Friday, March 22, 2013

Growing up in those days...

There's nothing quite like being a father. I can't fully explain how my heart swells with pride when my 2 year old daughter says her prayer at night or I catch my 4 year old son helping out around the house or my little 6 month old gets up on all fours for the first time. There's nothing like holding them up in your arms and feeling their tender love or helping them out with a project. There's also nothing quite like dealing with their sin and disciplining them and being disappointed when they act out or act up. It's a roller coaster ride. For a few days this week we've enjoyed some time off going to my parent's house in Wisconsin. It's fun to be at the house I grew up in, relive some of those memories as a kid and spend some quality time with my wife and kids and parents too. 
It's making me wonder more and more what it would be like to grow up in ancient Israel. What did the kids play with and do for fun? Did they play much or was it almost all work all the time to help support the family and the self-subsistence lifestyle? What chores did they do? What was the relationship like between parents and children? How did they raise their kids? What kind of education did they give? How did they discipline? I need to find answers to some of these questions or at least have an educated guess. My character is a product of his upbringing. What experiences would he have gone through as a child growing up during that age? How would they shape him into the man he is as the story begins? How do his early experiences affect the path of his life later on? Does he have unresolved issues that he needs to overcome?
I've been having fun digging into these and other questions as I continue to develop Benaiah's character and tell the story of his journey. What a joy to be able to draw on my own experiences as a father or as a child as I try to imagine myself back into that time period and write this story. If anyone has any suggestions or resources that would help in this area, I'd welcome them!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Brief Announcement

Not long ago I started writing for another site called Bread for Beggars  where I plan to write Christian poetry and other creative writings at least once a month. I've always enjoyed creative writing and I hope that this will be another outlet for the gifts God has given me in that area. Recently I posted a poem based on Psalm 22, the Psalm that Jesus quoted from the cross...feel free to read it at Verses for the King on the Bread for Beggars site.

I'm keeping this post brief...since I have a lot of writing to do on my book as I continue to work toward my goal of a completed first draft by the end of June! I really appreciate all the support and prayers!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Fun

My wife does this Friday Fun thing on her amazing health and wellness blog every week and it inspired me to do the same. I won't do it every week, but every once in a while I'll include some personal updates on what's going on in my life and things I'm thinking about and doing....just for fun.

Here goes:

In my life this week...
I've been plugging away at my writing every morning as well as going to work every day and spending a few fleeting quality moments with my amazing family at night. Wednesday I  had off work and went to the dentist for the first time in 5 years...not too bad...but a few cavities that need filling! Not too happy about that! It was fun to take my son, Malachi, he was so brave and did such a good job getting his teeth cleaned at the dentist for the first time and he was really patient waiting for me to get done with my appointment.

I am inspired by...
My wife Cara, who holds down the family fort every day with such patience, hard work, grace and creativity. I know God is using her to bless the lives of our children in countless ways every day. I'm also inspired by every single author who has ever been takes so much creativity, structure and dedication to your goals to keep at it.

My favorite thing this week was...
Every night getting a chance to read books or play with my 3 adoreable kids for a little while before they go to bed.

What's working/not working for me...
Working- work is going well for the most part, my book is coming along and I have been trying to deepen the characters and work on their back story and biography so that each is unique, I can know them inside and out and create believable and interesting lives and actions for them.

Not working - being away from my family for large chunks of time, only being able to work on my book for an hour or less each morning, getting up early and staying up late is taking a bit of a toll.

Questions/thoughts I have...What was ancient Shechem (Near my character's hometown of Pirathon) like at the time I'm writing and how important was it? When is it going to really warm up outside? I can't wait for the snow to melt and the grass to get green!

Things I'm working on...Still doing a lot of research for my book so that I know the culture, timeperiod and setting thoroughly. Of course...writing every morning and trying to craft interesting, unique and vivid prose. Being a better husband and father...always.

I'm reading...Love in the present tense on Audio book as I drive to work. Interesting fiction book from the first person perspective with some good character development and flaws. Several books on Bible background information...I believe one is entitled The Way it Was in Bible Times and the other is How the people of the bible really lived. Plus other dictionaries and a biblical background encyclopedia as well as several commentaries.

I'm grateful for...The amazing support and love from my family,  fulfilling projects and goals that God has been blessing, having a job that I enjoy and that supports my family.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share: Why waste life wishing life were different than it is? Why not enjoy life by living your life today for the One who gave you life to live?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Point of View

The point of view is so important. I want you to feel like you are standing in his sandals. You can feel the leather on the bottom of your feet. Your clothing is rough, uncolored. Your diet is raw and simple. Your life is your family and your daily, almost constant work. You look out on a world that is savage and beautiful...and a society that is changing. You live in a transitional period. A king, the first king, has been ruling for some years and everything is still new. War and bloodshed is not a faraway nightmare that you can wake up and forget about, some distant news that other people is your reality today and will be tomorrow as well. Most people fit well into their family and their society, or at least they seem to. You do not. You are not one of them. You do not like your place in this society. You do not feel like you have a true home. Adventure beckons. Danger is alluring. Change is exciting. Sin is tempting. You choose. You step into your future almost all alone and unaware of where it will lead. You are lost, but you do not want to admit it. You are empty, but you have no idea how to be filled. You are both strong and weak, wise and foolish. Your experiences will make you small, challenge you, force you to grow. You will see things and be a part of moments that will be forever stamped in the record of human history. Your name is Benaiah and you are from the town of Pirathon.

I've been writing this story from the first person point of view. I toyed with writing it from the third person perspective, which is more common for fiction and has many advantages to it. Long ago I decided to go with the first person because I want to draw you in as a reader. I want you to stand where he stands and feel what he feels as if he is giving you a first-hand report, an intimate discussion of his life, his thoughts, his eyewitness account of the experiences he's been through. Several other characters will also give their firsthand accounts so that you can see, feel, experience the story from several different perspectives. I'm very excited to be working on this and eager to make even more progress this week. Can't wait to see where these characters lead me next...