Pages of Awesome

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Long Overdue Post on Tags and Awards

Well they've been piling up. So, here are all the tags I've received so far! This is my first post on tags EVER!

Hands Stained with Ink Award
Awarded by Chris

Thanks dude!

If you could write one word, what would it be?

Keeneye (because I CAN)

Use one word to describe yourself.

Keeneye, wait that's cheating. Instead: Weird.

What is something random about you/your writing that you'd like to say right now?

I feel really accomplished and professional when my desk is covered in outlines, maps, character dissections, rough drafts, and the like. Why? I have no clue. :|

Think up an absurd title for a book:

The Not So Adventurous Adventures of a Boy (Teenager) Who Thought He Was a Girl and His Undersized Dragon Without Wings That Looked Like a Dog and Barked Like a Tree

or perhaps

One Morning at Night when the Blind Man Didn't See

What is the strangest sentence you can think of?

"As you know, Christopher, you are an orphan," he frowned and, because he was angry, shot his eyes into Christopher's. [Brownie points to label all the errors!]

What do you write?

Weird fantasy. Usually with an allegorical theme. I take metaphors and make them literal. So "Christian Fantasy". But in a lot of my newer ideas that I've got rolling, you might never know it was Christian.

If you had a weird disease and could only make one sound over and over, what would it be?

"I have a disease". Might help keep some stares away LOL


And now I tag...

Storyteller

Seth

Brenna

You guys get the cool award up there, too. :)

Here's the rules:

1) Post about the award.

2) Award 3 other people

3) Answer the tag


Live in a Book Tag
I was tagged by Celebrilomiel, Squeaks, Pais Charos, Silver Angel, Madeline, and BleahBriann

I guess this was a popular one! lol

Rules: Name eight books you'd like to live in for a week, and then tag eight people.

In no specific order:

1. By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson - It's a pretty cool world! Normal-ish. I'd cheat and be like....a noble bloodvoicer or something :) How cool would it be to be able to communicate with my mind?

2. Rise of the Dibor by Christopher Hopper - This world is beautiful I think. I'd either want to live before this huge war breaks out or be Luik. CH, can I be Luik? lol

3. The Bible by God - This isn't cheating is it? :) Through me back with Jesus. I wanna talk to him :-)

4. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien - I'll hide in the shire thank you. Except I'd be a cool hobbit. Half Took half Baggins just to stir things up. Oh wait <_<

Jake awarded me:
Not sure what you were thinking there Jake :-) But I'll accept it nonetheless lol.

I get to list five random things:

This blog is not stylish :)
I woke up early today and am currently eating breakfast
In a few weeks, I will have 3 copies of the same book (Venom and Song)
America runs on Dunkin'
Most people would do anything for a Klondike Bar; I've never had one.

And now to award some peeps.

Daughter of the King
Brenna (two awards in one post? Niiiiice)

Jessica awarded/tagged me FIVE TIMES. So here we go:


Also awarded to me by Katherine Sophia
Thank you so much you two! This means a lot!

Thank you, Jessica! I'm hoping to take the "Aspiring" off there in a bit :)

I love this award. It's so different from the others I've seen. Thanks for giving it to me!

I have too many faithful commenters. If you comment on this post. Take the award :)

This one actually means the most to me. I'm glad that you find this blog inspiring. There's really not much more than I can ask for. Thank you so much!

Friendship Tag
Choose any amount of friends real or blog and say at least two things or more that you admire or like about them. Tag and make sure you link to them.

This, again, really meant a lot to me. Jessica said, "[Nathan Petrie] Is a teen author who's blog I always find fascinating. His posts are filled with passion for writing and God. He always has interesting and helpful insight into writing and characters. I found Nathan's blog late one night though Yodeling Dwarf's and was attracted by the name Whispered Roars."

Thank you so much Jessica!

I tag:

Jacob Parker at Yodeling Dwarf: If you guys didn't know already, Jacob is the published author of what I'm expecting to be an amazing book Kestrel's Midnight Song. Jacob lives online almost as much as I do so when I need help with my writing BANG he's there. I think he worked just as much on TGT as I did :) Plus, he's just stinking hilarious.

Chris at My Ink Spot: WARNING: CHRISTIAN MILES IS THE CRAZIEST WRITER ALIVE. Seriously. Chris has got an awesome sense of humor. And at 16 (16 right? lol) he knows more about the craft of writing then most people will EVER know.

Brenna Dixon at The Road Less Traveled: Wow, I've awarded you a lot today haha. Brenna was one of my first readers. Met her on the DIOM forum but really didn't hit it off until after I left the forum. She bought my short stories book and mailed it to me to sign. That was pretty exciting :) And now she's just always filling me with encouragement. Thanks Brenna!

Creative Writing Tag
I was tagged by Kat Heckenbach



Here are the rules of the blog award:

1) Thank the person who tagged me. THANK YOU KAT!!!!! lol √

2) Copy and Paste the award on my blog. √

3) Link to the person who nominated me. √

4) Tell up to 6 lies and 1 truth about myself. √

Here are the lies (and one truth):

My name is Inga Montoya
You killed my father
I was born in Pittsburgh
I've published two books
I live in Cincinnati (trick questions haha)
I love the Bengals
I named a character after my initials
I named a character after me

Can you guess which is the truth?

Daughter of the King awarded me:

As we arise from out of the shade, into delight of growing into our faith...and striving to serve our King daily we will become Christians who have a strong meaningful TRUE FAITH.

Thanks a ton DOK! Let's go to battle together!

I award:

Daughter of the King right back ;)

Gwendolyn (Who also doesn't have a blog :( You should get one! lol)
Squeaks from Hidden Doorways

Thank you all for awarding me! Means a lot!

To the end,
Nathan

Monday, June 14, 2010

Writing a Novel - The Beginning

See First Post of this Series

Originally, this series was designed to follow the journey of my standalone novel The Fire. But after reading Flaming Pen Press's response to The Guardian's Tree novella submission, I decided to set both Redemption's Journey and The Fire aside and take up my newest work of fiction.

The Chains of Hethra.

This novel is definitely better than RJ and will likely be equally as good as TF.

I outlined TCOH, read over the novella version, stewed over some ideas for a while, then hit the road.

The beginning of a book is, for many, the most important part of the entire work. If an author can't hook them in the first few pages the book isn't worth reading to them. So what if it's received critical acclaim? It has a horrid beginning and I'm putting it down.

Personally, I don't agree with this stance. I take a book 100+ pages in before quitting, but overall I think it is important to understand this. Readers will throw your book back on the shelf if you can't write a good beginning.

What things make up a good opening scene?

Mystery
I often find myself admiring good writing as I read books. My favorites open with such intrigue...that even if the following pages are completely boring, I'm glued to my seat to figure out the opening scene. Maintaining mystery is a highly important aspect of writing in general, I feel, but it is even more important to instill this mystery early on.

It's hard to put a finger on how to write mysterious things. But I'm going to try. Mystery comes through in writing when the characters act in a way you wouldn't expect, do uncommon things, and when the author withholds information from you in a natural manner. I think to sum up, mystery is when the characters know something the reader doesn't.

It is important, though, to not loose your readers in piling up mystery. Mysteriousness is withholding information, not piling it on. You can't throw a million questions into the reader's mind. I find that maintaining a singular question through a scene and dropping clues is a good way to go.

For example, here's part of the opening for the TGT novella:

Screeches ripped through the darkened cavern, followed by the screams of men, and then abrupt silence. Dirt fell from the ceiling hundreds of feet above and shining leaves fell from the Tree, illuminating the forms of the agonized men and women of Hethra. Alvar cradled the sack close to his chest and sprinted through the darkness. His heart pounded and sweat drenched his forehead. He had to get out of here. He had to.

The shrieking creatures flapped their bat-like wings, each brandishing bloodied whips and dripping blades. They flew through the cavern, snatching up men and women and hurling them into fires. The humans cried out for mercy, but the Damans ignored their pleas, lashing their whips, and leaving piles of bodies in their wake.

...

Alvar sped his pace. The Damans were not after the people.


This begs the question: What is the sack? What are the Damans after if not the people?

Some of the other minor questions are answered throughout the scene, but, if you've read the scene you know, that the whole time you find yourself asking: What is in the sack? Why is it so important? Why are the Damans doing this? etc.

Chaos
Another good tactic is throwing your reader into chaos. A battle scene, a dark chase, etc. The above quote is a good example of that as well. Chaos adds to the mystery. It also helps in hooking your reader. If you throw a bunch of action in place of a bunch of detail, odds are you'll have your reader in for the long haul.

Keep in mind, however, that you need more than just a bloody fight scene. There needs to be good character play as well. Feel the emotion!


Intriguing Characters

I don't read this type as often simply because I'm not a huge fan of the genre it's typically found in. But I think I know enough to talk about it lol

If you open your scene with dialogue or internal monologue you can present another interesting concept--character. If you're more character driven, dive deep into the head of a character to begin. But when you do, maintain this level of mystery. Think like the character.

For example, I'll open a scene with a young man standing at the grave of his father. All sorts of crazy thoughts are running through his head. Weird thoughts. Odd thoughts. He's not hurt, pained, broken, etc. He's just cold, num. Like the snow falling around him. You dive into this emotionless character and run with it.

But who would have thought that he had murdered his father?

Basically, maintain mystery by not using contrived dumping methods.

Intriguing Places
Fantasy works best with this I think. I read a story once that opened on the field of a previous battle. And as the protag walked through the carnage we examined the castle he was walking through. The building itself hooked me!

All in all, the way to write a good beginning is summed in one word--mystery. People don't want to read a book that just tells them everything. They want to figure things out for themselves! In the same way, people don't want to read books about normal life. "Oh and today I had a sandwich, walked the dog, and did my homework." No one wants to read that! Write differently, write mysteriously.

Thoughts?

To the end,
Nathan

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I'm at the Beach! - The Drive

Well....I'm at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina this week! Here is a video recapping the first day of the drive down.

The drive is about 10-12 hours from where we live so we split it up into two nights. The kiddos couldn't last the whole drive in one night. And neither could our old van :P.

We don't have air conditioning....so this was rather exciting :)

Brownie points to who can guess the word written on my hand!

Without further ado, day one:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fast is Over! - A Random Post


Well I've been back from my fast for a few days now and just realized that I had yet to update the blog letting you all know that I'm back! So uh, I'm back!

I'm finally starting to catch up on all that I missed for the 10+ days I was fasting, for some reason the blog ended up at the end of my to-do list. But here's my "catch up" for you.

Here's how the fast worked: No computer except school work. And no cell phone unless someone needed help (or I needed to call my mommy :) ).

The Bible mentions a law of "replacement" that basically explains that when you give something up, or resist a sin, you need to replace that with something else or else what you gave up, or the sin you were resisting, will return.

In place of the computer and cell phone I read the Bible and prayed (obviously). I started reading in three sections of the Bible: The Book of Mark, The Book of Isaiah, and The Book of Acts. All of these books God's been laying on my heart to read lately, so I dove right into them.

And I learned a lot.

I also put some really cool spiritual habits in place. In addition, I've been doing this thing that my old youth pastor did to help keep things in perspective. Every day after devotions, I've been writing a single word and reference on my left hand. For example, one of the days was "Hope" and beneath that on my hand I wrote "Rev. 21" which contains the detailing of the New Earth.

This habit is very cool because I ALWAYS see my hand. And whenever I look, BANG, the verse is in my mind. Plus it helps me live out my faith better. When I read "hope" and remembered that chapter, I reminded myself to live and view life through the eyes of eternity. To look forward and hope for a better life.

I also read both If God is Good by Randy Alcorn and The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel. Both books were excellent faith builders and intellectually exciting!

If God is Good is about the following statement: If God is all good He would want to end evil; If God is all knowing he would know that evil exists and how to stop it; If God is all powerful he would have the ability to stop evil; since evil exists, there cannot be a God.

The book searches the question of "If God is Good then Why do we suffer" from worldviews to determine which answers the question sufficiently. It's 500 pages of why we suffer, but it is an excellent read.

The Case for Faith is a sequel of sorts to The Case for Christ (which I only ever read a third of). In the first book, Strobel came at Christianity (as the atheist he was) skeptically and demanded answers out of scholars about the accuracy of the Gospels and the whole Bible, how that was passed down to us, historical and archeological evidence for the Resurrection, sources on Jesus outside of the Bible, and several other "head" questions about the faith. In the end he came to the conclusion that Jesus must be the unique Son of God and that Christianity must be true.

In TCFF, Strobel examines the heart issues to faith: Why suffering? Miracles contradict science! A loving God wouldn't kill innocent children! Evolution explains life, so we don't need God. It's offensive to claim Jesus as the only way. A loving God wouldn't torture people in Hell. Christian history is littered with oppression and violence. I still have doubts so I can't be a Christian. And several others woven into those themes. Some of his arguments were strong, others were weak, others I completely disagreed with. But overall, it was a good read.

My previous post was about the fast and I updated over my cell phone so I wasn't able to properly let you all know of this but....

I'VE SURPASSED 50 POSTS!

This is exciting, even if I for some reason though I was well over 50. lol I wanted to do something special but I can't really think of anything at the moment.

In other news, I now have a title for The Guardian's Tree Trilogy Book One. This is the book I am working on for JuNoWriMo as well as prepping for the ACFW conference and FPP. Are you ready?

The Chains of Hethra

What do you think of the title? Does it sound cool? Memorable? Any other thoughts? Let me know in the comments section!

And, because this is a random post, I thought I would let you all know that Flaming Pen Press, the publisher I often talk about, is officially open to query letter submissions! Check out their website for details!

More news coming soon! There's a bunch of contests and such going on now. But....I've got to get to writing on that novel ;)

To the end,
Nathan
"Stand tall now and proclaim what you have seen, speak in whispered roars..."