|Rachel Ng's cheese yarn continues to charm|
Alisa exhibited at the Arts Festival last week, with sixteen other authors, They put her next to a male author whose genre was different from Alisa's (she asked the organizers if they would put her next to an author who would not necessarily be a competitor for her book). One of the author's a sculptor, has sold 7,000 books. How did he do this? Alisa is smarting from a devistating critique of her forthcoming The Emblem. This is hard. Patrick asked if it was more a critique of her racially or politically, socially, or stylistically as a writer? It is always important to sort out the substance of a critique, and a critic. It is almost impossible for any of us to entirely put aside our other preconceptions and simply critique the story on its own merits, the author on her own merits. Patrick offered the idea of taking an idea and personifying the thing in a character. This can transform a flat character into a more round one, idyosincracies, mannerisms, a wacky or painfully introverted individual. Rachel H encouraged Alisa to ask herself what particular reason did she choose this particular editor. What does she have to offer in improving the manuscript, her particular niche, what is it? This editor's role was to give you a racial perspective that you did not have. Take here critiques in this area. Only in other areas as they overlap with other credible critiques you have received.
Bob is editing and formatting another author's book for money at present, more money than he's made in book sales this last year. He's enjoying the process and finding the copy editing challenging and fun. Is he getting any writing ideas for his own writing? His editing is reenforcing theories of writing that he already has.
Rachel Ng introduces us to her writing challenges, being an introvert, creating characters who are introverts and others who are not. This is a continuation of the cheese epic. Rachel's writing always makes me intensely hungry. I love cheese! I love her description of the old army jacket, details, that show us she has done her homework, but, more than that, they draw us into the character wearing the old jacket. Rachel paused, wondering if she is writing as if it were a cookbook. We chimed in for her to knock it off and get back to reading the story (I think she got the message). If it makes the reader salivate it's probably working. If it is driving the plot forward, deliniating the character more precisely and intentionally. I mention that the best characters want something but can't have it. The story is them trying to get it. That's reductionist, but makes the point. Life in a broken world is very much like this. So I would advise Rachel to ask herself what her protagonist wants and to what lengths is she willing to go to get it? Fleshing that out will shape the plot. Patrick suggested that Rachel fine tune who the character or characters are, whose point of view are we supposed to see the world from? Whose eyes are we seeing the world through? We discussed how many current popular writers use multiple perspectives, however, there is always and must always be a dominant perspective. Readers who are unclear about who to care about usually don't finish the book.
From here we devolved into reminiscences from the past (several 'Blots are former students); what hilarity! And what a substantive and important discussion ensued. Rachel H commented that finally at the end of the day, Christian wives want to follow and submit to husbands who are intentionally growing in Christ-likeness. Bob commented that as a man with daughters who are now married, but he counselled them to turn and run if a man is touting male headship more heavily than men loving their wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her. Patrick and others in the room were involved in a facebook exchange this week that became heated and accusatory, as so often is the case with the flat medium of social media. We then progressed, or was it digressed, to critiques of a particular church that almost all of us have experience with. I, for one, think this is a healthy discussion, especially when we can have it face to face, as fellow image bearers of God, human beings who have been loved by God. Male, female, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, slave, free; all one in Christ, who are in Christ, washed by his blood, justified, and being sanctified by the free discriminating grace (I'm using the term in the biblical sense; the grace of the gospel is eternally, gloriously, and graciously discriminating, or I would never be a grateful recipient thereof), and who love his holy Word.
Reading Psalm 1 and 2 this morning I was struck afresh at just how odd the Bible sounds in the midst of the ragings of the moment. And, as always, reading the Word of God recalibrated my thinking, regrounded me, gave me clearer perspective in the midst of the ragings against God's will and way now; it's nothing new. Scoffing at God's ways has a long and infamous history. And so does capitulation to those who have taken counsel together against the Lord and his Annointed, Jesus. Israel did it in acient times, and the Church has often done it in the past. But knowing all this, shouldn't I be on guard, shouldn't I know that the world hates God and his ways, and that this hatred creeps into the Church? I think so. God help me as I write. "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in
the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night... Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Annointed..."