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Friday, June 15, 2007

Suspense Technique Contest, Winner #2 is...

This was harder even then the first. After much thought, I narrowed it down to two entries. I decided on one, went to post, but then reread the other again and became torn. There were nuances in both that I couldn't shake. Both entries had characters displaying intense emotion and neither entry told me exactly why--thus, SUSPENSE!! Big time.

But, it's been long enough. I know as an author with a platform to speak, I need to be decisive, and so, I have at last made a decision on the winner.

The winner of the Intense Emotion Suspense Technique is...

It's a tie!

Amy & Scribe

Read their entries below:

The view from the upstairs balcony was of tangled and gnarled branches, parched grass, and the remnants of what was once the most envied rose garden in the entire county. Brach leaned over the rickety wrought iron railing, trying to catch a glimpse of the ancient oak that had once supported his boyhood tree house. It had all started there. As he stood in the warm evening air of July, at the back of the house his great-grandfather had built nearly a century ago, a slight breeze caressed his face. He could almost smell her on that breeze, a sweet flowery scent that drove a chill down his neck and back. He closed his eyes; he could see her face glowing in the sunshine as they wrestled on that very lawn so long ago. His heart began to ache; his legs lost the will to stand. As he collapsed to his knees, Brach felt that he would bleed from the pain of her absence. It was his fault she was gone; his fault her time on earth had been so short; his fault that he would spend the rest of his days alone. His breath came in great gasps as he fought against mounting sobs. Deep in his soul, he knew he had no right to mourn her loss. It was for himself that he wept. Brach swallowed his grief, and inside him, it transformed into anger and rage. Despising himself for his selfishness, he let out a roar of desperation that shook the loose panes of a nearby window. Shattering as they hit the ground, the panes of glass were yet one more casualty at the hands of a man who had caused more pain than joy for those he knew.

WTB's critique: Amy, this is intense emotion. I love how everything in the backyard makes Brach remember--but it's all so bittersweet. Great memories but all tainted with whatever he's done to ruin it all. "No right to mourn" is such a powerful thought. Feeling that way would be deadly hard. The self-loathing is palpable. Bravisimo!

“It’s not fair!” I sobbed, pitching the inkwell. It exploded against the white rock wall and bled darkness over the smooth stones, “It’s not fair! I worked just as hard as he did! Harder even!” Wetness scorched my cheeks and I shuddered with the sobs “Do you hear me?” I tipped my head back and ran my shaking hands over my bald head “I am better than he is! Better! One day you will be sorry, so ruddy sorry that you left me here!” I shrieked as voices retreated. “One day he will fail you when need him the most and then you will wish that you had taken me but it will be too late, too late.” My knees buckled and I sat down, holding my head. “You’ll be sorry, you will be, you will be.”

WTB's critique: You begin and end with powerful resentment and, I think, lonliness. Your character has been left out...someone else chosen instead. Haven't we all been there? So readers will relate immediately--a very good thing. But this runs deeper in your character. He's been pushed by this neglect and is on the verge of something horrible. "You'll be sorry" is such a desperate, fear inspiring threat. I'm afraid for this fellow and his victims. But best of all, you leave us hanging on the root cause of the sorrow and anger. What has he not been picked for? Who has left him behind? Why is it SO important for him to be included? Coolness.

Amy and Scribe, you have my email. So send me your snail-mail and your preference of a DW lost chapters book--I only have The Door Within so far, but Wyrm Lord is on the way in July. Final Storm in August.

Honorable mentions:

Cecilia gets the Young Gun Award! I wish I wrote like that when I was 16. Wow.

Aravis gets the Promising Concept Award: Killer with the bells is bigtime creepy.

Eve gets the Post Me in Another Suspense Technique Award. Her entry literally was a cliffhanger.

Josh gets the Gutwrencher Award--talking about pulling the rug out from under a poor, unsuspecting character. Mannn...that's harsh!

I'm going to be away for a week in Ocean City, so I won't get to #3 for a bit.

Great Writing.

Never Alone!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Meet the Fantasy 4 Fiction Tour Authors, Part 3

Hey, all! I can't believe the Fantasy Four Fiction Tour is only a month away. This time next month, we'll be in Atlanta, GA at the International Christian Retailers Show(ICRS). Please pray about that event--especially for the Fantasy authors out there. ICRS is where a lot of new authors get their first contracts (or at least have a publisher get interested in them). It was just four years this summer that I went to ICRS (in Atlanta then as well) and pitched The Door Within books. A nice editor from Tommy Nelson took a real interest in the books and God did the rest.

But ICRS is also when Bookstore Chains and Indie Stores put orders in to their distributors for more or different titles. So, if you'd like to see your local Christian Bookstore stock more of what you like to read, please pray that Chains and Locals would buy lots of new fantasy/spec fic titles!

Tonight I've posted the third in a series of Meet the Author threads. The author's words are taken from a Q&A we participated in to promote the Tour. I'll post all four authors responses to one question in each thread. Hope you enjoy getting to know these wonderful fantasy writers.

Wayne Thomas Batson--The Door Within Trilogy and Isle of Swords
Bryan Davis--The Dragons in Our Midst and Oracles of Fire
Sharon Hinck--The Becky Miller Books and The Sword of Lyric Series
Christopher Hopper--The Rise of the Dibor and The White Lion Chronicles

I'll also be including a new piece of desktop art with each new post--Tonight's pic is from Sharon Hinck's The Restorer which released in stores last month. Feel free to save the file and use it as your computer's background. Share with friends or post wherever else you blog!

Q: Who is the intended audience for your novels and why do you write for this audience?

WB: I write for anyone who loves a pure adventure, but I guess you could say that my target audience is that 10-16 Tween/Teen age. I’m a middle school reading teacher. Over 16 years of rubbing elbows with them, I really developed a love and understanding of those interesting kids. By God’s grace I have NOT forgotten what it was like when I clawed my way through the 11-17 corridor. And as a teacher, I am reminded of it everyday. Once kids enter middle school, it’s like they leave the kind world behind and enter a place that is full of danger and cruelty—much of it self-inflicted. We adults sometimes forget the enormity of what they experience, the level of emotion, and the intellect.

BD: My intended audience is youth, ages ten to sixteen, or anyone young at heart. I even heard from one ninety-four-year-old reader who has enjoyed my books. Our youth culture has been attacked by forces far greater than what my generation encountered. They need spiritual weapons to defend against, and even to go to war against, those forces. Unfortunately, too many times our culture, and even the church, has told young people that it’s normal to be rebellious, that they don’t have the power to completely obey God. I believe young people still feel how God wired them, to be heroes and heroines for His kingdom. I want to fuel that fire before they’re too old to remember their wiring.

SH: (answered above)

CH: At first, I started writing out of my own life and all my experiences, so it would have to be for those in their twenties. But then I’m a youth pastor, so I’m always trying to make things relevant for Teens and Tweenies (those between being a child and a teen). Of course, I work with adults all day long in business and when I travel and preach, so I wanted that demographic to be impacted, too. I laugh at myself now, but I realize I feel like the Apostle Paul when he spoke about being “all things to all men.” So you can imagine how overjoyed I am to get an e-mail from an ecstatic 9-year-old when he says he loves the book, and the next day get a letter from a 55-year-old mom who is hounding me for book II. That’s just amazing to me.

If you are interested in the books written by any of the Tour authors, see my sidebar for links to Amazon. Or visit where all books can be found.