I place before you here a short discussion by childrens author N.D. Wilson and his father, (author, pastor) Doug Wilson, on a subject close to my heart. Is it appropriate for Christians to appreciate the use of magic in stories? Yes, if you want to read the Bible. But not so fast, what about the idea of authority? Some useful, worthwhile thoughts. Ask Doug - Magic in Literature from Daniel … [Read more...] about Magic, Sorcery, and Children’s Literature: Should We Enjoy It?
Books and Stories
"In short, I think there are powers and mysteries at work in the world that can only be expressed through fairy tales. Fairy tales allow us to cast nets into mystery and catch things that are otherwise inexpressible. Tolkien said that fairy tales can give us a glimpse of our eventual redemption in a way no other story can. At its best, fantasy provides us with an escape from the narrow, … [Read more...] about Overstreet on The Danger and Delight of Imaginative Stories
It is no secret to people close to me (like my wife, brothers, and football legend Pat White) that my favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. In my experience it is also one of the most consistently misunderstood and ill-preached (an actual term?) of any book in the Bible. Not that I have it all figured out. Show me that man who gets it all, I would like to shake his hand and listen to him … [Read more...] about “What is lacking cannot be counted.”
Probably not, but here it is anyway. I guess this is the most memorable for how deeply connected to it I feel, and how true it is (in the story, and in reality). This from Theophilus Msimangu, a beautiful character from a lovely book. "I am a weak and sinful man, but God put His hands on me." Alan Paton, Cry, The Beloved Country … [Read more...] about Ever Wondered What the Most Memorable Character’s Line in Fiction is For Me?
Note: Previously posted at the Rabbit Room. As a reader of books who also writes, I often feel a distinct, conflicting emotion when I read great books written by great writers. There is the delight, of course. Here is a person made by God doing something beautiful. Then there is the (often very slight) tinge of despair as I recognize I could never do this. This is less pointed when the genre … [Read more...] about Appreciating Your Betters
Literary Agent Steve Laube talks about the hyped-up notion that “print is dead.” In movies agents end up behind enemy lines, often wounded, spying, wisecracking, and listening for details of what is happening. So, reliability and all that. Laube argues that, while things are definitely changing, the notion that print books are over with is silly. He employs all caps, which I assume he doesn't … [Read more...] about Where I Talk About the Future of Books in a Semi-Non-Boring Way
"These days, you need to deliver not just the manuscript but the audience." Jim Levine This informed quote was snagged from Rachel Gardner's post about how authors need a platform. I haven't really talked about the idea of platform much here. But this blog is, in fact, part of my efforts to “build a platform” (among other things, of course). A “platform,” for those who haven't heard the term, … [Read more...] about Finding My Audience and Delivering Them to a Publisher (Like a Baby)
I have been delighted to learn that one can procure soon-to-be-released books if one is paying attention here and there. I have had this chance on a few occasions, starting with Andrew Peterson’s first novel and then with some others including N.D. Wilson, Jose Conseco, and Jeffrey Overstreet. OK, I made that Conseco part up. But on one occasion, namely on the occasion of Jeffrey Overstreet’s … [Read more...] about About a Blurb: How I wrote one and the regrets I’m dealing with as a result
OK, since everyone is legally required to do these things, I will comply. In no particular order --and in no way does this constitute the kind of reflection one ought to engage in-- in 2009: 1. I won’t share much of my family life, as is my general custom*, but my wife Gina and I welcomed our third child (somehow not named Ender) and second son into our home. He has been a lot of fun –chief … [Read more...] about This Stuff Actually Happened Last Year
O MY GOD, Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects, my heart admires, adores, loves thee, for my little vessel is as full as it can be, and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow. When I think upon and converse with thee ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up, ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed, ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my … [Read more...] about A Humble, Poetic, Puritan Prayer of Thanks
Nathan Bransford, who is some big-time agent, has a great post about what is up with publishing these days. Mostly it focuses on how the power in publishing continues to shift. Very informative. It's called Moving the Needle. Writers, check it. … [Read more...] about Moving the Needle and the Damage Done
What makes for great art? I won’t say I have no idea, but I am certainly on the shallow end of the pool, treading slowly and carefully deepward. One thing that does appear essential to me is the idea of limits. Without limits, and maybe more importantly, contrast, we don’t have much to show that will harmonize with reality on any level. Nevermind delight. When I had the rare chance to learn from … [Read more...] about To the Limit, Storytellers, Forthwith