Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Writing Rules...I Mean Guidelines

As an aspiring writer, there are rules of fiction that I must live by. Show, don't tell. Stick with one point of view a chapter. Don't use passive voice. Kill all your adverbs.

All of these rules are very helpful for writers. They become rules because they do help books sound better. They help a writer.

However, there's a backlash going on in the writing world. People are starting to ask question about the rules.

Ava Jae has a popular writing site, and she concedes writing advice is just that, advice. 

Jeff Gerke is a writing teacher, author, and publisher. On Facebook, he started a discussion about the writing rules out there because he wants to write a book about the rules. In his bookWrite Your Novel in a Month he argues that the only rule that can't be broken is to be sure to engage the reader.

Finally, Rachelle Gardner, a respected agent with one of the top writing blogs, just talked about the rules being tools overall. They can help when a book isn't working, but if it works to break a rule for the situation, then it's okay.

This has helped me a lot. I know that I need to listen to advice from those who have experience. But I've also gotten conflicting advice. I got knocked off my groove for a couple of months after some bad feedback from a writing contest. Now I'm getting back into it and I'm realizing that I need to serve the story overall and use the rules as those tools, not as a bludgeoning hammer to force something into place.

I'm thankful for these people speaking up about the rules being more, well, guidelines to steal from a certain pirate captain. Hopefully my writing friends can be encouraged in the same way.

SO: any writing rules you've run across that have been used against your writing that really needed to be broken? Share them here and I'll pass them on to Jeff Gerke for his book.

P.S. Did anyone notice the writing rule I broke in the first sentence?
P.S.S. Can you believe I've finally gotten a Writing Wednesday post out?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

CSFF Tour - A Cast Of Stones

It's two for one month.

The Christian Sci-fi/Fantasy Tour is doing two August features. We just finished with Captives by Jill Williamson, a young adult dystopian novel. Now we're featuring the fantasy series The Staff And The Sword by Patrick W. Carr. The first two books in the series are A Cast Of Stones and The Hero's Lot

The bad news is that I didn't have time to read both books, so I didn't read A Cast Of Stones. The good news that if you go this week, A Cast Of Stones is free on Kindle and Nook, so you can check out the beginning of this series and see if it is worth your while. If you like it, you can pick up A Hero's Lot and wait for the final book A Draw Of Kings in January.

Praise for “A Cast of Stones” –

“VERDICT This fast-paced fantasy debut set in a medieval world is a winner. Both main and secondary characters are fully drawn and endearing, and Errol’s transformation from drunkard to hero is well plotted.” ~Library Journal
“Carr’s debut, the first in a series, is assured and up-tempo, with much to enjoy in characterization and description.”~Publisher’s Weekly
My fellow tour members below will have more on these books, and Becky Miller collects all of the posts on her page here. So what are you waiting for? There's a free book out there for you!

Julie Bihn Jennifer Bogart Keanan Brand Beckie Burnham Jeff Chapman Laure Covert Pauline Creeden Emma or Audrey Engel April Erwin Nikole Hahn Jason Joyner Carol Keen Krystine Kercher Shannon McDermott Meagan @ Blooming with Books Rebecca LuElla Miller Writer Rani Nathan Reimer Chawna Schroeder Jojo Sutis Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler Rachel Wyant

Monday, August 26, 2013


A cool thing about our Outreach Saga is that I don't have to carry the load. I do a lot of the teaching, but others step up when they have something from the Lord to share.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Cyndi Gavin shared. She talked about the worth we have to God. What she shared was so good I had to pass it on:

If you could do anything, what would it be? That was the question she posed to us. We had a paper and pencil to write down what we would do if we could do anything we wanted. Then she talked for a bit about how we get our sights on things that aren't worthwhile.

She pulled out a fifty dollar bill and asked if anyone would want it. Many hands shot up. What if it was dropped in the mud? There were still takers. Now if a one dollar bill was in the mud, you'd consider whether it was worth it. Not with the fifty. It's gone.

Then she came back to our papers, with our one wish on there. She asked this question: How much was it worth? Was it worth giving the life of your child for it?

No one said yes.

But God said yes.

He said we were worth enough that He would sacrifice His Son for us. And He did just that.

That is how much we are worth.

So, know that you are loved today. And no matter how bad things may seem, God thought you were worth it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CSFF Tour - Captives Day 3

If you've been following along the past two days, you are brave. Now I can reveal my secrets.

I've been posting updates on the controversial book Captives by Jill Williamson. As you can see by the warning above, it is a dangerous book. According to Safe Lands Enforcers, it should be reported.

I'm here to tell you I've read it.

If you get caught and point back to me, I'll deny it. But it isn't what the warning says. It is something far different.

How Jill Williamson came by her knowledge is hidden, but she has told the story of the villagers taken into the Safe Lands in an engaging manner. You may only pick it up to flip through a couple of pages to see what the fuss is about. If you do, you'll be hooked. Questions will form in your mind: Why does the Safe Lands need help with reproduction? Why was Omar willing to betray his people to the Safe Lands? What does Mason and Levi expect to accomplish by playing along with the authorities?

These two brothers, forced into leadership by the death of their village elders, are the lynchpin of the tale. Levi takes action and tries to break his family and friends out. Mason investigates, looking for a deeper truth that can shake the Safe Lands to its core.

A reader may be willing to shoot the traitor Omar themselves half-way through the book, but is everything as it seems on first glance?

Jill compares the simple life and faith of the outsiders with the flashy but empty diversions of the Safe Lands, offering a stark contrast between the two lives. Now that I have read this, I do not believe everything shown on the Wyndos, or every proclamation from the Enforcers.

I have questions, but the problem is this book is incomplete. It ends before all is revealed. Rumors of another tome, Outcasts, have been whispered from lips hidden in darkness. Is there more to the story of the Safe Lands and the outsiders, or has Jill been captured and liberated into Bliss early?

Now that I have seen this, I can't stay quiet and pretend nothing has happened. Share this post. Tell people, no matter the risk to me. And more information can be found. Rebecca Luella Miller has been active in collecting all the myths and legends regarding Captives and the tale Jill Williamson exposes, so visit her site for the latest.

May you find what you're looking for, searcher.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

CSFF Tour - Captives, Day 2

You've come back? Brave...or foolish. Time will tell.

Then let this speculative tour continue:

This book Captives tells the story of the Safe Lands, whose majestic walls were built to protect from the plague that decimated the land that used to be America. Not everyone came into the walls, and they built small villages in the surrounding countryside.

How they survived is an enigma.

The Safe Lands deals with the thin plague through modern advances like skin creams and the latest cosmetics. Since there is no cure, people may at least  be made comfortable. The one consequence that can't be bypassed is sterility. No babies can be brought to term by the infected.

If one is creative, then any situation can be circumvented. What if those outside the walls were invited in, if they were willing to contribute samples for conception?

And if they didn't want to come voluntarily, how best to convince them otherwise?

There are whispers of three village brothers: Levi, the eventual town elder, Mason the healer, and Omar. Omar, the victim of bullying and ridicule from his father and Levi. Omar, the vehicle for getting his people into the Safe Lands.

She is wanted for questioning.
Once inside, the simple village folk should appreciate the amazing comforts of Wyndos to view any program or retrieve information, tattoos that can be changed and customized, and vapes that can deliver any sort of stimulant. As long as their women, uninfected, acted as surrogates. As long as the men did their part, the partnership should work.

However, many of the outsiders are willing to accept their place in the Safe Lands. Rumors of an underground resistance movement pass like fleeting shadows. If they were true, and if Levi and Mason could connect with these quixotic malcontents, then something truly amazing could happen.

Again, how the author Jill Williamson was able to come up with these details is an issue for much speculation. This will be discussed further tomorrow. And if you are willing to search for more about Captives, then the would be another place to start.
post of Rebecca Luella Miller

Like I said yesterday, don't stay in one place too long. The Enforcers might be watching. If they are, then as they say in the Safe Lands:

Find pleasure in life.

Monday, August 12, 2013

CSFF Blog Tour - Captives Day 1

I need to know something. Where are you when you are reading this?

If you're in a village like Glenrock or Jack's Peak, you should be fine (although I'm wondering how you're getting internet access).

You didn't see this here...
However, if you're in the Safe Lands, then read at your own risk. I can't guarantee safety from the Enforcers. No one wants a mark against them. Not unless you want early liberation.

I warn you because there is a new book called Captives. It is written by a woman named Jill Williamson, who knows too much. How she learned these details will be the subject of much speculation. That is what this tour is about. The CSFF Tour likes the speculative. Together we must deduce why she is writing this tale and exposing things about the Safe Lands that may not be all that safe.

For now, keep yourself clean. You don't want to end up with the plague. If someone offers you a vape, turn them down. You don't want to get hooked.

To avoid detection, I'll have to post over three days to explain. If you spend too much time at one place, you might get caught. So I advise you to check out the posts below for more information and to see if you can piece the puzzle together. If you're truly brave, go to Jill Williamson's website directly.

Now go! Stay safe.

Julie Bihn
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
Victor Gentile
Timothy Hicks
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Asha Marie Pena
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Rachel Wyant