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).

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Celebration of New Christian Fiction-August Addition

Katy Popa hosts this month's Celebration here. Grab some iced tea and settle down to read some of these great posts!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Meeting on the Bridge of Words

"... under the imaginary table that separates me from my readers, don't we secretly clasp each other's hands?" ~ Bruno Schulz
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While I was reading Madeleine L'Engle's wonderful book, Walking on Water, I came across the following: "The author and the reader 'know' each other; they meet on the bridge of words." This strikes me as being very similar to the Schultz quote and says something that is universally understood about an author and her readers. Books are not like film (now much more the world's first choice when it comes to either entertainment or enlightenment). Yes, they can be interpreted by each individual film goer, but the experience, in my humble opinion, is not nearly as intimate as the experience shared by an author and her reader. Each reader comes to the work fresh, ready to make her interpretation, to have her moment with the author. It's as if author and reader sit together in a comfortable room, perhaps before a fireplace, and talk over tea or coffee. There's a quality about it--perhaps brought on by the fact that you read lying in bed or cozily in a favorite chair--that you don't find in film. Yes, both film goer and reader can be influenced by friends or formal critics, but the reader, in the end, has the ability to defy whatever criticism she's heard/read and embrace what she's reading totally without anyone standing between her and the author. No one walks out of the theatre, no one offers sarcastic comments. Yes, just as with film, she might talk with her friends and dredge up some points about the story she liked or didn't like. That's her public persona. But when she reads, it's just her and the author ... just her and me because, of course, even though I'm not yet published I identify strongly with that author. We communicate, writer and reader. Even if I'd been dead two hundred years, we'd still communicate, and all it would take is paper and ink. I would not need a special film festival held on my behalf or a famous film critic to hype my great work. I could be with that reader in the wink of an eye; all she'd have to do is take the book down from the shelf and turn to chapter one.

That, to me, is magical.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Faith in Fiction Short Story Contest

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f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: The Next Short Story Contest:

While all my short stories always end up being novels, I'm sure other people will want to enter Dave's second contest, so here are the rules!
1. 3000 words or less.
2. I have no definition for what a conversion story is, but we're talking about some Christian salvific experience. It also needs to be fiction, no autobiography or memoir.
3. Deadline will be Friday, September 30, 5:00pm central time. Earlier is appreciated.
4. I haven't talked with anybody about partnering on this one, but I'll try to track somebody down. Let me know if you have suggestions or contacts at online journals.
5. There will be prizes for the chosen finalists. They will be more symbolic than impressive. Unless someone wants to give me a grant.
6. But remember, these things get read and a book contract emerged out of the last group.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Adding Emphasis

Chicago Manual of Style - Q&A

I saw this on the CMOS site today. Most writers I know use italics and quotation marks in these ways, yet look what they say about both! [I agree with not using exclamation and question marks together!] What do you think?
Q. To emphasize a word in the narrative (not dialog), is it acceptable to use italics or should I use "“quotation marks"? Also, can a question mark and an exclamation point be combined (?!) to emphasize the question, i.e., "Are you calling me a liar?!?”" Thanks!

A. Chicago style discourages the use of italics for emphasis and forbids multiple punctuation; both are rarely appropriate in scholarly writing. Quotation marks do not usually indicate emphasis. Rather, they indicate irony or double entendre, both of which are also discouraged in academic publishing. Even in fiction, such tricks may be taken as a sign of hack writing. Try to convey emphasis through phrasing, rather than with typographic bells and whistles. You will be surprised how much more quietly powerful writing can be with all the exclamation points removed. Try to reserve those marks for shouting. [Emphasis added.]

Monday, August 01, 2005

Self-published book on Jesus

The Sun Herald | 07/31/2005 | Self-published book on Jesus takes off
In two years, David Gregory Smith's self-published book about a cynical, overworked man who dines with Jesus gained a loyal following. And it caught the attention of WaterBrook Press, the evangelical religious publishing division of Random House, which released the book on July 12.

"Dinner With a Perfect Stranger," as much a gospel lesson as a fictional narrative, seems to have stuck a chord with readers, said Smith, a Plano, Texas, resident who wrote the book under the pen name David Gregory.
Interesting, huh? Not that every self-published book will end up like this because that clearly is not the case.