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InspiredHome

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About InspiredHome

  1. Book Recommendations

    I'm looking for two sets of book recommendations: books on writing fantasy and fantasy novels. Thanks!
  2. How To Conduct Research

    What are your best tips and resources for conducting research?
  3. Preaching In Fiction Or No?

    I've read my share of Christian fiction and some of it comes across and preachy and moralizing. I personally think it detracts from the novel and can be a turn-off if not done properly. I love studying theology and listening to sermons but I do not enjoy it so much in fiction. If referencing a sermon, summarize in as few words as possible. Make the story shorter snippets of dialogue intertwined with action. Show don't tell applies just as much to sermons as anything else. My WIP has a lot of theological underpinnings but my goal is to weave it seamlessly into the story so that it is organic and not forced. Less narrative, shorter dialogue, and more action.
  4. Have You Ever Scrapped And Started Over?

    No, I didn't. She's fast becoming a favorite of mine!
  5. Have You Ever Scrapped And Started Over?

    I knew it was time when I felt too agitated about where the story was going. Well, for the most part, it wasn't going anywhere. Now that I'm putting some structure into it and outlining it feels good. Just hope I don't disappoint my mom too much. However, I've decided I won't be showing any of my work until I'm done except for the opening above. I need to write...write...write...without the distraction of any opinion or critique.
  6. Recommendations

    Randy Alcorn was greatly influenced by C.S. Lewis. His works aren't usually in the mold of fantasy but I've always enjoyed them. I'm writing a novel I like to think of as Pilgrim's Progress meets The Chronicles of Narnia. I had a difficult time finding authors who have written similar to the way I'm anticipating my novel going. So far I've read some of Ted Dekker, Sharon Hinck, and Karen Hancock. There are snippets of allegory in them and interesting in their own right.
  7. I decided recently to scrap the three chapters I've written and start over. Not from scratch of course as I'm keeping the main gist of my story but I wanted to make some substantial changes. I started reading K.M. Weiland's book on Character Arcs and it made me think about things a lot differently. One thing it led to is to slay opening and character cliches. That, of course, made me realize my beginning had to go. My initial story began with my protagonist waking up to a strange critter pressing its cold, wet nose into her neck (cliche of waking up) to this: Stories come and go with the tide. One washed up on the rocks by the sea, muddied and tangled in debris, crying out for a mother now absent. Her only companion, a curious creature with dark brown and black guard hairs and a resolute look in its black beady eyes. It was a story twenty-years-old, but the sea carried on it a reminder, a sorrowful whisper so that no one would ever forget. And no one had. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ For the first time in months, I'm actually excited about working on my novel. It had become a drag because I felt it was stilted and fake. Now I'm working on rewriting my notes and structuring my novel. I feel at peace with the decision I made. I'm glad I was only three chapters in but I spent 9 months getting there. That shouldn't be. Anyone else kill your darlings?
  8. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    Reading a critique of your work is hard. After all, it is your baby. I've found a sound way for me to work through it. The first reading is that of shock and I mull it over in my mind, chewing on the advice.. Then I come back to it a few hours later and reread it. I begin to see that much of what was written about it is correct. I mull on it some more and weigh it in my mind. Then I make note of the corrections that were particularly helpful and discard the rest. I thank the person who offered up their time and advice and move on. Sometimes you'll have to kill your darlings and as writers we need to get used to the idea!
  9. Dialogue and Description

    Thank you for your insight. It really is helpful. I have this disconnect between description and writing and it causes me to get hung up and try to enter editing mode before I need to. When I'm writing I'll often stare at a paragraph and know there's something wrong with it and it will become a burr under my skin until I can make the appropiate changes. Currently I'm only at chapter three. Some of the word changes you mentioned were what I've been looking for. I don't understand why I have such a difficult time trying to come up with the right word. One thing is for certain, when I do complete the rough draft and start editing, I'll definately be poring over each paragraph line by line multiple times. I will take your advice and keep it in mind as I write from this point on and will most likely change words according to your suggestions. As for Charisna, it is what we'd call true north, the star we navigate by. Except in this case it is a star of unusual character. Supernatural, if you will. I still like the words "bore down" as you suggested. It gives the impression that the star's light is centered on Termonide. When my protaganist wakes up in another room, she is not alarmed as she already knows she's in a safe place--she fell asleep in the dining hall, so I don't want to convey a feeling of fear or overt uncertainty. The fountain is a common theme in my story and a constant reminder. But there's always time for revision and polishing...later! it's time for me to write. Thank you again for your advice. I really appreciate it.
  10. Dialogue and Description

    Formatting is the last thing on my mind at this moment! lol. I'm trying to get through writing chapter 3.
  11. Dialogue and Description

    Here are a few excerpts from scenes in my story. I'm aiming for description that sets the mood of the scene and is basic information to the story and its characters. The first one to decribe the scene but to reflect the person of Meara's best friend: Meara passed the ferret to her young friend. It yawned and looked up at Cara who cuddled it. Spoiled. Animals were always spoiled with Cara. There wasn’t fur or feather that didn’t fatten itself on the girl’s affection. The duo strode to the sizable garden plot outside of Davin and Cara’s home. Greenery poked out of the dirt in neat little rows. A small, white lattice fence bordered the garden and a matching gate framed the picturesque scene with creeping vines of blue and purple flowers. Trimmed bushes of red and pink roses and a wide array of flowers adorned the outside of the stone cottage. All Cara’s doing. The second is when Meara enters a new village she's never been to but finds it familiar: The sun still slumbered when Meara and her companion reached the sanctuary village of Termonide but as she emerged into its streets it was impossible to tell. The light of Charisna bore down on Termonide in an unusual, otherworldly way. The burning torches lining the streets were impotent in its presence but reflected a feeling of familiarity and safety nonetheless. The villagers were just beginning to stir. She could see them through the windows of the cottages and shops that adorned either side of the road. A man passed by them with a polite hello and a tip of the hat. Merchants down the main thoroughfare were setting up their carts and stands filled with all kinds of goods: fruits and vegetables, tools, cloth, books, and a wide assortment of trinkets and delicate things. The air was filled with calls of “Good morning,” and friendly chatter and smelled of baking bread and burning birch. A pang of homesickness and regret assaulted her. This village reminded her all too much of Bal-keela. The third a room she wakes up in. Meara awoke suddenly and sat up. She was no longer in the dining hall but found herself tucked under several layers of crisp, white sheets edged in embroidered lace. The bed had a matching white lace canopy and was framed by four oak posts, wildflowers etched into it. The walls were painted with a soft lavender hue and on the far side of the room stood an oak wardrobe, an intricately engraved fountain on its front. Sunlight streamed through the open window and bathed her in its light. It felt warm and safe and she loved the room immensely. She sat back contentedly and wondered how she got there and what time it was. She hoped it wasn’t too late in the day. I'm hoping to convey only information pertinent to her character, her emotion, or something that will contribute to the flow of the story and hold the reader's interest. Nothing excessive or unimportant.
  12. Better Christian Fiction: Trailblazing

    Martin Luther stated. "The Christian shoemaker does his duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes because God is interested in good craftsmanship." To paraphrase him regarding this discussion, the Christian writer does his duty not by Christianizing writing but by creating good stories because God is interested in good craftsmanship." There is a trend in Christianity whether it be movies, music, or books to completely cast aside quality work and it makes a mockery out of our faith. The world is prone to be offended and to mock us. We don't need to give them ammunition. Whatever we do, we need to work at it as if it was to be presented to Christ Jesus because it is it. Regardless of who reads our work, we are writing for the Audience of One. One of my favorite J.C. Ryle quotes is this: My chief desire in all my writings, is to exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and make Him beautiful and glorious in the eyes of people; and to promote the increase of repentance, faith, and holiness upon earth. I have a strong conviction that we need more reverent, deep-searching study of the Scripture in the present day. Most of Christians see nothing beyond the surface of the Bible when they read it. We need a more clear knowledge of Christ, as a living Person, a living Priest, a living Physician, a living Friend, a living Advocate at the right hand of God, and a living Savior soon about to come again. Most of Christians know little of Christianity but its skeleton of doctrines. I desire never to forget these two things. If I can do anything to make Christ and the Bible more honorable in these latter days, I shall be truly thankful and content.” ~ J.C. Ryle in the preface to Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: St. Luke, Vol.1. New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1859. I believe his thoughts can also be transferred over to fiction without overly sermonizing the text. The novel I'm currently writing, Midnight at the Fountain of Joy, is an inspirational fantasy novel. I liken it to be in the vein of Pilgrim's Progress meets the Chronicles of Narnia and I aim to include allegory and biblical allusion but my goal is to weave it in seamlessly as to be an organic part of the story. But most of all I hope to write a good, quality story. You look at musical groups such as Skillet and Switchfoot who are Christians but their music appeals to a secular audience too. They write good music. Now think of yourself as a writer who writes good books. You build up a following and have social media and a blog. Now you can present the gospel and address cultural issues as well in the same way. With quality writing. Christian writers don't necessarily need to hit their readers over the head. Just write well.
  13. Dialogue and Description

    I have a couple of questions as I write my novel. I'm not really big on using the word 'said' when writing dialogue. I usually tend to use description and action alongside dialogue to make it clear who is doing the talking. Do you think this is acceptable? I know they say 'said' blends in but for me it sticks out and annoys me when I'm reading! The second question I have is regarding description. I find it to be my Achille's heel. I read a lot of other books with really great description but when it comes to my own writing I find it difficult to pen. How can I improve in this area? Any great resources? Thanks.
  14. I'm 1,316 words into my rough draft and rather than forging ahead with the story I have a need to stop and rework some dialogue because it is pivotal to the rest of my novel. There are three important elements in this scene--the reason why my protagonist must leave her village in search of a mythical place, the reason why the man who loves her (although she spurns his love) wants her to stay, and the romantic tension between the two (she is stubborn and fiercely independent but secretly harbors feelings for him but won't admit it to herself). The dialogue I have now doesn't even begin to address these issues. Therefore I find it imperative to work the scene until it does. Does anyone else share the need to edit before they can move on? Is it one of those writing rules that can be broken? If you're interested, I posted an excerpt in the Critique section. You'll see what I mean. The scene leaves much to be desired.
  15. Writing Piecemeal

    I'm glad I'm not the only one!

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