Recently faced with the realization that I’d been blogging for over a year and HAD NOT CELEBRATED (insert your favorite shock-faced emoji here), I decided it might be fun to review the posts I’d written and select, for each, a favorite quote where appropriate.
Another way I celebrated in retrospect was by creating a tagline and a new graphic. What can I say? Getting my hair done turns me into a selfie-nut:
I hope you enjoy perusing the quotes as much as I had fun rooting them out. This post also serves as a great Table of Contents for 2018. So, without further ado…
Quotes from 2018
The Journey Begins: Writing a novel is an act of faith. Even starting a blog can feel like stepping out to walk on water.
Learning to Write a Novel: What more does a writer need, after all, than a paper and pencil (or a word processor)—and a brain? Input a little time and creativity and voila! Out pops the great American novel. (Note the use of sarcasm.)
Writing Lessons from The Goose Girl: When our hearts fist around strangled capillaries, damming up angst and blood as we read some imaginary scene, we know the author has touched us on a deep emotional level. If a scene milks our emotions, perhaps it somehow speaks to the cavernous vacancies in our own soul.
Critiquing to Learn: How can we analyze a tale’s beauty if it disappears when we stop to look?
A Writer’s Promised Land: We need God every step of the way: thanking Him amidst bursts of productivity; leaning into Him in the barren wilderness of doubt (and depression, too); trusting, even then, that He who filled us with the desire to write has a plan and a purpose for our creativity.
Writing Lessons from Driven to the Hilt: Characterization: Invent a world – check. Make stuff happen – check. Create a nuanced-but-not-inconsistent character with built-in experiences, fears, desires, and wounds, with whom readers can immediately sympathize – cheh—er—hmmm.
Writing Lessons from Driven to the Hilt: Setting: [To] fully explore characterization, writers need to give flesh to whatever world our protagonists inhabit.
Cause & Effect in Fiction: From the smallest fragment of a scene to the broad expanse of character arc and plot, cause and effect permeates good fiction.
[It] takes real skill to achieve that fine balance between too much information and too little. Too much too soon weighs the story down… Too little breeds confusion…
Readers need enough context in the moment to grasp what’s happening now, and they need a trail of hints that add up to the big payoff later—but without becoming predictable.
Sound like a tall order? Oh, boy, yeah.
Scratching and Success: Realm Makers 2018 (Reblog from A.D. Sheehan): “I was already successful. It was something I’d heard years ago in a Mike Bickle sermon, but, like so many essential Christian truths, had lost in the roiling vat of information I call a memory. The heavier truths sink. We have to keep diving for them over and over.”
Identity Crisis (before God healed my anxiety and depression):
My peace is gone; God isn’t enough.
Haven’t I learned a thing?
Of course I have. In my head… But I have a prodigal heart—perpetually blind to the great expanse of Love Who calls this fragile temple His “home” and lives to satisfy this broken soul. He’s been living inside all along, and yet my heart wanders to the farthest reaches of my dark imagination, still searching for a shred of worldly hope or some flicker of self-worth.
A Writer’s Idol: Meditations on Isaiah 46 (My Guest Post at Christian Creative Nexus):
An apple tree might sustain us, but an apple plucked from the tree never will—not for long…
No idol will ever lighten our loads. Instead, they weigh us down with false hopes…
So long as we keep a tight grip on our desires, refusing to commit them to God, we alone must face the burden.
My Fault: This Book How I Love Thee! Let Me Count the Ways: Juxtaposition: Light and dark. Bursts of laughter in the midst of pain. The good and the bad mingled together.
Story Physics, Part 1: How Newton’s First Law mimics character motivation: Whatever story you’re writing, it’s just about guaranteed to involve some kind of literal or figurative journey—one your hero would rather avoid.
Story Physics, Part 2: How a character’s internal change mirrors Newton’s Second Law: [Characters] are the most stubborn of people. They don’t learn from their mistakes the first time around. They aren’t self-enlightened individuals who spontaneously decide to become better people overnight. They scoff at their mentors, presuming they themselves know better—until struggle and hardship teach them otherwise. Only after they’ve experienced the full constriction of their flaws can they embrace the idea of change.
Story Physics, Part 3: Action-reaction in fiction as Newton’s Literary Third Law: Back and forth like lumberjacks moving a two-person saw, the hero and villain push and pull, perpetually digging in deeper. It’s not always as straightforward as hero vs. villain, but the point is, your hero isn’t working in a vacuum (er—unless you’re writing sci-fi). But even if he is in a literal vacuum, it’s not clear sailing to the finish. He’s dodging space debris where there should be a planet, getting caught in a tractor beam, and being diverted into smelly garbage mashers by a pushy princess (all because he’s coming up against that antagonistic force).
What I love about Driven to the Hilt: In spite of the sometimes dark subject matter…the overall narrative retains a buoyant feeling of hope… In the end, I think you’ll find there are many treasures to unearth from this story, including layers of theme, symbolism, and a beautiful mirror of the beginning at the very end.
Lauren Salisbury’s The Legacy Chronicles (Novel Summary):
J Andersen’s Destiny of Design Series (Novel Summary):
Driven to the Hilt I : A Review: Truth be told, this book is unlike any I’ve ever read… I can’t say I’m naturally drawn to survival stories. It takes talent to keep interest high when the hero spends a fair amount of time on his own, but in my view, this author succeeded.
A Visual-Emotional Tour of Driven to the Hilt: (A great post to visit for a view of some of my digital creations!)
Wouldn’t you be happier some days if you lived with emotional amnesia? If—instead of hashing and rehashing and worrying and wondering and fearing and desperately wishing for change—you could press the pause on all your stressful thinking?
What if (for example)—instead of wondering how you’re going to solve all those plot problems and become the successful author you one day hope to be—you simply forget yourself, your expectations, and relish in the enjoyment of writing… One day at a time…Knowing that no accomplishment worth pursuing is achieved in a single day anyway. Realizing that stress only serves to steal your creativity. What if?
The Spiritual Power of Our Words (a brief anxiety relapse after God healed me):
The moment the words were out, [suddenly] they had power. Before voicing my fears, all I had was a little niggling doubt—something entirely manageable. But after?
I’d opened the floodgates to the enemy. The anxiety struck anew—and it wasn’t pretty. It bowled me over with unstoppable power, reminding me of the greater Power that had rooted it out of me to begin with. I was like Adam and Eve, longing for the very fruit that made me sick.
Driven to the Hilt II: A Review: There’s nothing more satisfying than a fully-realized hero with heart and depth. For me, Joshua Vernon is that character.
Mineralogy & Petrology of Terrene (Guest Post):
Visual Scavenger Hunt, Winter 2018: (Visit the post for links to search for the hidden pictures.)
A Peek Inside Wings Beneath Water: In my Goodreads review, I said this about Wings Beneath Water: “[It’s a] poignant story about truth, sacrifice, and brotherly love. Absolutely amazing: 5+ stars.” If you know me at all, then you know I don’t say such things lightly.
Build-a-Better-Alien: In my opinion, creating intelligent fictional life requires a whole new depth of development: Not just environment—but culture. Not just biology—but personality. And the last thing we want to do is reinvent the human. On second thought—Just make ’em blue!
The Hero’s Ordinary World (Creative Nonfiction: a prelude to Jesus’ birth): The prince paces on air because the pond is gone—the waterfall silent. Instead, its thundering pulses in his head. He sees…all. Every child born into sin—yet precious. Every tear streaking their dirty faces. They don’t all see the dirt—but He does. They don’t see their worth—but He does.
Any favorite quotes? Any favorite posts?