Monday, April 24, 2017

#The Writer's Tag


What did I JUST say about tags...Okay, but it appears that Cait of the Cakes pulled it into the blog world through the instagram portal, which means it is awesome, Then the fact that Jennifer Freitag did it caught my attention. By the time Mirriam did it, I wanted to, but when Arielle followed after I could no longer delay. {Yes, the full quadrumvirate was required to convince me.} 


1. WHAT GENRES, STYLES, AND TOPICS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?

Genres:
There was a time I could answer this with "Westerns and Biblical Fiction."  HEH. I have since broadened to historical fiction, pseudo-European/Indian historical fantasy, East Asian fantasy {dragons, my friends}, contemporary {which I never thought I'd touch}, time travel/dystopian sci-fi/martyrs&revolution, futuristic sci-fi fairy tale retellings, plus a Scottish/Korean medical fantasy {other-dimensional elves and von Willebrand Disease} and something that's a Victorian England/ancient Hebrew/Briton mix where the orphans are running the insane asylum {and that draws a lot from Korean dramas of the historical and the revenge variety}.

I become progressively genre-less as I march along, apparently. 
Genres I don't write? Horror, paranormal, straight-up romance, etc. 

Styles:
...I just kinda write the story how it feels right...cross-genre is obviously easier to write however I want...Erm...I guess I tend towards a smooth and thoughtful, deeper, more subtle sort of stye, though not necessarily as descriptive as it yet could be, usually 3rd person, occasionally 1st person, with somewhere between 1 and 10 POVs happening. {Or something like that.} I like cliffhangers and eucatastrophes {and catastrophes in general} and foreshadowing, occasional poetic justice moments {maybe more like prosaic justice moments}, and I'm working on improving my ticking clock and Chekhov's gun pieces. {While not losing the thoughtful feel of the story, which can be tricky.} I love unreliable narrators, but am currently rewriting a few because really they were just bad narrators and not helpful. XD 

Topics:
Good grief. Um...well, friendship, siblings, spirituality, hard choices, love, loyalty, race/cross-culture angles, messed-up authority figures, and medical issues tend to somehow make it into all my stories. Beyond that...the possibilities are endless.


2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?

Sheesh, I dictated my first story when I was 4...did my writing career not start until I knew how to write?
The first several-page, beginning-middle-end, regular story I remember writing I finished when I was 8 and gave it to my younger brother for his birthday, all printed out and set in a yellow folder, but I'd written shorter stories before that, as well as directed some plays - i.e. it's been a long time. Some 20 years. Though I didn't really pull off the checks and balances and just let myself write until within the last decade. {Turns out I write better when I let down my hair and scribble ideas and dictate snippets and discuss ideas and don't force myself to work on that-one-book-I-decided-to-write-when-I-was-12 all the time.}


3. WHY DO YOU WRITE?

it's what I do. 
it's what I have always done.
why do you ask.


4. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO WRITE?

 WHENEVER I HAVE TIME AND INSPIRATION AT THE SAME TIME. Which lately has been sickeningly never.


5. PARTS OF WRITING YOU LOVE VS. PARTS YOU HATE?

Love:
Realizing what the theme or point or heartbeat of the story will be
Creating people, worlds, story arcs...
Seeing reader reactions
Working through and coming to understand an issue or a problem as I find I've written it into a story 

Hate:
NOT HAVING ENOUGH TIME 
Fighting with first and last chapters
The getting to the end of a book and finding my pantsing was not nearly as complete as I'd hoped.
Trying to keep my motivation and interest alive through editing and rewrites. {I know how the story goes now...the magic is a lot harder to grasp. This is why too much plotting kills my stories.}


6. HOW DO YOU OVERCOME WRITERS BLOCK?

Writer's Block is a phenomenon I've never really challenged. Either I have a moment and inspiration to write and I write or I have a moment and spend it wishing I had inspiration but find I need to review my story instead.
Writing is my escape and my fun - I did not pursue it full-time because a} I wasn't confident in my abilities to provide for my life through writing and b} I never wanted to force myself to do something I loved.
That said, if I actually want to write, I can usually sit down, read over story, and add some piece to something. Arielle's Quote Questes are super helpful as well.


7. ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING AT THE MOMENT?

My main focus is changing some things about Contract to Time Travel because THE PERFECTIONIST CAN'T STOP MESSING WITH SCENES. Also, it's killing me to weigh dramatic impact vs medical accuracy. I mean, I try to keep both, obviously. But sometimes...



8. WRITING GOALS THIS YEAR?

~Finish what I'm working on above
~Send it to publisher/agent/march down the list
~possibly re-write Hope Sprang Up, that historical fantasy I wrote my first year in college
~KEEP WRITING SOMETHING {I've got the whole residency train to buck, so...yes, this is a goal.}


Thursday, April 20, 2017

don't abandon ship


And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him
And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. 
And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Sometimes we follow Him and the waves cover us and no matter that He neither slumbers nor sleeps now, to all appearances He is sleeping and we come to Him begging to be saved. We followed Him here, and most of us have absorbed enough of the prosperity gospel that those waves make us question a whole lot.

Did we see Him get into this ship? Were we supposed to follow Him here? Did He get off and we didn't notice? Is this punishment for something? What should we have done differently? 
WHY IS THERE A STORM KILLING US???

It wasn't supposed to happen like this, and now all we can do is scream for help. When we remember to do so. {And honestly...how long did these sailors watch the storm come up and start flooding their boat before they finally were freaked out enough to remember the Carpenter's Son currently sleeping through the storm might be able to do something more than they were accomplishing at the moment?} The disciples finally asked for his help.

And what does He say? 
WHY ARE YOU AFRAID?
They probably looked the storm and the water and the thought of drowning and...???WHY DO YOU THINK WE'RE AFRAID???

But look at the difference between the men cast into the fiery furnace and these caught in the storm. We are not careful to answer thee, O king. They did not second-guess their decision to follow Him, though it be into the flames themselves. They knew they were in obedience, they knew the choice before them, and they answered with assurance, even as they were bound and marched to a fire seven times hot enough to kill them.

I guess I can't say this for sure, but I'm betting by the time that calm came, the disciples were pretty wet. 
You know who didn't even smell like smoke? Who entered the fire and walked out unscathed? Men whose faith in their God was unshakeable. These men had already seen those of their rank and number slaughtered for disobedience. They had no illusions about what this king would do. These men had lost their families, their friends, their entire country and been dragged to this place as slaves. They were not depending on a magic get-out-of-jail-free card from the One they served. They knew full well what obedience might cost them, and still they answered fearlessly. 

But you know, Jesus was there with both of them. Maybe He had to point out the fear and faithlessness of the 12. Maybe they reached the shore dripping wet and uncomfortable in more ways than one. But Jesus did not leave them there. He gave them the calm they so desperately needed, and He kept them at His side, teaching them, showing them, helping them understand, until they too could answer fearlessly.

I have a lot of moments where I am like the 12. But I want to be like the 3. I want to make the enemy rage and I want to give God all the glory. I want to walk the path set before me without fear. 
I don't know how long it will take me to reach that point. 
But I am glad that no matter how long, He remains with me, and He will answer when I call.

a school/church near where I'm living

Monday, April 17, 2017

smells I love




 coppertone sun block ~ chlorine in an outdoor pool ~ the wind off my favorite of the great lakes ~ a fresh-cut christmas tree ~ air after rain {that's a given, isn't it} ~ shampooed hair ~ lysoled sinks {don't laugh; i used to work as a house-cleaner} ~ just-baked cinnamon rolls ~ chocolate ~ my lavender stuffed hippo ~ tea tree oil {even if it stings my eyes} ~ bread baking in my $0.10 bread maker {the price does change the smell} ~ the barn where i board my horse ~ the woods in summer ~ when you first get back and your house smells like home ~ peppermint tea ~ peppermint soap ~ also pine-scented soap {so i like the smell of clean} ~ lilacs ~ peonies ~  


smell the rain


Thursday, April 13, 2017

to hear His voice


So, recently I hit play on one of my favorite songs on youtube, expecting it to be sung by my favorite singer. The music was perfect, of course, but the first words sounded wrong. I was disappointed, but I kept listening while I tried to find the singer's name listed. As I searched, a few words sounded right...and I began to wonder if my ears were playing tricks on me. Maybe it actually /was/ sung by my favorite singer...this was an old song of his...he'd been a new singer then...there were multiple versions of him singing this song...and the more I listened, the more lines seemed to sound like his voice.
Then the next song in the playlist started, and with the first word I knew it was the singer whose voice I wanted to hear. No wondering, no confusion, no maybes - this was him singing the song.


Which is when it hit me how much that was how I listen for God's voice. There are times I think I hear Him...and the longer I listen the more I can convince myself that He's the one speaking to me...but when He does speak, there is no convincing necessary. It's so obviously Him I have no questions. He said my sheep know my voice and as impossible as that seems, it is true. 
Know Him...and we can know His voice.

drive-by picture of the river valley near where I grew up



Monday, April 10, 2017

sounds i love

originally inspired 



~ a bike crossing a wooden bridge ~ alexander scourby reading the bible ~ horses talking to each other ~ park eun tae's voice ~ josh groban's voice ~ basically any sound track/song that tells me a story or reminds me of a story I like ~ my mom reading books aloud, especially if it's a funny book ~ birds singing early in the morning ~ swishing of a long skirt when you walk ~ hoof beats, particularly cantering ~ fire crackling ~ my older brother calling me my baby-nickname (he's the only one who still does) ~ younger siblings asking me for prayers and advice  ~ baby laughter ~ waves against the rocks ~ the voices of my friends on video chat ~ the soft click of the keys when we communicate via chat ~ satisfied purr of a happy cat ~ the deep bark of our german shepherd ~ muted thud of footsteps in snow ~ snap and sizzle of water testing the heat of a frying pan ~ wind chimes in summer ~ a storm in the treetops ~ water boiling for tea ~ hymns sung in a small church ~ my grandpa telling stories ~ the crackle of fireworks in the sky


Thursday, April 6, 2017

entreat & enquire



And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? 
And she went to enquire of the Lord, And the Lord said unto her, 
when does a picture of sky and water not fit a post, I ask you?


Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Rebekah is an intriguing person. Her family is extremely involved in whether or not she can leave to marry a stranger, of course,...but she is asked, and it is her decision from the start to talk to a stranger, offer him help, and eventually to agree to head cross-country to meet his boss. She also makes the first move once they reach Isaac, getting off the camel as soon as he's in view. She watches her husband pray for her to have a baby, gets pregnant, and then when she has a question she heads out to ask God herself. There's not a lot of hesitation in her story. 

Isaac is less interesting to me; bit of a mamma's boy {though okay, that one moment his dad almost killed him might account for that}, takes after his father's sins, even when they make less sense in him {and distant cousin does not a sister make}, but here too...the simplicity of it. His wife can't have a baby. He asks God to fix that, and boom, two babies.

Other details of their life are unfortunate, but focus on just this bit for a moment, on Isaac's simplicity and Rebekah's forthright personality. This is something I want to emulate, and Rebekah's attitude here is one I absolutely want. It's so easy when something seems weird to us to ask a friend...to call a mom...to google it...but picture a day in which every moment of confusion you immediate enquired of the Lord. 
How do you think that day would be different? 
I'm not sure where some things would turn out {is it baking soda or baking powder that goes in the biscuits? God...?}, but you know the kinds of confusion I mean. 

To have Him be my first thought on waking, my last thought on sleeping, my instantaneous reaction to every happening of life has been a goal in my life for quite a long time. Some days, some years, are better than others...but this was my reminder for today to again turn my heart to Him.

How attune is your heart to God? How long does it take you to ask Him when you are trying to deal with something?

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Book Sacrifice...








Way back in January, Melody tagged me...I'm possibly not doing tags anymore (time, my friends...time) but this seemed like a good one to end on. {I of course reserve the right to do any tag that overwhelmingly catches my interest in the future...XD}

I apologize ahead of time for any excessive attitude here. I might be a little passionate about books and have some opinions. We all do, you know. *ahem*


#1: An Over-Hyped Book
Situation: You are in a bookstore when the zombies attack.  Over the loudspeakers you hear the military announce that over-hyped books are the zombies' only weakness.  What over-hyped book will you chuck at the zombies?

...I'm going to say 50 Shades of Grey. There are others that were far over-hyped as well {I've lived through Harry Potter & Backlash, Twilight & Backlash, Game of Thrones & Backlash...all while wishing Christians would figure out how to write more blockbusters so it didn't come across as them being jealous of the next big thing, or simply hating on anything that everybody else seemed to like} but the idea of a book that practically everyone agrees is stylistically garbage while being about abuse/written torture-porn {ooh, he changes by the last book! Wow, how romantic...} selling millions of copies and 
getting made into movies? 
no comprendo. 


At least I'll have plenty of ammo to chuck at zombies.

#2: A Sequel
Situation: You are caught in a torrential downpour and you're probably the type who melts when you get wet.  What sequel are you willing to use as an umbrella to protect yourself.

PROTECT ME, PROTECT ME, I AM MADE OF SUGAR. {I have been, in fact, called the sugar-child, as a sibling insult meaning I am the favorite kid. Yes, I am that child in the family. Don't hate us 'cause we're pretty.}

THEREFORE, clearly, I need to use a sequel to not melt. 

Okay, anybody ever read any books by Gene Stratton-Porter? I'll say right here that Her Father's Daughter made me sick, and I will even say that re-reading Freckles as a teen shocked me a little - she bought a little too far into eugenics ideals, and as such her books must be read carefully. 
That said...my mom read Freckles aloud to me and my siblings when I was very little, which started a lifelong {so far} love of wild-flower gardens and woodland glades that resulted in much transplanting and arranging and cute little gardens. {Until I planted some beautifully-flowering burr plant in my favorite place and it ate my garden just as I was getting busy with other life things. I abandoned my garden to the wilderness, but I do plan on more wild gardens later. Just maybe not that wild.}

Imagine my delight when I saw there was a sequel! I ordered it from the library, started reading it, and was immediately and inordinately confused.

To quote the last line of the Freckles Wikipedia entry..."Rather than go to Ireland and live as a lord, he will go to college in the United States and then join McLean in managing the lumber company, so that he can always be near the Limberlost."

Weird, then, that Freckles Comes Home is all about Freckles living with unpleasant people across the ocean. Weirder yet, he and his Angel and every other person who appeared in the first book apparently had a lobotomy in between the two books, because there is nothing in the story that makes sense. Turns out a different Stratton-Porter wrote the book, surprise, surprise.

Also, it might be a pet peeve of mine when kids of authors use their parents' names to write books. {DEAR FUTURE CHILDREN, YOU CAN'T SAY I DIDN'T WARN YOU.} It's especially terrible when one's mother wrote a decently sweet book, and one's daughter promptly goes and destroys it.

{This by the way, is exactly what I think happened to The First Four Years. Rose, Rose, Rose Wilder...}



#3: A Classic
Situation: You're in English class and your professor won't stop going on about a classic that "revolutionized literature".  Personally you think the classic is garbage and you decide to express your opinion by hurling the book at his head.  What classic is that?

I have the unfortunate problem of never liking classics. To the point that there are very few "classics" that I've actually read. 

Gone with the Wind? ....I watched part of the movie.
War and Peace?....My mom handed it over to me and I made such a case over why I should not have to read such a book I was allowed to skip it.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn I just...Tom Sawyer was enough for me. I couldn't deal with Huck.
Moby Dick I read the Children's Classic Abbreviated version and was completely turned off.
Wuthering Heights...Couldn't get into it. I tried. They weird, my friend.
The Scarlet Letter I read it! I read it! I remained unimpressed. Uh...that's all I remember.
David Copperfield Also weird. Maybe I should try it again, now that I'm older...but I'm fairly certain that A Tale of Two Cities will remain the only Dickens I actually enjoy.
Uncle Tom's Cabin It's...well, by standards today, its issues are many. I'll respect the influence it had in its own time, but it's hard to like it. Hey, though, at least I read that, too.
Call of the Wild So depressing. Jack London's books are like the grown-up, super miserable sibling of Jim Kjelgaard's books. {Though guess which author killed himself.}

Okay, now that your estimation of me as a literary critic has completely tanked, what classic do I think is garbage? It really depends on by what you are judging them. Style, moral character, level of interest...I'd probably say Gone With the Wind, though I feel like The Scarlet Letter would be the safest thing to chuck at someone's head without having to worry about going to jail for manslaughter. War and Peace might ensure they never taught another English class again...


#4: A Least Favorite Book
Situation: You're hanging out at a bookstore (where else would you be?) when global warming somehow manages to turn the whole world into a frozen wasteland.  Naturally, your only hope of survival is to burn a book.  Which book would you not regret tossing into the fire?

And it can't be one I've mentioned otherwhere here? Well, least favorite book that I've read...this is hard, because I tend to banish least favorites from my mind pretty quickly. Who's got brain space for that? And it's hard to pick one...though the book that springs instantly to mind as a book that absolutely infuriated me is My Choice, God's Grace. I don't see anywhere that says it has to be a fictional book?
And let's just say...I've read books by atheists about abortion that were far more compassionate, far more nuanced, and far more understanding than this one. Few things are so awful as those who claim God's name while rejecting His Spirit and laws. (And common sense while at it.)



#5: A Series
Situation: There's a flooded stream you have to cross on your quest and you can't get your feet wet.  Which series (oh yeah, btw, you brought your whole bookshelf and also probably local library with you) will you use as stepping stones?

Nora Roberts. Which series? Any of her series. Any books by her. {That totally counts as a series.} I have never actually read a book by Nora Roberts. However, I say this based on a library sale I once helped organize, in which there were endless numbers of books by Nora Roberts to be priced and stacked. Any author so prolific, so devoured, and so discarded has perfect books for stepping stones. And that's without quoting this Amazon reviewer {who, by the way, liked her books}: "Her books generally do contain explicit love making and her characters, especially the men, may have occasional recourse to language somewhat stronger than the Bobbsey twins."

Yup. I'll make it through the stream without melting my feet or having a moment of regret for the books I'm destroying.

If you want to join this tag, comment below so I can see what books you'd sacrifice. XD


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