July 24, 2014

Writing to a Different Audience by Lynn Dove

Writing for a Different Audience

This month’s focus was writing in a genre, voice/style or for a particular audience that I would not normally write in or to.  Still I couldn’t help but giggle when I entitled this blog post “Writing for a Different Audience”.  It just begs quotation marks around “different”, does it not?

As I thought about it, the comedic side of me immediately surfaced and I thought about what “different” audiences I should write about or to.  So here goes:

Writing to my dog would require a bare bone plot line and may be a little rough (ruff) around the edges.

Writing to a cat would require a scratch-pad handy to jot down my thoughts and ideas, but in the end I would only be able to scratch the surface…it would never be absolutely perfect (purrfect) or to the cat’s liking or licking as the case may be.

Writing about a tree would leaf me breathless, especially if I made sure a few shady characters were thrown in for dramatic relief that wood leave the reading audience rooted to their seats.

Writing about a vacuum cleaner would require catchy pick-up lines but in the end the plotline would likely suck.

Writing about a cellphone in the context of a mystery novel would require indecipherable code (LOL), a limit of text, characters, and horrific grammar.  It wd B a Bst sell R 4 shur!

Lastly, writing while on vacation may not have been my best idea, but it definitely has been fun!

Feeling punny?  Add one of your own for all the writing pundits out there...hahahaha!

July 22, 2014

The 'What-Ifs' Gone Wild by Henrietta Frankensee




We are pleased to welcome InScribe member Henrietta Frankensee as our Guest Blogger today.

Ever since God what-iffed the dimensions into being with a Word and gave His people the privilege of intimacy with Him in the use of their own words we have been what-iffing worlds into literature. I think He revels in our imaginations, though they can never do more than reflect His Greater reality.

The ancients imagined Valhalla and Olympia and Nirvana. They created characters--Gilgemesh, Bathsett, Hercules and Ah Bolom Tzacab to populate these worlds and stretch themselves beyond the earth-bound human story.

In western civilisation, using a Christian worldview, Shakespeare the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen wrote about elves and fairies and talking animals. In modern times we look to C.S. Lewis and Tolkien as the fathers of modern Christian fantasy. We have The Gospel According to Star Wars. Speculative Fiction is alive and well among Christian authors and publishers.

So what is Speculative Fiction? It is 'what-ifs' gone wild!

  • What if Jesus doesn’t come before the year 3000?
  • What if He does and it’s before the tribulation? What if He comes after the tribulation?
  • What if Time is set in stone and a traveler couldn’t disturb or influence events in the past or future?
  • What if the traveler could and did, by design or accident?
  • What if a well seasoned Christian met a stranger with suggestively elongated upper canines?
  • What if aliens or robots or elves or clones or any assortment of them ruled the earth?
  • What if alien police sought to research/experiment with human law by kidnapping a super sleuth to solve their unsolvable crimes?
  • What if we could survive a trip through a Black Hole?
  • What if animals were better at remembering and worshiping God than humans?

These questions collect and are published under titles like Fantasy, Science Fiction, End Times Fiction, Steam Punk, Time Travel, Ghost Stories and Paranormal Fiction. I find new subcategories all the time.

Friend Google cheerfully lists 5 710 000 hits to the 'Speculative Fiction' query and 670 000 hits for Christian Speculative Fiction, though this changes every day. One of the first links I followed has proven my favourite, Speculativefaith.com. I’ll leave it up to you to follow other links. Be prepared for the bizarre!

There are 114 publishers of Christian Speculative Fiction presently listed on the speculative faith website and more coming up all the time. Though in its infancy and generally published by independent houses, the fan base is hearty and loyal and always hungry for new reading. And even by the short list of what-ifs in this article it is easy to see there are more stories to be written.

Since a blog acquaintance suggested my story came within these parameters, I have reveled in the discussions, controversies, stories and generous companionship of this genre. Bravely going where no Christian Writer has gone before, much joy has been added to my writing life with heretofore undescribed species and situations, and I look forward to where the elves and dwarves and pixies might lead me. I will personally leave the horror and paranormal genres to braver souls!

At the last God gave one man, John, a peek at the what-ifs He has in store for our future, proving again that no author can out-create the Alpha and Omega of Imagination. To His praise and glory He is not threatened by our attempts to use the gift of language and imagination that He so generously shares.

Henrietta Frankensee was born in South Africa and has lived in England and Canada. She has told stories all her life and hopes one day to share her Magnum Opus, which is called Leoshine with a wider audience. 

July 21, 2014

The Waiting Place by Jocelyn Faire

And I want to be Happy and Summer Carefree, but I have been in .....

The Waiting Place

According to Dr Seuss, it is a most useless place ... the waiting place where people are just waiting. The place of plea bargains, oaths to the Creator, and life priorities evaluated. But when your back is up against the wall, desperately wanting an outcome ...

The messages kept coming back as prayer requests ...
Katya's not well, she's being admitted.
It looks like endocarditis (an infection of the heart's inner lining)
Antibiotics not effective ...
Medivac'd in the night to a bigger cardiology centre ...
(They are all displaced-this is not even their home province)
Surgery scheduled, cancelled, then rescheduled ...
Twelve hours in surgery ... while they wait
Bleeding, back to the OR ...

With those texts as background, I picked up a second hand book ... Moving the Hand of God, (the book disappoints, and I argue my way through the introduction; I don't see God as Formulaic, as one who cannot see through this attempted manipulation).

My friend's life hangs in the balance. She may not know she is in the waiting place ... where is one's spirit when drugs render unconsciousness? Her daughters gathered are also in that waiting place. Waiting for good news, waiting for improvement .... waiting for the rain to stop.

This is the Waiting place. WELCOME TO THE WAITING ROOM...

Waiting feels helpless, useless.

Lamentations 3:28, 29 When Life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear.

How does one wait with hope?

Can I Trust you

Dear God

I woke with knots in my stomach ... so many questions whirling my head ...
Can I trust You with the knots?
Heavy heart over her, as life hangs in the balance ... machines breathe for her
Can I trust you with that?
Life not being what I or they thought it should be or would be.....
Can I trust you with the future?
Despair and doubt want to hinder any Bold prayer
Can I trust you with that?

... ...

Even as I speak these words, I KNOW without a doubt, I have no one else that I could trust these things to, so why do I hold back God?

Can I trust you with that?

And your answer is a Resounding—YES YES YES!

I stretch lame hands of faith and grope,
And gather dust and chaff and call
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

I have had the privilege in the past three weeks to rejoice with those who rejoice(wedding), and to mourn and pray with those who mourn. Between an unexpected trip to visit a treasured friend in a cardiac ICU and a planned wedding trip, my day to post has arrived. This is a repeat of my July first, at http://whoistalking.wordpress.com, if you do not follow my blog, this is an invite to take a look at it.

While the waiting place is one of the difficult rooms entered into in the writing process, in comparison with the ICU waiting room, it's a party room. I have gained a new perspective in my being present in the moments that come.

July 20, 2014

Waffling Weasel Words by Brenda J Wood

"In her book, You Never Gave Me a Name, Katie Funk Wiebe wrote that one of her husband's professors at Syracuse University told her that she used too many "weasel words" like "perhaps" to avoid saying what she meant. A few paragraphs later, she tells how she ended an appeal for reason, by saying, "Perhaps I am wrong in this," and says, "There was that weasel word 'perhaps' again.'

From that moment on I noticed weasel words every time I wrote them or said them, and they seemed to pervade my emails with alarming frequency. I realized how often I weakened a point I really meant, by giving the receiver a way out of agreeing, in order to avoid being "wrong." Suddenly I found myself rereading statements that I thought I had made, only to find that I hadn't made them at all, but only a vague allusion to what I meant!"

Belinda Burston wrote this on her July 2 blog and I've been thinking about it ever since. So then I had to ask myself how many times do I speak of commitment, all the while knowing I've left ourselves a way out?

"Yes, we must have coffee together one day soon."

"Oh, perhaps I can babysit but I have to check my schedule."

Do we also waffle when we write? What does that say about us? Do we say what we mean and mean what we say? Or are our real selves and our true opinions hidden under waffling weasel words?

Brenda also writes at Heartfelt Devotionals.