Kathy Tyers: High Standards in Christian Speculative Fiction

T is for Tyers, Kathy...

T is for Tyers, Kathy…

For today’s post, we’re going to delve into a more obscure niche of speculative fiction – Christian speculative fiction, to be exact.

(I do just want to take a moment here to say that I love my Ferrets – we’ve all come from such different backgrounds and experiences to be writers, and yet mesh so well. It’s wonderful to have a place like this where we can each contribute toward a common goal and yet be so unique.)

I grew up reading a lot of Christian fiction, not because it’s what I was forced to read, but because it’s what my mother read most of the time, and I’d just pick up her books when she was done.

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Choosing the Best Opening Scene for Your Story

O is for Opening Scene...

O is for Opening Scene…

How important is it, really?

Starting your story in the correct moment is vital. The opening scene is going to determine whether or not people keep reading, and if you don’t get their attention and focus right away, they’re going to put the story down. (Whether ‘it’ happens to be fan fiction, flash fiction, a short story, or a novel.)

But how do you know what the correct moment is? Don’t you need to introduce characters, and set-up the world, and the plot?

There’s a simple way to know what the correct moment is – and as for the other questions… yes, and no.

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J.R.R. Tolkien – A Bit of Gratitude

J is for J.R.R. Tolkien...

J is for J.R.R. Tolkien…

Dear Mr. Tolkien,

I bet, when you first wrote down whatever words it was that would turn into what we know today as Middle-earth, that you didn’t know you were changing the world.

Not just fiction, but the world.

There’s been a lot of controversy over your stories, especially with the movies they’ve made. For a long time, no one thought movies of Middle-earth were possible.

The stories and world where too big, the ubiquitous they said. There’s no way it can be edited down to the length of a movie and still make sense, and there’s no way we can film those settings.

Then they realized that if the story was good enough, if it stayed true enough to the original material, the length of the film wasn’t the problem. And so movies they became.

There was controversy – there’s still controversy. But I, personally, am grateful.

The adaptations aren’t perfect, but they never are.

But if it hadn’t been for the hype about the movies, I don’t know if I ever would have gotten around to reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, or even The Silmarillion.

And if I hadn’t read those stories, I would have never become who I am today.

Because you see, when I read those stories, I realized that there might actually be people who wanted to read the types of stories I made up in my head.

If I hadn’t read your books, Mr. Tolkien, I never would have hunted down a website called the Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza, where I found the courage to share stories for the first time, and learned to receive my first constructive criticism.

If I hadn’t joined The Plaza, I don’t know when or where I would have learned about National Novel Writing Month.

And if I hadn’t found NaNoWriMo… I never would have met the other Ferrets.

And that would have been a terrible, terrible tragedy.

So, dear Mr. Tolkien, thank you.

Thank you for creating Middle-earth. Because by creating Middle-earth, you gave me a place where I could not only escape some of the darkest times of my life, but you also brightened my life and actually made it more bearable.

Just with a story.

I can’t wait to stroll through Heaven with you one day, and talk about stories.

Sincerely, and with deepest gratitude,
By Berluchonabj (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Berluchonabj (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

How do you Idea? – A Day in the Brain of a Ferret

I is for Inspiration

I is for Inspiration

There is so much to say on the nebulous topic of inspiration . . . and also so very little.

Inspiration is an intensely personal thing, so while what works for me might also work for you, it might also simply leave you looking askance at me, and wondering how on earth that helps me to get an idea.

So, rather than try to explain the inexplicable (perhaps another time, that does sound like a fun challenge now I put it that way. . .) I have decided to talk on the idea of inspiration via, well, inspiration.

In other words, rather than discuss ways to make ideas happen, or try to invite them, I am going to focus on the more ‘natural’ form of inspiration that is ideas one did not expect, and how they came about.

Chasing a flash of inspiration.

Chasing a flash of inspiration.

I am going to make a note of new original story thoughts that come to me, and what inspired each one, and present that list here as an overview of how the writerly brain – or at least this writer’s brain! – leaps and works in that tricky area of ‘idea’.

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Let’s Talk About Ellipses…

E is for Ellipses...

E is for Ellipses…

Yes, ellipses… you might be familiar with them.

You know… those. Those three little periods all in a row.

Ellipses are simple. Simple to figure out… and simple to overuse. Yes, I might be purposefully overusing them in this post.

In fiction writing, ellipses can be used to portray a pause in dialogue or in thought… a longer pause than a comma portrays, of course.

What did any zom- er, girl, come on this show for? I knew exactly why I was here, and it had my mouth watering… but I probably shouldn’t tell him that.

From The Bachelorette: Zombie Edition by Rebekah Loper

You can use ellipses when someone trails off in conversation, or when it’s absolutely vital to show that pause at the beginning of dialogue, but use the latter rarely.

But what you should absolutely NOT do with ellipses is this:




…when characters are having a stare-down. That’s just poor technique. Use description… not a literal lack of dialogue.

Just don’t use ellipses as often as I did in this post. It makes them a little… pointless.

Have any questions about ellipses? Or do you have a punctuation pet peeve you’d like to share?

Ellipsis by Mike Knell

Ellipsis by Mike Knell

If you’d like to know more about using ellipses for non-fiction purposes, please check out Grammar Girl’s post on the subject.

The Quirky and Captivating Characters of Discworld

Discworld is a wonderful, enthralling, hilarious world, rich in humour and history and all manner of intriguing cleverness and nonsense.

D is for Discworld

D is for Discworld

With over forty novels and companion books, there is a veritable avalanche of things to talk about and go on about. (Which I can and have; you should hear the chatter when Michelle and I get going talking about Discworld!)

However, while I could rhapsodise on the humour (silly and serious, wound through every topic), the cultures (satiric and exaggerated, but multi-layered and deeply thought-out), the plots (wide-ranging and intriguing), and many other things, what I’ve actually decided to focus on is what definitely keeps me coming back to Discworld over and over again.

The amazing characters.

The peoples that populate Discworld – no matter their species – are fascinating and incredibly varied, each of them whose eyes we see through showing us their unique take on their world.
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The Ferrets Do the Alphabet

Have we got a treat in store for all of you!

The A-Z Challenge starts tomorrow, and the theme the Ferrets have chosen for the month is “The World of Books”.

Books by shutterhacks

Books by shutterhacks

We’ve got an interesting selection of posts on this topic – everything from the writing of books to our favorite authors to quirky terms to poetry.

You’re really going to see what it’s like in the mind of the Ferrets – because we were able to think up all the posts for this theme in about an hour. Yes, we really are that diverse.

Or, rather, spin the wheel of ‘what the flapjack/fudge/fer-de-lance/fraggle-rock/monkey is coming up next?!’

So settle in, fetch some tea, and get ready to learn some interesting things!

Posts will be made Monday through Saturday, as Sunday is an ‘off’ day for the A-Z Challenge. Michelle will be kicking it off tomorrow with “A”, so be sure to check in!