Sunday, January 30, 2011

Appendix: HarperCollins Watching Inkpop

Thought this might be interesting to note while we're talking about publishing opportunities. HarperCollins is publishing a novel they discovered on, a site whose slogan is "the online community of rising stars in teen lit." If you're interested in writing for an audience of young people, here's a forum that facilitates e-publishing with the added bonus of potentially connecting you to a publisher.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

5 Ways You Can Get Published

So one of the major objectives of this blog is to encourage more Apostolic writers to break into print. Yet most of us don’t start out on the New York Times Bestseller List right out the gate. We typically need to take some baby steps. This week I’m sharing some ideas to help you get a few works under your belt, and perhaps minister to others in the process.

Greeting Cards
I thought of this ideas over Christmas. A wonderful lady from my home church has created her own greeting card company—she writes poems and draws/paints the artwork. She uses a local printer and voila—her own business, her own work being published, and a wonderful ministry that has encouraged others and made great connections with nonchurched in the community. Here are some tips.

Maybe the idea of writing a novel or even a story is overwhelming. How about this—keep a prayer journal. Jot down ideas as you pray and meditate. Team up with someone in your church who’s into music. Collaboration is a beautiful thing, and not only can you bless your local church, but I hear there’s this neat thing called youtube....

Drama or Skit for Church
Easter time’s almost here. Is your church doing something special? Ask. Write a drama if not. We have the best story—let’s tell it. Why not help your church? Why not exercise your gift?

There’s really no such thing as being an unpublished writer anymore—depending on how you define “published.” Everyone has the opportunity to share his or her message with the world, and blogs are a great venue to do this painlessly (and inexpensively). By the by, why not send in a devotional, a review of a church event, or an article to this blog’s mothership so you can minister to others while you put to use your writing talent?

Local Paper
I know of two separate stories several states apart of young people who were interested in writing and looking for a jumping off point. While still in high school, they volunteered to serve as reporters for their local paper, thus getting to crack into print-print and build a portfolio they’ve each used to later score paying gigs on the staff of larger papers. Not to mention, this is a great way to expand your network of contacts within your community. Who knows what God might later do through it?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Holy Ghost as Metaphor as Mission Field

I've been asked to participate/speak in a Arts in Worship class, so I've been mulling over accurately including (non-church) worship into fiction and non-fiction. The text is the justly lauded For the Beauty of the Church, which contains this gem from screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi:

"Artists genuinely perceive spiritual realities, and then they open up their mouths and speak in metaphor because they don't kjnow how else to get through to the rest of us who are so obtuse."

Finding the correct metaphors so that non-spiritually thinking humans can comprehend, then understand, then experience is our biggest spiritual challenge. Placing those metaphors into a fantastic story within beautiful sentences makes it even harder. But I refuse to accept it can't be done.

It's more likely some Christians with writing talent are refusing their mission field because it is hard, frustrating and we have to learn a new language (metaphors) that doesn't come easily and in many ways, is still being created.

Still, what an honor to be part of the team God entrusts to create a vibrant language! It's how we choose to see it I suppose.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Appendix A: Twain is the Day, Mehlville the Night

Despite the overwhelming applause of the Cognoscenti, I find Roberto Bolano wildly inconsistent. Granted, I haven't tackled any of his novels, but I've read enough of his short stories to not be smitten. That said, there's obviously a penetrating intelligence behind his writings.

This paragraph about North American literature from an interview seems especially astute.

Friday, January 14, 2011

All of my writing, lately, seems to be summed up as: Facebook wall posts. “How inert,” you may say, while careening through the pages of the latest vampire novel. But I only stated a fact about myself, that I enjoy and at the same detest scanning the walls of FB to see what current details about past and present friends has arisen in the form of posts, photos, and new friends collected lately. I hereby offer to you here at Word a few of my FB tips that will save you time, money, and face.

  1. Fauxpas. I recently posted, “Thanks to everyone who posts details of your vacation plans, so I'll know what time to go by and burglarize your house.” Need I say more?
  2. Fweeter. When you use Facebook to twitter away the trivial details of your day, you have thus committed an act of Fweeting. You fweet, and are thus guilty of being a Fweeterer. Please stop now before someone gets hurt.
  3. Likes. These are the most annoying posts of all, alluding to FB groups of which there is no limit in context or number, including, “If guns kill people, do pencils misspell words?”
  4. Facts. Why do I need to know that you had coffee are at work at a restaurant have sick kids watching sports on tv when I’ll know the most strenuous event in your day consists of letting the cat out since you brought it to my attention?
  5. Fringe. Of course, there are tons of things to do besides check on your friends and their statuses…there are addictive games, chat, and an infinite number of pics with people leaning their heads towards the middle making appropriate (and not) hand/lip signs to indicate to the rest of us FB’ers that we are not having near as much fun as they are.

My immediate goal each day as I scroll down the FB wall is to write my own post that will inspire at least ten comments. This spells obvious success, instant gratification for the writer, and that lukewarm feeling that I have somehow connected with an actual person, hopefully not still wearing pajamas in the afternoon, out there in FB land. Editing my posts is a breeze, as I delete any comments that detract from the obvious success of my post (take THAT homeboy). And I have written something, albeit tiny, in the grand library of published internet literature leading me to believe that I, in my tiny spot in Facebook Land, am a published author.

A final note. For those of us with

1-300 friends…honest beginner at FB.

300-500 friends…active FB addict.

500-1000 friends…invites random folk after friend list is exhausted in order to win.

1000+…Justin Bieber.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

For the reader who wants to like poetry


I didn't always like poetry. I hated it.

As a child, I thought poetry was dumb. I thought you had to pause at the end of each line and had to read it in a sing-song voice.

I started liking poetry because, like you and song lyrics, I liked the way the language itself sounds. I liked the way the words tasted when I said them. And it helped to realize the images and themes in poems snake from line to line. I found the more I read poetry aloud and heard poetry read by people who love it and appreciate the forms, the more my own appreciation grew.

Ways to read poetry

Some of the people who helped me love poetry were my college professors. We read poems together. We wrote poems. We read each others’ poems. We commented on what we liked about poems and what we hated. We explicated poems. (It sounds naughty, perhaps, and not to disappoint you, but it just means you take a poem apart, analyze it on various levels, and explain what it means, using lines from the poem to support your analysis.) We illustrated the imagery found in poems on with colored chalk on wall-to-wall chalkboards. We sat in the grass in the shade on sunny days and read poems. We used phony British accents when it seemed appropriate.

So my professors had a lot to do with my gaining a greater appreciation for poetry, but so did my classmates. Every month or so, we held a poetry circle, gathering to share our favorite poems or prose excerpts, often on related themes. In March, for instance, we called our evening, “March Hares and Mad-hatters” and read poems that pertained to madness. In October, we gathered around a bonfire in a sleepy hollow and read spooky stuff.


But don't let poetry itself scare you off! One of the reasons I like Billy Collins, and why he appeals to a larger popular audience, is his approachability. His poems are just plain fun to read and he is always poking fun at poets who take themselves too seriously. One of my favorite poems is Collins’s “Litany,” which, as he explains, is a parody of a Western love poetry that compares the beloved to various objects. You can listen to Collins’ reading of the poem, but for a real treat, listen to this three year old recite the poem from memory. That kid knows what poetry is all about.

It’s about the way the words taste on your tongue.