Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What a crazy year 2007 has been.

Among other things, I became a part-time youth minister at our church. All of sudden, my walk with Christ became more than personal. It was public, watched by my family, my youth group, my church. I realized the enormity of living out my faith in such a way to bring honor to God, became agonizingly aware of my sinful nature, and learned to trust in Jesus in a way I never had before. Certainly, I’ve learned to depend on Him to make up for my shortcomings, and I’ve stepped out in faith, believing that since He’s called me to this task, He’ll also equip me.

Just last week, I paid a visit to the home of one of my youth group students, and I realized what a blessing it is for each member of my family to have their own room. I took hand-me-downs to a young girl whose family did not have money to go school clothes shopping, and I realized how fortunate I am to own a closet full of outfits and several pairs of shoes. As I write this, the words flowing easily from my fingertips, I realize how many of my students struggle just to get through English.

I’ve been so blessed.

I’ve told God that several times over the course of my life. I confirm it anew each day that I get up and do what I love—pour out my thoughts onto a blank page.

Thank you, God, for this precious gift. It is with a grateful heart that I consecrate my words to You, asking that You take them, and bless them, and use them for the honor of Your Name.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What is it about writing bad guys that is so much fun? Just the other day, I wrote a scene in which the bad guy held the hero at sword point, his lips curled in an evil sneer, the lust for blood making his face warm with glee. It was fun!

Reading the bad guy is a delight, too. Admit it. Don’t you love the shivers you get reading about a really nasty character late at night, the covers pulled to your chin, the shadows in the corners of the room making you jump?

So what is it? What makes these bad guys so interesting? Deep down, I think it’s because there is a part of me that wishes I could be really bad. It’s the flesh part, but still…I wonder what it might be like to act and think like one of my characters, without regard for feelings or consequences. Could I scheme like the murderer in my latest cozy mystery? Plot maniacal twists and turns like the villain in my historical? I think so. I might even be able to get away with it. After all, I’ve had to learn something from all that research I’ve done on police investigations.

Hmm…guess I’m not so far from that sin nature after all. Buuwhaaaaaa…..

Monday, November 05, 2007

My son had to write a paper for a college English class. Wanting to impress the professor, a demanding but well-liked man, Ben asked me to proof his essay before he turned it in.

What? My son wants me, the writer and freelance editor to proof a college English paper? Feeling proud and a teensy bit smug, I graciously agreed to critique the paper.

Now, my son is an apt student. He did well in high school and so far, has managed to hold his own in college, but this sweet, intelligent, bright boy had no idea how to write a creative essay. So, I fixed it. Quite well. I added descriptions. Sensory details. Even a touch of romance when I included a blurb about his girlfriend.

Ben was a little concerned when he saw the changes I'd made, but I assured him that my suggestions were exactly what his paper needed to earn a good grade. Still dubious but trusting his mom, the writer, he turned in the paper.
A day went by. Then a week. Finally, the long anticipated grade - "C"

What was that crazy, boneheaded professor thinking? Did he not recognize great writing when he saw it? How could he claim to be a teacher of English? I almost drove down to that university, intent on giving the professor a piece of mind...until I read the comments he'd handwritten on the top of the page:

Your overall premise is good. The writing is strong and conflict was evident. However, the assignment was to write a comparative essay on two of the major car companies. I'm not sure that "bitter rivals intent on mutual destruction" was quite what I had in mind. I did think the "soft highlights created in my girlfriend's flaxen hair from the glow of the dash lights" was a nice touch though.

Needless to say, I doubt my son will be asking me to critique another paper any time soon. Unless he's writing a fiction essay...

DISCLAIMER: Don't worry. I didn't REALLY write my son's paper for him. Honest. Nothing in this post is true, remotely accurate, or in any way created to be taken seriously. Well, almost nothing.

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