Thursday, May 06, 2010

An Abundance of Grace (and Books I'm Reading)

I thought I'd share this week the books I happen to be reading now. Between research, writing craft, fiction and audio books, there's always a stack of them in progress. Here's a snapshot of what I'm reading/listening to this week:

The Bloody Mohawk, by Thomas Wood Clarke -- research
The Adirondacks, by Paul Schneider -- research
Royal Escape, by Georgette Heyer -- audio book
Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons, the Story of Phillis Wheatley, by Ann Rinaldi -- fiction

And the book I want to highlight in this post, The Art of War for Writers, fiction writing strategies, tactics and exercises, by James Scott Bell.

In the Introduction Bell writes, I still read books on writing. My philosophy is if I find just one thing of value, even if it's only a new take on something I already know, it's worth it. Anything that helps me become a better writer, I want to find. That's the spirit I hope permeates this text.

I'm halfway through this book, but didn't need to read that far to decide Bell's hope was met, and then some. The layout of the book is similar to a devotional, with short entries that take just a few minutes to read. I started with the intent of treating it like a devotional and reading one entry per day, but have found it impossible not to read several entries at a sitting. Yet some of the entries are so inspiring and chock full of instruction that I want to linger over them, read them over and over again until I have the words ingrained. Oh, the quandry!

Through The Art of War for Writers I'm learning new techniques to create page-turning fiction, as well as being reminded of techniques I already knew, but am not yet established in. We learn by repetition. I do, anyway. Sometimes all it takes is another writer saying the same old thing in a unique way to make it sink deeper into my understanding than surface knowledge, so that it becomes part of the fabric of my first draft writing, instead of something I go back and fix in later drafts.

Therefore I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know them and are established in the present truth. 2 Peter 1:12

Lastly in my personal devotions I've just finished 2 Corinthians and am heading into Galatians. A particularly inspiring verse from Chapter 9 got highlighted in this read through. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Cor 9:8. That's a promise I long to see worked out in my life on so many levels, including as a writer.

Writing is so often a lonely pursuit, and writing for publication comes with a host of pressures and stresses. Pray for the writers you're linked to, that they may have an abundance of grace for every good work!


  1. Lori, is this your first historical fiction book by Ann Rinaldi? If so, you're in for a treat. She writes fabulous historical fiction.

    Thank you for asking for prayer for writers.

  2. That's a lovely passage. I'll have to remember that one for myself :) And what an interesting bunch of books you're reading. I'm always reading several at once...its amazing I ever finish any ;) right now I'm in the midst of the hefty 1300+ page "Sacajewea" and it is wonderful! Even at more than a thousand pages, I know I'll be sad to part with her....

  3. A Royal Escape is one of Heyer's novels that I have yet to read - hope you are enjoying it!

  4. Here's another Rinaldi to add to your list - The Family Greene - her latest. Can't wait to dive in but must meet deadlines first. Enjoy those books:) Bell's sounds great!

  5. Those sounds like wonderful reads. I haven't heard of some of them but I should check them out.


  6. Judy, I've read several other Ann Rinaldi's and loved them all. My two favorites so far are Wolf By The Ears and Cast Two Shadows. This one is wonderful too. I'm glad she's written so many stories set in the 18C.

    I'm not contracted yet, but I've known writers who are for a very long time now. I had my eyes opened to how stressful a career it is early on. Anytime I'm concerned about something and take it to the Lord, I try to remember that these are likely stresses common to all writers, and include others in that prayer.

  7. Heather, you are a reader after my own heart. I love Big Fat Historicals. And I've heard of Sacajewea (the book, I mean). Maybe that will be the next door-stopper on my reading list!

  8. Ruth, it's been a long time since I read Heyer. I forgot how funny she is. This one's good, and it always helps to have a good reader.

  9. Laura, I hadn't heard of that one. I'll look it up. I'm making my way through my library's stock, then I'll have to move on to Amazon!

  10. Clarissa, thanks for stopping by to post! If you like historical fiction then Ann Rinaldi is a perfect author to become acquainted with. Her work is solidly researched and the voices of her characters feel spot on to me, for the time period they are meant to live in. And Georgette Heyer's books are filled with wit. Her stories are set in England (at least all that I've read so far).