We have two rooms full of books. Enough, right? We were happy until we purchased a Kindle and received a free month of Kindle Unlimited with our purchase. It was like having Christmas every day for a month with so many free books available.
Have you ever felt like a wall flower? The kind that decorates wall paper? There to see, but not to interact? I have. When I was in high school, I made friends with the students who didn’t fit in. They weren’t in clubs or on sports teams. They weren’t inside the gym dancing with other students during lunch break in the winter. They had no money to spend at the little convenience store up the road from our high school. They didn’t have pretty clothes. You could practically see the words written on their fronts like scarlet letters. “I’m an outsider. I don’t belong.”
When writers are working on a book, taking the time to stop and do research is difficult. Many of us equate research with the onerous tasks connected with doing high school and college research papers. Whether one is writing fiction or nonfiction, here are a few tips on what not to do when you are doing research.
Not doing research. You think you already know, so you don’t do necessary research. You don’t question. You fail to ask yourself if what you wrote is really true. In the first draft of the second book of my series, I had the characters standing on their heads in a turned-over space craft, and the universe was divided into quadrants. One of my Beta readers said, “There’s no right side up in space. And where did quadrants come from, Star Trek?” I’m glad she called those errors to my attention, as such mistakes can damage a writer’s credibility.
Writers are encouraged to read books of all genres. I try to do that when I’m not digesting books on writing. Recently someone gave me Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. Even though English was one of my majors in college, I never read Hemingway. I decided to see why he is so great.
Hemingway probably broke a dozen rules for today’s writers. Nothing dramatic happens in the first chapter. It is filled with long paragraphs of description and character analysis. In fact, that’s how the whole book reads. I couldn’t discern what modern readers would call a plot. Near the end of the book, I discovered a thin plot of relationships. If Hemingway were an unknown author today, book publishers would probably not give this book a second glance.
I didn’t like most of the book. I am not an aficionado of bull fighting, boxing, or getting drunk, and Hemingway appears to be an expert in all three. But then, I tell myself, he wrote for what is called the lost generation of the early twentieth century, the same audience F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound entertained.
The book showcased a few of Hemingway’s talents. I enjoyed the descriptions of the towns and countryside of Spain. By the end of the story, I thoroughly understood the four main characters. However, the only person who showed redeeming qualities was Jake, who spits out the story in short, choppy sentences.
So why did Hemingway win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954? I don’t know. I suppose like most writers, Hemingway’s style and prose improved with time. Perhaps I’ll read For Whom the Bell Tolls, considered his finest masterpiece, just to find out. Donna Wittlif
During the last four months, I have connected with over 6,000 Twitter users, people from all over the world. I blocked many caught up in Satanic worship and others who indulge in pornography and such sins. I saw the culture of those who live to promote ungodliness. I cried with a man in England who tweeted his dying wife’s last breaths, for a young man in Ecuador whose girlfriend was killed by police, and for the man living in the Colorado mountains whose little kitty was eaten by a wild animal.
What caught my attention during my “tour” of the world is that the light of God shines strongly through the darkness. I met missionaries working in schools and orphanages in the poorest of countries. I found preachers teaching Muslims the Bible in the Middle East and Africa and saw Christians laboring against odds to spread the Word in Communist countries. A young woman in Los Angeles belted out the hymn “In Christ Alone.” Her face expressed the joy she felt singing about her Lord. All over the world, bloggers, book authors, website builders, singers, counselors, churches, and preachers tell about our Lord and His love for mankind.
Yes, just as God had a remnant of Israelites who obeyed Him, He has a remnant in our world today. Their voices are heard by millions. They work tirelessly and sometimes give their all to save others physically and spiritually. They are shining lights in a world of darkness. And yes, except God had raised up all these Christians, our world would be as Sodom and Gomorrah. Donna Wittlif
This week I celebrate. I have three-fifths of a chapter to write before I finish the first draft of my third book of the World Eternal series. It has been a long road punctuated by times when I’ve had to quit writing just to get the story ordered in my head and to think about what is going to happen next. But that is only the beginning.
Our three-year-old grandson was helping his mommy make a gingerbread house. She was decorating the sides with candy corn, and our grandson kept eating the candy. After he ate several candy corns, his mommy told him not to eat any more. He sneaked one into his mouth and got a stern rebuke. “I wasn’t eating it,” he said. “I was just licking it.” We had to laugh. Evidently, our grandson’s perspective was different than his mother’s.
Last week I watched a webinar and got some wonderful ideas on how to use Instagram to promote my books. The presenter said something like, “Instagram is so easy. I have problems using social media, but even I can use Instagram.”
That put me at ease. What he was saying was “If I can do it, you can do it.” As soon as the webinar was finished, I went straight to the Instagram website and began registering for a page. Getting a user name and password was easy.
Saturday, November 14, 2015 was my first book celebration and signing. I didn’t do one with my first book. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to. Shortly after my book was released, I caught pneumonia. It kept me down for nearly three months. By then, I was knee deep into my second book and never found the time to party.
Last Saturday was a lot of fun. Not only did we overdose on chocolate, but many of my fellow church members came. During my Question and Answer time, they asked about my writing time. Do I have a writing schedule? Do I write a certain number of words each day? How much research do I do?
Most of the symbols in Promises are obvious. On page 5 Nell is admiring James’ wedding ring. She “looked at the diamonds on both sides of the cross on his ring. It matched hers.” Their matching wedding rings are like no others, and they play an important role in Promises and its sequel, World Eternal: Proselytes. As you may have guessed, they stand for their love for each other.
Promises contains many scenes where the Darden family is eating. At times only James and Nell are dining together, but often their table is surrounded by other family members and friends. What better way to show family togetherness, love, and unity? As food gives comfort, so does the love and support of family members.