Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sabbath Reflections: Living for Applause

I really want you to like me.

In fact, I care way too much about what you think about me (and my writing).

As a writer, I’m often forced to give others something I’ve written to get their feedback, on a criticism scale ranging from my mom to an editor.

Then I sit around and wonder what their reactions will be. I worry a little bit, but, because I’m a die-hard optimist, I mostly just hope.

In my starry-eyed daydreams, the reception to my writing goes something like, “Wow, this is a really deep thought. I admire Amy’s clear intelligence and spiritual maturity.”

Or, “Wow, what a great story. Clearly, Amy is a talented writer with a gift for clarity of expression and insight into the human condition.”

Or even, “Wow, this is a hilarious article. Amy must be a genuinely funny person. I want to hang out with her all the time because she probably makes witty comments every few seconds.”

I want people to like my writing so much that they like me too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Five Things Characters Are Not

Writers are supposed to create characters. Nothing wrong there.

But sometimes we get this mad-scientist-type sense of power from the process: I can create anyone to do anything I want. BWAHAHAHAHA! (Or however you transcribe an evil laugh.)

As it turns out, we can’t do anything we want with our characters. There are some rules of believability, and the people holding us to those rules, our readers, don’t want us to be mad scientists. (Yeah, I know. I was disappointed too. That was one of my main career goals.)

Here are some things I’ve learned not to do when creating characters.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sabbath Reflections: Not Your Granny's Flannelgraph

I come up with a lot of get-rich-quick schemes, and, for some reason, many of them are faith-based. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen the ridiculous merchandise in the gift section of Christian bookstores. (Look, it’s a 100-piece nativity set made out of real olive branch wood from the Holy Land! And it has a scratch-and-sniff that smells like frankincense!)

But, seriously, this one is going to work. Feel free to contact me about investing in stock any time. I’ve noticed a real gap in the market, and I know just how to fill it.

You see, there are a lot of books and movies that are “based on true events.” I figure, since most kids are bored with the same old Bible stories, I could fictionalize them to add a little punch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Writer or Creeper?

As writers, we like to think of ourselves as experts on human nature. After all, to write realistic dialogue and create compelling characters, we have to observe the world around us, right?

Well, yes. Sort of. Anyway, it’s a good excuse for some borderline creepy behavior. The following quiz is a tool to help you evaluate your creepy writer habits. Should your score and the resulting diagnosis alarm you, don’t worry: you can change.

I’ll let you know as soon as I find out how.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sabbath Reflections: Why Did Jesus Tell Stories?

Writers love the fact that Jesus’ public ministry didn’t consist of a lecture tour or sermon series: Jesus told stories, also known as parables.

I’ve heard many people say that the reason Jesus told parables was that he liked to illustrate deep theological truths by using stories that everyone could relate to and understand.

That’s a nice thought. Problem is, it’s not actually biblical.

When the disciples asked Jesus why he told parables, this is what he said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given…. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (Matt. 13:11,13)

That’s right. Jesus told parables to confuse people.