Thursday, March 28, 2013

Christian Fiction Discussions Around The Web

OK, I'm only one day late ;).

Sometimes the discussion going on other places is too good to pass up.

Mike Duran, as usual, has some great, thought-provoking posts this week. He posted at Novel Rocket about Christian fiction marketing toward men. That started some chatter, so he continued his thoughts on his own blog Decompose. He wonders if the CBA is doing a good enough job reaching men with Christian fiction, both male authors and the readers. Is it a responsibility of religious publishers to reach out to men more effectively? Those are the questions asked at the two posts, and as a male reader and writer, they are very interesting to me. Check them out if you can.

Another post was by Jeffrey Overstreet, author of the Auralia's Colors series. He brings up the idea of artistry versus message in fiction. I've agreed and disagreed with Overstreet on various aspects of this debate in the past. He is eloquent in his post and the comments below are worth the time to read. My friend Becky Miller makes some good counter-points there.

Both are good fodder for some deep thinking.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gleanings From A Potato Head

Bronco Nation
Idahoans are used to being fodder when someone needs to reference a place in the U.S. that's way out there. "They even know about this in Boise, Idaho!"

The Boise State Broncos and their blue football turf has helped change some of that (Go Broncos!) and given us more recognition. For writers, I have another reason why we're not the remote, end-of-the-world place we may seem.

I just returned from the Idahope Writers Conference in Boise - the Idaho chapter of the ACFW. It was a great one day conference, and we didn't lack for being potato heads.

So I'd like to share some gleanings I got from our author panel, which included:

These fine wordsmiths were asked several questions. One that interests all writers is, "How do you overcome writer's block?"

Ellis: Finish your writing day with a scene hanging. When you come back, you have something to return to.

Hatcher: You need to know your characters better, or you're trying to force them to do things that goes against their nature.

Collins: Kicking cabinets always helps!

Leavell: Read authors you hate. Then you'll say, "I'm better than them!" Voila, instant motivation.

Williamson: Sometimes you have to make yourself. If you're really stuck, skip to a fun scene or something you know is needed to keep you going.

Hatcher: Sometimes the blech, the garbage just has to come out, in order to let the good stuff start flowing. 

There's a sampling of what our day was like. Thanks to all who made the Idahope Conference such a success. And here's to writers and blue Smurf turf!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Got Farkles?

Obi-wan and Black Widow on the run
Yesterday my twelve year old and I were having an in-depth conversation. I had been watching The Island during my workouts, and he slipped in and watched with me.

If you haven't seen it, The Island is an underrated film dealing with a lot of ethical issues. The definition of life, the value of life, and the potential future medical dilemmas make for interesting mental fodder. (There are plenty of explosions and helicopter chases Mark, so it's up your alley as well :D).

My son and I discussed some of the implications of the movie. He made the comment, "Boy, if I could talk to everyone about their worldview, I could agree with all of them."

This statement surprised me.

We've taken care to teach our kids about worldview and what it means to have a Biblical worldview. We use the book Who Is God? (And Can I Really Know Him?) to teach them about God and His character and ways. I thought we'd done a lot to inform them about this kind of thing.

I talked to him about worldviews and how everyone has one, but if anyone can make their own standards, how can we know what is true. Is there an objective standard?

I grabbed a ruler and measured my water jug. It was 8 inches high. I then told him about a guy who didn't like inches, so he made up a new measurement: farkles. According to these measurements, the jug was 15 farkles high.

Which one is right? How do we know what farkles are?

My analogy has some holes. Inches are arbitrary as well. Still, I showed him how we can be confused if we all appeal to a different standard. If the Bible is truly what it says it is, the revealed Word of God, then we have a standard from the One who made everything and is worthy to establish an objective measurement.

Hopefully my message got through. It made me realize that we have to be diligent in always training our kids up in truth and pointing them to Jesus. I ended with saying that I believe the Bible to be our standard and living for Jesus to be our ideal-but that I couldn't make my son believe the same things. He would need an encounter with God on his own, that he was responsible for his own walk with God. I can lead them to water, but I can't make them drink, as the old saying goes.

Anyway, I'll keep training them as best I can, and pray that they will be able to grab hold of Jesus and all He has for them in their lives. That's the frustrating thing about being a parent. No matter how much you value something, you can't force things on your kids. They need to come to their own understanding of it. I believe it will happen for my children.

I just wish it would hurry up. ;)