- Warm up vignette first. It will remind you to love your writing and will take some of the droll that can come with the wrong approach to writing.
- Don’t edit something just because it needs to be edited. It all needs to be edited. Read and do the work that calls you. Think of it like a conversation. You don’t have to drive through every topic that comes up. Drive through the ones that draw you. And stick with the conversation long enough, and you’ll have driven through each and every section of your book.
- Don’t postpone something you want to do because it will take time. Do it now, while you want to.
- Try not to get too bogged down in grammar and polish.
I have been making a lot of “development documents” for the novel, but I typically just draft when writing shorter pieces. I know I have a tendency to do development documents for things I’m afraid of getting wrong, and I think I also do it for the novel because I haven’t wanted to do “unnecessary work,” knowing how much time might be “wasted” if I write things that’ll just be thrown out.
In my drafting process, I read what I have over and over again, and when I do, if something strikes me as needing to be changed, I do it. Often this brings something else to mind or sight that needs to be changed, so I do that as well. And I keep reading and changing.
A portal threat (in a narrative) seems to assume that danger is only external to one’s own world. It’s just not realistic. And it has more in common with a simplistic and separatist worldview—that we will cordon ourselves off from all threats in order to be safe—than a truly good one (a godly one).
In the good one, the hero enters into the darkness and faces danger, even at her own expense, in order to save the rest of them. Or to save the ones on the other side of the portal. Or simply out of faithfulness to a godly call, which is just faith working through love.
I’m not sure if I want to have it or not. Tolkien doesn’t have a strict routine with it, though I believe he does have some commentary on things. Rowling also uses inner dialogue.
It seems that you can do a better job showing the progression of learning and feeling in the protagonist if you show not just how he or she acts but also how he or she thinks and feels. It’s a strength of writing that you can do this. It seems like it’d be a more fertile soil for showing the changes in the character, which is what the story is all about, really.
Some of my impetus for how I’ve been developing my world depends upon my inability to create without placing the gospel in whatever world I create. I feel like this is a shortcoming in me. I love a lot of worlds that don’t seem to incorporate the Gospel, like Harry Potter and Star Wars. They typically still have good versus evil, but there doesn’t seem to be any presence of God in them (and so no grounding for their good and evil—making them some kind of floating, rootless things, or making them dependent upon the audience’s assumptions about good and evil).
He rebelled. “I am not your son. Just look at me. I’m 2 feet shorter than you.”
“I have the records to prove it.”
“Hand them to me.”
Swipe. “There’s your records. Insolent boy.”
“No! My records!”
over ship and sky
A rubber-clad fisherman stared into the ridges of a corrugated sea. A filament line speared the water below. He glanced into the sky, squinting against rain droplets, the wrinkles at the edge of his eyes groping toward his gramophone ears like fingers. The clouds had darkened to charcoal. Pulling his raincoat tight, he picked up a Styrofoam cup half filled with cocoa-colored soil. He stood, gathered his line, and turned from the ocean. Drizzle wet his cheeks, and he pulled his coat tighter. A few gulls accompanied him, cawing like lunatics and interrupting the waves’ rhythmic weep.
Two statues, male and female, sat back to back on a dais, staring at the ground. Stone filled the figures’ ears, and grit their eyes. Baby birds chirped in nests on their shoulders. Children skipped around them, crouched upon them, imagined they were rock monsters. A girl with braids in her hair danced nearby, but they caught her attention, and she stilled. She moved closer, circling them, like Sherlock Holmes in a summer dress, peering into their eyes, tracing the rough curvature of their hands. She brushed away a bird’s nest from the male’s shoulders and with a spit-wet finger rubbed droppings from the other’s hair.