Lee Herbst’s Blog – Volume 1, Issue 5

Volume 1, Issue 5

Note: I have dropped the Marketing and Publishing sections of my blog due to a lack of interest in that type of information. I am working on making the blog a bit more personal, but yet pertinent to my writing, so I ask for all my readers to be patient with me as I work through this transition. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to my blog. My blog discusses my journey through the sometimes dark and mysterious world of writing and publishing Christian fiction. Along the way I will discuss the status of my writing, include tips on writing, and share inspirational stories from my personal life.

This blog is published on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month. This month, due to some unforeseen circumstances and a family vacation, I am publishing my blog on the 2nd and 4th Saturday.

Please help promote my blog by telling your friends about me. Let them know they can sign up to receive my blog in their email at http://author.leeherbst.com.

In This Issue

  1. Status: The Void War:Invasion
  2. Writing Tip: The Structure of Fiction – Part 4
  3. Inspiration: Are My Sins Private?

 1. Status: The Void War:Invasion

I completed the chapter 5 edit and sent it to my beta readers on May 27th, a little more than a week late. So, I am a bit behind schedule with my editing, but the results of chapter 5 were worth it. It is a much better and stronger chapter than the original.

I have started editing chapter 6 and, like chapter 5, it also needed of a complete rewrite. I have put a deadline of June 16th on sending it to my beta readers, but I am far from completion, so I am going to miss the deadline. After realizing I needed to rewrite the chapter, I felt it was necessary to write a complete outline of the chapter (it is a complex chapter). The outline is complete and I am maybe a fifth of the way through the rewrite. Hopefully, I won’t be much more than a week behind, but I also have a vacation this coming week in South Carolina. I’ll be packing the laptop to go with us.

At my current pace, it looks like the first revision will be complete in mid-January or early February. After that, I will start the final revision which I am praying does not take as long as the first revision as I would like to see the book publish by the fall of 2015. I have read many times that a lot of authors take between two and three years to create a novel. That seemed like an excessive amount of time until I started working on this edit; I can see why now.

The book is currently at 93,000 words, but I expect that to go down somewhat after editing chapter 6 which is currently sitting at a little over 9,000 words. I am still trying to keep my word count under 100,000.

2. Writing Tip: The Structure of Fiction – Part 4

In the last issue we talked about disaster and left Miam dangling from a mountain top with a single pincer latched onto a rung embedded in the rock wall; death seemed almost certain. In this issue we talk about reaction.

Reaction tends to be one of the shortest components of a scene as it is not exactly what happens after the disaster, but the knee-jerk reaction of the point-of-view character to the disaster.  In other words it carries the story forward to the point where the character has a moment to think about what just happened.

It is usually raw, full of emotion and tense. It could be as short as a single piece of dialog such as: “I hate you,” he snapped or several paragraphs that describes a more drawn out reaction. In any case, the character must have a strong reaction to the disaster. Remember, the character is trying to obtain something and this disaster just stopped them or, in the very least, caused a major delay.

Continuing on with our example from chapter 1, here is the reaction of Miam to the disaster at hand:

Yithen dropped down to the floor and tried to kick at Miam with a foot, but missed. Another kick came quickly after and, this time, he was able to make contact. However, the blow only glanced off the side of Miam’s head. His wildly flailing body made for a difficult target.

Miam swung his left pincer around, trying to make contact, but was only met with cold air. Yithen continued to kick at his head, occasionally succeeding with glancing blows. Miam took another frantic swing at Yithen’s leg and was able to grasp his ankle. Miam yanked, hard.

Yithen lost his balance and slid down the ledge, but, like Miam, was able to grasp one of the rungs and, for a moment, Miam and Yithen were face to face. Yithen swung a pincer at Miam’s head, but the wind just swung and twisted their bodies around, making the impact ineffective. Their bodies clacked as their exoskeletons came into contact with each other, like some obnoxious wind chime.

Ignoring Yithen’s assault, Miam swung around and was able to latch onto another rung and pulled himself back up toward the entrance of the Citadel. He was far stronger than the aging Yithen and was determined to not allow him to win this battle. He reached and grasped the next higher rung.

Yithen continued to pummel Miam with ineffective blows, doing little damage. But, before Miam was completely back into the Citadel, Yithen was able to grasp one of his ankles. Yithen tugged and squeezed as hard as he could.

Pain lanced through Miam’s hind-limb as Yithen tightened his grip. Miam kicked at Yithen’s head with his free foot, making solid contact; Yithen released his ankle and fell, dropping down to the next, lower rung. Miam scrambled into the relative safety of the Citadel’s entrance and stood, peering over the edge. Down below, at the edge of darkness, he could see his assailant flapping in the wind.

I’ll be the first to admit that this reaction needs a bit of work during the final revision, but you can get a good idea of what reaction is all about. Miam is frantically flailing at Yithen in hopes of somehow surviving this encounter. He is not thinking, just reacting to the assault. He is unable to make an assessment of the situation until he scrambles to safety. Once there, he can think about what to do next. Does he leave Yithen to his own devices? Does he finish Yithen off? Or, does he help Yithen back up into the Citadel? These questions are presented in the next section of the scene, dilemma. In the next issue we will take a look at dilemma and see how it leads to the final section of the scene, decision.

3. Inspiration: Make My Life a Prayer

God should be number one in our lives, but is he really? Let’s take a look. How much time do we spend in front of the TV watching shows, sports, or movies? How much time do we spend with our close circle of family and friends? How much time do we spend concentrating on work? How much time do we spend in front of a computer, smart phone, or gaming console – playing games, texting, or catching up on facebook? Now add up all that time you spend doing those things and compare it to how much time you spend in prayer each day? Where does God rank? I bet you, for most of us, He is nowhere near the top.

You say that you have to work and that takes eight hours out of your day. Plus, you have to watch that Florida Gator’s game; you’re their lucky charm. Whenever you wear your Gator cap and watch the game, they win.  And Facebook, well it is the only way you can keep up with your family and friends that are spread across the country. How can you fit God in all that? Do you see the problem?

It shouldn’t be about fitting God in at all. It should be about putting God first and fitting in everything else afterwards. So, how do we do that? Well, for me, it is about making my life a prayer. If we can accomplish that, then everything we do, everything we say, and everything we experience is a prayer and God is always first in our lives.

For instance, work. How do we turn that into a prayer? We do it by dedicating our work to God each and every day. When we get up in the morning or during our commute to work, we tell God that we are going to work for Him today. That our work today is our gift to Him, so we are going to work as hard and do our job as well as we can, because we want our gift to be as perfect as we can make it. While we work, we should talk to Him; share our day as it goes along. God, what do you think of that, didn’t I do a good job on that one? God, this isn’t going so well, can you help me out a bit to make it better? Of course, you may not want to speak those words out loud; people might start talking about you. However, give it a try, you will be amazed at the quality of the work you do and, even better, how much closer you will feel to God. Hey, even your boss might notice.

Sporting events? Include God in the event; He is already right there with you. Share your joy, excitement, and disappointments with him during the game. Praise Him for the talents the players are displaying. Ask Him for healing and comfort for those that get hurt. Thank Him for allowing you the chance to watch this with Him. Even ask Him to give the officials better vision if you feel so inclined. 😉 Yes, include your friends, get loud, have fun, but remember to include God in all of it as well. He takes much pleasure in your joy, share it with him.

I am sure you can see how this can be implemented in all facets of your life. Remember God wants you to include Him in everything. He wants you to share your joy, excitement, sorrow, and even your anger, so, give it to Him, it is the least we can do, especially if we truly want to put God first. Like most things, it is easier said than done, but this is not as difficult as it might seem and, with practice, we can spend a lot of the day living a life of prayer, finally putting God first where He belongs.

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