Tag Archives: Larry Timm

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.

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

“These things I have written so that…”

When the New Testament writers spoke of writing (“grapho”), they chose words that highlighted several things about the act of writing:

  • Its power of DECLARATION. When someone penned a letter or epistle, they were making something known.
  • Its power of PRESERVATION. Whether they knew it or not, writers operated off the same principle that was expressed by an old Chinese proverb: “Weak ink is stronger than a good memory.” Things captured on the page lasted longer–and with less room for error or embellishment–than mere verbal stories.
  • Its power of TRANSFORMATION. The object upon which words were penned or etched was forever altered. Whether it be a wax tablet, cured animal skin, piece of stone, or a roll of parchment paper, the writing left an impression.

The constraints of this post do not allow a deep treatment of any of these wonderful elements, however, we as writers should approach our writing with the same sense of respect. Our writing also has the power of declaration. We have something to say, and it is important. And, my friend, no one can say it like you can, even if they are writing the same type of story. So write on, dear writer, and declare the glories of the Lord!

We also are privileged to have the power of preservation in our writing. Our stories can be published–one way or another–and the truth we’ve declared can survive for generations. There is a permanence in writing that is unique and important. Truth is never outdated.

But it is the last blessing, the power of transformation, that has captured my attention today. Not only are we the writers, but we are the paper upon which the greatest writer pens His truth. Feast on the following verses:

“…you are a letter of Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” (II Corinthians 3:3)

“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Hebrews 8:10)

My life has been changed because God’s Spirit has transformed my heart from useless “blankness” to a tablet upon which He makes Himself known to me. I write because I’m a changed man. And when my life is over, more than anything else, I want it to be clear why I worked hard to write Christian fiction. I want my stories to declare the truth, be preserved for future generations, and be used by God to transform lives. So if someone comes up to me at the end of my life, points to a stack of my novels, and asks, “Why did you do all of that writing?”, I want to humbly borrow the written words from the Apostle John as the purpose statement for my stewardship of story:

“…these things have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:31).

How about you?

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“Top 10 Signs Your Writers Conference Chose the Wrong Hotel”

Top 10 Signs Your Writers Conference Chose the Wrong Hotel

#10:  After passing a chalk outline in the hallway, you enter your room and the roaches don’t even try to hide. And one of them hangs up the phone and says, “You with room service?”

# 9:  The gift shop is running a special on gas masks & tetanus shots.

# 8:  At the airport, when you tell the taxi driver which hotel you want to go to, he turns blue and falls over in his seat because he’s laughing so hard he can’t breathe.

# 7:  When you ask if the hotel has “wi-fi”, the man at the desk says, “Not since we sprayed a few days ago.”

# 6:  The hot tub is out-of-order because the cook is using it to make his “special” stew.

# 5:  The “Continental Breakfast” is actually served in the parking lot, from the dirty trunk of a Lincoln Continental.

# 4:  The sound system is a hefty lady who stands on stage and screams out everything the keynote speaker just said.

# 3:  You’re sure you heard someone in the kitchen area yell, “Hey, Elmer! Is this a tapeworm?” And you’re having spaghetti that evening.

# 2:  There is no elevator, and the “escalator” is a sweaty shirtless guy–with an abundance of back-hair–who stands at the bottom of the stairs and says, “Jump on my back, I’ll tote ya right up there.”

# 1:  The guy at the front desk won’t check you in until you pull his finger.

Any other helpful ideas?

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“Acceptable Stalking”

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!”

The above quote is from Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451). As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I read the quote and thought, That’s exactly what I do!” I create a multi-dimensional protagonist, then stalk him or her through the pages of my manuscript. And, in nearly every case so far, that pesky main character does or says something that catches me by surprise.

There have been scenes that I’ve set up for the sole purpose of testing my protagonist’s metal. I mean I’ve uped the ante, dropped the hammer, and sharpened the knives. Why? Because I want to find out how my main character will react under extreme pressure. And I love to see him or her squirm. It makes me laugh like an evil scientist. I’m just wired that way.

And when my lead escapes, I chase him out the door…and the stalking continues. Man it’s fun!

But the key to a good character is I–the writer–have to know what he wants. And I have to stalk him and do everything I can to keep him from getting it easily…or at all. And then something will come out of his mouth, or she will do something, that makes me go, “Wow!”

What has one of your characters do that caught you by surprise?

NOTE: This friday’s post will be another “Top Ten” list. I think it will be “Top 10 signs your writers conference has picked the wrong hotel.”

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“Seeing With Your Ears”

Would you be willing to try something for five minutes? It’s safe, legal, and free. Ready? Great! Here’s the idea:

Find a comfortable place and stand/sit there for five minutes with your eyes closed.

Listen–really listen–to what is around you. How would you describe what you are hearing? Were the sounds layered? Was there one predominate noise that took charge of the space? Did sounds come from many directions? Distances?

When speaking to blind people and how they function and interact with the world, many times we learn that they see with their other senses. Their ability to hear, smell, or even taste their environment often leaves them more acutely aware of their surroundings than those of us with sight. I’m certainly not saying that it’s good that they are blind, nor am I saying that those of us who aren’t should want to be blind. Not at all. But I am saying that the privilege of sight often is allowed to overpower our other senses. And we need all of our senses to work at a high level if we’re going write stories that capture our readers from page one. But for this post, let’s concentrate on the sense of hearing.

Back to my original challenge:  Will you try this experiment once, then let me know what you observed with your ears? Write a reply to this post and share with my readers. I can’t wait to hear–or should I say see–what you discovered.

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