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Showing posts from June, 2012

Brave: A Case of Inflated Expectations?

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I will be the first to admit--from the moment I first spied the luminescent grass and the gorgeous musculature beneath the black shire's coat in the Brave teaser trailer that came out last year, I have been dying to see this movie. The gorgeous visuals set my limbs trembling, as good animation always does. I waited with impatient mouse clicks of checking and re-checking for a full-length trailer, and when that day came feasted with even more savor over the beauty Pixar had in store.

We bought tickets in advance for Friday's showing. I prepped my kids that it was going to be a great treat Friday morning to go see the movie together on one of my rare weekdays off.

So, in the blazing heat of June 22nd, we hoofed across the parking lot of the newest theater in town and took our seats twenty-five minutes early so we could be in the high-center of the theater, my preferred place for seeing a film for the sake of both visual and sound experience.

And from a visual and sound standpoi…

You Can Only Account for So Much Stupidity

I am a huge fan of David Farland's Daily Kick in the Pants, a column of writing tips he sends out now and again. Today he was talking about how you can't expect every one who reads to be a rocket scientist, but sometimes, it can be astounding how completely...well...numbskulled people can be when they comment or complain about books. Here's just a part of what he had to say about one such reader...

Yet sometimes a reader will be so obnoxiously asinine, so resplendently stupid, that you just have to sit back in awe. For example, I got a review on Amazon.com from a young person who just found that the Runelords had too many unintentionally comic images. Mainly he objected to the word “ponies,” which only came up once in the novel.


Ponies, of course, are breeds of horses often derived from populations found in mountain ranges. They tend to be heavy-bodied, small-hooved, large-chested, and have great endurance. When you ride one through thick brush or trees, you’re less likel…

A Nit to Pick: Passive Voice

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As writers, we all have the ginormous job of learning the craft of writing. Just like you wouldn't try to build a house and expect it to stand without first learning something about carpentry and architecture, you can't expect to just sit down and punch out a story with the expectation it won't stink unless you get a sense of what rules exist and why.

When I was in junior high and high school, we spent a lot of time focusing on eliminating passive voice from our writing. Though I may have cursed the Downingtown Area School District's secondary English department while I learned under their tutelage, I am immensely grateful for the way they taught me good mechanics back in the day. Now, when I say passive voice, I mean the classic, grammatical definition, which is:  "the voice used to indicate that the grammatical subject of the verb is the recipient (not the source) of the action denoted by the verb." It is a very specific construction rule...not a nebulous,…

Reviews for Friends

We writers, especially Christian writers, are a small, tight-knit group.  That group gets even smaller and tighter when you narrow it to Christian Speculative Fiction writers. I am deeply grateful for the good friends I have made, if only virtually, in this writing journey I am on.

It was a lot easier, though, when we were all pre-published. At that phase of the game, we were exchanging critiques, delivering the hard truth to one another on our manuscripts, because we all wanted to see these embryonic books grow to maturity and find homes in the publishing world. We could say what needed to be said back then, because we could all see the goal--we all needed iron to sharpen iron so our work would be as honed as we could possibly get it before it went out a-courtin'.

I'm finding myself in a new, much more difficult spot, now that I'm reading published books, written by friends, whose manuscripts I never saw during the iron-sharpening-iron phase. For those of you who have kno…