Archive for Thoughts

A Happy Story of Death

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we made the six-hour trip from Peoria, IL, back home. By the last hour, all the kids (and the adults) were tired and bored and ready to be done. I put on the Muppets Most Wanted soundtrack and we bounced to the ridiculous songs. (The “Interrogation Song” is…

Read More

Why You Should Read Manalive

G. K. Chesterton is possibly the most quotable human being of the last 200 years. He writes in surprising, paradoxical, enlightening nuggets. Here are some example: The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people. Art, like…

Read More

The Basic Plot Everyone Forgets

In writing class, I was taught there were nine basic plots that describe all stories, plots like Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, and Man vs. God. Add the other six in, and these conflicts cover most of known literature. There is, however, one basic plot I have never seen on any…

Read More

A Walk Home

Went for a walk today. It wasn’t an ordinary walk. My car’s in the shop and Natasha was in the middle of making dinner and couldn’t pick me up, so I decided to walk home from work. It’s something like two miles. Today was cool and cloudy. I’d been restless…

Read More

How I Expanded My Mind and Accepted Turkey Day

Look, I’m no fan of turkey. I mean, sure, it’s tasty enough, but give me mashed potatoes, and I’m set. Always mashed potatoes, in a great big heap, with some gravy. And maybe some of that green bean casserole, officially the best use of green beans on the planet and…

Read More

Light in the Trees

Last Sunday, Natasha and I biked around the lake near our house, kids in tow. One section of path went beneath tall trees, with little foliage below. The sun shone through the leaves above. In an instant I missed my old walks through my parents’ woods. So later that day,…

Read More

Some Thoughts on Big Books – Part 2

In the first part, I focused on how and why I read such monstrous books. Now I want to touch briefly about their effect on my writing. I think my early attempts at novels, especially Trouble on the Horizon, were unconsciously guided by the large plots, numerous characters, and wide world…

Read More

Some Thoughts on Big Books – Part 1

After many ages, I finally finished reading The Way of Kings. If you don’t know, The Way of Kings is a 1000-page fantasy novel by Brandon Sanderson, the first in what is expected to be a 10-book series of giant novels. I should mention that my favorite series of books is The Wheel…

Read More

Figments of Imagination

Something I’ve taken to doing the last couple years is jotting down story ideas in a pocket notebook (and also online) when an insight or scene hits me. In high school and college, I tended to fixate on Big Ideas because my focus was largely on novels. What I enjoy…

Read More

A Long Walk With My iPod

Life’s busy, what with my job and my kids and my running the youth group and chores around the house, so when I sit down to write in the evening, sometimes my mind is a bit tired. So when I’m working on a big project like Strin & Fred, getting…

Read More

The Madness to My Method

This entry is part 31 of 31 in the series Trouble on the Horizon

This entry is part 31 of 31 in the series Trouble on the HorizonAs I dig deeper into Book 3 of Strin & Fred, I thought I’d explain how I go about creating this particular story. Trouble on the Horizon started by throwing two characters into a situation they didn’t understand….

Read More

The Call

Recently, I was listening to a podcast from the Gospel Coalition and these older pastors were discussing what they wished they had known when they were just getting started in the ministry. They mentioned how young pastors have dreams of changing the world, transforming culture, writing books, and generally leaving…

Read More