Monday, April 30, 2007

The Christian Marketplace

Ever since the last fantasy book tour, I've been thinking about the paradox that is the "Christian Marketplace". Never heard of it? Me neither - in that form. There's no real term for what I'm going to discuss today. In Christian fiction we use the term "CBA" which stands for the Christian Booksellers Association. This is the group that is the gatekeeper for Christian publishing, as opposed to the American Booksellers Association (ABA), which is where secular publishing occurs (although the ABA is not exclusive against Christian authors, while the CBA is). The problem with my discussion today is that it goes beyond fiction, thus the term Christian Marketplace.

To me the Christian Marketplace is the sub-culture that has been created for (mainly) Evangelical Christians in entertainment - encompassing music and fiction primarily, but can include movies, TV, video games, and other mediums. I don't know the history on how Christian fiction became segregated, but I have some understanding regarding contemporary Christian music (CCM).

CCM came about after the Jesus People movement in the late 60's/early 70's, when hippies were getting saved, and doing what came natural to them: playing rock and roll. At first artists were on record labels along with regular artists of the day. Unfortunately, these pioneers were in between a rock and a hard place (no pun intended). Their music was too religious for the mainstream labels, but too loud for the general church audience (and a lot different from the black gospel/southern gospel forms that had been around all along).

Specific music labels were created to be a showcase for these artists. Soon there was Christian radio to play this music, with Christian rock festivals, and Christian music magazines. Soon it became a self-sustaining phenomenon, and it the process turned the word Christian into an artificial genre description rather than what the intent of the term may be.

This has been going on for thirty some-odd years for CCM. Like I said, I don't know when Christian fiction became a sub-category (after C.S. Lewis' time, thankfully). But I do know it was mainly known for prarie romances and historical fiction until Frank Peretti came along in the late 80's with his This Present Darkness and subsequent books. This has triggered a slowly burgeoning fiction landscape that has a pretty diverse selection of books at this point.

Whoa, didn't know this would start with a history lesson. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the CSFF tour from 2 weeks ago. What really got me thinking was a review of Karen Hancock's book The Light of Eidon on Amazon that was mentioned on Rebecca Grabill's blog. Check out that review, and I'll discuss what instigated all of this tomorrow.

Tag - Visual DNA

A fun little diversion that I picked up on thanks to Mir. Actually somewhat accurate concerning me. I haven't done blog tagging before, but I would love to see what Becky, Chris, and Matt came up with on this - consider yourselves tagged!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Modern Slavery

Breakpoint had an article about a pressing problem in Brazil. I've blogged about human trafficking and slavery before, and plan to continue doing so as I hear of problems that people ought to know about.

According to the story, a lot of workers on Brazil's sugar plantations are modern day slaves.
Anywhere between 25,000 and 200,000 Brazilians are what are known as “debt slaves.” Their employers keep them in perpetual bondage by charging them “exorbitant rates for the food, water, clothes and the tools they work with.” Because their wages are so low, the workers can never pay off the “debt” and, thus, can never leave.

This year is the 200th anniversary of the stop of the Atlantic slave trade by the British Parliment due to the work of William Wilberforce. That was a momentous change in the evil practice of slavery. Oh that in this day we can rise up with the courage and dedication of someone like Wilberforce to stand against the abuse of human life.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Blog Tour - The Heir

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing THE HEIR (Bethany House March 1, 2007) by Paul Robertson.

Paul Robertson is a computer programming consultant, part-time high-school math and science teacher, and former independent bookstore owner in Blacksburg, Virginia. This is his first novel.

Jason Boyer Just Got an Inheritance to Die For
The fortune wasn't supposed to befall him. Jason Boyer had known all along his father's business empire would pass to different hands. Which suited him just fine. The money was crooked and the power corrupt. But when an accident claims the old man's life, everyone is stunned by the unveiling of the will. With the passing of the Boyer crown, power-hungry politicians and shady business partners all try to force Boyer's hand. Fighting the temptation of influence and riches, he simply wants to be a better man than his father--but attempting to stand for what’s right soon brings murderous consequences. As those closest to him are endangered--and news emerges that his father's accident may be something more sinister--Boyer finds himself fighting for his soul…and his life!

Is There Any Escape for The Heir?
All the money he could ever crave. In the splintering crash of a car plunging through a railing, Jason Boyer's life is changed. All the fame he could ever desire. But the last thing he wanted was the throne of his father's corrupt business empire. All the power he could ever wield.The estate should have gone elsewhere, but the will was changed. And now everything is Jason's. But gaining the whole world just might cost him his life.

THE HEIR is a Grisham-like tale of intrigue and murder with a lot of humor and well-drawn minor characters.

Endorsement: "In THE HEIR, Paul Robertson serves up politics, privilege, and murder with a side of acerbic wit. What a fabulous book--a great mix of angst, humor, and ultimately, hope." T.L.HINES--author of Waking Lazarus and The Dead Whisper On

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Writing Encouragements

In some ways I don't like coming off of cool blog tours like last week's CSFF tour featuring Karen Hancock. It means I have to come up with new ideas to keep the ol' blog going! This week seems to be a smorgesboard so far.

This morning I've found a couple of links that give some encouragement to those working on their writing. I've been getting back into comics recently, and have been checking out Newsarama for updates. They have a guy named Dirk Manning who's been writing a series called Write or Wrong. Today's post "Lose Yourself" spoke some encouragement to me - maybe stuff I've heard before, but it's the type of thing we keep needing to hear regularly. I haven't checked out his other posts, but there's a list of them at the bottom. Let me know if you find other worthwhile links there.

Also Mike Duran gives an insightful account of his recent writing conference experiences. He has some pitfalls to watch for, as well as highlights of "Trends in CBA Publishing", as given by Dave Long. Interesting stuff - thanks Mike!!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Relient K kicks...

Soccer! A fun video with some decent soccer skills (the girl at the beginning can definitely juggle better than me!)

USA Today - Read All About It

This Monday is a little disjointed for me, so that's what will be happening here! I would recommend reading this article from USA Today. The author discusses the glut of "God is dead, religious people are all idiots or worse" books out there right now, with a simple yet elegant rebuff. A snippet:
There is no irrefutable evidence for God's existence or non-existence. But, if you look closely, his footprints can be discerned in the sands of time.
Check it out. By the way, I got the link from Thunderstruck, a site that compiles oodles of links relating to Christianity and pop culture weekly. Definitely worth its own perusal.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Now Is the Time for Tears

Now is the time for tears
Don't speak, save your words
There's nothing you can say
To take this pain away
Don't try so hard
You can just simply be
Cry with me don't try to fix me friend
That's how you'll comfort me.

Heavenly Father, cover this child with mercy
You are my helper through this time of trial and pain
Silence the lips of the people with all of the answers
Gently show that now is the time for tears.

Charlie Peacock
"Now Is the Time for Tears"
Coram Deo - In the Presence of God

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Martyrdom in Turkey

Not to diminish what happened on Monday, but there are other tragedies in the world. On Wednesday, 3 Christians at a publishing house were killed for their faith. Suspects have been arrested for this crime.

This serves as a reminder for us to pray for the nation of Turkey. There are 71 million people in the country, and only less than 1% are Christian. This is especially sad considering Turkey was where much of Paul's apostolic work occurred, and the seven churches of Asia in Revelation were located. There is a strong history of the Way that has been all but eradicated by Islam.

God's heart is for the Turks. He is raising up people with a heart for this nation. The killings represent the enemy's attempt to derail the work of the Kingdom in that land. Please pray for God's light and Word to shine in Turkey, and for protection for those serving Christ there. I have a dear friend who serves over there, and would ask specifically for protection for her in her ministry.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Legends of the Guardian King

I'm continuing the CSFF tour regarding Karen Hancock's latest book, Return of the Guardian King. It is the 4th and final book in her series Legends of the Guardian King. Since I am new to Hancock's work, I decided that I would dive into the first book, The Light of Eidon in order to point people to the start of the series (there wasn't any way I would burn through 4 books in time either). Hopefully my introduction to the series will encourage you to pick up a great storyline!

The Light of Eidon centers on Abramm Kalladorne, prince of Kiriath. He is weaker physically and not in direct line to be an heir to the throne, so he pursues the religious society of Mataio in order to serve his country by protecting the Flames of Eidon.

As he approaches the time for his initiation, he is swept up in political intrigue that sees his whole life turned upside down. Questioning his whole life and what he was taught to believe, he must learn to survive in a savage world, finding the truth amidst all the struggle.

Hancock delivers a wonderfully engaging story that is full of the themes and props that make an enjoyable fantasy - epic battles, struggle for life, heroes and heroines, magic, fierce creatures. Her characterization and worlds are well-developed and rightly praised for their engrossing detail. The action draws you in quickly and rarely lets up the pace, without sacrificing quality development of the plot and peoples of this world. She is also very adept at keeping the reader guessing. The truth is not always what it seems, and old foes spring up at unexpected times.

Eidon is a spiritual tale that stands tall as the premier of Christian fantasy, but also deserves recognition outside of the Christian market as well. She shows true struggle, whether physical combat or emotional battles.

One aspect that I truly appreciated was how she handles difficult situations (writing-wise). As an industry, the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) has some standards that can be controversial in how sin and the "gory" details should be shown. The unofficial standards can cause problems in describing sexual situations, bodily functions, and violence. My opinion is that Hancock delivers a tale based on reality that sets up the situation that is authentic for the story without being sensationalism . For instance, when two characters are attracted to one another, she writes the sexual tension in a way that doesn't offend sensibilities, but it is clear what is happening. Often in Christian fiction the stigma forces an author to write something that is less than authentic. This is an observation that is more related to the writing craft than the enjoyment of the story, but it doesn't pull one out of the fictive world like when these type of situations are poorly handled.

Overall, I see why Karen Hancock has won multiple Christy awards for her fiction, and why she is so highly regarded among my fellow speculative fiction fans. I strongly recommend The Light of Eidon. I also encourage you to check out the links I put in yesterday's post to find out more about Return of the Guardian King and the rest of her books (though watch for spoilers if you're new to the series).

One Year Already?

Whoa. It hit me a little while ago that this was the first anniversary of Spoiled for the Ordinary. I can't believe that I started this little venture that long ago. It seems like so much has happened ( has!).

I didn't have a great idea what to do with it when I started, but it seemed like something I was being led to do. A year later, I'm still not sure what I'm doing all the time, but this is post number 216, so I've done a lot of whatever it is!

Here's my first post - whoooooo. Thanks for all who have stopped by! Stick around if you'd like, I'm not done yet.

Virginia Tech

I haven't posted anything on the tragedy at Virginia Tech because I didn't have anything to add to the huge conversation. I have been praying for all those suffering, as so many have been.

I just read MSN's tribute to those who have fallen in this senseless act. So much focus will go on the perpetrator - how this happened, what could've helped, who's to blame. I know that is human nature and that some of it can be the process of healing. But please don't forget about those who had to suffer and die in such a senseless way.

I encourage all of you to go read about these lives that we will never get to know in any other way. They were God's beloved, and they deserve dignity in this time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

CSFF Tour - Karen Hancock

The next two days I'm going to feature posts regarding Karen Hancock and her series Legends of the Guardian-King. Today I want to point out various members of the CSFF that have interesting posts regarding this month's tour. Tomorrow I hope to review Karen Hancock's first book, The Light of Eidon. Yes, the tour is regarding the 4th and last book in the series, Return of the Guardian King. But who wants to start a series on the fourth book? I certainly didn't, so I decided to start at the beginning (novel concept there...). Hopefully between my review and others regarding book 4, you'll figure out what happened in books 2 and 3 - um, never mind. I say I hope to review it because my timing was a little off, thinking I had a couple more days to read, when the tour started yesterday. Oopsie, as my six year old says.

1. Rebecca Grabill has a wonderful non-review of Return, and her 9 thorns that bug her about the book. What's a non-review? She doesn't spoil the book, which thrills me to death. I dislike greatly reviews that give away the plot (note to Bethany House - you did this on the 1st book's back copy - bad form). Some of her thorns are hilarious (BREASTS). Read it to figure that one out!

2. See Wayne Thomas Batson for his review of Return. He hasn't read the first three, so some interesting insight (he acknowledges his lack of context, which provides a different perspective).

3. Karen Hancock herself is having a giveaway of the whole set of books! Go see her, how can you miss out on something so cool? Beth Goddard is also having a single book giveaway, so see her too. Ditto Mirtika. And hey, so does Tina Kulesa.

4. Chris Deanne has an interview with Karen Hancock, as does Shannon McNear.

5. Becky Miller, the grandmaster of the CSFF has 4 days worth of posts! Start at Speculative Faith, then head over to her blog for the rest.

6. John Otte has an interesting view of the book. Marcus Goodyear calls it "a fine example of high fantasy." Finally, Heather Hunt is giving reviews for each of the four books of the series! (Watch for spoilers).

I don't want to take away from all of my tourmates below, but those are some of the more extensive posts that I noted. Also, the links below are for her books on Amazon and her personal sites.

Check out the tour, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Karen Hancock’s Return of the Guardian-King on
Karen Hancock’s Return of the Guardian-King Blog
Karen Hancock’s Return of the Guardian-King Website

Nissa Annakindt
Wayne Thomas Batson
Jim Black
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Frank Creed
CSFF Blog Tour
Gene Curtis
D. G. D. Davidson
Chris Deanne
Janey DeMeo
April Erwin
Kameron M. Franklin
Beth Goddard
Marcus Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Sherrie Hibbs
Sharon Hinck
Christopher Hopper
Heather R. Hunt
Becca Johnson
Tina Kulesa
Lost Genre Guild
Kevin Lucia and The Bookshelf Reviews 2.0 - The Compendium
Rachel Marks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Shannon McNear
Caleb Newell
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
Robin Parrish
Cheryl Russel
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika Schultz
James Somers
Tsaba House Authors
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Daniel I. Weaver
Dawn King
Rebecca Grabill
Jill Hart

Monday, April 16, 2007


It looks like Infuze is back with us. It has had quite the makeover, and is supposed to have some new and great features to encourage a community among the members. Robin Parrish, the owner of the site, warns of some bugs to still be worked out. I have noted this firsthand.

I haven't had much time to play with it today. The look is taking a little to get used to it. I didn't realize how I missed my pop culture updates through the day!

Go check out the new Infuze, and if you join you can be entered to win a new 30GB iPod. Whooo...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Blogs to Read - John C. Wright

I've mentioned John C. Wright before (he of the epic Space Princess Literary Movement), but this is a post that I highly recommend.

Mr. Wright is a well-read, thoughtful and articulate man. He is a lawyer, journalist, and currently a science fiction author. He used to be a strident atheist, but between the rationalism of Christianity and an encounter with the living God, he is now a Christian. And is not afraid to state his position. He knows he is losing readers, but he will not back down from discussing the Way.

His LiveJournal is one of the places I have bookmarked through Bloglines, and I always look forward to his posts. They may be ultimately silly or very serious. Today he had a post discussing atheism and Christianity. Not in an attack way, as he holds forth a discussion with a commenter to his blog that he deems a reasonable man asking reasonable, thoughtful questions. However, the counter John has is well worth the read. Below is just a snippet:
I do not assume Christianity is true because I was raised in a Christian society. I know it true because the truth of it was poured into me by the Holy Spirit during a supernatural event in my life. The conviction cannot come to you until the same thing happens to you, and it is beyond my power to reproduce this effect. I cannot pour Infinity into anyone, or show him the cosmos in a teardrop. I am a mortal man, or once was. I am a person who experienced something so full of wonder that it cannot be put into words: I found the Holy Grail. One sip from this cup can grant life, eternal life, and abundant joy. The cup is spiritual, not material, and so I cannot hand it to you. But if you ask for it, it will be given you. And since it is not material, no hand can snatch it from you.

Also, check out his books! I read Orphans of Chaos this winter, and enjoyed it greatly. It is not always up to CBA sensibilities, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing either.

Mr. Wright is someone to pay attention to, whether it be his blog or his writing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Blog Tour - Coral Moon

I'm excited that the CFBA blog tour this week features Brandilyn Collins and her new book Coral Moon.

I've been keeping tabs on Ms. Collins for a couple of years now. I've mentioned her blog, Forensics and Faith, as a prime writing resource before. That's where I first found out about this wonderful author, following along with her entertaining blog posts and signature cliff-hangers. Last year I was privileged to be a part of the marketing for her book Violet Dawn, the initial book in the Kanner Lake series. She devised a clever aspect to her books - a real-time blog created by one of her characters in Kanner Lake. Various denizens of the town would post about life there, with different readers playing the roles. I was on the tag team (along with Bob Edwards) that wrote Pastor Hank Detcher. The initial commitment to participate there is over, but I've contributed a couple of posts since then, the last one commenting (vaguely) on the circumstances of Coral Moon.

Anyway, Coral Moon continues the adventure started in Violet Dawn. It seems that a new hotel has been proposed for the lakefront, and residents are predictably torn on the benefits of progress versus keeping Kanner Lake the quaint little Idaho town it is known for. With that backdrop, hot-shot reporter Leslie Brymes is heading out to interview proponents of both sides when she finds an unexpected situation in front of her - a body in her VW!

The quiet town explodes with intrigue once again, as various citizens wrestle with keeping the village safe from an insidious evil...

Brandilyn Collins has a very strong, identifiable style - her Seatbelt Suspense. This book will not disappoint fans of heart-pounding fiction. She does not leaving you wanting AT ALL in the beginning, establishing the tension from the first page. Her strengths are in weaving believable characters into the backdrop of suspense that has spawned the Big Honkin' Chicken Club, a group of writers who can't read Collins' books due to the intensity of the story!

You don't *have* to read Violet Dawn before reading Coral Moon, but it definitely helps. The characters established in the first book become more alive, making the book very interesting. I like how she keeps you guessing about certain characters until the end of the book. I lost sleep the night before I finished the book, trying to work out "who did it" all night!

Coral Moon does have some intense scenes, and it have a fairly different vibe from the first book. The spiritual component, which was light in Violet Dawn, is much more front and center, due to the nature of what is happening in the story.

I have some very minor quibbles - I wouldn't bring them into a different review, but as a "student" of Brandilyn's via her blog, I can't help myself. Rarely Leslie slips out of her early 20's character and says something not appropriate for her age. Also, a couple of metaphors keep repeating, and they are so striking that they jumped out at me as they came back. (If you're up for a game, look for how many times the idea of something "zinging through veins" or "knocked/kicked up the spine" shows up throughout.)

Overall, the book is a very enjoyable continuation of the Kanner Lake saga, and is a great read for any fan of good suspense. Keep an eye out for Crimson Eve, the 3rd book due later this year.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

Monday Mini

Quote of the day:

We're into microwaving; God, on the other hand, is usually into marinating.
Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer

In other news:
It looks like Infuze is down for a week. On their email newsletter, there's been a teaser about a 3.0 version coming, and that is what is advertised when you go to their URL. It encourages you to check back on April 16, and promises an opportunity to win an iPod. Cool. Mark your calendars then!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Calling All Nations on God TV

My family and a team from my church were blessed to be able to attend the Calling All Nations worship event in Berlin, Germany last July. If you check my July 2006 archives you can see my posts on the event, as well as links to a few pictures.

I'm excited to tell you about an opportunity to SEE highlights of CAN. God TV is broadcasting highlights of the event all through this weekend. The main listing from their site gives the broadcast times as 12:30 am and 5:00 pm on April 7th (I'm assuming this is Eastern time!). In the email I received from Noel Richards, it can also be seen Sunday April 8, at 7:30 pm and Monday April 9, at 11:00 am. There are other times for God TV for Europe, Britain, and other God TV centers.

God TV can be found on Direct TV channel 365. If you don't get Direct TV, you can stream it through Windows Media Player from their Watch Now page. This event was a major blessing, and if you get a chance, check it out. If you see a bald guy surrounded by three boys, that might just be me :P

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Blog Tour - In High Places

This week's CFBA blog tour feature is In High Places, by Tom Morrisey.

It is always interesting to see the type of books we get for the blog tour. We have gotten a wide variety of choices, and we've read a lot of good books. Some weren't my favorite. If you can tell, I don't tend to read the romances or "chick-lit" books (either I use the CFBA blurb or have my wife review). Sometimes we get an unexpected gem in all of the books we read.

In High Places is told from the point of view of Patrick Nolan, a teenager who is an only child. He and his father share a very strong bond - a love of rock climbing. The book opens as they are on a climb at Seneca Rocks, a well-known haven for climbers located in West Virginia. Their return home reveals a tragedy that pushes his father to distract himself in possibly destructive ways and threatens to destroy the strong bond that holds them together.

I read a lot of glowing reviews before I was able to dig into this book. It took a little effort to really get into it, but I encourage readers to stick with it. He spends a lot of time describing the scenes of rock climbing, carefully discussing equipment and technique. It is a foreign activity to me, and although it was interesting, I wasn't engaged at first.

There is some excitement in the climbing scenes that occurs early on, but this isn't an adventure novel. It is a novel of the heart, and it takes the person of Rachel Ransom, a young woman Patrick meets about 100 pages into the book. This dynamic transforms the book and made it a delightful read for me. I've seen other books with characters like Rachel in them (I don't want to describe her too much, I hate reviews that give the story away), but I don't get tired of them. There's something magical in the way Morrisey treats the new twist that brings the novel home. I guess it is the threshold of the novel for me.

The writing is carefully crafted. I corresponded with Morrisey a little after reading the book, and he said he was striving for a different style from what he had written before. I haven't read any of his adventure/suspense works that preceded this, but I would hazard a guess that he is successful in his attempt. The book reminds me of another coming-of-age tale, Bad Ground by Dale Cramer. That book was widely acclaimed in circles I run in, so it is a compliment.

One other literary trick from the book deserves mention. Note the intro of each chapter - he gives a brief description of climbing equipment or technique which becomes symbolic of the flow for the chapter.

Overall this is a highly enjoyable book to read. The slow start is not a negative in my mind; the story is kind of a slow burn, not hurrying to its destination. But if you find yourself stymied at all, persevere, because the book is a reward at the end of it all.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I'm currently reading Coral Moon by Brandilyn Collins. I have hit the point of the book that I decided to call "the threshold". I am at the place where I want to finish the book. I am looking for time to squeeze some reading into my day. I could plop into a chair (with the lights on, BC ain't for chickens, lemme tell ya) and push through to the end.

There seems to be a tipping point in a novel where a reader is sufficiently invested that they really want to get to the end. I know there are different types of readers. When my wife picks up a book on Saturday, I may as well head off to do something else, because she's the type that sits down and reads until she's done. Maybe this type of reader doesn't have a threshold. However, I definitely am the other type.

I find I can put down a book if I get busy or distracted and lose track of it if I haven't hit the tipping point. It's not a burning priority, but if I cross the threshold, then it is something I won't let go of until I finish.

A lot of this has to do with book structure. The classic "3 act" framework draws you in for the 1st act, builds tension in the 2nd, and races to the climax in the 3rd, ideally. It probably is natural to have the momentum to finish in the 3rd act, and I bet a lot of times that is when I hit that threshold.

It seems to me that drawing people to that threshold point is a key to writing compelling fiction. There certainly is a different "threshold" at the beginning of a novel, where you either engage the reader or they give up reading it. To me, the point I am talking about is the spot when I realize the biggest enjoyment out of the novel. I can think of novels like Relentless, Germ, Orphans of Chaos, In High Places (on the docket for tomorrow's blog tour!) that I could really tell I hit that point, and I wasn't ready to put them down. Then there's a book like Qi that I really wanted to like, but lost me. I read less than 100 pages and recently packed it away, disappointed in wasted money.

Of course, the best books will draw you past the threshold from the get-go, and is the most desirable for an author to aspire to. I can think of two in the last year that did that for me: Scoop and Abiding Darkness. No coincidence that Scoop was my top book for '06, and Abiding is leading the pack for '07. I wish I knew the magic formula for creating such a threshold. It boils down to great writing at the end of the day. I will be watching for this "threshold" in other books from now on, seeing if I can get a handle on this aspect.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Writing Resources - Day 7

I've pretty much done with my discussion of writing resources. Concerning websites, I could go on and on with places I've gone for inspiration or information. Solshine7 wanted to point out Light for the Writer's Soul as a good site. I haven't checked it out yet, but I will be indeed.

There are two more books that I thought I'd mention. The first one is Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors by Brandilyn Collins. She was on my list of website resources. She studied the Method Acting technique, and applies it to developing well-rounded characters. I started the book, but it got pushed aside during a busy time and I've yet to start over (apologies BC!). This is a unique angle and worth checking out.

Another book is by James Scott Bell, who happens to have a pretty good site for resources himself. He also contributes to the Charis Connection writers' blog. He has a book in the "Write Great Fiction" series titled Plot and Structure. Again, this was a book that was started, but busyness forced it aside. Bell gives a lot of helpful advice on his site, enough that I could recommend his book (also from what I read).

On an opposite note, I want to give a word of warning. For a time I was a member of the Writer's Digest book club. It seems like a good deal, and there are various books there that may meet needs you have (I do enjoy my Roget's Super Thesaurus that I got through there). They just happen to be the type of book club that you have to return the little card or they automatically send you a book. I got burned once this way, and they seem to be about producing numerous products that can feed the great desire of writers to improve and eventually publish. Some of them seem a little superfluous, and I just want people to watch what they're getting into. I am not anti-Writer's Digest book club, but I won't avail myself of their services again.

Ultimately, we can read all the "how-to" books we want to, eventually we have to DO the writing if we're going to get anywhere. I need this encouragement too! Hopefully this was helpful. Now go put it into practice!