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  1. This is pretty interesting. Never really considered the possibility that the experience of thinking would vary between individuals. I personally experience what I suppose would be classified as internal monologue though this comes along with several layers of introspection. Basically I have surface level thinking, then valuation of what I am thinking, then review of the basis on which I am forming those valuations.
  2. I'd suggest trying not to introduce a character just to be the love interest. I think it is better to introduce both characters independently first, maybe they are both attempting to address the problem of the plot from different directions and eventually cross paths in working towards the same goal. In the process of working together they grow close and come to love each other. If the relationship develops around the plot it can be shown and grown in that context while not having to use escalating physical intimacy to do so.
  3. The quiz pegs me as a disruptor, specifically with relation to societal change and resistance to tyranny. Makes some sense given the themes of the story I am writing.
  4. And it seems to have worked. I am now a full fledged "member".
  5. I suddenly have access to a meet and greet section that I hadn't seen before and since the site still categorizes me as a "new member", I figured I'd pop in and say hi. Hoping to be able to access the critique and feed back section soon so I can get feedback on some of my writing and enjoy some of what you all have to offer as well.
  6. I knew an older myrmecologist (ant scientist) that had essential tremors (or something similar, his hands shook quite a bit is all I really know). He still managed to do some excellent specimen curation. I have no idea how.
  7. I will preface my answer by saying that I prefer to keep people's supernatural experiences at arms length: I know they can and do happen but I also know that it is possible for someone to be misled, lying, etc. That being said, if you were given legitimate signs, this is my stab at interpretation (which should also be taken with a grain of salt). 1. The three sets of three taps: Tapping on the shoulder is a way of getting someone's attention. Given that you were asleep on your old couch I would say that this indicates you need to be alert and paying attention and not comfortable and complacent in your old routines. The three sets of taps may indicate that while you are in this state of watchfulness you will be given three three part signs, the significance of which will cause you to "wake up", i.e. have a revelation of some kind. 2. The three animals: I would interpret these animals together as the first three part sign: Crows are scavengers often associated with death. The fact that the second animal was one that you are not familiar with is probably significant and given its capacity to change color and hang upside down could represents transformation into something new with a changed perception and better adaptability for life. You also specifically mentioned that it could fly. No mention was made that the other two could as well, this indicates that the creature's capacity for flight is interpretively significant while it is not so for the other two. Flying probably represents new freedom brought about by the transformation. The eagle is actually the most difficult part to interpret I think. Eagled have both positive and negative conotations in the Bible. They are regarded for their speed, the security with which they keep their young, and the way they take flight is used as a metaphorical description for how God's people are to wait on and be lifted by God. However they are also an unclean predatory animal. My take would be that the crow represents the things in your life that feed off your current distress and weakness, the new creature represents a transformation you must undergo, and the eagle represents why that change must take place: the trials to come will not merely take advantage of you opportunistically but will also actively hunt you. 3. Signs to come? If my interpretation is up to snuff, two more sets of signs should still be on their way. *Important note: I do not know myself to have any gift for interpretation. In the Bible when interpretations are given for dreams/visions the person who had the dream or vision seems to be imbued with the wisdom to judge whether or not the dream has been interpreted acurately. Otherwise Pharo's magicians would have simply made up an interpretation that sounded good and Joseph would have sat in prison. Same deal with Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar. If my interpretation does not ring true to you then it probably isn't.
  8. Another option would be to make the first half of the novel look like it is focused in a different direction and then have the fire occur midway. If you begin with a prologue before the fire you can probably get the audience to care about the characters. However, placing the fire in the middle gives you time to show the character's pre-fire hopes, expectations, plans and perspectives on life and how the fire derails all these. This will make the impact on the reader that much more intense: they will not only know the characters but will be rooting for them to succeed in their endeavoures. Then the fire forces everyone, reader included, to rethink their priorities and expand the lens through which they are seeing the world.
  9. I was told many years ago to simply place your pen on the paper and refuse to move it until the writer's block passes. I prefer prevention to cure though so usually I avoid the problem by writing about things and ideas I find interesting. If I will be thinking about these anyway then I naturally come up with ideas to incorporate and progress my story with on a daily basis.
  10. The two Biblical opening lines that I think are most memorable are Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1.
  11. One thing that I always think is interesting is how many people seem to falter in their trust towards God when horrible things happen to them. Everyone is generally aware that atrocities like the holocaust, Rawandan genocide, child slavery, soviet gulags, poverty, etc. exist in the world but it isn't until something unfortunate touches their own lives that they get angry at or lose faith in God, as if they were supposed to be the exception to human suffering because they believe in Him. I know that actually experiencing the pain of loss can change your perspective on what it means that that and worse pain might exist in the world. I do think though that it would be interesting to explore what it means to trust in God especially if we are not exempted from life's suffering. And maybe even how the suffering of God's people can function for a redemptive purpose. It may not be the cup of tea desired by an American audience but it may be one they need.
  12. I enjoy the opening section of Dune. World building starts unobtrusively right off the bat, many important characters are introduced, and a lot of mysteries are introduced to keep the reader interested. It also doesn't hurt that I just like the way Frank Herbert constructs his prose. His sentences are just enjoyable to read in their own right. When I was in high school I had to write a short story for a class. I don't remember what the writing prompt was but the opening line was something like "It was his time to shine." The story was about the self-actualization of a nuclear weapon.
  13. I think for me the length of a story is a product of "the distance from here to there". The story's length correlates with the time it would realistically take for the plot to be accomplished. A story about walking down to the cornerstore would be much shorter than a story about a family taking a road trip across the United States for example. Also the potential for shenanigans provided by the environment can play a roll as well. The story about the corner store trip could be made longer still simply by placing the protagonist in a rough neighborhood. As Boromir puts it, "one does not simply walk into Mordor." If your stories usually begin towards the end, simply ask yourself "where did the characters begin and what did it take to get where they end up?" If the answer to that question is interesting and/or meaningful (or can be made to be so) then there's your story.
  14. I grew up Pentacostal which contributes the charasmatic end of my beliefs. I believe that the spiritual gifts referenced in the epistles will remain active and relevant until Jesus returns. I am also in agreement with the tenants of the Schleitheim Confession. My positions on a few of the practices commonly seen in some anabaptist groups are still in development. For example the wearing of a head covering by women: I understand the logic of the argument made by those that say the head covering was a culturaly specific ordinance intended to distinguish female believers from the pagan influence of their day. I have some bias in this direction I think. But it also seems to me that if you are interpretting this teaching in this way just to get out of having to wear atire that is culturally akward then you have just missed the logical implications of your own argument. The conclusion would not be "therefore I don't need to wear a head covering" but rather something like, "therefore the modesty of my atire should meaningfuly contrast with the atire of those around me." This might not require a head covering but wearing one accomplishes this in most cases incidentally. Basically the attitude brought to any interpretation should not be about getting out of rules but rather how more broadly to apply the rules given. It is difficult to seek the Kingdom of God if we ourselves are not trying to make the rule of God as complete as possible in our own lives.
  15. Broadly speeking it is a satire that explores man's desire and search for legitimate authority apart from God and the absurdity of being able to clearly see the flaws in the current authority structure of society while being blinded to the flaws of the system the zeitgeist of our day proposes to replace it with. The way this plays out in the story is the replacement of the representative democracy system with genetically modified intelligent animals over the governments of the world (one of which is the eponymous Herd of Philosophizing Walruses). So basically a complete inversion of the dominion structure established in Genesis. There will be a number of other philosophical, ethical, social and religous themes adressed as well but that is the main thrust of the novel.
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