Pronunciation Guide

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I always forget to think of a title. Um…um…something about a puzzle?!

A story is like a puzzle --- but a puzzle with extra pieces. Extra pieces that almost look like they go with the puzzle, but they actually don’t. Writing isn’t as simple as just putting the puzzle of a story together…it is about searching through the pieces and figuring out which ones fit, and which ones don’t.

I have compared my way of writing stories to putting together a puzzle. I have read articles about how you should write an entire draft, then go back and edit…and go through several revisions like that. I’ve read lists that say you should never edit as you go. And then, of course, I have read other lists/articles that say to do what works for you, and ignore the “rules” that don’t.

For me, I cannot just write a story from start to finish. My mind simply does not work in that way; I get pieces and parts as I go, and fit them together. Ideas do not remotely come to me in order. I nearly always know how the story will end --- but oftentimes, I don’t really know how it will get there. Sometimes I have very solid ideas going into something…and other times, not so much. Sometimes the story goes exactly the way I thought it would, with very few changes…other times, my characters surprise me. Or I think of cool ideas, and go after them…and they change the course of everything.

But I was thinking about it just a moment ago…and I realized what I wrote in that first paragraph --- it isn’t just about putting together the puzzle. I also have to sift through pieces that seem to fit, but maybe don’t. Or perhaps they do fit --- but not where I intended to put them, and I have to shift things to make it all work. Does that make sense? Sometimes aspects of ideas need to change, but the ideas themselves can remain.

I figured some rather big stuff out today. Or, at least started to figure it out. Without giving anything away…something specific happens at the end of book 2. This something has to happen, and it has to happen then. It is the culmination of the rest of the story [whatever happens in it]. There is another idea I had a while back that I have been debating about even keeping. It was a big plot point back when the focus of the story was something else…but now the focus is not so much that something else, and so the idea in question became sort of…seemingly, unnecessary. BUT…today, as I looked at things…several things started clicking in my mind. Several ways to keep that idea, tweak it a bit…and bring about the end of book 2.

…Essentially, instead of that idea leading to ______, which led to _____ [the former point of the story]…now, I think, it will lead to the ending of book 2.

And that…though not what I expected…is really exciting. And not only is there a shift in that, but book 2 will now end on even more of a cliffhanger [which I hate, of course]…and I have about eight different ways it could go to choose between. I have a few I am leaning toward more than others. It is just cool to me that something that was nearly about to be thrown out…could lead to so many new ideas.

I love figuring stuff out.
And I LOVE the way book 3 will likely start. =) =)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

My phone just told me it has 20% battery left. Aw, such a smart phone.

…Well, hi. =)

So, this is just a little update [I think].

I did some writing yesterday, some stuff about when my main girl meets some other people. I already had most of it, but I added some more to it. Changed how a conversation goes…yeah. Added some more to it [and it still needs way more]. It was fun. =) See my smiley face? That means I am not being facetious. That means this is actually a FUN part of the story!! [And not just my version of “fun”.]

Today --- I think it was mostly today? --- I…okay. Let me rephrase.

I think something will have to change. An age when certain things happen. [That is vague enough, yes? Yes.] It is not a huge deal, but it is…um…involved? Like, to make this change isn’t a huge issue; first off, it hasn’t really come into the story yet at all, so I don’t have to make sure I fix things in parts I’ve already moved on from…and secondly, it…well, it just isn’t a big deal.

BUT…if I do make this change…there are a LOT of documents where I will need to mark this change. Blah. And that will take quite a bit of time.

OH. And at the moment, when she meets those people…I think she is going to kind of have a meltdown. As I have added stuff to what I had…her fear is just coming out more. I want it to be very realistic, so…yeah.

Realism is what we are going for.

That is all.
Off to write!
[Or, more likely…make that change and start implementing it into my bazillion different documents.]

Saturday, May 25, 2013

…Titles are stupid. There, I said it.

Be warned: This might be long.

Several weeks ago, Tim Lambesis, the vocalist of As I Lay Dying [one of my favorite bands], was arrested for trying to hire someone to murder his wife. There is some speculation over whether it is real, or a set-up…but I am just going with the assumption that it is true. I haven’t said much about it, but I’ve thought about it quite a bit. And this morning, I had a dream about talking to him.

I was in a building, in an oddly-shaped room. About ten graduating seniors stood against one wall; on the other side of the room, there was some sort of mini press conference. There were only about twenty people over there, scattered throughout the chairs. Tim got up in front of them and said something --- I think it was like, “I’m sorry for what’s happened,” --- and then walked past the people and out the front door.

I watched him go for a second, hesitating, then said to myself, “…Just go do it!” So I ran after him, caught up, and tapped him on the arm/back to get his attention. He looked over and kind of slowed down, but kept walking.

Staying beside him, I said, “I just wanted to tell you that your fans --- or, at least me --- …I’m not mad at you. I don’t hate you. I’m not wishing for terrible things to happen to you.” At this, he stopped and turned more so he was facing me. He said something along the lines of, “I just don’t know why people think there is only one God, or that he lives inside of you, inside your shirt.” [I’m not sure if he meant to say “heart”, or what! Haha!]

I didn’t really know what to say to that --- his response seemed really random; especially since he has professed openly to be a Christian --- but I said something like, “I just hope that good comes out of this.”

He said something about how he wishes people would just leave him and his family alone [this wasn’t directed at me; it was general]. I repeated my desire for good to come from the situation. Then a car drove up behind him, and he got in. As I watched the car drive off, I thought of stuff I wanted to say, should have said. Stuff about Manasseh, and how I’ve prayed that God will really get his attention through this…that he will either come back to God, or come to actually know him for the first time.

…I have a point. I think. ;)
Though…I can’t figure out a way to explain my thoughts without going into all of this stuff that happened years ago. And I don’t really want to do that, because it is just…long. And unnecessary.

…Bottom line…God has changed me. Perhaps it would have happened anyway, without this story…but the story is one of the biggest vessels he has used. And is still using. I’ve always been drawn to redemption, always loved it…but the more I write, the more God chisels away at my old way of looking at things.

Tim is not a good person who did a bad thing. He is not a bad person who has been pretending to be good. He is a fallen person, redeemed by the grace of God. But somewhere along the line, he took his eyes off of God…and put them on himself. And a focus of self will lead to only destruction. It may look different for each of us…but left to ourselves, we naturally self-destruct, and destroy everything around us. Whoever we are.

…There are no “good people”. We are all flawed, all broken…and we all desperately need God. You may refuse to believe that, may think I am stupid for believing that…may think I am close-minded or something. But it is the opposite; I am not close-minded toward any person or people-group or whatever. Why? …There is nothing different about us. We all bleed red. We all cry. We all get upset. And we all are made in the image of God. There is one race, and one race only: the human race. Different skin colors, different cultures, different ways of looking at the world…but all human. And so, all infected with the humanly-incurable disease of sin. There is no difference; ALL have fallen short of the glory of God.

We all fall the same way…and we are all saved the same way: by the blood of Jesus.

What I said to Tim in the dream…is my heart toward him. If I saw him in real life, and could talk to him, that is what I would say. [Though I’d probably say a lot more. And I’d hug him too.] It is my heart toward not only him, but toward anyone who has messed up. …Especially people who know God, love God…and feel so far away from God now because of things they’ve done [or haven’t done].

I am not mad at him. I don’t hate him, at all. I would never wish for awful things to happen to him, for any reason. I hold no vindictive thoughts toward him. …All I want…is for him to genuinely repent and surrender to God. My prayer for him is this: That in his distress, he would seek the favor of God and humble himself greatly before him. And that God would restore him, and use this for good. And that Tim would truly know God after this, in a way he never did before. [2 Chronicles 33:12-13.]

One step toward God is all it will take. If he would just turn to God, God would run to him.

…I realize that this is not exactly story-related. But in a way, it kind of is. Because this is me, my heart. And this desire for redemption is the heart of my story. You can read my story and not really see this. You can read my story without knowing me, and I think you would still find it engaging and such. [I hope!] But my truest hope, beyond any desire for fame or whatever [because I really have none]…is that this story…will be used by God to change someone else, besides me. That someone else will see people, life, God, and redemption…in a new way because of what I have written.

NO ONE…and NOTHING…is beyond redemption. If they are willing to accept it…and surrender it. God can make beauty rise out of the most terrible thing. He IS the Resurrection and the Redeemer. And the Healer.

…So, there are my thoughts on that.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I have to be at work at 5. I still need a shower. …Why do I do this?

I do not have much time, so this will be brief.

1. I wrote today.
2. I wrote in chapter 16.
3. I was able to move things around successfully, and I am much happier with the way it flows.
4. I was able to add in the fun little conversation between two guys.
5. Almost no one knows why that conversation is so fun to me…but someday you will.
6. I now have ten pages in chapter 16.

…And, the final and best one…

7. This picture.

This, my friends…is a thing of beauty.
Know what it is?

It is her path through the city…and out the gate.

Hallelujah. Goodbye, awful city.
…’Till next time.

;) ;)

Friday, May 17, 2013

I have honey and cinammon on my face, and it ITCHES!! AHHHHH!

…That title has absolutely nothing to do with this post. But it is what I am currently feeling, so we are going with it.

I met with Hannah today. It has been a couple of months [I think?] since we last met to discuss story stuff. It was really nice to talk with her, and get some feedback on my latest chapters.

…And I have to say…I am amazed at how my story has changed. Of how, to be quite honest, God has taken it and sort of…run with it.

One of the things Hannah and I discussed today is the original ideas I had…the way I thought the story was going to go. The way I planned for it to go. One of the biggest differences is that the place where my girl has been for the past fifteen chapters…that was originally going to be a GOOD place. [If you can believe that!] The woman was going to be genuinely nice, not insane with hatred and grief. …Yeah. I’m totally serious.

…Then I saw that human trafficking video…and had the so-very-innocent thought of, “…I could put this into my story somehow…maybe the inn is _______.”

Bam. Change. Of. Direction.

And then the idea of a certain guy doing a certain something…BAM. Another change of direction.

Oh, there were traces before of what it has become --- such as my main character not being some “chosen one” type of person; I always wanted it like that --- but it is playing out in a vastly different way than I expected. Before, it was more along the lines of a love story, sort of; romantic love was the thing that changed stuff, and my main girl was the one who got the ball rolling in that direction.

Now…not so much. The romance is still there --- it is me, after all; there has to be some level of romance --- …but it is no longer the focal point.

The story, at the very core, when all is said and done…is not so much about love…as it is about redemption. [Though they kind of go hand-in-hand a bit…]

And in this story…everyone needs redemption. From my main girl, to her love interest, to that other guy [ =D =D ], to that poor, poor family that has been through unspeakable things [I am so mean]…to the other-other guy, and the other-other-other one…and all of the other girls…and…all of those wonderful, brave people…

…It is entirely fine for you to be lost right now. ;)

My hope for this story is this: That it will continue on the path it is on. That it will continue to change me, and I will continue to let it be changed; that I will never hold so tightly to what I think it should be that I miss what it is meant to be. That it will speak with power to the greatest truth in the world: There is redemption, and it is available to anyone who accepts it.

…And that God will use it for his glory.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

BIG NEWS [so big, that I put it in all caps!]

…It is time.

I am doing it.

This week, I am going to make it my goal to start the publishing process for my short story collection.

What exactly that will look like, I am unsure. But I am doing it. No more procrastinating, no more postponing, no more, “I plan to get that published someday…”

Nope. It is time.

…Pray for me, please. For God to lead this…and for me to be led.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I have done stuff, I swear.

Well, now it HAS been a week.

I wish I could say that in my absence, I’ve been hard at work on my story. But, alas, that is not the case. [Blah and double-blah.] I have figured some stuff out though, such as…

1. …Elements of the relationship between my main girl and her love interest; I think he will be in the story more than previously thought. [Yippee!!!]

2. …That I am really struggling with not writing about rape. [Eek. …Sigh. It has been my focus for about two years; give me a break.]

3. …More about what happens when she gets out. [Yay!]

4. …Even more about what happens when she gets out. [Different aspects of it, yay!]

5. …How she learns to trust people. [Aww!]

6. …And, I am currently figuring out who exactly is there when she gets there. [This is fun. And annoying. Stupid Paint Cleartype crap…]

If you are confused, I am not sorry. =) Okay, I am…but I am not. You can’t know yet. Sorry.

So, that is all. Hopefully I will write on here before next Friday! Ha!

Friday, May 3, 2013

You reached out in love to show me life

Wow, it’s almost been a week. Sorry about that. …At least I’ve been doing story stuff!

So. I figured something out the other day…something big. And last week, I figured out something equally as big. These two things…though somewhat connected, are quite different ideas…and I’ve been needing both for a while. Like…I don’t even know how long. …I’m sorry if my thoughts throughout this are scattered; Simba is playing with a box and being rather loud and sporadic, as cats tend to be when they play with boxes. At least my cats.

It is kind of hard to tell, but the box he is in is actually inside a bigger box.

…Anyway…back to what I was saying. The two big story parts that I recently figured out…oh my goodness. It is just so, so good to have these parts. I can’t explain…but just know that things are coming together!

I am so excited. lasjglajerglkj2!!

…BUT…I did want to talk about something that I dislike in my story.

The title of this post is from a song I was listening to as I pulled up this document. [I write all my posts in a Word document; otherwise the formatting is…twitch-inducing.] As the girl sang that line, I thought of how God reaches out in love to help us, to show us life…and about how certain people in my story are reaching out, but not in love. Oh, they say they want to help, they pretend to care…but they really don’t.

…And this all makes me think about how often this situation happens in real life. …We live in a really, really screwed up world, in case you haven’t noticed. People pretend, they manipulate…they make it seem like they want to help you or be with you, but they are really only interested in furthering their own agenda. [This is not everyone, of course.]

…It is such a relief to me…to know that God does not have ulterior motives when it comes to me. He is not manipulating me, offering to help me with the intent to screw me over for his own gain. He reaches out IN LOVE to show me LIFE. Not for his own gain, not to use me and then dump me. No. He reaches out to me --- I do not reach to him --- and he does so in perfect love. He does so as the epitome of love. And he does it to help me, to save me, to give me what is good. To give me what is best. To lift me from darkness into light. To lift me out of the wreckage, out of the ashes…and set my feet in a spacious place.

…Maybe some of you reading this feel like God has treated you unfairly. That he has indeed screwed you over, left you stumbling down the stairs in the dark…left you standing alone in the middle of a field with an army bearing down on you. If you feel that way, or have ever felt that way…well, let me just tell you that the things I just described…are what I have felt myself. So you are in good company. …Or, at least company that understands.

This life is hard. It is painful. It is frustrating. It is disappointing. Things don’t work out the way we hope…and it seems like everyone lets us down. Sometimes, like the girl in my story, you don’t know who to trust…you’ve been burned, really badly…and you fear that everyone has ulterior motives when it comes to you.

But I am learning…that God does not have a dark side. I do…and people do…but HE does not. There are no shadows with him. There are no ulterior motives. There are no lies. There is no manipulation. There is no selfish agenda. There is no fear.

There is just love.

A love that reaches out…reaches down…comes unflinchingly into the very pit of darkness…gives everything it has…to show us life. To offer life. …And to give us a way to real life.

After several run-ins with people who just want to use her, my girl encounters some who seem different. Some who claim to want to help her, who insist that they truly care about her. They offer the possibility of hope.

…But she has to decide whether or not to take that risk.

A new life is offered…but it is not hers unless she accepts it. She can’t have it both ways; she can’t stay where she is, and also live in the hope they embody. …She has to choose to trust them, and go with them.

…Likewise, hope is offered to you. True love has proposed to you, and stands waiting for your answer.

“…What are you going to do?”