I’ll have more to say about this later. Literary crimes are being perpetrated today that hadn’t been invented yet in 2014.
How Not to Write Dialogue
I think back to those days when literary agents and editors used to keelhaul new writers for even the slightest lapses in style and grammar–while at the same time, publishing stuff that was barely recognizeable as English.
If you can’t talk intelligently, you can’t think intelligently.
The prosecution rests, your honor.
This was the first time I was interviewed by persons who had actually read my books, and I enjoyed it. Andrea Schwartz was the host.
Here’s the Webinar! ‘Thoughts on Being a Writer’
All my life, I wanted to be a storyteller. Getting together with Bobby and Ellen across the street, the three of us making up ghost and monster stories in their appropriately atmospheric cellar… I was ten years old.
There was the sun… behind those clouds!
As if all this rainy weather weren’t enough of an obstacle–I really do need to be outside while I compose fiction–I was wrestling with a detail of the plot that looked like it could turn out to be a serious error.
During a lull in the rain today, I sat under my umbrella and wrestled with my problem–thinking is a big part of writing a novel; don’t let anyone tell you different. Was I going to have to rewrite some of these chapters, top to bottom? And then what? I didn’t have the story firmly in hand, didn’t know what would happen next.
I always ask the Lord to guide my work–and I think today He answered me.
It wasn’t an unresolvable conflict in the plot! It wasn’t really a conflict at all. Instead, it was an opportunity. A door in my mind, a door I didn’t know was there, unexpectedly swung open. I don’t know if I’m saying this right; but now I’m very happy with a plot development that daunted me for several days.
If there’s a lesson to be learned here, it’s a simple one: when you’re stuck, stop, be patient, and think! And pray.
You might be surprised by the answer that comes your way.
I understand: C.S. Lewis was an academic, a scholar, he had all that learning that he wanted to use in God’s service, and over the years he’d gotten used to thinking like a college professor… because, after all, he was one. So it’s unlikely that this problem could have been avoided.
Was C.S. Lewis Wrong to Allow Magic in Narnia?
Well, his friend J.R.R. Tolkien warned him–all that “magic” stuff is going to turn some people off your books.
It makes me wonder: to what degree can a writer put himself in the reader’s shoes? And to what degree should he?
If you’re a writer, it’s a question that just will never let you alone.
As the Cat in the Hat once said, it’s fun to have fun but you have to know how. (Rule No. 1 for beginners: try to avoid quoting the Cat in the Hat.)
The hardest thing about writing is getting started, and the next hardest thing is to keep going. I think most writers would tell you so.
Writing Tips: Getting Started
There’s quite a response to this post, ventured by Marlene and well worth reading. That’s another hard part: writing with strict honesty.
If you can start, keep going, and speak from the heart… well, you’re on your way there.
Book No. 7–that’s Queen Gurun in the bows.
Let me tell you what it’s like, writing a novel.
Writing a Novel is Like…
Probably almost everybody can learn how to put a novel together. And almost everybody thinKs he or she can write a novel. “If only I had the time!”
Lately a question has arisen in my mind: how many publishing execs, editors, marketing consultants, or reviewers could write a decent novel if their lives depended on it?
All I know about this book is its title–Ozias, Prince Enthroned–and that it’s the second book of a trilogy. That’s all I’ve got so far, plus bits and pieces left undone in the first book, Ozias, Prince in Peril.
It’s been my custom, in writing the novels in my Bell Mountain series, to wait for the Lord to give me the story He wants me to tell. I can’t make it happen, can’t force it. And it hasn’t happened yet.
Ozias lived some 2,000 years before his descendant, King Ryons, and some 1,000 before the destruction of Obann’s Empire in the Day of Fire. He was the last king of Obann, for two thousand years, chosen by the grace of God; and his throne was ultimately taken from him by his enemies. Obann had to wait for two millenia before another king was anointed.
I’d very much like to get going on this, the days are flashing by; but I have to wait. Sometimes it’s a dream that gets me started. Or an idea or an image breaks into something else I’m doing at the time. A whole unwritten novel stands between now and the third book of the trilogy: Ozias, King Betrayed. I do have a better idea of what that one is about.
The Ocean of Time is waiting to be published–early next year, I hope.
So I wait. I have yet to wait in vain… but I’m still not used to it.
Has anyone read this yet, besides me? (Of course I read my own books! How else am I going to remember things from book to book?) And I have zero customer reviews on amazon.com.
Edgar Rice Burroughs cranked out two dozen Tarzan novels, in addition to his numerous other works. Like, how many times could Tarzan discover a lost city? Africa was crawling with ’em! Readers kept reading them, even after Burroughs himself got tired of writing them.
Granted, our marketing isn’t much (you’re looking at a big piece of it just now), and the release of a new Bell Mountain book doesn’t exactly produce a ripple in the news. I did feel I ought to mention it here. But I am not a publicist.
With Patty’s surgery set for Friday, we find it just a little hard to concentrate, and find a need for something else to think about.
I look forward each day to editing Bell Mountain No. 15, Oceans of Time. No. 14, Behold!, flows very nicely into it. Editing can be a soothing way to pass the time. Not that you can count on that. There are editing assignments that can be quite hair-raising.
Anyway, after Oceans we’ll have the story of King Ozias in three books, the first of which has been written–Ozias, Prince in Peril. Ozias lived some 2,000 years before the events described in the first 15 books, so expect a lot of changes.
Uh… Why do we have this picture of a great big salamander with jaws that could take your hand off?
Well, now, haven’t you read any number of books that would have been significantly improved by the addition of a giant salamander? I know I have. But in this case the plot demands a giant salamander. You’ll see…