Thursday, April 19, 2007

Time and Typing

Of all the things a writer has to do, I think making time to write may be among the hardest. There are so many things in life that can steal time away from writing: reading (a necessary activity for a writer), a day job, eating, sleeping...
I think the important thing is not how many words can you squeeze into a day, but just to write whenever you can. Do your best work, no matter what. And if it's horrible, don't give up. At least you've written something! Remember, even something dreadful might have potential. With editing (your own, please, first!), it could become something wonderful!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


Since writing Christian fiction is a goal of mine, having passed up the dreaming stage to the point where I'm actually working on it, finding this book at the library was like finding a handhold on a rock face when you're halfway up the mountain.

Dr. Stokes not only edits Christian fiction, she writes it as well, so she gives the reader both viewpoints. She begins with a definition of Christian fiction as accepted by the CBA, i.e., evangelical fiction, mentioning notable authors of fiction whose viewpoint is Christian but may not be evangelical, such as Madeline L'Engle, Richard Kienzle, C. S. Lewis, and others. She continues with an ennumeration of the types of Christian fiction, including romance, prophetic action/adventure (I don't think she labeled it that, exactly!) such as the Left Behind series of Dr. Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and the truly scary and wonderful books of Frank Peretti, Christian fantasy, etc. (It would be easier to write this review if I hadn't had to turn the book in yesterday!)

This book has a nuts and bolts approach to writing. Dr. Stokes dissects the writing process, and shows you how it's done for today's market. She gives the reader insightful techniques to polish and perfect their writing. This book would be useful even for writers of non-Christian fiction.

One extra plus: at the end of the book is a checklist with chapter headings, reiterating the points she made in that chapter, where the reader can analyze his or her motivation for writing, check off plot points, work on characterization, and make sure the book is moving in the direction it started. On a scale of one to ten for useful tools for writers, I'd give this one a ten!