Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Just Thinking...

Your profession is not what brings home your paycheck. Your profession is what you were put on earth to do with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling. ~Vincent Van Gogh

I love this quote but with respect to Mr. Van Gogh, I would want to change just one word - "becomes" should be "is".

You see, I do believe that we were put on earth for a grand purpose - and the only way to truly live out that purpose is to walk so closely with God that He guides you into it. I know I will write until the day I go home to be with Him because it is what I am supposed to do. What that look like may change over the years, so I choose to trust God with the doors He opens and with the doors that He closes.

Work can be a privilege.

I also realize that it is through writing that I communicate best. I can articlate better on a blog than I can in a "real" conversation. That just makes me different. We all have different ways we communicate best. I have a friend that throws get-togethers in her neighborhood to reach out to others. She communicates through her hospitality. I can't bring myself to do what she does, and that's okay, because we are both serving the kingdom of God.

I've moved on to page 6 of the screenplay today and it feels just like when you're making a snowman, when the ball you've formed can now be freely rolled around to create the foundation for the large ball at the bottom. It becomes easier to pack on the snow because just moving it around makes it all stick together.

I'm running into all sorts of questions as I go. I know what I want to do, but am not always sure of the proper format - I'm into following rules:-)

Anyhow, here's to passion!

Monday, November 28, 2005

1,200 to 100

So my series is more than 1,200 pages long if you put all the books together. That's a lot of story. As I started to prepare the outline and pick out the part I wanted to tell, I wondered if I'll be able to get it all in there.

At least I won't have to worry about filling it out, I just need to make sure I don't bloat the thing.

I'm already a little sad that I can't go into several story lines - it will just be too much to reasonably deal with.

I wrote two pages today - yes, dismal I know, but I wrote. That and reviewed my Act One materials, trying to make sure I keep in mind as much as I can. I looked over "formatting", reviewed "visual images" and then got stuck on an article that Thom Parham wrote.

Because frankly, even though Beka deals with being a Christian, I don't want it to be like so many of those "bad films". Even though I write from a Christian worldview, I want to be able to deal honestly with my audience, move them with beauty and say something meaningful without ever saying it.

Can I do this? I wonder.

And if I can do this well, will I ruin my chances of doing well in the contest?

If only I could talk to the contest judges and find out their thoughts on Hollywood and the movie industry.

But it's not really what I should focus on anyway, really. I should just tell the story, as well as I possibly can. That's really all I can do. I can't control what they want, how they react or what will happen.

I might as well control it while I can - and just write it!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Becoming Beka: The Movie

One question. Why do I always wait until a deadline is staring me in the face to get working???

If I had the answer to that, I'd be a lot less stressed. So, needless to say, I am now forty days from the screenplay deadline. Forty days is such a - Biblical number. But it's not much time at all.

Not to say I haven't been working on it. I've got a decent outline and I've had scenes playing in my head as if I were actually directing the thing. But as far as the actual screenplay - just two words - FADE IN - not that I really need those, I just wanted to get something on the page.

I downloaded Final Draft (I finally broke down and bought it because I can't stand the software I've been using and Final Draft allows me to creat a PDF file so that I can get others to read it and give me their brutally honest opinion.)

I'm ready to go.

Sort of. You see, once I realized that this was the movie I needed to write I was really excited. But now that I'm faced with actually writing and submitting it, I'm now struggling with fear - all the same ones (will it stink?) and some new ones (what if I'm not cut out for this?) It's never easy to put your work out there, but I don't want to lower my expectations just to avoid disappointment. I want to go for it. For once in my life I want to throw myself into something because I want to, and forget about the outcome.

Today is a new day, though.

And today I will start writing.

After all, nothing will happen if I don't get it written. Oh yeah, and since I have to mail the entry that takes a couple more days off the time I have...

Here's to the beginning...

You can also check out my posts today at 4:12 LIVE and Christian Authors Network.

Monday, November 21, 2005

My Interview

Check out my interview with Gina Holmes over at First Novel Journey.

Let me know what you think:-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The M word

Marketing, that is. I understand the concept but it's just not an easy area for me. I grew up with a Dad in the publishing business. He published trade newspapers and well, he was very good at it. He started a multi-million dollar enterprise right out of our basement. He had a gift. But he was also very bold and forward (that is actually putting it very nicely) and it embarrassed me sometimes.

So while being a reluctant marketer is understandable, it's really not a very good excuse. Marketing is part of writing. Right now I am a few months out of my next book release. Which means it is time to set up some book events and speaking engagements. None of which I actually want to do, but know that I should.

Recently, on one of my writing loops, several well-known authors who shall remain nameless, discussed the fact that they don't really do any marketing, they write their books and leave it in God's hands. They feel like marketing is not something they should do. There are others who felt that not marketing was akin to "hiding their light under a bushel". I don't know where I fall because my not wanting to market has a lot more to do with fear than anything else.

Face it, writing is an exercise in vulnerability. Even sending in a piece you've written exposes you to scrutiny and possible rejection by a perfect stranger. Then, if a publisher buys it, then your work is "out there" for public scrutiny. It's not a world for the faint of heart. Marketing is like that too because some people just won't be interested no matter what you do. Even standing in a bookstore greeting people can be awkward and embarrassing for some people.

It comes down to doing what you feel God calling you to do. I can only help my book so much, but I should at least get out there and try - work up the courage and set up the book events. I don't have to do everything listed in "1001 ways to market your book", I just have to do the ones I feel God telling me to do.

Believe me, that's going to be hard enough. So this is my way of trying to stay accountable. My goal today: get the phone numbers of all the stores I am planning on calling to set something up.

One step at a time:-)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Food & Writers

It's so easy to eat mindlessly while I'm sitting up here at my computer. That, and since I do my writing in a seated position - well, let's just say it's not always good to have ample amounts of time to eat and not move around.

And I also have ample reasons to look at this problem:-)

Everytime I feel God's tug to get me to eat better and be healthier it's not exactly something I greet with much enthusiasm. I feel just like Paul - "I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do - this I keep on doing." (Rom 7:18-19)

Later, he goes on to say "Who will recue me from this body of death?"

That about sums it up. It comes down to a lack of discipline, and not wanting to die to my own flesh. I know that in my head, but actually trying to do something about it - that's a different story. While God may want to bring discipline to one area of our lives, it really has a deeper effect on us because dying to ourselves helps us share in the sufferings of Christ in some small way.

I was at a retreat this weekend where they mentioned a quote by AW Tozer.

One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas, the sacred and the secular.

He goes on to (basically) say that when we are engaging in spiritual acts we feel good because we know we are pleasing God, but everything else (all the mundane things of living from laundry to lunch to scrubbing a bathroom) seems somehow a waste of time.

But using Christ as our example we learn that this is a misconception. Paul's exhortation to "do all things for the glory of God" is real - ALL things, not just what we consider to be spiritual.

In an effort to look at some things in my life, I fasted on Monday and pondered the whole sacred vs. the secular as I cleaned my house. I purposed to do it "unto God" and not look at it as simply another chore to be completed. And you know what, God spoke to me through the clutter and I learned that just like my house, I'm more worried about the general appearance than the details. As I dusted and removed the clutter, I saw that is exactly what God wants to do in my heart - that it was time to get some corners cleaned. It was amazing - and it felt like worship.

So while I don't want to confront the twin sisters of food and exercise, I sense that God is using the natural to work on something deeper in me.

More of You and less of me...literally.

Click to read AW Tozers amazing thoughts.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Even though I'm competitive by nature, my learned response to competition has been to play with no expectation. That can be a good thing - but the Bible talks about running the race, not just to run it but to actually win the prize. I've been pondering that for the last few days.

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize? 1 Corinthians 9:24

Now Paul of course is talking about Jesus and winning people to Him as our prize in this particular verse but the principle of it reaches farther than that. Too often in my own life I have been guilty of not even entering the "race" for fear of failure. If you don't get your hopes up then you can't be disappointed. What a sad way to live. But I seriously doubt that anyone who has truly won something noteworthy did so by saying, well I'll just do what I can. They WANT that gold and they go after it with all of their might. So yes, there are often tears if they don't get it, but they wouldn't have even had a shot if they hadn't thrown themselves into the race.

It is how we are supposed to walk our lives with God too, a reckless abandon to know Him and become more like Him. But even more than that, to pursue the gifts that He's given us - not for our glory, but for His. Only He can know the true motive of our hearts, and our hearts are often far from pure, but when they are pure we should be going for it with all of our might.

I found a screenwriting contest and when I read about it, I could only think about Beka. Beka's story is a perfect match for what they are looking for, and I also think that because it's about a teenager, it's also highly marketable. I've only considered writing a screenplay for Becoming Beka in passing because I knew it would be too spiritual for Hollywood. But this contest is tailor-made and I feel compelled by God to write it - to give it a try. But the weird thing is, weird for me anyway, is that I really want to win it. I don't just want to write the screenplay and try - I want to win.

But not because I want something out of it oddly enough, it's because I know that the story is changing lives, I get letters sharing that with me, and a movie would be an awesome way to share Beka's story with even more people.

I'm not naive - I know it's going to be a tough battle - maybe the judges aren't even looking for something like Beka. It doesn't matter - I'm going to enter to win and I'll deal with the results whatever they may be. I've often been too nice in my walk, unwilling to make waves, moving aside to let others pass. Those may be good things in some ways, but it's also made me forget that God wants to train our hands for war; to let our lights shine from the top of a mountian you have to actually get to the top of the mountain. And you have to want it.

I'm not going to be ashamed of wanting it anymore. I'll do everything I can, and leave the results to Him.