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If you wrote *your* first book...


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Persiflage was bold enough to tell us about his vision for a book.

And with what seems almost superhuman patience, he's taken some heavy criticism as a result. And I admit, I could have been more respectful. The discussion has been interesting and worthwhile, I think. But I do wish I'd been kinder about it.

Persiflage, I apologize, man. I think I would have gotten nasty about some of those responses, had I been in your shoes, just trying to share what was on my mind. So, kudos. You said the process has been "educational," and that's a very gracious thing to say. As that discussion played out, I learned some things too.

Okay, so...

That's got me wondering: Who else at A&F has dreamed about writing a book?

Is anybody actually working on one?

Do you dare to share a description of the subject?

Maybe we can respond constructively and respectfully. I hope so, because I'm very curious...

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Thanks for posting this Jeffrey. I've been pretty troubled by the way that thread developed. SO much so that I don't think I'll be sharing any potential ideas at A&F until they are much further down the line (if I have them and they ever get there)!

But "big respect" for your honesty and apology. I know it wasn't for my benefit but I benefited form it nevertheless.

Anyone braver than I am, I'd love to hear about your ideas as well.

Matt

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I don't plan to split off that thread.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I think we can let Persiflage decide how much of that thread is relevant to his book, and leave it at that. He says he's "reading and considering all of everyone’s comments", and that's good enough for me.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Persiflage was bold enough to tell us about his vision for a book.

And with what seems almost superhuman patience, he's taken some heavy criticism as a result. And I admit, I could have been more respectful. The discussion has been interesting and worthwhile, I think. But I do wish I'd been kinder about it.

Persiflage, I apologize, man. I think I would have gotten nasty about some of those responses, had I been in your shoes, just trying to share what was on my mind. So, kudos. You said the process has been "educational," and that's a very gracious thing to say. As that discussion played out, I learned some things too.

No apology needed. I appreciated the time you've been putting into going into that particular topic. And I'd encourage anyone else thinking of writing a book to welcome criticism of your ideas. It's the sort of thing you'll want and need in order to think through your ideas more clearly.

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Okay, so...

That's got me wondering: Who else at A&F has dreamed about writing a book?

Is anybody actually working on one?

Do you dare to share a description of the subject?

Maybe we can respond constructively and respectfully. I hope so, because I'm very curious...

I've had a book idea bouncing around in my head for years. I've worked on it, put it aside when my niece became ill 6 years ago, and didn't work on it again until pulling out a section for a workshop in my fiction writing class 3 years ago. I used it for 2 reasons-I didn't have to write something from scratch--it was toward the end of the semester and ideas were lacking--and I was curious to see how receptive people would be to it--they liked all 27 pages pretty well. :).

At this point, those 27 pages may be relegated to backstory, but I'm not sure. I've also written a short story that plays with the same concept, so that may be part of a larger story or more backstory as well.

I haven't had a chance, or the brain power, to work on it since. :blink:. But I graduated a few weeks ago, and those fiction-writing brain cells are starting to exert themselves again. So I'm going to pull it out at some point and tackle it again.

Years ago, before Emmy got sick, the initial concept was this:

Unaware of Angels is a series of books, number to be determined, featuring two main characters-Jericho and Lathan.

Jericho is an angel saved by grace, serving as a guardian on Earth. Once a part of the rebellion against God in Heaven, he is now a member of a guerilla angel squadron, fighting the evil he helped introduce. He must remain on earth until the end of time, dealing with the consequences of his actions. **note--not liking the end of time aspect, as I re-read it--so that needs work.

Lathan is a rebellious angel, cast out of heaven when the rebellion failed. Once a mentor of Jericho, he is now held responsible for Jericho's defection back to the good side. As a result, he is stripped of his authority and power, and sent to Earth to thwart Jericho's work—instead of a commander, he is now a grunt. He blames Jericho for his current position.

These fighters are not hidden behind the scenes. They take on lives here and intermingle with the people. But they are also not of this world, and their actions reflect that as well. Sometimes they fight a visible battle, but many times they wrestle in an unseen war.

The books follow these two throughout time. It is a constant tug-of-war, a fight to see who will dominate.

Scripture:

  • Ephesians 6:12 "For we do not wrestle with flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
  • Hebrews 13:2 "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."

The above info is older--six, seven years--and I've learned much since then. But for now, it's what I have. :D

I'm toying with the idea of first person. I'm also toying with the idea of moving through time--playing with historical elements I'm familiar with, just to see if and how the story would play out. Trumpet in the Land is the historical component--the left column.

Will it pan out? Who knows? It may be more of a learning experience on my end--working out POV, pacing, plot, characters etc.

Remember, you asked. 8O

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

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I'm actually doing major first-quarter surgery on a book I wrote as my senior honors thesis, Danse Macabre, about a boy who meets the angel of death in the cafe on the outskirts of Florence after the death of the boy's father. Four years later, he goes on another search for the angel, leading him to dive bars where Gabriel plays solos, downtown alleys where Michael and Satan tussle, and highways where Raphael's just looking for a ride to San Francisco. Also, there's the restoration of downtown Los Angeles, leukemia, San Quentin, the Odessa mafia, freshman year of college, and naturally, the danse macabre.

Look, I'll write a good cut line when I absolutely have to, which is not yet.

You can read the prologue here, which is as good an indication as any as to the tone.

I'm actually quite happy with the prologue, which existed long before the rest, and with the second half of the book, but I obviously had no idea what I was doing writing the first half; it was clumsy and haphazardly assembled from spare parts. Those spare parts ended up, thank God, fitting together about 1/3 of the way of through, but now I've got to bring that first stretch up to speed. With God as my witness, I'll be finished with that this summer. And then maybe I can sit on it for another half a year absolutely terrified of the publication process.

Edited by N.K. Carter

Nathaniel K. Carter

www.nkcarter.com

"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books." - C.S. Lewis

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I'm actually doing major first-quarter surgery on a book I wrote as my senior honors thesis, Danse Macabre, about a boy who meets the angel of death in the cafe on the outskirts of Florence after the death of the boy's father. Four years later, he goes on another search for the angel, leading him to dive bars where Gabriel plays solos, downtown alleys where Michael and Satan tussle, and highways where Raphael's just looking for a ride to San Francisco. Also, there's the restoration of downtown Los Angeles, leukemia, San Quentin, the Odessa mafia, freshman year of college, and naturally, the danse macabre.

Look, I'll write a good cut line when I absolutely have to, which is not yet.

You can read the prologue here, which is as good an indication as any as to the tone.

I'm actually quite happy with the prologue, which existed long before the rest, and with the second half of the book, but I obviously had no idea what I was doing writing the first half; it was clumsy and haphazardly assembled from spare parts. Those spare parts ended up, thank God, fitting together about 1/3 of the way of through, but now I've got to bring that first stretch up to speed. With God as my witness, I'll be finished with that this summer. And then maybe I can sit on it for another half a year absolutely terrified of the publication process.

Nice. :D. I look forward to reading the prologue--the connection is slow as molasses right now :huh: and I need to get off the computer and get my day started! Writing that explores the supernatural always interests me!

I have bits and pieces as well, but haven't worked on it enough to see if they will fit together or not. Maybe I'll pull it out later today and fiddle with it.

Hey Jeffery, thanks for posting this topic. It got the fiction brain cells firing again--quite necessary since summer is going to be spent working on a fiction portfolio for grad school submissions. :D

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

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I would like to write the definitive St. Louis detective novel.

There. I said it.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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I have had an idea knocking around for a while about a child (roughly 5th grade) who is kind of isolated due to being quite precocious emotionally and intellectually, and due to the frequent absence of his parents. He learns that he can talk to his shadow (and it will talk back), and so it's meant to explore that relationship and how it develops (and ultimately, I think disintegrates). I wrote the first couple chapters and I think set it up fairly well, but I'm having a really hard time figuring out the actual main events of the book and how it progresses.

Scott -- 2nd Story -- Twitter

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Some really cool ideas here! I hope they come to fruition!

I am turning in the really really seriously definitely final version (probably) of my first book within the next 7 days. It's a collection of personal essays about growing up with the Christian rock culture of the 1990s, mostly, and just other essays about my life and music. It feels kind of weird to be a non-famous person writing a "memoir," but Jeff, your first book really encouraged me in that regard!

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Well, I've finished my first book, but my agent couldn't sell it, so I'm looking into self-publishing now. It's political, but I won't say any more than that, because the topic would make half of you throw up your hands in horror. :P

I'm now starting work on my second book, which is about . . . wait for it . . . Charles Dickens.

The books mentioned here sound really interesting -- I hope I get to read all of them one day!

Edited by Gina
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You can read the prologue here, which is as good an indication as any as to the tone.

Nice job with the prologue--I'm intrigued to read more. :)

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

http://whythewritingworks.com

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Imagine a hellish time in which the primary works of literary culture have totally vanished and only secondary sources survive--that is, the only Shakespeare, Jane Austen, or Vladimir Nabokov we know is that portion of their work which is passed down to us by their critics, whether through quotation, paraphrase, interpretation, misinterpretation, regurgitation, etc.

Imagine, then, an anthology or series of anthologies attempting to reconstruct the original writings from the critical literature. In short, the type of book I am describing would be a collection of literature written as if great writers really write as critics say they write. Since critics vary so wildly with authors, with one another, and even with themselves, the fictional anthologist would have to take very drastic editorial steps to arrive at some coherence. It would be satirical but gentle, poking fun at the foibles of critics while ultimately highlighting the noble task of criticism.

I shall write this book.

Edited by du Garbandier
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Imagine a hellish time in which the primary works of literary culture have totally vanished and only secondary sources survive--that is, the only Shakespeare, Jane Austen, or Vladimir Nabokov we know is that portion of their work which is passed down to us by their critics, whether through quotation, paraphrase, interpretation, misinterpretation, regurgitation, etc.

Imagine, then, an anthology or series of anthologies attempting to reconstruct the original writings from the critical literature. In short, the type of book I am describing would be a collection of literature written as if great writers really write as critics say they write. Since critics vary so wildly with authors, with one another, and even with themselves, the fictional anthologist would have to take very drastic editorial steps to arrive at some coherence. It would be satirical but gentle, poking fun at the foibles of critics while ultimately highlighting the noble task of criticism.

I shall write this book.

I would read it.

That almost dovetails well with a short story I am writing about a near future in which the current ratio between writers and readers is reversed. It is a first person lament by a famous "reader" going through a "reading block" in which he questions his much lauded ability to listen to and read the printed word with the panache of rare, innate genius. Now he is just coasting on the fumes of a Nobel Prize in Reading, and this halting, clumsy soliloquy (he is a reader, not a writer after all) delves into this creative crisis he thinks may be linked to a time he plagiarized a reading from one of his students while still a mere tenure track professor fresh out of grad school (during which his dissertation comprised a reading of the entirety of KF 801 .C65 through L 909.T6 in the University of Illinois Reading Repository, which still registers as a monumental feat). At the time, it was an easy way to beef up his tenure chances, as teaching was way better than just going into corporate reading for Twogger or MyFace with the rest of his classmates even though those jobs paid a lot more.

Edited by M. Leary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Imagine a hellish time in which the primary works of literary culture have totally vanished and only secondary sources survive--that is, the only Shakespeare, Jane Austen, or Vladimir Nabokov we know is that portion of their work which is passed down to us by their critics, whether through quotation, paraphrase, interpretation, misinterpretation, regurgitation, etc.

Imagine, then, an anthology or series of anthologies attempting to reconstruct the original writings from the critical literature. In short, the type of book I am describing would be a collection of literature written as if great writers really write as critics say they write. Since critics vary so wildly with authors, with one another, and even with themselves, the fictional anthologist would have to take very drastic editorial steps to arrive at some coherence. It would be satirical but gentle, poking fun at the foibles of critics while ultimately highlighting the noble task of criticism.

I shall write this book.

Wonderful.

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Depends what you mean by 'first book' but as part of NaNoWriMo a few years ago I wrote what I then thought would be the first of a trilogy of hockey novels. Never came to anything. I'm kicking around a dystopian apocalyptic fiction idea right now, but that's so... well... overdone, that I probably shouldn't bother. Two kids 3 and under, and a busy dual parish to pastor means that I probably shouldn't even be responding to this thread right now.

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I meant to add a reply when Jeffrey started this thread. After getting sidetracked, I'm just now remembering to do so.

I've wanted to write a book for a while, and I think I'm finally getting a handle on what it will look like. Hopefully the "Spiritual Writing" class at the Glen Workshop this fall will help me clarify my thoughts even more.

Basically, it will be a book about Fundamentalism. As I've mentioned in other places on this board, my Great Grandfather was one of the most prominent Fundamentalists of the 20th century. He wrote over 200 books and pamphlets, with more than 60 million copies in print, edited a biweekly newspaper (still published today) that at one time had a circulation of 280,000, and helped start the careers of men like Billy Graham and Jerry Falwell. Growing up, I was solidly in that world; the only thing I knew about Southern Baptists as a kid was that they were liberal. Rock music was "from the devil" - and by rock music I was talking about Steve Green and Steven Curtis Chapman, of course the Beatles were evil. I was 21 before I saw a movie in the theater for the first time ("Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers," for those interested).

I own about 30 of the books my Great Grandfather wrote, and I've been reading them recently, as well as various PhD thesis written about him and that period of Fundamentalism. So I want to write something to try to help explain, at least to myself, how I ended up where I am today, so far from the Fundamentalism of my childhood and in a relatively short amount of time, and interact with his writings in the process.

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