Monday, May 29, 2017

Author's Alphabet H

H


Heart

The most important piece of advice I could ever give an author is...heart. Write with your heart, because if you are writing only with your mind, your emotions, your reasoning, your intelect....but if you write with your heart. You will touch a heart.

Heart to heart writing is one of the most powerful and moving things that can be created in the world,

So write with your heart...write with the deepest depths of your being and you will do your best work with no regrets.



Monday, May 22, 2017

Author's Alphabet G


G



Graphics

Graphics are an excellent way to catch people's eyes and getting your book off the shelf or the amazon store and into people's hands.

While it might be meaningful or cute do your own cover...it can bring less than wanted results. I love to design. However when it came to designing my own covers I really struggled with what I wanted and finding it, so I decided to take that control out of my hands and hand it to someone else. That was one of the best choices I made as an author.

I love graphic design and create beautiful covers for other people but for myself all I did was drive myself up walls and into corners. Only recently have I started doing covers for my own work for short stories, because I've been better able to grasp my feelings and control the outcome.

But as an author do yourself a favor and get the best graphics you can afford. It gives you a professional clean and wonderful look that helps you sell your book with confidence.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Music Muse

This is one of the voices that really grabbed me. I heard Anthony's Neely's voice one day and the quality of it gripped me, and since I am living here in Taiwan, I'll take the opportunity to introduce you to a talented American Taiwanese singer.

His voice...I love more ballad sounding songs, and he has a beautiful range, mostly simple music, and some good outright heartbreaking lyrics that make you pause and think. (I also might be a hardcore sad song sap but you know...)

Today, I am going to throw a few songs out there, one of my favorites and one sung in Chinese, where the MV is totally worth watching...it made me wish it was a Taiwanese drama...but it's not it's just a lovely song.

This first song is the one he grabbed Taiwan's attention by winning a national talent contest.





This was the first song I heard him sing.


And this is the Chinese song.



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

我看見你 I see you

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go;
 I will guide thee with mine eye.

I'll be honest this verse has always puzzled me a little. 
And the other day I was reading again and I was like. "God, what does this even mean? How can you guide me with Your eyes? Because, God, I can't see where you are looking."

And then it struck me.

I do this all the time with my students.

I guide them with my eyes.

If they are misbehaving, I don't yell at them, I get really quiet and just look at them gently until I know I have their attention and then shake my head, if needed I will say something but often this communication is completely silent.

My students also communicate this way, a questioning look, and I answer with a nod...but they know the answer because they are looking at me.

So it's the same with God. If my focus on him, I'll have the answers I am searching for, I don't need to be looking towards the future and trying to figure out, I don't have to figure out what God is doing I just have to move forward keeping my eyes on Christ. No looking around, no turning this way and that trying to figure out what everyone else is doing. Just focusing on Christ and following his lead...and life will be siimpler...maybe, not easier but simpler because all I need to worry about is focusing on Christ and what He sees for my future.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Author's Alphabet F

F
Faith. It's one the hardest things to include in a book well. It's easy to squeeze in namby-pamby prayer and toss in a few scriptures and label it CHRISTIAN FICTION! I know, a lot of authors have worked very hard to create good books...but when they try to add faith to their books it feels so robotic and dead and makes me as a reader want to gag, throw things, and just put the book down.

So how do create a book where fiction and faith meet and mesh.

I think the difference is easy to find. It is this: is the story testimony...or your pulpit?

Testimony stories tend to be rich with refreshing and renewing.
Pulpit stories tend to make one feel frustrated and preached at, they are dry with material but no deep content just words that ring with hollowness.

So how do we make our books rich volumes and not hollow tombs?

First, are you living it yourself? Is this something you've learned? Is this something you've struggled through? Then you certainly have a premise and personal experience where the faith you want to bring across the realness of the subject.

I remember discovering one of my favorite authors. My mom asked me if I wanted to read a certain author's books....I refused. I was sure they were going to be another wishy-washy preachy teen book that I was going to barely gag down, needless to say, my mother followed her intuition, and they were excellent books. The author really challenged me in my faith, and that book helped me to grow. They still have a powerful impact on me today...years later. The difference? She had lived, she is an amazingly sweet, faithful Christian, who didn't use her book as her pulpit but rather as a testimony.

What are you writing? Are you writing things that are challenging you and your readers, or are you using your book as a pulpit?

Found on Pinterest I do not own.
You can purchase here

Friday, May 12, 2017

Music Muse

There is nothing like Josh Groban's voice. I think his was one of the very first voices I fell in love with. It's so beautiful and he can carry so much...

This is one of the more simple songs that JG sings, but I like the message in the lyrics mixed with the slow and cheerful melody. I love the theme of hope that keeps peeking through the lyrics...

It's just so delightful to listen to...it's so optimistic.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Wording Workshop

Hello!
I am going to try and add this mini wording "workshop" on my blog.
I am using the term workshop loosely here. It's not too intense, just a little something I want to improve on in my writing and challenge my fellow writers.

You see, I sometimes struggle with writing description, so often the settings are so vivid in my head that I forget to add any embellishment for the reader.

Sorry for the blurry photo, I am trying to use things I come across in my everyday.
So, this is something I've written a description for, but I am curious how you would describe this dish....
Foreign? Traditional? Familiar?

What does it smell like?
Strong? Soft? Is there something distinct or signature about it?

How does it taste?
Savory? Salty? Bitter? Sweet? Spicy? Mild? Rich?Simple? Complex? Home-like?

What ingredients can you identify?

Are you intrigued...repulsed?

What is the environment like?

If you were to put this on a plate in front of your character how would they react?

As a foreigner, my reaction to this dish is always...
Yes, you eat part of this dish with chopsticks


Monday, May 8, 2017

The Author's Alphabet E

E

Endings

Why are we talking about endings so early on in the alphabet? Well all good things must come to and end, and knowing how your story is going to end early on is a good thing.  You want to be able to track through the story all of your threads and prevent plot holes. 

Endings...and quite endless. 
There is the traditional happily ever after, the ones that leave you wondering what on earth happened, the ones that make you close the book with a mixture of happiness and pain...perfection completed...always so hard to create.

I feel the most important thing about endings is completion...if you aren't planning on continuing the story in a sequel there should be a feeling of resolution and completion. There have been stories I read where I finished feeling empty and wanting more...only to find out that is how the author left it, there was nothing more...that was it! Those were always horrible stories that made their way onto my black list.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Music Muse

This is one of my favorite songs from an Indie singer who has been pretty made popular on youtube and writes music inspired by the books she reads...which I think is super cool.

Based on the book Cinder (which is on my to read list still...) I love the Cinderella themes in this song, and yet...there are other things here, more than just simple straight forward song, it has so much more depth and could have so many more themes than just Cinderella.

The cry to be seen, the realization that they face so much more...it's beautiful...

Could this song fit in your story? What themes do you hear in this song?

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Author’s Alphabet D

D

Draft

One of my favorite and least favorite things about writing is the amount of drafts that accumulate, Sometimes I wish I could just write it once and be DONE. However...there is a beauty not to be surpassed in drafts. The first draft will always remain the most pure and most lovely part of the story. The first draft (if it doesn't bug me to death) is always my favorite version, untainted by anything it is perfect...until we let other people read it.

Spacing drafts can be very important, letting a manuscript sit for a few weeks before turning around and overhauling it for publication is important. Like other famous things like cheese...and wine (I wouldn't actually know about that one from personal experience but you know..) things get better with age. Leaving your lovely characters to sit for a few weeks in a dark drawer or a closed document allows you to look more optimistically and clearly about your story, also this preserves you from complete burn out.