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Andrew N

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Andrew N last won the day on September 17 2018

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About Andrew N

  • Birthday 09/12/1978


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  1. oh wow! I seriously need to read this stuff. 80 percent of my 2nd book is about a war. Thanks for posting this.
  2. thank you for all the wonderful words. I think I have an idea that will work. Instead of having chapters full of this character's POV, I will change it to my favorite character in the book who will be searching for this person. The guy gets killed off anyway so this will probably work to my advantage. Plus I can add scenes to my main character and build on that. The assassin character will still have a few scenes but only in the end where he dies.
  3. thank you! This is funny - I just finished reading K.M. Weiland's "Dreamlander" and about threw the book at the end when...well...just read the book. Really good book. And now this 🙂
  4. I've been absent here for a bit, got busy in real life. I have a question on characters. I have several main characters in my book with 2 more key characters not written in until the 3rd book. This of course is already written down. I'm editing everything right now. My problem is with a sub character that has a few chapters worth in my first book. I kill him off near somewhere between the middle and end of the book. I guess the problem is I simply don't like the character. He plays a key role in the story but I can't seem to figure a way to get rid of him altogether. This book is really a massive setup to the rest of the story introducing my characters with a nice assassin plot to get things rolling. This character is the assassin but I'm not interested in him. I'd rather focus on my "Tims" character who is going after the assassin whille falling in love with a princess who is the target to start a war. How do you weigh the pros and cons of getting rid of a character with the exception of a few scenes? I've struggled with this for two years while going on with the story knowing I'm bored with the character. I feel readers would be to so want him gone. I'm not sure if this is a good or bad decision.
  5. Do you want the long or short version? I'll do the short because I'm doing something else Ha! I grew up with a christian mom and a dad who wanted nothing to do with God. They never divorced but I wanted them to. Add to that, I saw myself as a freak and a mistake on my dad's part. He would talk with my sister, do everything with her but when I was in the room, I didn't exist. He wouldn't speak, wouldn't look at me. I became extremely bitter at around 10 I believe. And because my mom took us to church every Sunday, I became bitter at God and hated Him. So all my teen years I was a serious mess to the point my mom and everyone around me was scared of me. I remember my mom crying a lot and praying desperately for me to change. At around 15-17 I was to the point I had continuous homicidal thoughts about everything that walked. I wanted the world to burn and I felt this way with all the blame directed at God. You made me this way, you made me a freak and unwanted! So I took it out on God wanting to cause Him pain. I had prayed many many times this salvation prayer but nothing came of it because of one thing. I loved the addiction hate gives. It's power and to me it was stronger than this uncaring God I saw. You asked what made me take God seriously? I was 17 and had a knife in my hand wanting to end the pain of loneliness and agony I felt all the time. My dad is fighting with my mom over me again so he relents and comes into my bedroom as I'm ready to kill myself. I lose it completely. There is a medical term for this but it's as if you are watching a movie play out but you're not in control. I remember feeling for the first time terrified because control was a major thing with me. I had to be in control. Now I'm not and it shocked me so bad that a tiny part of me that still held some type of emotion cried out to God to do something. I have this knife under my shirt and I'm slowly pulling it out. There are those who will never believe no matter what I say. I'm fine with that. This is my story and what I know changed my life. When I cried out, I remember hearing in my head almost like a whisper you want to think wasn't there. It simply said, "run." That's it and nothing else. At the same time I felt released and back in control. So that's what I did. I ran, knocked over my dad, broke the door in the process and fled out the back door to the yard where I fell on my knees and screamed from all the pain of brokenness, the loneliness, feeling worthless. I had heard all about God growing up and knew the bible. But taking God seriously was extremely hard. When God is called love, I called it fake. When God is called good, I wanted to shout, "no you're not!" I told God, "I prayed to you over and over but You did nothing! I am a mistake because you don't even care!" Here I am on a cold ground in March with snow still on the ground. And all I can think of is ending everything. I am so convinced that God doesn't care. I'm suddenly reminded of the minutes before when I had prayed in desperation. My mind didn't want to believe anything significant happened. That was my imagination. But the more I think, the more I question myself. If God did come through, then maybe He does care. That was a scary thought because when you are faced with life and death and God doesn't come through, you have nothing left and the future is worse than before. But to make a long story short, I asked what it was that I was doing wrong. Why wouldn't He come through when I prayed. And it was like a lightning bolt hit me. I had to surrender. Everything led to this point. Do I surrender or not? Do I really take God seriously or is all this foolish talk? So on my knees, I'm shaking inside because once I do this, if nothing happens, if this pain inside isn't dealt with, it's game over. And that's what I did. I prayed but this time with a heart that was surrendering my will over God's. That's when I took God seriously. And I'll tell you what. My life was altered in a radical way that everyone around me commented on without me saying a word. To me, this is proof I can take God seriously in whatever He says. Sorry for the long reply. LOL
  6. A little over 3 years ago, I began to earnestly learn who God really was to me. Along the way, I engrossed myself in teachings of C.S Lewis, Ravi Zachariah, a revelation by way of Jeff Foxworthy and his heart for the homeless, David Pierce who founded Steiger International and Francis Chan. It was through Chan and his many passionate talks that brought me to my knees in a new understanding on who God is. It has been the best 3 years of my life internally while externally, there have been many trials. I feel as if Satan has been attacking left and right, trying to drag me down emotionally and mentally, discouraging me to stop and give up on this pursuit of mine. Jami, my wife, told me the other day that she has watched as I have changed from a coward of a man who hid from the world to a man of God who's heart yearns for His will. I'm not saying all of this to boast. This is simply to show where I am coming from. For 3 years, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, I have engrossed myself in the bible and literally hundreds of talks. While listening to Francis Chan and his "We are Church" movement in San Francisco, I have felt for many years the things he is now showing the american church. He is not out to destroy the church but to get her back on her knees before God to obey Him. There is this passionate documentary he has just put out on youtube showcasing "We Are Church" and how it functions. He describes the condition of the american church like this. "One of our elders call it 'pastoral malpractice'. You're actually ruining people by making them consumers because you're supposed to be turning them into servants. We don't come to be served. We come to be a servant, to give our lives as a ransom for many....and we've twisted it and it's evil." In one of his talks, Francis tells of a pastor friend he was talking with. This pastor described how he felt as if churches have put us in cages where we have become domesticated and not wanting to leave. When we do leave, we have no clue how to live this "christian life" in the wild or real world. The biblical church is so vastly different than what we experience in the american churches. We give all these excuses as to why we are different but it makes no sense. If these underground churches experience this biblical sense of church and america doesn't...what gives? It makes no sense! You can argue all you want saying that was back then. We are different now. Really? I mean, God isn't any different. He says it Himself. He does not change. Then why is it we have changed when God's promises and commands never did? Why can we go to these other countries where Christians are hiding but live with this real sense of power and spiritual fire? They laugh and count it the greatest thing in the world to be killed for proclaiming Jesus. This is something they look forward to! Why? Maybe because they have the mindset that the apostle Paul did when he preached saying the very same thing. In America, if we get an email putting us down for our beliefs we want to cringe and go, "That hurt!" Really? Did somebody point a gun in our face and shoot? Or are we too busy living a life of comfort and self gratification that we have been conditioned to live for praises? I know I have. I can honestly say that I did this to myself growing up. But take a look around us and this ideology that permeates the american culture is self absorption. God calls us to have a servant's heart while movies, books, all forms of art scream, "Serve yourself! You are most important! Get what you want!" In this absorption of selfish motivation, we in the church have quietly listened to the world and this mindset seeped into the church. Face the facts. Most any church you go to will not preach salvation and surrender at the same time. I have rarely heard a pastor say that part of salvation is a conditioning of the self to die. I have heard over and over to say this prayer of salvation but out of convenience, most leave out what Jesus said in all 4 gospels. If you want to follow after me, UNDERSTAND the COST first! Jesus then goes on to describe how in a time of war, a King will weigh the decision to go into battle. Does the other army have more men? Or salt that has lost its flavor is useless. It's not even fit for a manure pile. These are Jesus' words and he's talking to the would be followers. He actually discouraged people to follow Him and many left sad. The Christian life is not suppose to be easy. But I can honestly tell you, I have lived a relatively easy "christian" life. I mean, I went to church on Sunday, got filled with a message, maybe the service was a little too long or the worship wasn't as great as last week but that's church, right? We consume whatever the church puts out for our benefit. And then we judge whether or not the pastor did a good enough job for us, the judges of the show. Even as I wrote all that, I cringed. When I look in the bible and what "Church" is, I feel like I lost something vitaal. "Church" was never about consumerism the way we do church here. Rather, church is about sacrificing. Did you know that in the biblical sense of church, the very body (all who gather) are to contribute and fill the others with a godly word? We are to be a church body to edify each other, not for one person to teach everyone how to live in conjunction with the world. The very purpose of church is to build each other up in encouragement. Why? Because it is expected that for the rest of the week we are engaged in a very spiritual war where souls are on the line and we are the ones standing at the gates of hell trying to catch as many as we can. We go to church to regenerate with this family of like minded, I'd die for you brothers and sisters. You experienced what when you witnessed? That's crazy! This was my experience! You will never believe what Jesus did when I went to this biker's bar or that street with all the prostitutes. And the homeless men? That was something else! When was the last time you entered a church and it was on fire with experience after experience of the movement of God because we obeyed Him in his command to stop being consumers but rather be the hands and feet of Jesus? Don't get me wrong. We need pastors who teach. That is also part of church. What we don't need are pastors who compromise and won't teach certain passages that may be controversial and offensive to modern ears. These are the same churches that see the same pews being sat in every week by the same people for 30 some years. They are the people who haven't gone out and witnessed and started their own ministry because they have been domesticated into believing that is the pastor's job. They could never do something like that. They may invite certain close friends to church on a Sunday and maybe even a stranger they just met. But to witness and lead someone outside the church to a relationship with Jesus? Let alone disciple that same person and mentor them like Jesus said to do. Jesus never said, go and bring everybody you can to church so the pastor can disciple them along with the other 400 people in church. No, we are to be filled with the knowledge of God and the Holy Spirit so that we can be those disciple makers. Too often, and I've seen it so many times, we are told to bring as many people as we can to church to hear this sermon and hopefully they will be saved. That wasn't what church was for! Church was to edify the body of Christ, not to convert a non believer! That's the job of every person in church, to be the vessel God uses to show Himself. That through the outpouring of love and community of like minded Christians, the world will look on this strange thing called "church" who shows this supernatural love, and according to the bible, will be astounded and convinced of our salvation and their certain destruction. That is a passage from the bible. I know for myself, it is very easy to get into this mindset of doing God's work and then suddenly get distracted by other things that take all my mind off. We are conditioned to put God's commands in a secondary position while we put everyday life in first place. God conveniently takes a backseat to all our everyday problems of life. Sooner than we think, what we had planned to do fo God now is a vague memory. So with all this said, what are we to do? How can we change right now? I mean the church as a whole isn't going to radically change anytime soon. But on a personal level, how can we get back to a biblical sense of church? In no way am I saying to quit going to church. That doesn't make sense. But we can become part of the solution to consumerism. I have followed Francis Chan's many many talks throughout his years as a pastor at Cornerstone and more recently, restarting church in San Francisco with "We Are Church." I will be honest. When I watch those videos and how he refers to these people, it's a vastly different people group than what you find in a regular church. The reason? Everyone of these people witness to their neighborhood, daily talk with each other and hold each other accountable. They embody what a biblical church is. They are house churches but connected to each other with pastors and elders that oversee the various churches. Francis states regularly that he has never felt so alive than when he is in these gatherings. There is so much more I could say about this but the main idea is this. For us to live like Jesus said to, we must become bold. The bible states in several places that if we want to hear from God, we must be doing what He commanded. That is to feed the hungry, help the homeless, and make disciples. Did we miss this last one? I think we did. We'd rather drag as many people as we could through the doors of our churches rather than go one on one showing them Jesus. And this means total strangers who aren't as nice as you. Jesus went to the outcasts of society, not the people who weren't needing anything. This may look like the projects, the homeless shelters. Are we allowing ourselves to put this as a priority before what we think is more important? For myself, I am convinced and willing to reach this neighborhood I live in. This is where it begins. You don't need a degree in theology to show God's love. Jesus disciples were uneducated men of society that confounded the people. They were powerful for one reason. They had been with Jesus. And through the Holy Spirit, they led people to Jesus. This is a theme throughout the bible. God does no use those who know everything. He uses those who are the least likely of people to start revivals. The one thing we all need more than anything else is the servant attitude. We must surrender this consumer attitude and be willing to say, "Here I am, Lord. Send me."
  7. Congrats Phy! Just a quick suggestion on cover art. There is this huge group of mainly fantasy artists on DeviantArt that do commissions and some of the stuff I found is brilliant. They may be cheaper than your regular places. I don't know how the process works but there's that. I'm not even sure a publisher would accept that but who knows. I like going there just to get ideas for writing! :-)
  8. Here's my 2 cents and it's just cents, not dollars. And it's long because that's how I write. It is known that King David wasn't just a King but a warrior. Most of what is talked about in the Bible concerning David is his battles in war. He is known by scholars of the Bible to have been a very aggressive man and a fierce warrior. Throughout the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to kill. When they entered Caanan, God was specific in that they were to kill every last person down to the children. His reason was they were an exceedingly wicked people and God's judgement was to wipe them out. He would use Abraham's descendants to do it. And so it was recorded in the Old Testament of how these nations one by one were destroyed though Israel disobeyed when they took servants from these people. Later on, Israel's sin would be great and God would cause them to be enslaved. There is violence throughout the Old Testament and I know some people have trouble reconciling a loving God with the God of the Old Testament. But in Revelation, John describes one of the most violent scenes in the bible which is when Jesus comes back. It's not going to be pretty but filled with terror for those who do not know Him. He describes in detail this event and it's disturbing. The Bible as a whole is pretty violent. All this is to say, there's a time and place for everything. God really did command His people to anialate a people group. I have read many, many books by various christian authors and they have turned me off to most anything written about real life. It's as if writing reality is taboo and we must stay clear of violence altogether making a story feel like a fake story on real life. I seldom bother looking in a Christian bookstore for a good fiction book these days. Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti are the exceptions with a few others. I don't want to sound critical but Christians are known to be a turn off to the world in the form of art and literature. The point of life is to reach the lost and if your writing isn't doing that, why write? I'm not saying to compromise God's laws but there's a reason Jesus was a friend of the outcasts and not the in crowd who couldn't fathom why he hung around these awful dirty people. For myself, I struggled for years debating if writing fantasy was wrong as a Christian. Sure, C S Lewis wrote Narnia books. But later on, I found myself in a world of authors that took me far into this world of massive dreams. I fell in love. When I was much older and started writing in earnest, I knew anything I wrote had to be OK with God first. The world I have built (plus 100 pages of encyclopedia stuff for myself), is a world of darkness, void of God and His laws. Anytime there is violence (there is a lot more in book 2 because of a war), my aim is to be certain there is a justifiable reason. Many times, I have made it so that my characters experience pain with the feeling of hopelessness. It's in this darkness I begin to slowly shine a light which is Elyon (Hebrew for "Most High God). Like I said before, it's complex but at the center is the theme of hope which shines more and more in each book. I painted a picture of this real world and put it in fantasy. I introduce many flawed characters who go through sorrow and pain with my focal character a redeemed man everyone is terrified of. His past is filled with violence and death. The first and second book is really his coming to terms with redemption, the fact that God loves us all, even the worst of the worst. So is violence ok? I would say so long as it's not glorified and is shown for what it is. If you find yourself in a book that glorifies death and mayhem, I'd stay away at all cost. I love movies and have been addicted to action and thrillers for years. But there are certain movies I refuse to watch because my conscience says this is completely wrong and not ok. I'm at a point in life where I question everything now. The first thing that I hear in my head is, "Would Jesus watch this or read this?" We are to emulate Him. Guess that is the only question we need to ask.
  9. Thank you! :-) I am having a relaxing day today so that is always good.
  10. I found this a few years ago and kept it with all my writing files. -------------------------------------- Target Editing – A Time-Saving Strategy for Writers by A. Howitt 1. White Ring Anyone can finish a first-draft manuscript. I consider that goal the first ring on the target, the white one, worth one point. As soon as I have my manuscript finished, I’m on the target. That’s already halfway to the goal, isn’t it? 2. Black Ring This is the stage where you give your WHOLE manuscript a read and take notes on plot consistency, character consistency, and overall flow. We want to make sure all the elements are there, consistent, and make sense. Something doesn’t make sense? Make a note and go back to the outline to either cut it or change it, making certain everything lines up, all loose ends are tied up, and the story itself is solid. Notice how I haven’t mentioned spelling or grammar? I think people waste time tightening up dialogue or fixing grammar, tense, or POV slips, when they should be looking past those for now because we’re only in the black ring. If you take time to fix nit-picky things here, you’ll never get to the bullseye. Trust me, I did it for two years! 3. Blue Ring The next step is taking notes on scenes. Not chapters, but scenes. A scene where one character gets caught in a lie, a character is wounded and almost dies, a board meeting or war council, heck, even a conversation over breakfast. Each scene in the novel must do one of three things: It must move the plot forward, it must help the reader get to know the character in a meaningful way, or it must pull the reader further into the world or story. Detail which scenes are strong (pulling the reader in, getting to know the characters AND furthering the plot) and which scenes are weak (hitting one or none of the goals). Once I have my list of weak scenes and strong scenes, I can look carefully at the best ones and emulate the reasoning behind why they were strong. That helps me determine what to apply to the weaker scenes, and which weaker scenes should be cut from the story. 4. Red Ring In editing, this is the stage where you go from beginning to end (after all those individual scenes have been strengthened) and give it a good once-over. I mean, the works. Grammar issues, misspellings, wordiness, flat descriptions, erroneous or inconsistent thoughts, feelings, actions or dialogue. Also, this is the point where I really look at chapter breaks, chapter lengths, tone consistencies, tense boo-boos, and POV balance/ consistency. It’s really important to plan for this step and do it quickly (not sloppily, but within a few weeks so you don’t forget things). It’s at this point that you should ask other people to read the manuscript and offer advice. You’re making the final edits. A scene that might have been strong before can be fussed with to become stronger. Every description should be analyzed for impact and clarity, etc. 5. Yellow Ring – The Bullseye Catch every typo, every superfluous comma, and every little naggy thing such as, “I don’t like the word spirit, maybe you could change it to ghost.” Before entering the yellow ring, the manuscript needs to be 90-95% of where you want it to be. It needs to already be tight, moving, interesting, and engaging. Do not enter the bullseye before you’re honestly ready, or you will only be discouraged and disappointed when it gets shot down time and again with every partial request. Yeah, I know this from personal experience too. Once you’ve done this last sweep, you can feel fully proud of your second-draft manuscript. Hurry on then, write your query letter and send it out. What are you waiting for? It’s not going to get any better with more tampering. If you had reservations, you shouldn’t have left the red ring!
  11. I thought about that when the game came out. But my people are vastly different than Skyrim. I contacted a copyright office about the question and am waiting a response. I've always been confused on copyrights and names.
  12. it's helpful but when you read it out loud so often, the very act gets tiring very fast. Which is why I love TTS :-)
  13. how is a "name" copyrighted anyway? What does that mean? This is what has confused me. In my books, a central focus is on "Dragonborn" which I have created a detailed history. It's not overly talked about since this race is more myth than anything else but as the books continue I am fleshing out the backstory which includes the actual people. The title of my book reflects these people. In the Elder Scrolls, particularly the game "Skyrim," Dragonborn is a particular people in the game. They also have a downloadable expansion with this name. So yeah I think I'll go research some copyright specialist.
  14. My wife had taken classes in all of these things you mentioned. At times she will point out various things that need to be changed but she now wants me to read it to her so that she can figure out what needs changing. I'm already sick of going through it 4 times without reading out loud. I got myself a TTS voice for YWriter that I use to write my books on. I'm hoping this will help her. But yeah, I've heard of all these things that need to be looked into. I think my main concern right now is making the story flow smoothly. Guess I'm in the Line Editing stage still.
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