Thursday, February 26, 2015

Spenser, Lewis & A Short Exercise in Metaphor

“God…sent the human race what I call good dreams. I mean those queer stories scattered all through 
the heathen religions about a god who dies and comes to life again and, by his death, has somehow given new life to men.” C.S. Lewis

I’m going to let you all into a little secret. One of my favorite stories is Edmund Spenser’s first volume of the Faerie Queene (rendered most excellently here by Roy Maynard). It’s the story of the Reformation in England and it’s the story of St. George and the Dragon. Upstream from and influencing C.S. Lewis, it’s also similar to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (written a century later), but different in that it’s martial and militant—the story of the Christian waging war on his own sin, waging war and falling and picking himself up again—ultimately falling and failing and needing to be delivered. It’s a riveting epic (deserving wide recognition!), but today I’m specifically bringing it up as it’s part of the immense tapestry behind us—the tapestry of types and shadows and literature and history. 

Looking at that tapestry, seeing it as God’s story and handiwork, we naturally see the fountainhead of it all, his given Word: perfect in its history and pictures and poetry. In the beginning we have the garden, and Genesis and Exodus are chock full of shadowy returnings to that garden—returnings to the garden Adam and Eve left. And popping up in key places, that garden continues appearing all the way through to Revelation. 

We also have characters. We have the first Adam. We have Boaz, the kinsman redeemer. Joshua, the conqueror. Othniel and Samson and Jephthah, saviors of their people. David—a sinning king yet a man after God’s own heart. The list could go on and on and on…all of them pointing to our great kinsman redeemer, conqueror, deliverer—perfect and sacrificial High King. 

Christ is the ultimate fulfillment, but if we know our types and shadows, we can explore different facets of the great story and catch a fresh and deeper perspective—a deeper understanding of what it all actually means. Digging into it and figuring out the connections is also an excellent training ground in metaphor. And, if we’re going to tell good stories in our own turn, such an exercise is invaluable!

Metaphor lets us approach something obliquely, adding depth and a further layer to be unpacked—adding multiple layers to unpack. Naturally, when it comes to writing, this requires subtlety, understatement, and a level of mystery. We want the reader to have the thrill of digging and discovering and putting the pieces together for themselves in our wonderful stories.

Deep metaphors are tricky—often tricky to get straight in our own minds—and so, in the end, it often comes down to capturing and describing a mystery with clarity. But when we do, a marvel happens—more mystery springs from the earth and our stories come alive.


Share your thoughts! How are you creating with metaphor?

Heidi Peterson is a lover of wide-spreading land, summer dust, white pounding waterfalls, and mountain tops; also of good dark coffee and rich stories. Most of all she's a lover of the One who is the Word, the Word made flesh. You can visit her additional blog (where she shares more about books, movies, and further marvels of life) at: Along the Brandywine.

Visit and contact at: Sharing the Journey // Along the Brandywine // ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com

Thursday, February 19, 2015

An Interview with Naomi

For today's interview, please welcome Naomi Bennet! And thanks so much for sharing with us, Naomi!

Naomi Bennet is a sixteen-year-old Christian girl with an everlasting writing passion. While not (yet!) a published authoress, she has written three children’s books and is currently on two projects (or more.) You can find her rambles and girlish opinions on stuff at her blog, Wonderland Creek.

~ ~ ~

1. (Heidi) Some differences and similarities you see between the three major forms of storytelling—literature, music, and film? 
(Naomi) This is an interesting, thought-provoking question! In my opinion, books – literature – crave the imagination best. I don’t know about you, but as I read, I imagine music soundtracks and I get completely IN it. Movies, on the other hands, have it all there, so no imagination is needed. As for music, while I do find it easy to find story inspiration when listening to it, I don’t immediately find stories in it as I do when I find music in books. (I hope I answered this alright!)

2. How have you seen those three mesh together in your own creative process?
As I said, I do find inspiration from listening to music, and definitely by watching movies, and MOST definitely from books. 

Music doesn’t exactly give me story ideas, but they kind of throw me in a scene-idea. For example, I lately listened to a song of the ‘Andrew Sisters’, giving me the idea of putting a ‘concert scene’ in the WW2 book I am (trying to) write now.

Movies. Ah yes – I love, when I write stories, thinking of it as a movie. I love to find the right ‘actress’ and ‘actors’ (Dan Stevens, often) for my characters, and thinking of the right soundtracks and scenery to match what I write. I do that a lot. Films give me a great help with my creativity.

And of course – books. That’s my main source of ideas, inspiration, you name it. I wouldn’t be writing if it weren’t for literature.

3. When and how did you first begin writing?
I’ve been scribbling whatnot since toddler-age, but I started seriously pursuing it by the age of nine, perhaps ten. But for years I only started stuff, and never ever ended stuff. It wasn’t until the age of thirteen, when I finally found I had finished something of about one-hundred pages, that I told myself I was a writer.

4. What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on two things. Well, more than that, of course, but I’m working on two things seriously. One, called ‘Pen-Enemy’, about two boys who write each other letters and become enemies instead of friends, is about half-way, and one, a WW2 story about an evacuee girl, I have only just started (and I’m reeeeally excited about it, so don’t ask me any more about it ‘cos I’m gonna scream.)

 5. Particular author/s who have influenced you?
All in chorus? Lucy Maud Montgomery and Lynn Austin. People who’ve read my Writery-posts on my blog know this. My best friend Emma also gives me tons of writing inspiration, and, for my children’s books, I often find myself getting compared with Roald Dahl, whose books I used to like a lot.

6. Is there a “non-writing” activity that shapes your writing? 
Reading, definitely.

7. Your opinion on the advantages and disadvantages of digital books?
Haha, well, I am not against digital books at all. They are handy, and cheap and space-free. I like to think of my grey kindle as ‘my library’. But I must say, I remain old-fashioned at heart. For a truly good read, nothing will ever replace my good old thick, paper-in-the-hand, cover-to-hide-in real books.

8. Do you ever do graphic design to help with your writing? 
Well yes, sometimes. I do like finding the right ‘faces’ and scenery pictures and all that, but mostly I write down stuff rather than going into serious graphic designing. I just want to get on with the writing as quickly as possible, you see! (And once I’m on Pinterest… yeah.)

9. Do you outline? If so, in a general way or very detailed?
I should, and I do, often, but perhaps not as detailed as I should. I always write down ideas, and quick plot lines and character-forms. For some books I have been very detailed indeed – writing down every single scene so that I could write them out of order. But for other books I have the vague outline written down, and kind of write around it with the details (hopefully well stored) in my head.

10. Do you work on multiple projects at once?
Yip. Oh, yup. Oh, oh, oh, yes. Yes. I do, yes. Aye, aye ma’am. Heidi, yes, I do.


11. Do you edit as you write?
No. I tend to write my first drafts rather quickly, and do all the editing later. I have to be honest, I do not like editing. I still have two drafts not yet edited, and I just don’t feel like doing it. But I’ll have to, sooner or later. But I must say, editing is my least favourite part of writing. (Any editing tips? I need them! Please share in the comments, if you’re good at it.)

12. Certain themes you see surfacing and resurfacing in your work?
Love. I’m a romantic person, and I like putting some sweet (clean) romance in my stories. In my children’s books, however, not that much; but in the older-teenage-books, love is definitely a theme.

Change. Always, and always, I have change in my books. Many of my books start with the arrival, or departure of someone – of the protagonist dealing with the change aspects in her life.

Happiness. I like my books to encourage people to be happy. With small things, and just, with life.

13. A particular aspect of writing you struggle with or a challenge you’ve overcome?
Finishing stuff! I used to be horrible at this, but since I started blogging I got pretty encouraged by fellow writers and now I’m becoming much better at it, much to my joy and surprise! Finishing things, is SO worth it; there’s nothing better than writing THE END.

14. How do you deal with feedback—particularly negative feedback?
I have to say, that’s something I have to work on. I tend to get a little frustrated perhaps, at first – of course, that kind of cools away very soon, but it’s often there. I do love feedback, and I want feedback, including negative. It’s really important, and I really appreciate critique. I have to learn to accept it from the first second I read it, though, not only five minutes later. :-)

15. One thing you’ve learned from other writers?
Finishing stuff and just going for “it”. Honestly, thank you guys. :-)

16. A helpful nonfiction book or website?
I most get my writer-help from reading other fictional books and stuff like that – I don’t think we have a writer-book in our house! (Is that an issue?) I do enjoy writer blogs, including ‘Go Teen Writers.’

17. What do you consider one of the single most important things to remember (i.e. an attitude or technique)?
Not to give up. I often keep a word rule – currently I have to write 1000 words every day. This gives me encouragement to keep going on even if the story bores me for a while.

18. A word of encouragement for fellow writers?
Strive on and write when idea/passion/inspiration starts. DO it. If you’re stuck, force yourself to go on, because it’s SO worth it! And write things you love! :-)

~ ~ ~

Thank you for interviewing me, dear Heidi! It’s a great honour to be part of your lovely writer blog and I hope to read your books in the future. I’m sure they are really good. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review - Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

“The question every young writer at some point asks is: “What should I write?” And the standard answer is, “Write what you know.” This advice always leads to terrible stories in which nothing interesting happens. We make art because we like art. We’re drawn to certain kinds of work because we’re inspired by people doing that work. All fiction, in fact, is fan fiction.”  
from Steal Like An Artist

With all the furor about plagiarism these days, a lot of subsequent questions about creativity have surfaced. Should we try not to be influenced by what we’ve read/seen/heard? Isn’t that why we seek out all these good things in the first place? So that working together, they can form our thoughts and vision of the world? And how can we escape having what we love come out in our writing—or in any other of our endeavors? Is that even possible?

Austin Kleon approaches all these questions and more with delightful vigor. To quote: “You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes…somehow get a glimpse into their minds…to internalize their way of looking at the world.” 

It’s amazing to see some of the famous people he quotes throughout (musicians, painters, filmmakers, authors, sports stars, etc.) while his down-to-earth approach for living creatively is excellent, as he points out good reasons for how and why it should organically tie together with the rest of our life.

And in reality, in the end—whether writing books or blog posts or song lyrics or screenplays—whether sketching on scrap paper or painting a masterpiece—whether changing out a load of family laundry or scrubbing floors or washing dishes for the umpteenth time—everyone is called to live as an artist: seriously, diligently, and creatively.

Heidi Peterson is a lover of wide-spreading land, summer dust, white pounding waterfalls, and mountain tops; also of good dark coffee and rich stories. Most of all she's a lover of the One who is the Word, the Word made flesh. You can visit her additional blog (where she shares more about books, movies, and further marvels of life) at: Along the Brandywine.

Visit and contact at: Sharing the Journey // Along the Brandywine // ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quote of the Month ~ February 2015

(click to enlarge)

For more great Quotes of the Month click here.

Heidi Peterson is a lover of wide-spreading land, summer dust, white pounding waterfalls, and mountain tops; also of good dark coffee and rich stories. Most of all she's a lover of the One who is the Word, the Word made flesh. You can visit her additional blog (where she shares more about books, movies, and further marvels of life) at: Along the Brandywine.

Visit and contact at: Sharing the Journey // Along the Brandywine // ladyofanorien(at)gmail(dot)com

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...