Category Archives: Christian Life

When Jesus prayed for me & my readers

It happened one evening in an upper room in the city of Jerusalem…more than 2000 years ago. The disciples gathered with Jesus, and what transpired is known by theologians as “the upper room discourse.” The Apostle John used five chapters to cover a few hours of time. In chapter 17, we are allowed the soul-stirring honor of listening as Jesus prayed. He prayed for Himself, for the men gathered with Him, and then–in one of the most amazing moments in all the scriptures–Jesus prayed for us!

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone [the disciples in the room with Him], but for those also who believe in Me through their word;” (John 17:20)

Jesus prayed for believers who would become part of “the Church” that didn’t even yet exist! He prayed for those who would accept the word of the apostles. That word would be both spoken–via preaching and teaching–and written–by being recorded and thus preserved in the New Testament.

That’s you and me, folks! Jesus prayed for us. He prayed for those of us who would choose to believe in Him because of the timeless message of the apostles. They spoke the word about the Word. And centuries later, you and I–if we are in Christ–are beneficiaries of that message.

We have believed because of their word.

As a writer of Christian fiction, I certainly don’t live under the illusion that my words are inspired scripture. That would be heresy. But I do try to find creative ways to deliver the message that was handed down in the scripture: that Jesus Christ came into the world to seek and save sinners. And I pray for those who will read the words I write, and hope that they will find hope in Jesus Christ.

Because Jesus has already prayed for them too.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Poem of a really bad pitch

Somewhere a writer is preparing to pitch to an editor. They want to stand out from the crowd, but aren’t sure how to make themselves different. The following poem is an example of how NOT to pitch. It is part poem, part song, and all one big mistake. 🙂

I stared back at the editor

and flashed a nervous grin,

and thought about her question

and how I should begin.

“What’s the book about? you ask?”

She nodded so polite.

“It’s about 400 pages,” I said,

“I counted them just last night.”

“There’s lots of words and pictures

and so the story you will know…”

I opened up my leather case

and pulled out my banjo.

“I wanted to be different,” I said.

“And, my pitch, it won’t take long.

You’ll find all of your answers

in the words to this here song….

[I played the theme to The Beverly Hillbillies and sang…]

Come and listen to the story of my bestseller

about a lady teacher and a wine-maker,

who met one day while walking on the vineyard path;

and this is a story I call The Grapes Of Math.

Love it was, purple love, bubbly love.

The next thing ya know the trouble did begin,

her kinfolk said, “Ellie, why did you pick him?”

Angrily she answered, “I don’t care what you say.

I derned proud to be Ellie Chardonnay!”

A grape that is, smushed by feet, for the juice.

Well now it’s time to say good-by to Ellie and Merlot

(that’s the winemaker’s name, I guess you ought to know);

they had a son, as the story will tell…..

and after a toast, the named him Zinfendel.

A boy he was, with big feet, for stompin’ grapes.

Just Book One in a series…ya hear?

[I put my banjo down, then winked at the editor]

She shook her head, her forehead creased;

she swallowed hard, then blinked.

“You might be sick or just insane.

I don’t know what to think!”

I handed her my one sheet,

grabbed my banjo and my straw hat

and said, “You will be sorry

that you rejected The Grapes Of Math!”

I came to a conclusion

as I stood and walked away:

Literature just isn’t ready

for Merlot Chardonnay!

 

I hope your pitching goes better. Could it get any worse?

6 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Larry W. Timm, reading, Uncategorized, Writing

Please observe the rules…guidelines…suggestions

Sometime ago, during my years as a funeral director, I was at a church preparing for a funeral. I was passing through their fellowship hall and a sign on the wall caught my attention. It read, “Please observe Parish Hall rules: NO tape on walls!”

I’ll give you one guess how the sign was attached to the wall. Yep…tape.

I have a great respect for the craft of writing, and especially for those who have earned the right to make observations about what works and what doesn’t. I am learning–weekly it seems–that there is so much I don’t know and need to learn. Since I’m an expert at nothing, I am trying to be open-minded and devoted to doing what is necessary to improve my writing skills and my story-telling ability. So I seek advice, search out critiques of my work, and try to get to know those who are recognized as accomplished writers. I work hard and long to see what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong.

And I try to follow the rules…if I can figure them out. But isn’t okay to just admit that there aren’t really that many hard-and-fast rules in traditional-style publishing anymore? Sometimes, what is a rule for one writer just doesn’t apply to another. These custom-fit guidelines are important, to be sure, but sometimes new writers are confused because they are told not to do something that others are doing. They’re told, “it won’t work” or “so-and-so won’t publish it like this.” Then you find out, however, that another publisher will.

What’s a new writer to do?

First, understand that there’s a difference between a rule and a commandment. A rule is a solid guideline that describes the way something is expected to be done at the current time. A commandment is forever (God has never amended or revised His Ten Commandments.) Rules are sometimes proactive and sometimes reactive. They are useful for structure. Rules change when it’s demonstrated that “it can be done another way.”

Humility and respect are the keys, in my opinion. The simple fact is, as an unpublished and unknown writer, I haven’t earned the right to toss the “rules” aside. I don’t have the same unspoken permission the bend/break the rules because I haven’t sold any books yet…I don’t have a track record of making anyone any money. I can pout, whine, complain, and get all snarky, but what good does that do? Or I could just say, “Well, if I can’t do it the way I want to, I’ll just quit writing.” Yeah, that’ll show them. NOT!

So I try to learn what is expected, while also attempting to develop my own unique writer’s voice.

How do YOU handle this wrestling match with your own unique personality & style and the rules that are parts of the writing craft?

NOTE:  I invite you to “Like” my Author Page at www.facebook.com/larrywtimm  If you already have, please know that I appreciate it very much.

4 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

It’s God

It’s God who does the choosing of how He sees fit using and blessing us with riches of His grace.

And it’s God who sets in motion every dream, and thought, and notion, and answers us when we kneel to pray.

And it’s God who makes a winner from a helpless, hopeless sinner, and shows us how to better run the race.

And it’s God who knows the hour when He’ll show His mighty power, and all mankind will look upon His face.

 

Friend, you are not alone on the journey of following Christ. And, if you’re a steward of story, you are not alone I that special calling. You may be a published writer, or someone–like me–who dreams of that experience. But if you know God, you’ve already had the greatest blessing possible:  you are a child of the King! And, don’t forget, our God is a writer…He wrote your name in the Lamb’s Book Of Life.

Write on, my friend. You’ll never write alone when God is your Heavenly Father. Have a great weekend.

2 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, Uncategorized, Writing

Top 10 Ways to tell if a Writer’s Spouse is needing Attention

The writing journey is hard on writers. Can I get an “AMEN!”? Pressure…hard work…did I mention pressure?

But being married to a writer can also be stressful. With that in mind, I present to you the Top 10 Ways to tell if a Writer’s Spouse is needing Attention:

 

#10:  They’re making prank phone calls just so they can have someone real to talk to. And if the person is normal, that’s a bonus.

# 9:  They come to a book signing just so they can have some face-to-face time with their writer spouse. And they keep getting in line because they’ve “got a lot on their mind.”

# 8:  They walk around the house naked just to see if their spouse will notice.

# 7:  They get in trouble with the IRS because they tried to claim the characters of their spouse’s current writing project as dependents since “they’re sooooooooo important!”

# 6:  They picket their spouse’s writers group meeting and chant, “Watch more TV! Watch more TV!”

# 5:  They call the county courthouse and offer to “Track Change” their marriage license.

# 4:  They have a shirt made that says, I got your inciting incident right here!

# 3:  They refer to their children as “precious consequences of writer’s block.”

# 2:  After planning the family vacation, they dance around the house and giggle profusely because they managed to find a spot in the desert that is hundreds of miles from a Barnes & Noble or a Starbucks.

# 1:  They call 9-1-1 and claim that an unfinished manuscript is holding their spouse hostage, and add, “the office is in the apartment above the garage…bring tear gas and those things that flash and go BOOM!

How about we just be sure to take care of the wonderful spouses that support us, so we avoid any of the above?

3 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, family, Larry W. Timm, reading, Top 10 List, Top Ten list, Uncategorized, Writing

You, Me, & Thomas Edison

Recently I was reading a book by Charles Swindoll (Joseph: A Man of Integrity & Forgiveness; published by Thomas Nelson) and he relayed a true story that had been originally been written by Charles Edison. Charles wrote a book called The Electric Thomas Edison, in which he talked about his famous father. Writers, please pay close attention to the spirit of a man who refused to quit.

[One] December evening the cry of “Fire!” echoed through the plant. Spontaneous combustion had broken out in the film room. Within moments all the packing compounds, celluloid for records, film and other flammable goods had gone up with a whoosh….

When I couldn’t find Father, I became concerned. Was he safe? With all his assets going up in smoke, would his spirit be broken? He was 67, no age to begin anew. Then I saw him in the plant yard, running toward me.

“Where’s Mom?” he shouted. “Go get her! Tell her to get her friends! They’ll never see a fire like this again!”

Faced with the choice of giving up or going on, at 5:30 the next morning, Thomas Edison declared that he was going to rebuild.

Has a recent writing project gone up in smoke, leaving you wondering what to do? Have comments from a contest judge engulfed your passion, choked out your desire, and left you without a sense of direction?

What will you do? Give up or go on?

How would the world be different had Thomas Edison given up? More personally, how will you be different if you give up? Maybe you need time to regroup–to clear the rubble and sweep up the ashes–and that is perfectly understandable. During the regrouping time, let God rebuild you. He’s good at that.

Then, when the time is right and you are ready, start the rebuilding. With God’s help, you CAN do it.

2 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, Uncategorized, Writing

Top 10 Wrong Ways To Deal With or Avoid a Sagging Middle

This is not a post filled with diet and physical fitness tips. I’m not what you’d call a real good role model in that particular area. I did buy a pair of running shoes a while back, and if you just look at my feet, I look like a runner. However, if you scan up from there, the illusion is quickly blown (but I digress).

I don’t run. I don’t even hike…wait, did I say hike? Well what do you know…hike rhymes with like! And since you mentioned it, I’d be appreciative if you’d hike over to my Author Page and click Like. It’s at www.facebook.com/larrywtimm I’d love to break the 200 mark by the end of August. Tell your friends to go there too. The person who is my 200th Like may just win something (of course they may not, but let’s not dwell on that now.)

As writers, we all have had to deal with middles (of our manuscripts) that are saggy. Perhaps even sluggish and unappealing (which is how people often describe me). We seek out advice on how to deal with and/or avoid the dreaded sagging middle.

“Larry, do you happen to have any advice on what to do?”

Thanks for asking. But…nope, I don’t know what to tell you to do, but here are some things not to do. It’s my duty & pleasure to introduce…the Top 10 Wrong Ways To deal With or Avoid a Sagging Middle:

#10:  By having a blurb on the front cover that boldly declares, “This is the first novel in history in which the brilliant author has skipped the middle all together!

# 9:  By claiming that the middle has international intrigue just because you put an “o” on the end of every other word so readers will really like the the “el-middle-o.”

# 8:  By including a bibliography of “books that have more horrible middles than mine.”

# 7:  By putting a pop up section in the middle so that when opened paper villains jump up from the page and scare people to death.

# 6:  By printing the middle on edible paper so that readers can “at least get something good from it.”

# 5:  By drawing a little cartoon character in the upper right hand corner that looks likes he’s running from a stick Grizzly bear when people flip through the middle chapters really fast.

# 4:  Put 100 blank pages in the middle so that “readers can write their own snappy middle…if they think it’s sooooo easy!”

# 3:  Fill the middle chapters with 20 car chases, 14 gun battles, 12 knife fights, 10 kissy-face scenes, 8 explosions, 6 sharks, 4 pits of nasty snakes, 3 hurricanes, 2 giant ill-tempered turtle doves, and 1 immodest partridge in a pear tree. (and, no, I have no idea what that means).

# 2:  By putting in a “Smells of the Bible” scratch-n-sniff section.

# 1:  By dedicating the book to “My dear, sweet, recently deceased mother who used her last breaths of life to dictate the middle of this book, right after she single-handedly saved 75 poor, blind children from roaring inferno that swept through their orphanage on Christmas Eve…so they could live to enjoy the box full of puppies and kittens that Mommy had purchased for them from the humane society…with the money she’d received by selling her fake leg. It was a good thing she recently been evicted from her home by evil bankers and that the walls of her old cardboard box in the alley were thin enough to hear the little frightened voices calling for help from the broken windows of the condemned building they called home. The middle of this book meant a lot to my mom…I hope you like it too.”

Now…how does YOUR middle look?

6 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Life, editing, family, Larry W. Timm, reading, Top 10 List, Top Ten list, Uncategorized, Writing

Been there, done that

 

   Recently I heard a joke about a guy who went in for surgery. After he was rolled into the pre-op area, his wife trudged her way down the long haul toward the hospital cafeteria. But two steps from the cafeteria entrance, she heard her husband screaming, and she froze in her tracks. She looked down the hall to see him running toward her.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” she asked.

He pointed at the nurse marching down the hall towards them. “I heard what she said!”

“What did she say?”

“She said, ‘I know you’ve never been through this kind of operation before, but it’s a relatively minor procedure, so try to stop shaking. There’s a good chance everything will turn out okay.'”

The wife shook her head. “But, honey, the nurse was just trying to help you.”

His eyes went wide. “She was talking to the doctor!”

Yeah, we’d all like to know that our surgeon has been there and done that before we entrust our bodies to him. I don’t want my doctor to point to an x-ray and exclaim, “Wow! What’s that d0-hicky there?” Hardly a confidence builder.

One of the challenges of being a writer is deciding who to go to for advice. Let’s face it–and this is an uncomfortable truth–there are a few self-proclaimed experts out there on the literary landscape. Doubtless, many of them mean well and can even offer random nuggets of information that can benefit any writer. But others have never really been there and done that. And, frankly, your time as a writer is too precious to waste. The stewardship of story calls for us to carefully exercise discernment.

Thankfully there are tons of people (al though I’ve never actually weighed them) out there who bring to the proverbial table wisdom gained by the experience of having walked the road themselves. They are usually very humble people who are willing to share what they’ve learned because the respect the craft, and they genuinely want to help another writer succeed. They remember the times someone helped them in the past, and the vow they made to sacrificially do the same if they ever had the chance.

How do YOU decide who will help shape your story? How do YOU decide who to go to for advice? Any experience–good or not-so-good–you care to share (don’t mention names, please)?

7 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

The 3 word sentence that guides my writing

An unusual survey was taken in which participants were asked this question: What 3 word sentence would you most like to have said to you?

  • The third most common response was: “Supper is ready.”
  • The second most popular answer was:  “I forgive you.”
  • The answer that topped the list was:  “I love you.”

Each answer could serve as a motivation for my writing…yes, even the one about supper being ready. 🙂 You see, as a Christian writer, I want my stories to motivate people to get ready for that one great supper:  the Lamb’s supper. Or, to put it another way, I don’t want anyone to miss out on the great marriage feast where the Bride (the Church) is forever joined to the Groom (the Lord Jesus). Someday the trumpet is going to sound, and it’ll be like God is declaring, “Come on, children, supper is ready.”

And I pray that my writing will show how God can restore the broken, revive the hopeless, and declare the guilty can be pronounced innocent before the eternal Judge. I very much want my books to take my readers on a heart-pounding thrill ride through the darkness that is this world, the whole time making sure that they can see glimpses of light penetrating that darkness. I refuse to ignore or sugar-coat the reality of sin and the destructive consequences it brings, but I want readers to know that God stands ready & willing to forgive them of their sins, to transfer them from the domain of darkness to the Kingdom of His Beloved Son, and to give them new life. Our Lord knows a little something about resurrection, wouldn’t you say? Jesus shed his blood–and rose from the dead–for the forgiveness of sins.

But the most popular answer gives me the reason why Jesus came to earth, hung on the cross, and conquered death and sin. I want my readers to know that God loves them. When someone finishes one of my books, I hope that they will be drawn to a deeper fellowship with the God Who loves them. Once a theologian was asked what he thought was the single greatest theological truth he’d learned in his decades of Bible study. He could have mentioned any of the various doctrinal truths that are so plentiful in Scripture. He could have tried to draw water from the deep wells of theology. Instead he replied, “the single greatest truth that I have learned is that Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

I hope my readers can know the same thing because they read one of my books.

2 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Freedom Announced

Jesus wrote something once…on the ground. A woman caught in the act of adultery was surrounded by religious leaders who had conveniently left the male half of the sinful duo out of their ring of condemnation. The religious leaders wanted Jesus to approve of their attempt to punish this guilty woman.

And he wrote on the ground.

The snarling hypocrites pushed Jesus some more.

He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then Jesus–the Creator of the Universe–stooped down again and wrote on the ground he created.

His challenge was punctuated by the sound of rocks thudding back to the ground, and the slow scraping of people wandering away from the scene.

“Where are your accusers?”

The woman looked and they were gone. It was one on one time with the Logos–the Word made flesh–the One who could set her free from the power, shame, and guilt of her sins. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

No one knows what Jesus wrote that day. But I know what He did that day:  He showed a broken soul the way to freedom. When I write, no matter how dark the setting, I want to make sure I let a shaft of light shine upon the liberating path that can be found in Jesus Christ. I picture a reader who’s been knocked to the ground, broken by their sin, and in need of being set free…a prisoner chained by their own trespasses and gaveled guilty by the judge.

When we write, may we work hard to be sure that people know that the Lord Jesus Christ can to set us free from the law of sin and death. May we always find ways to proclaim that the Messiah of all mankind can bring release and set free the oppressed. And let us be unwavering in the announcement that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Can I get an Amen?

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing