comes back into play – faith that God will take The Word Changers and do whatever He wills with it, be it great or small.
“To have faith is to have wings.” – J.M. Barrie
LAST DAY TO ENTER GIVEAWAY!
This week I’ve been working on edits for THE WORD CHANGERS. The first round was finished a few weeks ago, and the second round (thankfully!) was much less intense. There will likely be a third round quite soon, which will probably be the last! *Happy dance!*
What, you may very well ask, is an ARC?? Well, truth be told, I was wondering that myself not so many moons ago …
It is, my friend, an “Advanced Reader Copy.” What that means is that, while THE WORD CHANGERS may not have completed its final edit quite yet, the unfinished paperback version of it will be available to certain readers chosen by my publisher, so that reviews will be available and circulating before the actual release date of the book.
ARCs are pretty great, huh? And I may decide to do a giveaway for one of my copies in exchange for a blog/Goodreads/Amazon review … so keep watching for that!
So, yes, THE WORD CHANGERS is not yet out and the edits have been much less than horrible. But have I been idling away my time? Nope. I am nearing the end of a brand new book! Eeek! For those of you write, you know how exciting it is to get near that finish line. Today I finished my second-to-last chapter … just one to go! I’m so close, I can just smell it!
It’s not a sequel to THE WORD CHANGERS, as many people have asked me, although it is a YA fantasy (of course!). And while I really prefer writing standalone books, this one has turned into a duology. It was simply too much to put into one book, and I think it works well as a two-book set. So once all the work is finished on the first one (edits and revisions and other fun things) I will be plugging away at the second one. I can’t say much about it now because even my agent hasn’t seen it yet – but I hope to tell you more in the coming months.
Oh, and one more exciting thing … my 6-year-old wants me to inform everyone his treehouse is now officialy finished and ready to play in! Right in time for spring!
Yay for edits and ARCs and tree houses!