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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tales from the Banshee...

So far, Christopher Hopper and I have dined the Banshee thrice, and in a few moments, I think we will visit once more to revel in the live Irish band…and alas, to bid our new favorite pub a fond adieu.

So far, Writers Bootcamp mission accomplished. Christopher has furiously pounded the keys on his 3rd book (This guy types like 3-4 pages an HOUR--so torches my ponderous keystroking), and I finished a skeleton outline of my next fantasy book. I am SO stoked about this story, and Christopher really helped open the floodgates. I spent most of last night and four hours this morning stewing over some vexing chronology issues with the book (which will be one of 5 books, I think), and I couldn't conjure a way to get to harmonize these major plotlines. Then, Christopher said, "What if..." And BAMM, that fast, I was off and flying. Finished the outline before dinner. God is good. And fellowship rocks.

Here are a few more pics from the Banshee:

At the Sign of the Banshee...

Arrived in Scranton, PA yesterday afternoon. Author Christopher Hopper and I found the most amazing Irish pub just a few blocks from our hotel. Walking inside, we were suddenly overcome with a sense of history…and a desire to tell stories over a pint. Dark wood, black wrought iron, and stonework--not to mention paintings and photos of Irish landscapes. And the coolest feature was that they have these small anterooms (large enough to seat maybe 7-8 folks, more if some of them are hobbits) with coffee tables and antique leather easy chairs. You could almost see Tolkien and Lewis...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Story Time: want to come?

I had a Door Within speaking engagement today with an elementary school near Columbia. About a hundred fourth and fifth graders came and sat on the rug before me like a gigantic "Story Time" session. It was wonderful, I did my silly English Accent Shtick and prowled around the library with my broadsword. {Uh, Wayne, should you be waving a broadsword around children?} Well, uh...I've almost never hurt anyone with it.

Back to the story. I got to read one of my favorite passages, "Falon's Stair," from The Door Within. Those wonderful children stared up, and I could just see the mental movie churning in their imagination. And how freely those children gave away their smiles. Just an aside, what if treasure were measured in smiles rather than gold? If it was such a different economy, I struck it rich today. And I am thankful. At one point, I was so completely filled with love and joy for these kids. We shared an experience…a story. What a wonderful thing.

I have four little ones of my own…though not so little anymore. But I sat and read with each one of them {except for my oldest daughter who decided I was 2nd place to American Idol--insert dagger and twist.}. Let's see, I read: Dora's Bedtime Tales, Stink Moody, and Tom Swift. Hmmm...

But it was the time with my children, sharing the story that mattered. Wherever you are, and whatever you do, don't forget to make time…for storytime.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Writers Bootcamp

I am SO looking forward to this weekend. I'm loading all my writing gear into the Batmobile and venturing out to Scranton, Pennsylvania for what I am dubbing "Writer's Bootcamp." The idea developed after last summer at a convention in Denver, where I met another fantasy writer named Christopher Hopper.*(See Below) We made an instant connection of fellowship and have kept in touch since then. We made some plans to meet halfway between his hometown and mine to hang out for a weekend and write. He's working on his 3rd book and I'll be working on the outline for a new epic fantasy series.

What we are hoping to achieve is kind of what Tolkien and Lewis had with the Inklings group that met at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford. ('d you like to have been a fly on the wall at those meetings?) Those two giants of fantasy and their writer friends would get together at this pub and discuss story ideas (among other things) over a pint. Not that Christopher and I are anywhere near Tolkien and Lewis' league--ha! Hardly.

But still, I cannot wait to just sit down and CREATE--you know that mad scientist phase at the beginning of a book?! That is probably my favorite part of the process: just conjuring cool stuff. And to have someone else there who shares my love of fantasy, someone who can say, Wayne that rocks, or Wayne, that's stupid, or Wayne, what if Sir Lunchalot did this instead? Can you tell I'm stoked?

So, say a prayer that the snowstorm that is predicted will be blown off the coast. I really need this weekend.

I leave you with a question: I already mentioned that my favorite part of the writing process is the concepting stage. What is your favorite part of the process? Why?

*More about Christopher Hopper and his Fantasy titles.

If you don't know his work, I highly recommend it. His first book is Rise of the Dibor is terrific stuff, and what an original hook: what if Adam and Eve had never sinned…how might evil have entered the world, and would we be able to resist? His second book, The Lion of Vrie is due out this June.

Amazing world-building, great sense of God alive in the prose, entertaining plot. What's not to like?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Day of Mourning...

You might be thinking of Barbaro the horse. Sad as that is, I'm not mourning about that.

See last night, I completed a gigantic set of edits for Isle of Swords. I had to cut a lot. Like 40 pages a lot. That hurts. Goodbye 1/6 of the book. I understand why we're cutting. In some cases I totally agree that it's necessary. But no mater what. It hurts.

Every person feels a sting when something they've done is criticized. Creative types feel it worse, IMHO. Maybe it's because we are CREATIVE people, and that is how we define ourselves. We get our self image completely entangled with the products we create. When someone wants to change it, BANG, hit to our self image. When someone wants to cut it, OUCH, it's a part of ourselves being sheered away.

For the Christian writer, maybe this is one of His many tools to help us to intertwine ourself image in the correct place--with Him. How does God see us? What do you think God thinks of you? If we take Him at His word, he sees us as His children, loved, worth dying for. Y'know, somehow, in light of Him, the cuts don't hurt so much anymore.