Tag Archives: novel

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 The simple fact is, as an unpublished and unknown writer, I haven’t earned the right to toss the “rules” aside.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.

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

Out with the old

Recently I opened a file that contained the start of a novel. It was a project that I’d started several years ago. As I read through the first few pages, I could feel my stomach churning. Several pages later I was cramming Tums down my gullet like they were sweet tarts. A chapter further and I was fighting the dry heaves.

I was stunned that a human being could create something so terrible. I wanted to call 9-1-1 and turn myself in for something. There had to be a law somewhere that banned the writing of such terrible literature. I couldn’t look my James Scott Bell books on writing in the face.

It was a dark moment. Then a realization broke through the shameful gloominess and brought rays of affirmation: I’m not as bad anymore…I mean, my writing doesn’t stink as much now…wait, that’s not exactly what I’m trying to say…you probably understand. Right?

Seriously, I’m glad I put myself through the torture of reading my earliest attempt at novel-writing. It was a start…that counts for something. But more important, it wasn’t my last attempt. I’ve kept writing…learning…writing…learning…and I’ve proven to myself that this writing journey is about growing.

What have you learned from re-reading your first “baby-steps” as a writer? Are you better now than you were? In what ways?

Please take a minute to share the lessons you’ve learned and the ways you’ve been able to measure your growth as a writer.

 

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

Your Last Story

If you could only write one more story, what would it be about?

I’ve been preaching through Second Timothy, and have been struck with the “lastness” of it. (Yes, I realize that’s not a “real” word). Paul sensed his end was coming and he penned a last letter to his child in the faith, Timothy. He had parting words to put down on paper…last things to pass on.

As a writer, especially if you write Christian fiction, what if you were told that you had enough time left to complete one final novel–what would be your story? If you can put the idea down on paper, when are you going to write it? Why aren’t you writing it now?

Each story that we write is seen by the eyes of God first, before anyone else takes a peep at it. Is He pleased with what you’re writing? How do you know?

I’d love to hear how you’d finish this sentence:  “If I could write just one more story, it would be about ______________________________.

Shouldn’t we be living–and writing–like our current work-in-progress might be our last?

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To Suffer With Them

Soon I’ll be finishing my second novel–tentatively entitled INFIDEL–and it is impossible to tell you how emotional of a journey this has been. It started with an idea, based on a passion that God has placed in my heart.

It all began with the true newspaper story that I read about a woman named Asia Bibi in Pakistan. You can learn more about her by going to The Voice Of The Martyrs website. (That ministry has recently gone through a difficult time, but hopefully will find peace and healing under new leadership). She was arrested, then sentenced to death under Pakistan’s Blasphemy Law 295 a/b/c. As far as I know this mother and wife is still in prison.

What did she do? She spoke out about her Christian faith. What you and I–as Christian writers–so easily take for granted, comes at a high price for fellow Christians around the globe. They are threatened, persecuted, and often killed for following Jesus Christ.

They count the cost of discipleship that few of us in America would be willing to pay.

It’s time for us to wake up to the suffering of persecuted believers around the world.

Hebrews 13:3 says, “Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.”

Will you join me in praying for our brothers and sisters around the world who suffer unthinkable types of persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ?

I’m working hard to tell their story. I hope you will be able to read it someday.

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Filed under Persecuted Church, Uncategorized, Writing

Exciting and Scary!

Is there anything more exciting–or scarier–than sitting down to write a novel? How about letting other people read it? ImageThis is the experience that I’ve had and I can’t wait to share it with you. Over the next four posts, I’m looking forward to sharing a “writer’s prayer” with you, and I hope it will bless and challenge you. I’m going to break it up into four parts, so we can look at this prayer motto in detail. Let’s start the journey! Okay?

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Filed under Writing