Friday, April 27, 2007

My Mission Statement

I don't see myself as a "christian writer", but rather as writer who's a Christian. For one thing, Christian publishers can be really picky about certain things. I tried writing a Christian romance a few years ago and got bogged down in all the restrictions... my Italian hero can't be Catholic, for example, nor a single parent. After two years of guilt for not working on it, I've decided to turn it into a regular novel some day with real stuff in it. So, Tea by the Sea fans, Ray and Ginger will get together eventually. She's just stuck in the kitchen right now staring into a box of pastries from Filomena's deli like a doll abandoned in a dollhouse.

My current project doesn't have a Christian theme to it. It's just a story I chose to write and I doubt any publisher would ever want it - it's not Christian enough for a Christian publisher and not nearly dark and violent enough for a secular one. I'm trusting that the mere act of writing it is in itself pleasing to God. My pastor friend Alison Bucklin says that doing anything God has given us a talent for is an act of worship.

I read a quote somewhere by John Grisham that he is "a writer who happens to be a Christian." I don't normally read his books, but I did happen to pick up The Testament in an airport once and was blown away by it, mainly because I didn't know what to expect. There was the Christian message clearly embedded into this gripping story - without being preachy. It was amazing. Now, I don't believe any of his other books are like that, but Grisham was able to do it in The Testament because of his reputation.

I want to do that... to establish myself as a secular author first in order to give me the platform from which to speak about God to people who love books but would never set foot in a Christian bookstore. I also want to write books in which the bad guys don't have all the ammo, and the good guys win because they are good, not by sheer dumb luck. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a perfect example of this... it is the heroes' innate goodness that allows them to succeed. Evil cannot comprehend the light.

Wow... I think I just wrote my mission statement.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Golden Gryphon Update

It's good! It's SO GOOD! (Doing the happy dance in my chair.)

I was really feeling stuck yesterday trying to figure out where the plot of my novel was going and thinking I'd have to go back to chapter one and rewrite from the beginning, which was the kiss of death for "Tea by the Sea." Well, it's not dead exactly, but just lying untouched in its crystal coffin, like Snow White.

I believe I am over 20,000 words now. This is the farthest I've ever gotten without being struck by writer's block.

The scribblings of my heart include these (hopefully) eternal words:

"Do not be surprised that the desire for great deeds resides in the hearts of women as well as men. Many things pass unnoticed and unrecognized where women toil quietly day by day.”

Don't get me wrong, I'm no raving feminist, but part of the purpose of this project is to tell an adventure story from the women's point of view. I love Tolkein's work fiercely and wish I could meet him in person (not possible this side of the grave) but he did leave the ladies on their pedestals for most of The Lord of the Rings. Eowyn is my hero, though I doubt I would have done as she did. I probably would have been back in Helm's Deep trying to figure out how to make enough porridge for all those refugees.

That is the wonderful thing about fiction though... you don't have to LIVE it, you just have to WRITE it. Which is exhausting enough, if you ask me.