Thursday, December 30, 2010

Blog Purpose

First: Hi! I'm back, from Disney and the land of the sick, which we plunged into after returning from our really car trip. Yeah, that wasn't fun. Oh well. Disney was. One day, but we hardly stood in line at all and it was otherwise great.

Okay, so now sort of about my title...I read Rachelle Gardner's blog (she's a Christian Literary Agent--her blog is wonderful, by the way), and I was reading about how your blog should have a specific and unique focus and you should stick to that. It was after that that my little "blurb" at the top of my blog page changed. But the truth is, even as that is, it's still rather broad, and as there seem to be a lot of writer's blogs out there, not entirely unique, especially when one looks at the breadth of things I choose to discuss under the banner of writing and Robin Hood. In some respects, I think "eh, what could it matter--I'm young and not really trying to build a platform or audience yet." Then I think about how it takes years for people to garner about a blog audience, and if I ever do want to get published, there's no reason not to start now. Besides I am trying to get some audience for my books--I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. No, this blog is not a marketing tool as of yet. But I do link the books and I do like it when they get read. And I also post my fiction writing.

So long story short, I'm wondering if I should get back to the harder posts of reviews and Robin Hood discussions instead of the easy ones of whatever-comes-into-my-head and writerly complaints. I haven't yet decided. If any of you readers have opinions, please post. I am wondering if I should be more professional about this whole thing. I love to write and would love to do it for a living, so maybe some restraint on my part is called for.

Anyhow, whatever I decide, I got to watched 1938 Robin Hood and a episode of the BBC Robin Hood while I was sick. I also started Robin and the 7 Hoods but I was bored and irritable about 20 minutes in and switched it off (as I said, I was sick). I also received Howard Pyle's Robin Hood as a present--yay! My collection sports 8 versions now, if you count my own. I hope to get to read Pyle's again even though my Christmas vacation is almost over. I remember liking it quite a bit. It's also a bit of a classic as far as Robin Hood goes. It's not THE first Robin Hood, but it's about the oldest one you can easily get a hold of, which is nice.

Still praying about Gervais and company, but I haven't gotten anywhere that I can really tell about yet, so you'll have to stick around for updates about that.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homework Take III

So, yesterday I copied and pasted the OYAN Map questions from their mother document and placed them in yet another one. The title?

Gervais_Homework III

Why, you may ask?

Well, after several times where I have deleted things and then intensely regretted it later (I seemed to love being the historian of my own stories and looking back at early versions), I label and keep almost every writing endeavor. Me being the writer I am (Tolkien, remember?), I often have several documents with very similar names: Robin Hood, Robin Hood II, and Robin Hood III, for example. (Topped off by Robin Hood IV_Homework, which is accompanied by the several dozen Forest of Lies documents.)

Gervais is Homework III, because this shall be my third attempt to pull together what has been The Bow and Etched in Black. For now, this new version is simply Gervais. We'll see where it goes.

I am hopeful, though. Betsy Flowain went through five--yes, five--Runaway Castle documents before it turned into Betsy Flowain, the fifth and final Runaway Castle. Robin Hood, as stated before, went through four transformations, finally coming to Forest of Lies.

This is now The Bow/Etched in Black/Gervais's third attempt. I have put more words (over 100,000) into this book than any of the others, I think, and have gotten almost nowhere. Maybe, finally, I have come to rest where the book really belongs. If not, the trial and error continues.

I seem to have more ideas for this than for the screenplay I was so certain about a week ago...pray that whichever project I am supposed to do becomes very evident quite soon. Also, I'm fighting constant reminders of the contest and trying to remember what's really important.

So, Gervais. Let's see what you can do, eh?


Monday, December 6, 2010


As some of my friends and readers know, I recently went live with a FAQ and Directory for a board on the OYAN forum, "Ask the Teacher." I am still sorting out all the FAQ topics for posting on that site. I won't go into the details, but I wanted to share a question that I've run into several times:

"How do I find the perfect story?"

Also comes in the guise of "how do I find the right story," "how do I know if I have the right story," and "is this one better than that one?"

It's a more serious question than one would think. How do you find the right story? I would say at first that you don't. Every once in awhile, you're lucky enough to stumble into one. You'll find a book that seem so right that you can't imagine not writing it right now. You may even tell yourself "it would be better if I waited for a few years, and wrote it when I had more experience..." but you can't. You just know it's The Story. Your story. The one that if you had to leave it for a moment, you'd explode. Sometimes, there is no doubt.

But most of the time, there is. It feels like you're wondering around in the dark, grasping at characters and themes, trying desperately to bring them together into some kind of manageable format that resembles a story in some manner. You fill discontent and uncertain, unsure if any of it is even going to be worth the trouble you put into it.

Yes, I'm describing myself. I think I'm describing others, too, others in this small and misunderstood group of people known as writers. There are flashes of brilliance, but they come through hours of hard and uncertain work. We don't know if the lightbulb's going to work. We just know that we want to build a lightbulb. And, sometimes, we find 1,000 ways NOT to do it first.

I think some of this process I'm describing helps explain where I am now. I had a flash of brilliance--brilliance I can't even claim as my own--in 2009, and I've been longing to get back there ever since that journey ended, or seemed to end, in August of 2009. Sometimes I think that perhaps my journey isn't really over with that story. Sometimes I think I'm supposed to be seeking for something new.

Currently, I'm on the latter again. If my posts haven't made this evident, I have been sawing back and forth a lot during these last few weeks, and I even thought I had some nudging from God. I'm not sure again. So I'm still searching.

The story may not be perfect when I find it, but I know it'll be right. Because it's not really stumbling in the dark. It's being led through the dark, working in the dark, until some light enters that darkness. Sometimes it's just for the author, for their own search towards greater light and beauty. Sometimes it becomes a beacon for others.

But whatever the case, it's right. Every story is worth something.


P.S. I'm not likely to be on for several weeks...if I don't get back by Christmas, then Merry Christmas right now! May the day and the season be blessed. Remember what we're really celebrating.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

John 15: 1-17

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.

9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! 12 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other."

(New Living Translation)


I'm not usually much for just posting Bible verses, but I liked this whole passage when I read it today. The part in bold is both what I've considered "Robin's verse" for a long while and what I now realize can also be my verse. I am again in doubt about what I should be writing; the most important thing to remember, though, is that if I am not in Him and Him and me, I can do nothing. None of it will be right.

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