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  1. I just got this one this summer, primarily because my characters seemed to nod their head a lot. I've enjoyed looking through it but haven't really delved deeply yet.
  2. Currently, I'm writing contemporary fiction, but I've also got a few fantasy novels floating around in my head too. One year, I asked for, and received, a pack of those 5x8, 100-page journals/notebooks, and they were one of my favorite gifts. I go through those like they're going out of style. They're just so portable, and I don't feel like I have to fill them with lofty thoughts like I do a regular journal. But I'm also interested in books about writing that others have found useful.
  3. I'm currently in the process of writing my Christmas wish list (My family likes to get started early.) and need suggestions for writing resources to add to the list. What writing resources would you recommend?
  4. I think this depends heavily on genre. For example, in romance, while the antagonist is sometimes a rival lover, the real and most difficult conflict is often internal (man vs. self). So the antagonist and the protagonist are the same person (or internal forces within the same person). I don't think it's always a matter of creating an external villain to be vanquished, but seeing what the conflicts have in common to see if the real antagonist is internal (self) or external (like nature). You may find that all the conflicts you've created point to one of these antagonists. If that's the case, it may be a matter of playing up the antagonist that's already there in the conflicts you've created.
  5. Evidently, the same ones (or same kind) as Pressfield. But seriously, I suppose the ones I can think of off hand are older, more classic works written by men: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins and The Turn of the Screw by Henry James come to mind. Even in Shakepeare's plays, women are constantly pretending to be someone they're not, and the truth must be revealed before the story resolves. I've also read a ridiculous number of books recently (written by women,not men) in which a mother has hidden or lied about a child, sibling, or father. Granted, in many of these novels, the woman hid the truth out of fear of what the man would do. But the resolution of the novel (in both mystery and romance) comes from the woman finally revealing (whether by force or not) the truth. But I'm not alone in seeing this trope, otherwise Pressfield's article wouldn't have discussed it. All that being said, I can think of plenty of deceptions in fiction that are preciptated by men (Superheroes are notoriously deceptive about their identities.). The real question is, why is hiding the truth (the mystery) something that Pressfield sees as inherently feminine?
  6. I might concede that women (in general) are more difficult to understand, but I don't think that women in real life seek to conceal truths rather than reveal them. That's a trope that's been overused, that makes women out to be deceptive and manipulative--common enough in fiction, but harmful in the stereotypes it encourages. I would think (and I hope) that Godly women in Christian fiction would be portrayed as truth-tellers rather than truth-concealers.
  7. Hi Ryan, It's nice to meet you. I'm especially curious about the "charismatic anabaptist" perspective you hold. I grew up Mennonite, so I'm always interested in other anabaptist beliefs. What do you mean when you say charismatic anabaptist? I don't think I've ever heard anyone use that phrase before although I can make a guess at what it might mean, but I'd rather hear it from you. If my curiosity is too much, feel free to ignore my prying.
  8. I think there's a few things going on there. I think it's less of a problem if the name is really common. For example, John is a common enough name that readers probably won't think the author is writing himself into the novel, but if the name is unique, readers will think the author is trying to insert himself into the world of his characters. As for writing yourself into fiction, readers respond to that in different ways. Usually, it doesn't really bother me--especially if the character is a minor one, but I recently read a novel in which the main character was a writer who wrote all the books the author of the novel had written. (She didn't share the author's name, just her bibliography.) It was highly distracting, especially since other characters were often praising the main character for her well-written books. It felt a bit self-indulgent to me--as if the author was telling readers what to think of her past novels. I think that's the danger of writing yourself into a novel--it distracts readers from the actual story and puts the focus on the author instead of the characters.
  9. As someone who tutors writing at the college level, I find students feel really empowered once they know how to use a semicolon correctly. Of course, then they overuse it, but I like that they enjoy it. Thankfully, the overuse settles down after a while. Personally, I like that there are different ways to punctuate sentences. It gives writers another way to make their writing styles unique--kind of like the way Emily Dickenson's penchant for the dash makes her poetry instantly recognizable.
  10. In a way, Jesus is a character in all Christian fiction. If a person has a relationship with Jesus, it only makes sense that he would be thought of, talked about, and heard from. In fact, I often think of Him as the one true character in my novels. He's the one who didn't come from my imagination. I completely understand the hesitation to put words in Jesus mouth, but this post has brought up multiple questions for me. If Jesus can speak to me in ways beyond Scripture now, couldn't He do it then too? Is there really a difference between having a character set in modern day who hears Jesus speaking (in words other than Scripture) and having a character set in Biblical times hear Him speak? (Honestly, I'm not sure. I'm just ruminating here.) Does it make a difference if Jesus is physically present and speaking vs. speaking in one's heart (or is that just the Holy Spirit and does that (Jesus or HS) make a difference)? If so, what about stories that imagine Heaven (like Randy Alcorn's Deadline or Dominion? (This is an important question for me since parts of my novel show glimpses of Heaven and Jesus, and I'm trying to be really conscious of what is actually Scriptural and what is just our cultural perception of Heaven.) Should any words a character hears Jesus speak come solely from Scripture (no matter the time period)? Seriously, so many questions to think about.
  11. I teach a freshman orientation class at the local community college and therefore talk a lot about procrastination. I've found that a lot of what I tell students to help with overcoming procrastination has been really helpful with discipline for writing. My favorite tip is the Pomodoro technique. For this, you set a timer for 25 minutes (don't look at a clock). Spend those 25 minutes doing nothing but writing--don't text, surf the web, eat, or even use the restroom. After 25 minutes, if you want, you can take a 5 minute break before getting back to it. Honestly, I'm always amazed at what I can accomplish if I focus, and I often get in the zone and can write much longer once I've had that focused beginning. Also, write or do something for your book every day. Even if you just write about writing your book. I've found it really helpful to sit down and write things like "I don't know what to write next. What if I wrote this? No, that wouldn't work. Oh, but maybe this would." or "I'd really like to have this happen or focus on this, and I think that if I do x I can make it happen." It's a way of staying immersed in my book even when I'm stuck, and I don't get to let myself off the hook just because I don't know what to write.
  12. @kriver7 As Lynn said, it's an abbreviation for one of the personality types in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. The 4 letters stand for Introverted, iNtuitive, Thinking, and Judging. There are 16 different types in all. It's just a fun way to get some insight into myself and others who take the test. I primarily brought it up because my introverted side was really coming out when I wrote the post.
  13. Thanks for the warm welcome, y'all. Rebecca and Bob, I'm always glad to meet other INTJs (rare as they are). And it looks like I'll henceforth be known as yww.
  14. I had every intention of skipping the awkward introductions and just slipping myself into conversations here and there, but I've been caught out by @lynnmosher. So now that I can't hide in the corner anymore, here goes. I'm an INTJ. I like books more than just about anything. God's always reminding me that people are what really matter in the world, so, like Austen's Darcy, I need to practice my conversational skills and get to know them, so I can love them like He does. I've just finished my first draft of my first novel (Well, possibly it's a trilogy or maybe a novel in three parts; after the first draft, I have about 170,000 words.) I'm letting it sit for a bit before I jump into editing. It revolves around themes of female friendship, singleness, and heaven. And since I don't know what else to tell you, I'll stop now.
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