Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Slow Burn by Mary DeMuth

A Slow Burn by Mary DeMuth is the second book about a young girl who disappears. This first book was Daisy Chain.

This book focuses on her mother as the authorities search for the missing child. Characters from the first book are reintroduced in such a way that reminds the reader of incidents from the first book, such as the painting of her house.

Besides being a great read, the writer can learn how to effectively write a second book a year after the first is published. There were no gaps or need to return to the first book in order to remember what happened in the first story.

This is a book of regrets from a mother who wishes she'd done a better job of loving her daughter. You won't be able to put it down once you start it, so give yourself plenty of time to read it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Revising Fiction by Kirt Hickman

As treasurer of our local Red River Romance Writers, I opened our group postal box and found an autographed copy of a writing craft book, sent to our group for a door prize. The name of the book was "Revising Fiction: Making Sense of the Madness" by Kirt Hickman. Before taking it to our meeting, I started reading it myself. Though in the middle of another craft book by a famous author, I soon lay it aside and devoured this new book.
Starting with the writer's concept and research for a story, Kirkland moves to the major premise of the manuscript, goes to chapter breaks, then to the nitty-gritty of adverbs, punctuation and turning passive into active.
I loved his list of cliches. He used his own fiction and showed what his critique group pointed out, and how he corrected the problems. Then, his easily-understood exercises gave his readers opportunity to apply the concepts to the manuscripts they were writing. The show and tell section was invaluable. With the help of this book, I tightened and deepened emotion in my fiction.
His self editing instruction would offer valuable tips to one thinking of writing a first manuscript, and for the multi-published author would present a workable tool for revision and/or rewriting.
I highly recommend this book. Since I must give it to the members of my writing group, I'll be ordering one for myself, so I can mark it up for future reference.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

King of the Jews: Resurrecting the Jewish Jesus by D. Thomas Lancaster. Copyright © 2006 by D. Thomas Lancaster.

I’ve heard many speakers and teachers say that “Jesus was a Jew,” and indeed, He was. When someone in an audience piped up and added, “He still is,” the statement went from being trite to intriguing. The author of Hebrews states that Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. (Hebrews 13:8) We may want to consider the Jewishness of Jesus when we study His life, His works, and His teachings. D. Thomas Lancaster, a scholarly student and teacher of the Word of God makes this transition for us in his book, King of the Jews. He presents the Master from a wholly Jewish perspective.

I write Christian Drama and I like to research, making certain that the props and costuming are as authentic as can be. I also study the words of Scripture to make sure that I am expressing the correct meanings in my dialogue. In my reasearch, I came across Lancasters book and found it mose useful. I am aware that projecting twenty-first century interpretation between the lines of the gospels may have caused an unintentional distortion of the original meaning. We know that Jesus is omniscient and knew that twenty-first century folks would be reading the Gospels. Still, He was recorded as speaking to first century Jews in words and idioms that they understood. Connecting His words to context gives the reader a deeper insight into the teachings of the Master.

This teaching method is called a remez. Rabbis traditionally use the remez, a word or phrase that brings another context to mind for the purpose of enhancing significance and understanding.

As writers, we employ this technique, as well. We carefully chose words that illicit certain emotional responses. For instance, we might not describe a likable heroine as having ice blue eyes. In the same way, giving the villain periwinkle blue eyes might make him seem less intimidating.

Lancaster shows us a humble Jesus, blending in with and relating to His disciples and followers. He gives detailed interpretations of certain parables. He also proposes some interesting theories.

King of the Jews also includes an exhaustive bibliography, scripture index, and even a subject index to assist the reader in his/her studies.

I recommend King of the Jews for any Christian who’d like to step out of the box and allow him or herself to be challenged by new Messianic insights. I believe you will find this book life changing.

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