Oh, please… a TV “Event.”
I really hate conspiracy theories. Most of the bad stuff happens right before our eyes, and the perpetrators brag about it.
Conspiracy Baloney Aimed at Our Lord
So here’s some twaddle about Christianity itself as a big fat conspiracy theory cooked up by the Romans… for no conceivable reason.
I thought you might enjoy the discussion following the post. Please feel free to add to it.
You’ll enjoy the conversation that follows this post (my readers are the best!), and the original is embedded in the sequel, so you won’t miss anything.
‘A Defense of Fantasy’ (2015)
We all know there’s a lot of drivel out there that gets marketed as “fantasy.” All it takes is one Elf turning to a Dwarf and saying, “We must learn to celebrate one another’s lifestyles,” and the reader is lost to fantasy forever. I wish I could say I invented that example… but alas, I haven’t.
Robert Horton and Ward Bond in the original classic show
People like to ask writers–especially fantasy writers–“Where do your ideas come from?” Well, a lot of my ideas come from dreams. Like this one:
My Fantasy Tool Kit (7): Dreams
Heck, the whole Bell Mountain series started off as a dream. I still haven’t gotten around to using that Wagon Train dream, but I’ll know the right time when I see it.
And now stay tuned for a special treat in the next post…
It isn’t often we hear from a best-selling author of young adults’ fiction, so let’s make the most of us. He insisted on concealing his identity, but you can probably guess who it is. You just can’t hide that kind of fame under a bushel.
How to Write Good
You will also notice how the market strives for Diversity by making sure that published novels, no matter how many there may be, are so shaped to be indistinguishable from one another. That way, if you’ve read one young adults’ fantasy, it’s sort of like you’ve read them all. The new ones won’t be so confusing then.
I don’t expect to be treated as a celebrity; but it’d be nice if my hometown library had my books on its shelves… especially after I’ve donated them.
My Hometown Fans
Well, our local library has degenerated into a Far Left elitists’ sandbox, so my books are relegated to the same shelf as Mrs. Clara Pinball’s recollections of downtown Sayreville. Which is not to insult Mrs. Pinball–but just try getting that book published professionally. And just try getting it onto the library shelves that people actually look at.
Not to be thin-skinned about it–but yeesh! Most people can’t even imagine how hard it is to get a book published by a publisher who’ll pay you for it. For every one who succeeds, there are thousands, or tens of thousands, who don’t. And it doesn’t even have that much to do with the individual merit of a book.
Maybe it’s voodoo.
If you’re writing a novel, you might want to have the whole thing planned out in advance before you start to write it. But I don’t do it that way.
Ask yourself this: Are you a “minor character”? Your book will be full of them. Maybe it’s someone who comes onstage for just a moment to say “Here are the gum boots that you ordered, madam,” and then exits, never to be heard from again. It’s a minor character, and you don’t even need to provide him with a name.
But he has one. He has a life. In his own way, which may never show up in your novel, he has importance.
And if it turns out that you’ll need him again–well, there he is.
This happens a lot for me, in my books. A character has a walk-on, but it turns out to be much more than that: he may even develop into a major character. Orth started out as just a henchman of Lord Reesh; but now he’s Lord Orth, the First Prester. Duke Esdras, confined to a wheelchair, will produce the climax of my current book, Ozias, Prince in Peril. I needed someone to do that, and there he was. Most of your minor characters will remain minor–but you never know. Don’t be too quick to dismiss them!
[And yes, I still have no access to my stats page, no idea of how many views I’ve got today, and heaping piles of frustration.]
Some of us will be giving our loved ones books for Christmas. Some of us will want to give books that are clearly Christian in tone and content.
It’s not as easy as it looks.
Christian vs. Almost Christian Fantasy
We have to be careful of books and movies etc. that bill themselves as “Christian” but aren’t, not really. There’s an awful lot of stuff like that floating around… and you can’t always go by customer reviews because there are so many readers who can’t tell tche difference between “Christian” and “almost Christian.”
Come to think of it, there are whole churches that have forgotten that there even is a difference.
Here he is in the movie.
I don’t know if I’ve ever achieved this as a story-teller: moved readers to love a character whom I made up. But J.R.R. Tolkien achieved it.
Loving a Fictional Character
Old King Theoden! Some of the things he says and does move me practically to tears. Maybe it’s because I’m so used to covering nooze dominated by characters who would definitely be on the Mordor team if they were in The Lord of the Rings. Where else would you put Chuck Schumer?
We need more models of goodness. Maybe if we had more, it’d start spilling over into our public business.
Worth a try, at least.
Yesterday we watched Red Dragon, the 2002 movie based on Thomas Harris’ 1981 best-seller. Harris struck it rich with Silence of the Lambs; and in the publishing world of the 1980s, his was a name to conjure with.
Which brought to memory an unpalatable experience I had with an editor at a New York publishing house.
They’d already bought and published four of my horror novels, but then the horror market imploded–maybe more on that later–and writers were scrambling to re-invent themselves.
My editor moved on, and I got stuck with someone else. He rejected everything I wrote, but bought stuff that was worse.
One day he said to me, on the phone, “Write us a Thomas Harris!” You know–shamelessly try to rip off a successful writer and ride on his coattails because you’re too big a doofus to write like yourself. Like anybody but Thomas Harris could write Thomas Harris. Like us writers have absolutely no respect for each other or ourselves. Certainly no more than editors and publishers have for us.
Later on I learned through my literary agent that this particular editor had a firmly-established reputation as a nincompoop. Well, heck, he kept my books off the shelves. I’m not saying they were great literature. But they were certainly no worse than the stuff that was getting published at the time.
Slavishly trying to imitate successful writers was probably the main reason the horror market folded. There was only one Stephen King, but a couple thousand Stephen King wannabes. Their stuff got published till the public simply spewed it out… which didn’t take a long time to happen.
Overheard in the stands at a ballgame: overdressed lady asks for a hot dog “with the works.” Vendor replies, “Lady, this is Yankee Stadium. You get a hot dog, a bun, and some mustard. That’s the works.”
And that’s how you learn to write dialogue. You listen.
How Not to Write Dialogue
Yes, there are a thousand ways to write bad dialogue. It’s a shame we encounter them in books we’ve paid for.