The Misconception

There seems to be a misconception that Christian writers should not be “dabbling” in fantasy and/or science fiction writing. This is evident when you notice the ever so slight raising of eyebrows when you tell other Christians that your current project is a fantasy for young adults. Disapproval. Not spoken aloud, but the thoughts are definitely there. And you can just imagine what’s being said behind your back. Do these people not know that the authors of two of the greatest fantasy series of our time (C.S. Lewis of Chronicles of Narniafame and J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings) were fine upstanding Christian men?

I have always been drawn to this particular genre. I read The Wizard of Ozand The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe three times each when I was in fourth grade. I was hooked. But for many years I steered clear of anything that even remotely sniffed of magic or time travel or space cadets. Because good Christians didn’t do such things.

And my creativity was stifled in a huge way.

So I prayed about it. To my relief, God did not smite me for my “sinful” thoughts. Instead, He gave me the complete storyline for a rather brilliant fantasy. He’s walking right alongside me in the writing of it, adjusting where adjustment is needed, and popping new ideas into my head to add to the mix. It’s so fun!

One of my favorite Christian writers, Karen Hancock, shares this article about why she writes fantasy. She says it far better than I ever could. And you really ought to read her books. She’s quite amazing!

Today I checked out the new releases page on several Christian bookseller websites. When I clicked on the fantasy/science fiction category, I admit that I was kind of shocked to see that a good number of those “new” releases were simply reprints of old books. Disappointment. Discouragement. Despair. Yeah, I felt all of those.

Calling all Christian fantasy writers! Your time has come.

Let the Lord of the Universe direct you.


Follow the Rules

I have a vague recollection of having to write these words on the chalkboard back in third grade or so. Definitely not my finest hour, although I maintain my plea of innocence even after all these years.

I have since learned that there are rules one should not break. The consequences can be dire if one oversteps the boundaries set out by the various rule makers of the world. Like speeding through a residential zone = $165 ticket to be paid in full within 10 days or the cops will show up at your door to haul you off to the slammer. At least that’s what they want you to think. This is the kind of rule that demands obedience. Or else. The or else is usually bad enough to make the rule a little easier to follow.

Then there are the suggested rules. These are guidelines that are a good idea to follow simply because other people have gone before you and figured things out so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Most social skills would fall into this category, I think. And procedures for making things, building things, handling things. Consequences for doing it your own way instead could be a hard lesson.

There are also rules for developing the creative process. I’ve made my own list, taking bits and pieces from different “experts” on the subject, and these work for me.

1. Stop saying you’re not creative. God is a creative genius and He made you in His image. Enough said.

2. Stop fearing failure. Everybody fails at something. Just learn from it and move on.

3. Stop sitting on your behind and waiting for the right time instead of doing whatever it is you need to do.

4. Stop discounting your own ideas. Write them down, no matter how far-fetched they seem. Keep referring back to your list. I’ve developed some terrific story lines from ideas I wrote in my little book years ago.

5. Stop thinking there is only one way to do something. There is always a more efficient, faster, easier, fun, interesting, creative way.

6. Stop blaming everyone else. You may have had a terrible childhood or a poor education or got fired from your job. Now it’s time to make a decision to put the past behind and take responsibility for your future.

Are you going to follow the rules?

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Moving Forward

I am taking steps to move my writing career forward, even though I am in a season where long hours of work on my two novels just isn’t possible. The characters in Katie Blue and in The Bond of Seven have been very gracious, if not a bit impatient, in allowing me to complete this particular phase of my life before continuing with their stories. I am grateful to them.

Yesterday I registered a domain name for my yet to be developed isn’t up and running yet, but it will be soon, thanks to my graphic designer daughter who has offered to think up something cool and edgy and original for me. I also signed up on some freelance sites where I can get my name out there writing articles, editing, and doing other short assignments.

And then we went to Chapters. What better way to spend a rainy Monday afternoon. Of course, everyone in the area who had yesterday off work because of Remembrance Day had the same idea we did. Chapters was packed. We had considered spending an hour or so in the adjoining Starbucks after we made our purchases, but the lineup to order was out the door. Oh well. The cranberry bliss bar will have to wait.

I did make my annual purchase, however. The big, fat, heavy 2013 Writer’s Market is now sitting on my desk staring at me. I flipped through it last night and noticed a few new features, so I am looking forward to examining some of the details.

So, in case you thought I had given up on writing, be assured. My stories are always on my mind and I keep my little notebook handy to jot down ideas or dialogue or interesting plot twists to include. I read other novels with one eye on the story and the other eye on how the writer has used words to portray people and situations in ways I hadn’t thought of. And I write these blog posts. Not great works of literary genius, but good practice nonetheless.

I am confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in me will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (My personalized Philippians 1:6.) And part of the good work God has begun in me is the whole writer thing. When I work with Him, He will be faithful to complete it.