Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Dawn of Brandilyn Collins

No, Brandilyn Collins is not a new author to CBA. She has written numerous best-selling novels in the past, as well as a book for writers called Getting into Character. Violet Dawn, the subject of the current blour (BC speak for "blog tour), is only the latest.

I wanted to talk about her blog, and why I think it is one of the best on the web. I've been coming to it daily for well over a year now, and it is a major reason why I now have a ubiquitous blog (but don't blame BC, it was MY idea).

She exploded on the blog scene on 2/7/05 with the post Why Christian Suspense? She explains her desire to share about Christian suspense and forensics. However, over time I believe her blog title, Forensics and Faith, suggests a limit that isn't really there. There is so much more than forensics, but the name is out there and changing it now would be upsetting to many of us BG's (bloggees - BC's term for those who read blogs.)

One of the best things about her blog is her "Never Ending Saga", or NES (there used to be a page devoted just to Brandilyn's invented acronyms and words). Starting on 2/24/05, she takes us on the fascinating journey of her road to publication. The NES was definitely an appropriate title, as she talked about it (with a couple of interruptions) through 6/6/05! You may think that 3 1/2 months is an awful long time to talk about oneself, but this whole tale is VERY interesting for anyone wanting to pursue writing and getting published. We not only learned about the process of writing, getting an agent, and contracts, but Brandilyn would routinely leave us hanging in her story, and we would be tortured all weekend waiting to hear the next part of her saga. We learned the importance of keeping readers interested throughout this story as well.

Since then, she has taken us through many aspects of writing fiction. One brave BG offered up an action scene, which BC took us through step by step in an edit to see if we could punch it up. It was even a collaborative process, with BG's commenting after each post. (See starting 6/10/05) She also discusses point of view (POV), plotting twists, and backstory. All of these are listed on the left side of the blog, for easy reference.

Not only is Brandilyn a great author, she is a wonderful fiction teacher. I know she just returned from a writing conference, and she does an excellent job live. But the blog has been a fantastic tool for me in learning more about fiction, not just in what she says, but how she says it.

Now I continue to be challenged in my writing through posting for the Scenes and Beans blog. And you can too! The initial group of bloggers for the Scenes and Beans runs through December. Starting January 2007, any reader wants to submit a post for a character can audition. If chosen, their tale will be posted and they will receive an autographed copy of Violet Dawn. More details are here.

So be sure to check out her blog. And check back tomorrow for my review of Violet Dawn, in which we discuss hot tubs and VW bugs...

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