Sunday, February 21, 2010

the Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke

I would like to recommend Jeff Gerke's book "the Art & Craft of Writing Christian Fiction" as a spiritual lesson. No, that's not a misprint. I've felt the conviction of the Lord on me for months. Finally, two weeks ago, God impressed me to stop writing altogether. It was the hardest thing I ever did. Two days after I agreed to follow the Lord's direction, I received in the mail Gerke's book which I'd ordered. With today's blog in mind, I began reading.

Thank you, Jeff, for writing about examining your reasons for writing. God dealt with me through this wonderful writer's words about making an idol of becoming published. I lacked contentment in what God wanted to say through me. I lost motivation to write, as Gerke calls it, like an invisible novelist. I wanted recognition for my stories, and I wanted it soon. This writing craft book first and foremost called me to submit to God's will for my life.

I should go on to tell you that Gerke provides excellent, practical education on our craft. I've never seen a better explanation of how to spot telling sentences. If God directs me to write more, I will definitely use Gerke's "dumb puppet trick" to best advantage and "become the filmmaker" for my characters.

Yet, all this good help pales in comparison to God's healing and guidance from the pages of a writing craft book. Thank you, Jeff, for writing for an audience of one and letting me in on it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Plot Thickens 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life by Noah Lukeman

I found it interesting I bought a book on plot, hoping to help me plan my pathway from beginning a novel to the end. However, what I found was a book, which devoted a good portion of text to characterization. Granted, at first, I was disappointed because as I mentioned I wanted to strengthen my plotting skills. What I received was a book with valuable information, containing many ways to layer plots and make plots more interesting.

The Plot Thickens 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Live by Noah Lukeman is great for writers who have a basic plot formation, but want to take their carboard-cut-out-plain-Jane-plot and rocket it to the next level.

The first chapter, Characterization: The Outer Life, helps the writer develop  the many outer layers and use these traits for plot points.

The second chapter, Characterization: The Inner Life, focuses on character's emotional and physical state.

Chapter three, Applied Characterization, teaches how to apply the outer and inner characterization traits to your characters.

In chapter four, The Journey, we learn about three profound journeys, focusing on realization. The next journey teaches about seven different surface journeys to strengthen the character's plot.

Chapter five, Suspense, list twelve ways to create suspense and then details how to prolong the suspense.

Chapter Six, Conflict, lists thirteen ways of creating and intensifying conflict among the cast of characters.

Chapter Seven, Context, teaches writers how to focus on a macro-look at their novel to see the big picture.

Chapter Eight, Transcendency, this chapter gives ideas on how to make a novel timeless for all generations.

At the end of each chapter, Mr. Lukeman presents exercises to strengthen the writer's grasp of the material presented.

I liked this quote from Page 120, "Suspense, ultimately, is about anticipation. It is about what we do not have, what has not happened. It's about the process of watching events unfold."

From the book blurb:

Noah Lukeman is a New York literary agent whose clients include multiple winners of the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award, National Book Award finalists, Edgar Award finalist, New York Times bestselling authors, and the faculty of esteemed universities. He has worked as a manager in Artists Management Group, and is currently president of Lukeman Literary Management, Ltd. He is also author of the bestselling The First Five Pages, now part of the curriculum in many universities.

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