‘How to Gum Up Your Story’ (2016)

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We watch almost no contemporary American TV. And if we do, we’re shocked. Really, the quality just isn’t there.

And the main reason it’s so bad is, they keep plugging their politics into the story.

How to Gum Up Your Story

We watched an award-winning episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Because of their fetish for “diversity,” and their mania for preaching it at the audience, almost every scene was crowded and tedious, as each and every group in New York City had to be represented at all times. This was supposed to be the cream of the crop. I can’t imagine what the bad episodes were like.

If you want to give a speech, give a speech. If you want to preach a sermon, preach a sermon.

And if you’ve got a story to tell, for heaven’s sake, just tell it.

 

‘And Now, Another One…’ (2018)

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I’m always being contacted by publicists inviting me to review their clients’ books. I don’t think I’ve yet said “Yes,” in several hundred tries.

And Now, Another One…

The thing that most amazes me is the appalling sameness of it all–as if there were only one publicist, only one writer, and only one book; the same cliches heaped up, one on top of another; you know what they’re going to say three pages ahead. I mean, this stuff is nutra-loaf for the mind.

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I do do book reviews. I’ll even review books suggested by my readers here, without benefit of a publicist.

But this… this… stuff! out there, boxcar-loads of it, all the same darkly handsome men and mysterious gorgeous women–all of whom need to be picked off in a hurry by a giant chameleon!

I’m Stuck! Please Send Comments

Tanystropheus - Wikipedia

I had just fallen into a doze last night when my wife, reading my new book, The Wind from Heaven, woke me to ask, “What the dickens is this?” She’d just read the scene in which Ysbott the Snake espies a Tanystropheus fishing (as it were) in a little pond in the depths of Lintum Forest. She read back to me my description of the creature, which I must say accords very well with the picture, above. But what could I say but, “That’s a Tanystropheus”?

Ordinarily that would have inspired me to greater literary efforts. But I’m afraid writing about Sicilian caecilians today used up something vital in my brain… and now I’m stuck. Can’t think of anything else to write about, even though I’m a good 50 views behind where I ought to be at this time of day.

In short, I need assistance from my readers. Comments, suggestions, urgent pleas for more information, light-hearted observations about this or that–I need ’em all. Because I’m stuck. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does… not even a Tanystropheus can help me.

Waiting to hear from you–

How Leftids Tried to Sink ‘Bell Mountain,’ Part II

Gollum reading Strange case Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Shimarina7 on  DeviantArt

Some of you have asked to see the rest of the story today, not tomorrow–so why not? If nothing else, it reminds us what we’re up against.

Please bear in mind that my Bell Mountain novels are fantasies having nothing, but nothing, to do with political issues and controversies in our own world. Leftids wanted my novels sabotaged not for what they said, but for what I said elsewhere. They wanted me punished for criticizing Obama.

Reader Help Requested!

Their solution, they hoped, was to post one-star reviews of Bell Mountain on amazon.com to try to damage its sales.

This post has 20 comments attached: I appealed to my readers for help, and they began to try to see what they could do about it.

Part III coming right up.

My Newswithviews Column, July 28 (‘My New Book “The Wind from Heaven” Is Out’)

I have been blessed with the mission to write my “Bell Mountain” series of fantasy-adventure novels for young readers. Probably most of my readers are adults, but that’s all right: they can pass the books on to their children and grandchildren.

No. 13 in the series, “The Wind from Heaven,” has just been published.

My New Book “The Wind From Heaven” Is Out

There aren’t that many fantasies written from a Biblical worldview; but mine are. And I’ve tried to purge all the most annoying fantasy cliches from my books. No crusty but benign old wizards, thieves with hearts of gold, gorgeous beautiful girls who know kung-fu–to all that stuff, “Away wi’ ye!” I just can’t stand those jumpin’, spinnin’ kicks.

You can find out about all the books in the series by going to the home page and clicking “Books.” In fact, you don’t even have to exit this blog to order them.

‘So What’s “Bell Mountain” All About?

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Ten years later, I’m still trying to answer this question. The Lord has much to teach me.

So What’s ‘Bell Mountain’ All About?

I am waiting for the 13th book in the Bell Mountain series to be published (can’t imagine what’s delayed it!), No. 14 is written, and I’ve just started writing No. 15, The Witch Box. There are those who say the series is too long; but I’m still very far away from catching up Tarzan, Hercule Poirot, Rick Brant, Freddy the Pig, et al. Edgar Rice Burroughs grew weary of Tarzan, and Agatha Christie would have gladly pitched Poirot into a tar pit; but I still love my characters. Besides, there are always new ones that come along, and I never know where they’re going to take me.

The Adult Fantasy’s Not So Hot, Either

Emissary by Thomas Locke, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Yesterday we looked at a review of an appallingly bad fantasy novel pitched to children.

Today’s mouldering pile of rubbish was marketed to adults.

https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/review-of-christian-novel-emissary

Question! When in America did “mainstream” come to mean “completely outside the Christian world-view,” and how did we ever allow that to happen?

Christian fiction author T. Davis Bunn, with a string of best-sellers on his resume, decided a few years ago to write “a wholly secular fantasy”, Emissary, under the pseudonym of Thomas Locke; and a major Christian publisher decided to publish it.

Emissary contained every fantasy cliche known to man; it was a veritable thesaurus of cliches. Why in the world do fantasy writers do this??? I mean, it’s “fantasy,” right–and that means it’s supposed to be imaginative. Like, what is the freakin’ point of a thoroughly unimaginative fantasy? Why bother to write it? Why bother to read it? If you’re an experienced fantasy reader, you’ll already know precisely what sort of characters will appear in the story, you’ll know exactly what they’ll say and do on any occasion, and the only surprise you’ll ever get is if you drop the book and fall out of your chair trying to pick it up. If you even bother.

Also, many of these fantasy cliches, in addition to their thorough predictability, are basically pagan–not “Christian” in any sense of the word. Why did Mr. Bunn waste his talents on such bilge?

Fantasy matters because it has access to regions of the heart and mind not easily explored by other kinds of stories. It matters because it ought to be included in Christ’s Kingdom and put at the service of that kingdom, not reserved as a province of neo-paganism.

And I wonder if Mr. Bunn just stopped caring about such things.

 

 

Truly Abysmal Children’s Literature

I’ve done a lot of book reviews for Chalcedon, and I thought you might like me to share them with you.

Some of these books were breathtakingly, astoundingly bad. Here’s a book supposedly written for children under 12–Spartan and the Green Egg: The Poachers of Tiger Mountain.

https://chalcedon.edu/resources/articles/book-review-of-spartan-and-the-green-egg-the-poachers-of-tiger-mountain

Looking back on it, this book is more hair-raisingly awful than it seemed while I was reading it. Conferring virtual omnipotence on children, by means of insanely high technology, is not an idea I can get comfortable with.

And what would possess any mother to name her baby “Spartan”?

This book is just so incredibly bad, I might actually be afraid to read it to a child. What if it puts him off reading for life? What if he gets mad at me for insulting his intelligence?

But worst of all–

What if he thinks it’s good?

I wake up screaming.

‘How Bad Should Your Bad Guys Be?’ (2017)

Image result for images of richard iii

If he’s really worse than Shakespeare’s Richard III, or Iago, your villain’s got problems–which will be passed on to both the writer and the reader.

How Bad Should Your Bad Guys Be?

Well, okay, how many of us have to worry whether the villains we make up are credible? Oh, but many people do like to try their hand had writing a story, so these tips may not come amiss. And fiction can sometimes help us to understand what we see and hear in real life.

My villains all have something in common–they justify themselves to themselves. The elasticity of this approach is limitless. Even Stalin, Mao, or Hitler could have used it, and very likely did.

P.S.–I don’t believe Richard was anywhere near the villain Shakespeare made him out to be. He’s a great example of what happens when your enemies win and get to write the history.

 

‘Are We Really Talking “Christian Fiction”?’ (2018)

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What makes “Christian fiction” Christian? Is it just a convenient marketing term, or does it have a real meaning?

Are We Really Talking ‘Christian Fiction’?

You’ll be interested in the comments by Nadine and Unknowable.

BTW, getting a super-early start hasn’t helped me in the least. Neither have key words. I’m not going to bother with them anymore.