Deep POV: Confessions of a Christian Writer

The ramblings of an emergent-realistic-edgy-working-for-God-and-the-pay-isn’t-that-great-sometimes-confused-christian-fiction writer (uh, that would be me).

Friday, January 28, 2005

Idea for Christian Writers who Blog

Right now, there is a loose confederation of Christian writers who are either interested in or actively pursuing "revolutionary" writing within or without the CBA world. Many (though far from all) of them are listed to your right. One of the things I've noticed, though, is that we aren't organized the way some blog communities are. I am familiar, for instance, with the conservative bloggers, who have "alliances" formed in some parts of the country. Other bloggers organize around a weekly or monthly theme, i.e., The Carnival of the Vanities (where each blogger contributes one of their best articles, with URLs posted on a different site every time; The Bonfire of the Vanities (same idea, but these contain the worst articles); The Carnival of Recipes (yum), and, just recently, "Blogbursts," where everyone blogs about the same subject on a given day.

I think we ought to do something that organizes us in some way. [Boy, that sounded vague!] It might bring more attention to what we're doing and it was certainly enliven the conversation were we to go multi-blog. Anyone have an idea?

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Infuze Magazine Article

What I Learned at the Revolution by Robin Parrish >> Infuze Magazine

Robin Parrish has the above great article on the Infuze Magazine website, taken from the 45 interviews he did during 2004 with various "forward-thinking people," as he calls them. I think you need to be registered to access the article, but it's free and well worth the ten seconds it'll take. Robin and his cohorts do great work.

I find a lot of what he's saying applicable to Christian writers (like me) who are trying to find their way in the confusing world of being a writer and also being Christian. Take, for instance, truth #8:

ART WITHOUT A "CHRISTIAN" LABEL ON IT IS NOT, BY DEFAULT, BAD

Here's a quote: "Regarding works that come without the "Christian" tag... The notion that we're not ever supposed to draw truths and insights from anything that was created by the rest of the world is a tragic misunderstanding of Christian proclamation, according to Michael Brewer. We often overlook the fact that Jesus picked things from secular culture to talk about nearly every time he spoke. But beyond that, a story doesn't have to be a treatise on theology in order to be an effective story with redeeming values."

This one is very close to my heart since I have come under condemnation in some quarters for writing outside the CBA. I have nothing against the CBA and CBA-writers, but the subject matter in my novel is just not gonna be something the CBA can handle--trust. me. :-)

Monday, January 24, 2005

Dialogue Discussions Redux

Dialogue - www.ezboard.com

Well, it turns out I'm not the only writer who likes dialogue. Some members of the Faith In Fiction board weigh in on the issue!

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Exposition/Narrative/Dialogue

As I said in an earlier post, writing is very subjective. Yes, there are things you can do to make your writing better and many of those are almost sacrosanct. One of those is “show, not tell." Another is exposition, narrative, and dialogue, which Dave Long mentioned in the comments section of that post.

I have to admit I had only a murky idea of the difference between exposition and narrative. When I googled the terms, though, I found that I wasn’t alone. Many writers use the two words interchangeably; some writers believe they are the same. See here and here and here.

According to Renni Browne and Dave King of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers fame, you can use “narrative summary” for exposition, which is defined as “…your characters' pasts, or events that happened before the story began, or any information your readers might need to understand your plot.” Which seems to support the idea that where narrative ends and exposition begins is somewhat subjective.

Another definition of exposition: “that part of the structure that sets the scene, introduces and identifies characters, and establishes the situation at the beginning of a story or play. Additional exposition is often scattered throughout the story.”

So, if I’m understanding this, exposition is when you’re filling in the reader, giving them back story or bringing them up-to-date. Narrative is when you’re otherwise advancing the story. Hmm, I can see how the two get confused.

The mixture of those three elements—exposition, narrative, and dialogue—make up the bulk of your novel. And how that mixture is doled out, what the percentages are, is going to be a matter of preference, both yours and those who might be interested in what you write.

Writing Advice

relevantblog: Improve your writing in 2005

Mary DeMuth offers some great advice on your writing life in 2005.

The Role of Editors

The Writing Life: reflections by a working writer.

Charles Deemer discusses the role of the editor in modern day publishing. If you think he/she has the ultimate power in a publishing company, you'd be wrong.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

New Writer's Blog with a Great Idea

Flogging the Quill: What would you do/pay to get a great critique?

I found this blog from a link on Publisher's Marketplace. Not only does Ray Rhamey have a great blog, he has a really good idea--a way for writers to get five excellent critiques of the first fifty pages of their novel. I wish I had the money because I'd definitely do it! See what you think. And check out Flogging the Quill too. Ray is an editor who appears to know how to edit a piece of writing without injecting his own ego into the text. Everything he's edited seems to work.

Writing the Darkness

M y W r i t e r s G r o u p: Only the Haters Seem Alive

In this sick and twisted world where many, if not most have already given up, we Christian writers have a difficult task. We can't afford to be afraid to be seen in a dirty stable. We have to accept the darkness that comes in with the light—that's right, accept it.

This blog post by Mick Silva is well worth the read if you're a Christian writer who's part of the writing revolution taking place within and without the CBA.

Dialogue Discussions

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 7 of Dialogue - Too Little? Too Much?

I've been reading novels that would be considered "literary," at least by some. Like Anne Lamott's Blue Shoe, for instance. And it's certainly true that in a literary work, there's more narrative and less dialogue. Reading Dave's thoughts about dialogue vs. narrative tells me something about Dave's taste in books. Which I find ironic since he works for a CBA publisher and I've spent several years within the CBA writing realm (mostly on-line groups) being told the exact opposite by many of their star performers: SHOW, don't tell! And that means (in their opinion) that dialogue reigns supreme. *sigh* I guess this shows, once again, how subjective art can be.

Personally, I like dialogue in a story because I want to see people interact. Hearing that they interacted after the fact isn't nearly so exciting. However, you can include too much of this, just as you can include too much narrative.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Where Did I Go?

It's been two months since I posted anything here! In the Blogosphere, that's an unforgivable amount of time. What can I say? Life got in the way.

Starting right before Thanksgiving, I went through a series of illnesses that included stomach "flu," several colds, and an abscessed tooth. Before you ask, yes, I have a chronic illness that compromises my immune system. No fun, especially during the holidays, but by the grace of God, I made it through and still in one piece!

Okay, that's my excuse. During that period, if I didn't have to do something, I didn't do it. And that included this blog.

But ... I'm back and I have lots to say, so stay tuned!