CONTEST GUIDELINES: If you’re a middle schooler, high schooler, or college student and a writer, here’s your chance to shine. Sign up to follow my blog at http://www.nathanlumbatis.com, and then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org letting me know you are registering for the contest.
RULES: Submit a short story or the first chapter from your manuscript (app. first 15 pages or less) by email on or before May 23rd. Most genres are welcome, but any inappropriate material (gore, sexually explicit themes/scenes, etc.) will automatically disqualify the entry.
WINNERS: The best three entries will be chosen as winners: one from middle school, one from high school, and one from college. They will then receive a written critique of their entry, and the edited version of their work will be posted on my website and social networking profiles.
“When did I start on this path?”
Do you ever ask yourself that question? It’s something I’ve thought about a lot. When did I first know I wanted to marry my wife? When did I realize I wanted to become a counselor? When did I begin to love writing?
For you, the questions might be different, but they’re worth reflection. It’ll give you insight into how God has orchestrated your life: led you, pushed you, given you reign, or smacked you upside the head. The flip-side? It’ll encourage you for the future. Confused about something in your life? Not sure how all the pieces will fit together? Wait and watch. See how God will use it. Life is like a mystery story where every detail is there for a reason.
I remember when I really started on the path to writing. I didn’t know what it would come to in the end (and still don’t, if I’m being entirely honest). But it all began when I was homeschooling as a teenager. Nearly every day, my sister and I would hurry to finish our lessons so we could go exploring. The eastern fork of the Choctawhatchee River ran behind my house, and the sloping, wooded river basin was the perfect place to get lost, forget about the real world, and set up camp underneath an ancient beech tree. It was ideal for a little writing. And great inspiration for story-scenes and maps, which every fantasy author knows is a must.
What about your story? Your gifts? Your abilities? Already figured out how God will use them in your life, or are you still waiting to bloom? Just give it time. It is spring, after all.
Today, I am the featured blogger on Mikelyn Bolden’s website. For those of you who don’t know, Mikelyn is a fellow Dothan writer, and is the author of The Waiz Chronicles. I’ve posted my article below, but click on her photo to head on over to her website.
The stories we tell come from our hearts, or, are at least derived from our own grid of thinking. My fellow author and friend, Nathan Lumbatis, recently signed with Ellechor Publishing and will be releasing his first novel in the summer of 2015. He chose a more specific genre to tell his tale. See his reasoning and get a sneak peak of his book below:
Christian fantasy is interested in the “What if?” It presumes a Christian worldview, but then lets the imagination run wild.
What if you and your siblings discover that a musty wardrobe will transport you to a magical world where animals talk, magicians are fallen stars, and a Wild Lion is willing to sacrifice himself for your brother?
What if you find yourself stumbling through the tombs of Anak, desperately trying to solve the mystery behind a sinister family and the treasure it’s hoarding?
What if the Ancient One gave you gifts of prophecy and wisdom to lead a nation to greatness through your protege Arthur Pendragon?
Many of you may recognize these story lines from The Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis), The Tombs of Anak (Peretti), and Merlin (Lawhead). They all have Christian themes, but if we’re honest, it’s the way those themes are interwoven with the mythological and supernatural that give them such strong appeal.
In my novel, Daniel and the Sun Sword (Summer 2015), the main character is thrust into a world where Christianity and mythology intersect. The plot presumes that the myths of the world were born from mankind’s fleeting glimpses into the battle between God and Satan. In this, the first book of the Sons and Daughters series, Daniel and his two friends are transported to Machu Picchu, Peru, where they find that the gods and monsters of Incan legend are alive and kicking. . . or so it seems. An ancient deity known simply as the Father adopts him as his son, and sets him on a quest to unite the shards of a magical sword. But when that quest pits him against the “god” of the underworld, Daniel discovers he isn’t simply battling for a sword of legend. He’s partaking in an ancient battle between Life and Death and the supernatural forces behind them. There may be more to his Heavenly Father than he first realized.
With the success of series like Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Kane Chronicles, mythology is in the forefront of teen literature. The “What if?” of Daniel and the Sun Sword takes that interest and focuses it on the Gospel.
What is your favorite “What if”? If you’re a writer, what “What ifs?” could you weave into your next story?
You’ve got the most awesome idea for a novel, and you’re pounding away on your outline. The plot is so exciting that even you can’t wait to find out what happens next. No doubt it’ll blow everyone away, and the money’s going to be pouring in so fast old J.K. Rowling will be knocking on your door for a loan.
Pretty soon, all you’ll have to do is write the actual book and then get it published.
Turning from the planning phase to the actual writing can be a downer, especially if it’s a first attempt at a novel. And, if you’re like most authors I know, you don’t have the time or money (or desire) to get an MFA in Creative Writing. Luckily, there are several very cost effective and efficient ways to begin learning how to craft your story.
There are loads of books written on the art of writing, but here are the ones I’ve found the most helpful.
The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier: How to Solve the 10 Mysteries of Weak Writing by Bonnie Trenga is an easy to understand, humorous, and (happily) short book that will help you make sense of all those grammar rules you forgot you ever learned.
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Browne and King wittily explains how you can self-edit your manuscript and includes exercises on how to strengthen your writing.
Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks will tell you everything you need to know about writing styles, plots, points of view, writing dialogue, and character development if you are targeting a young adult audience.
If you really really really want to get published, find a creative writing group in your area that focuses on critiquing its members’ work. Nothing will improve your writing better than some constructive criticism.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in a city with a group, there are critiquing groups online. My favorite is authonomy.com. It’s free, easy to use, and has thousands of members desperate to trade critiques so they can improve their own standing on the site. What’s more, the five top-rated authors are reviewed for publication by Harper Collins each month. That’s a deal you can’t beat.