Monday, September 29, 2008

"Shut Up!" He Explained by William Noble

“Shut Up!” He Explained A Writer’s Guide to the Uses and Misuses of Dialogue by William Noble. Mr. Noble begins his book on dialogue by telling us he had been asked by
a friend to look over a manuscript for the man’s friend.
Mr. Noble said the characters were okay and the plot a good one, but he quickly lost interest because the dialogue was poorly written.

The book is divided into three sections.

  • Section one is “The Master Keys to Dialogue”.
  • Section two is “The Details of Dialogue”.
  • Section three is “Misuse and Abuse of Dialogue”.

Each chapter deals with an aspect of dialogue, which makes it easy to look up any area the writer might have questions about.

Dialogue is essential to a good story. Dialogue is
different than conversation. It moves the story along.
Any dialogue that doesn’t add to the story should be cut.
He noted that dialogue and conversation are two different things. Many new writers use conversation in the story, which makes it boring.

He provides an illustration for each point he makes in the book. For example: I learned that dialogue develops characters and creates tension between characters. The writer has to know the character so the dialogue will be authentic.

His chapters on dialect and transitions helped me critique the writing of a member of our writers’ group. I was surprised to learn how dialogue can be the basis of a lawsuit. His last chapter addressed the precautions a writer should take. He gives actual lawsuits and the judges’ decisions on those cases. That was an eye opener to me, and a situation I will definitely consider in the future.

I’ve owned this book for quite awhile but never read it. I’m glad I did. Dialogue could be the problem with my book. I’m going to go back through my own story and check to see how I can use dialogue to strengthen my story. I also plan to study dialogue in the recent best seller I finished this week.

I recommend this book as a good one to add to your library for reference whenever you find yourself unhappy with your story.

The above review was written by Sue Watson.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Chrisian Fiction

I have one thing to say about Ron Benrey's book "Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Christian Fiction," and that is, "I wish I'd found it three years ago." When I first decided to devote my work time to studying the craft of writing longer fiction, my knowledge could fit safely in a demitasse. I spent my first few months in a secular writing group learning enough to fill a soup bowl. That is also where I met Margaret Daley who explained the world of Christian fiction writing. Since then I've attended two national ACFW conferences, a FHL mini-conference and three local secular conferences. I've met editors, agents and a score of wonderful writers. My knowledge begins now to overflow my nightime popcorn bowl. (I guarantee that's huge).
Now, I come across this wonderful book. Though I wish I'd found it sooner, and much of the information therein I have learned by hook and crook the last three years, nevertheless Mr. Benrey's words go far beyond what I've learned. Good common sense helps are invaluable such as a list of Christian markets, how to cope with the problem of many gatekeepers along the trail to publishing and why do we need them, what's expected of you once you receive "the call." One section I found interesting is the subject of self-publishing with a list of pros and cons, and why this could be advantageous. (I thought it would be an awful thing.)
One advantage to this "how to" book is the obvious Christian viewpoint. Not that writing isn't writing and helps from those who write other fiction aren't good to read, but Mr. Benrey outlines some problems which only Christian writers tackle. Once chapter is "Dealing with Distinctively Christian Writing Issues." "Have you been "called" to write? What words are no-nos in the CBA markets?
Though maybe three years too late, this book was right on time to help me reach the next rung of the ladder to publication. I highly recommend it if you, like me, have yet to publish a long Christian manuscript even if you've walked years down the road and learned enough to fill a sink.

Monday, September 15, 2008

God’s Key to Health and Happiness by Elmer A. Josephson, © 1962, 1976 Bible Light Publications.

I’ve been recently diagnosed with a grave illness. During this season of my life, I’ve received many books as gifts of encouragement, generously given by caring friends. Included were inspirational stories and other types of self-help books. Perhaps because of the provocative title or the bright cover art, God’s Key to Health and Happiness stood out from the others.

Written decades before The Maker’s Diet, by Jordan Rubin, God’s Key to Health and Happiness was literally years ahead of it’s time. (Note the copyright year) Elmer Jospheson, an ordained Baptist minister and a graduate of Bethel Institute in St. Paul, Minnesota felt compelled to write his book after his own poor health prompted him to seek a cure within God’s Word. When he applied what he’d learned in his studies and added sixty years to his life and ministry.

I believe we can all agree that the Bible is an instruction book—an owner’s manual, if you will, for the care and upkeep of these “jars of clay” as Paul describes our physical nature. In his book, Mr. Josephson reiterates biblical truth, and that adherence to God’s simple principles is the KEY to our physical health and happiness. The soundness of our bodies depends on how many worldy indulgences we’d be willing to exchange for tried and true promises of God. Even the depression and fear that we live with day to day can be blamed on our poor nutritional choices and stubborn unwillingness to surrender into God’s will.
Dr. Josephson clearly upholds that our spiritual condition is established only through salvation in the name of Jesus Christ. However, our health and happiness in this life depends largely on what we eat and we how consume our food. The near epidemic prevalence of heart disease and cancer can be attributed to our bad choices. Science would seem to support Josephsons’ conjectures.
I have radically altered my eating habits based on Dr. Josephson’s book and have witnessed remarkable results in my own recovery.

Josephson also studied at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and lived in Israel for a number of years. He was also the founder and director of Bible Light, Incorporated and organization dedicated to advance understanding among the peoples of the world.

This book is currently out of print, and is the only place that I know of where this title can still be had for as little as $.02 used. I would encourage anyone to invest the two cents for this life-changing book.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Marriage of Convenience

I have started another works-in-progress. I've decided to use the hook device, marriage of convenience. To layer-in the conflict, I am consulting the non-fiction, self-help book, Marriage on the Rock, by Jimmy Evans.

I love this book!

Early on in my marriage, my husband listen to the author of this book at a conference. When he came home, our relationship changed...for the better! This book contains many of the elements my husband heard. (If you know a newly-wed or a marriage in trouble, this is the book to recommend)

For my intent and purpose, I'm using different chapters to help me establish problems between the hero and heroine. For starters, as human beings there are certain deep needs, which only God can meet. Here they are:

Four Basic Needs

  • Acceptance

  • Identity

  • Security

  • Purpose

You can set up your Hero/Heroine to want their Hero/Heroine to meet one of these basic needs. This will create instant conflict because as humans we will never meet these deep needs from another human. These needs can only be met by God.

To increase the conflict between Hero/Heroine there are certain needs, which women need men to meet and vice versa. As you read the following needs, imagine in your own life when this need was not met. Remember how it felt and then draw from that experience in developing your characters.

Women's Needs

  • Security (Finances, Relationship)

  • Non-Sexual Affection

  • Open Communication

  • Leadership

Men's Needs

  • Honor

  • Sex

  • Kindred Fellowship

  • Domestic Support

So for example, let's say your Heroine is a sassy, smart-mouth woman who meets the Hero and she needs him to lead her to safety. However, he's made some mistakes in mapping out their survival. The heroine can't stand the fact he's messing up. She dishonors him by insulting him with caddy comments and then she takes over the leadership role. Of course, as time progresses they become friends, meeting his need for kindred fellowship. As the bond continues, she eases up on her sassy mouth and during their discussion her need for open communication is met. She then relinquishes control, he leads them to safety, and they live happily-ever-after.

You use what they need most from the opposite sex and create conflict by withholding it from them. As the relationship continues, add what they need from each other to the mix. Of course, the crux is when they realize one of the four basic needs they are desperately seeking comes only from God.

As the book states, Marriage on the Rock (is the blueprint for) God's design for your dream marriage.

Writing Tip of the Day