Thursday, June 18, 2009

Choosing a Name

I'm choosing a name for my main character in my new story right now, and at the moment I'm trying to decide between Marit, Liv and Karina. Marit means Pearl, Liv means My God is a vow, and Karina means Pure. They are all Scandinavian in origin, as my heroine is Scandinavian as well. Below I have the descriptions given by the Kabalarians website regarding the meanings of these three names. I know I can make my character whatever I want, but seeing descriptions like this is entertaining, and does help me make my decision.


* Your first name of Marit has given you a studious nature, and the ability to concentrate on whatever you are doing.

* You could excel in mathematics or in positions where persistence, independence, and individuality are required.

* In personal associations, a lack of finesse in verbal expression often creates misunderstandings with others, especially with those close to you, because you find it difficult and embarrassing to express depth of feeling when situations arise requiring diplomacy, understanding, and affection.

* Although the name Marit creates the urge to be original and self-reliant, we emphasize that it limits self-expression and friendly congeniality with a moody disposition.

* This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses heart, lungs, bronchial area, and tension or accidents to the head.


* Your name of Liv creates a very sensitive, inspirational, and idealistic nature.

* You have an appreciation for all the fine and beautiful things in life, and could excel in music, art, drama, or literary undertakings, where you could find an expression for your deeper feelings that you would not find otherwise.

* As a result of your love of the out-of-doors, you would experience the most peace and harmony out in the quiet of nature.

* Your sensitive nature causes you to lack self-confidence, and to withdraw from arguments or turmoil, as any discord reflects quickly through your nervous system.

* Although the name Liv creates idealism and the urge to help others, we emphasize that it limits self-expression and friendly congeniality with a moody disposition.

* This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the nervous system, heart, lungs and bronchial area.


* Your first name of Karina has given you a friendly, likeable nature, and you could excel in artistic, dramatic, and musical expression.

* With this name, you desire the finer things in life, but you do not always have the resolve and vitality to put forth the effort necessary to fulfil your desires.

* Your emotional feelings are easily affected and you will always be involved in other people's problems as a result of your overly sympathetic nature.

* Though the name Karina creates the urge to understand and help people, we draw to your attention that it causes an emotional intensity and sensitivity that is hard to control.

* This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses in the fluid and nervous system.

I have also already decided on the hero's name, who I have christened Richard. (I don't have any last names yet.) For fun, here's the Kabalarian report for the name Richard.

* The name of Richard gives you a very individual, reserved, serious nature.

* You prefer to be alone with your own thoughts, rather than in the company of others.

* This name restricts spontaneity in association and the fluency of your verbal expression.

* When you are required to express yourself in personal matters requiring finesse and diplomacy, you feel awkward and embarrassed.

* Although you realize perfectly well what is expected of you, you are unable to find the right words, and hence you end up saying something inappropriate in a candid way.

* You can express your deeper thoughts and feelings best through writing.

* While the name Richard creates the urge to be creative, independent and original, we point out that it limits self-expression and friendly congeniality with a tendency to be moody.

* This name, when combined with the last name, can frustrate happiness, contentment, and success, as well as cause health weaknesses heart, lungs, bronchial area, and tension or accidents to the head.

First of all, I LOVE the description of Richard. That's pretty much exactly how I imagined him. (He's a man in his mid-thirties, and he's an English professor at small, private liberal arts school.)

As far as the heroine goes, I think I like the name Liv the best. I was originally going to go with Marit, but I think Liv probably fits the character better.

It might seem silly to work so hard on figuring out the name, but until now I'd been using the name "Jenny," simply because it was the first thing that popped into my head when I started writing. But I don't think that name fits the character at all, so when I write, that's all I can think about instead of developing the story. Now I'll be able to concentrate and write much better, having decided on a name that I'm very happy with.


Heroine: Liv Victorson
Hero: Richard Ahlberg

Word of the Day - Short Shrift

Here's the Word of the Day. I'll be using the word in my fiction writing later today. I'm hoping to finish my first chapter in my first real attempt at Christian Romance. I'll post something commentative about something here later.

The Word of the Day for June 18, 2009 is:
short shrift • \SHORT-SHRIFT\ • noun

1 : barely adequate time for confession before execution

2 *a : little or no attention or consideration
b : quick work

Example Sentence:
Parents are complaining that, due to recent budget cuts, physical education and arts programs have been given short shrift in the local schools.

Did you know?
The word "shrift" is an archaic noun referring to the confession or absolution of sins. These days, "shrift" is rarely encountered on its own, but it does keep frequent company with "short" in the phrase "short shrift." The earliest known use of the phrase comes from William Shakespeare's play Richard III, in which Lord Hastings, who has been condemned by King Richard to be beheaded, is told by Sir Richard Ratcliffe to "Make a short shrift" as the king "longs to see your head." Shakespeare uses this phrase quite literally ("keep your confession short"), but since at least the 19th century the phrase has been used figuratively to refer to a small or inadequate amount of time or attention given to something.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Word of the Day - Preeminent

Courtesy of Merriam Webster Online.

The Word of the Day for June 17, 2009 is:
preeminent • \pre-EM-uh-nunt\ • adjective

: having paramount rank, dignity, or importance : outstanding, supreme

Example Sentence:
Carrie considered herself lucky to have one of the country’s preeminent novelists as her writing professor.

Did you know?
What is noteworthy about the following sentence? "Mount McKinley is a prominent eminence in the Alaskan landscape." You very likely recognized two words that are closely related to "preeminent" -- "prominent" and "eminence." All three words are rooted in the Latin verb stem "-minēre," meaning "to stand out." But did you note as well the related word "mount"? Not too surprisingly, "-minēre" is related to "mons," the Latin word for "mountain." That relationship leads us in turn to "paramount," a word closely related in meaning to "preeminent."

I haven't the time or the energy at the moment to try to delve into something new, so I'm just going to go ahead and bring back an old topic; I'll be approaching it a different way, but I think it's about time I resolve this for myself.

Several months ago, I wrote this post in response to an unrest I was feeling, an obligation to stay informed of what I had attempted to involve myself in, and then a subsequent confusion based on what I had read.

The first section of quotations, starting with Tozer and ending with Jeremy Meyers, are all related. Going back and re-reading that post has changed my perception a bit. I still agree with who I agreed with before, but I find the section by Jim Henderson rather condescending to Brian, who I believe shared the thought by Tozer. Jeremy's response in my opinion was very gracious. Agreeing with Jim, thanking him for the insights, but not attacking Brian in the process. Again, I agree with Jim, it's just seems to me that he may have written that a little too hastily and too emotionally. I don't know how God used what he said, I obviously wasn't bothered by his tone the first time I read it so maybe Brian wasn't offended either. (Though the reason I wasn't bothered probably has something to do with the fact that I was also upset with Brian for whatever it was he wrote to Jeremy that also got Jim upset.)

Strangely enough, the next quotation, by Tim Nichols ties in rather nicely with this. It's a different subject matter being addressed, but perhaps Tim's insights could lead us to understanding of the previous issue. Tim's exact quotation states "Because if we want to avoid similar decades-long battles in other areas — like, say, over the exact content that one must believe to be saved — then it is helpful to see what our brothers have done wrong (and what they have done right) in past conflicts." I was thinking about the conundrum of passing blame. What about when other people pass blame? Do we then get all puffed up and blame them for being blamers? At the same time, it is important to distinguish between truth and falsity; that's one thing I know the Word makes very clear. What Tim said I believe gives another possibility. Don't beat yourself up for being emotionally affected by a differing opinion from another person, but still change the way you respond to it. Don't treat them in kind, if their actions are what bother you, acknowledge to yourself what you think, what you see, and approach it as a learning situation. Then it becomes less personal, and you tempt yourself less to treating the brother or sister with anything less than love.

As for the other two quotations I copied, I honestly don't remember what I thought about them before. I know why I included them, they made me think - and they still do - but I don't remember what it was I was wanting to say about them so I'm not going to bother with it now.

Looking back at this post is something I feel I can really learn from. I mentioned that the post was a result of my attempting to stay involved with something I felt obligated to participate in. I do remember very clearly though that this attempt brought me only confusion and unrest, not joy or growth. At the beginning of my blog journey, I needed to get involved in some of the more difficult discussions going on between individuals in my former spiritual environment and those they disagreed with. It was still something that greatly affected my thoughts and my day to day life, so I didn't feel at peace not getting involved, or at least being informed. I don't regret that. What I do regret is then not being able to move on when I needed to. These issues between these parties have caused much discord among the brethren and are to be taken seriously, I'm not going to avoid or ignore them now; but I'm no longer going to let them take the preeminent role in my spiritual thoughts and conversations with others. There are other things God has called me for, other things He wants me to concentrate on. I left the church I grew up in because I could no longer attend there and continue to grow; I was being spiritually stilted and it was hurting an otherwise growing relationship with my Heavenly Father. I need to remember that, and apply that truth with everything in my life once and if it starts negatively affecting my relationship with Him.

New Blog- Eruanna Melda's Romance

First off, (and this is directed at you Christopher,) don't laugh at the name. Go to the blog, read the introduction pages and then you can laugh at me.

I haven't written anything yet, story wise, but I'm going to. I think it's high time I finally started utilizing Write or Die.

I've also been highly challenged by a newcomer to my blog, for which I am very grateful. Constructive criticism from fellow writers is just not emphasized as important enough anymore. Or maybe people just aren't willing to be honest with people regarding what they think. (Or they're too honest, and attack those they disagree with rather than being constructive.)

So, as my first step of showing my gratitude for the welcomed critique, I will be posting a "Word of the Day" every day possible, and using it in a post someway that relates to the title of this blog. I think it's about time I paid attention to that again.

If anyone else has anything to say, either here or any of my fiction blogs, (because there are more to come,) please, don't hesitate, I welcome it.

Update: I used Write or Die this morning for 10 minutes, and I got over 500 words written. Amazing how quickly the words of a story will come to you when you're forced to just write. I'm going to be using it again tonight, hopefully for an hour or two total, and the goal is to get a chapter published on the new blog before I go to bed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Writing Christian Romance: I really want to. But can I?

I've been feeling very conflicted lately. And I know that right now I can't sleep. Way too much on my mind. I feel guilty...but at the same time, if I went to bed I would just toss and turn. I might as well try to get something productive done. Some people might not think writing on a blog as something that is productive, but for me it is. I function so much better mentally when I'm exercising my brain through writing. It helps me get so much off my mind, and often helps me find peace with the things I struggle with. Often when I write it's kinda like a prayer, because a lot of the time I'm directing what I'm writing to God.

One reason I've found the thought of writing stories so overwhelming lately is because I've approached it as if in order to write a story or a book or a novel that encourages and speaks to people, I need to understand completely whatever it is I want to write about. I feel like I need to "have all the answers" for whatever the subject is. There aren't many things right now that I can say that I understand, or that I can explain to other people. But I still have that DESIRE to help others who struggle with things that I struggle with. I don't have the courage as of yet to share ALL my struggles, hopefully that will change someday, but I have to start somewhere.

I read something though on Francine Rivers' website a month or so ago that changed that perspective for me. She said that every book she writes begins as a QUESTION she is asking God. I've been thinking a lot about that. It suddenly seems strange to me that I wanted to write stories for reasons that would never occur to me to be acceptable reasons to talk to people. Do I want to help other people, if God leads me to someone that He has equipped me to help? Of course. But I don't view other Christians solely as people that I need to help. That would be very condescending of me. I view other Christians as people that I want to fellowship with, people that I want to grow closer to God with. If through that I end up helping someone who is struggling, wonderful. But the fellowship, the sharing of a common love, a common purpose, is the goal. The focus is the living and the acting out in truth the Life of the Body that God has called us to, that He has made us for.

Obviously, writing won't be exactly the same as fellowship, as it is usually a solitary exercise, versus a corporate one. But why was my purpose focused on what I could do for others? If that's my focus, I'm going to do more harm than good when I try. If I want to be an encouraging member of God's Body through my writing, He needs to be my focus. I want my writing to be another exercise, another way of my getting to know Him better. Yes, my blog writing is already something that I view that way, but why not my stories? I don't need to have any answers, I don't need to be an expert on a spiritual issue in order to write about it. I just need to begin with a question, a desire to understand something that I don't understand, a yearning to be lead by God to His truth. If that is what drives my writing, and not me trying to have all the answers - which is ultimately just a symptom of me trying to please others - then I will take so much unneeded and harmful pressure off my shoulders, grow closer to God, and maybe even encourage others in the process.

So, Christian Romance. It's on my heart, on my conscience. I believe I can do it. I believe at the very least I can write stuff better than most of what I've seen out there lately. (Of course with the exception of Francine Rivers. If I could ever develop my writing enough to come even close to her talent, that would more than I would ever ask for.) And this isn't a vanity on my part, honestly. I just can't believe some of the stuff that gets published. It doesn't matter how good your story is if you don't develop your characters. If your characters aren't developed, if what they do doesn't seem realistic, then you dehumanize them and they become impossible to relate to. The greatest story in the world, the most elegent prose, is ruined if the characters don't make sense.

Honestly, I kinda want to write those online "webisodes" that I update one to a couple times a week, where people can comment, tell me what they think, and it would be a good developmental exercise for me I think. I don't want to stay with that, I would love to be published someday and have real books with paper and ink sitting on bookstore shelves, but the internet is a very valuable tool that I can use to my advantage - kind of a impromtu education - learning what works and what doesn't, what I need to work on, how I can improve, and what it is I'm capable of. I've tried those writing communities in the past, and they're fun for a while, but that's kind of overwhelming too. It's way too easy to get distracted by what others have written, or to get discouraged because no one comments on what you have written. Of course, I don't know if people will comment on what I'll write this way either, but I think I have a better chance at receiving constructive critism. I just need to figure out how to build a website where I can do that. I'm not going to invest money yet, so I need one of those free sites. I really love Blogger for blogging, but I think I'm going to try Wordpress. I tried it before for The Chronicles of Jane that quickly died out, but I think that was because I focused too much on the formating rather than the writing. Who cares how pretty my site is if I only write two chapters?

Oh, one more thing. Even though writing is usually a solitary exercise, and I'm not going to try those writing communities anymore, that doesn't mean that a community of other writers isn't important. I don't want to throw myself into building that community any more than I want to completely distract myself by the logistics of writing, but the rest of tonight before I go to bed I'm going to dedicate to finding other people like me: Christian Romance authors who at least talk about their writing, if not share it, online. I don't know if I'll find anything, but I'm going to try.

UPDATE: I've found some good stuff. By far the most encouraging site I've found as far as giving me other options goes is New Christian Voices.

One thing I just found made my jaw hit the floor...wasn't exactly what I was thinking I was going to find. It's an online resource index called Biblical Counsel: Resources for Renewal. The reason I stumbled upon it was because of this page on Christian Fiction. This statement - or disclaimer - is at the top of the page:
"We see no precedent in Scripture for fiction, either Christian fiction or secular novels. Time spent reading fiction is time lost from learning more scriptural truth with the finite amount of time we are given. However, if the mind is fatigued and needs rest and recreation, then do choose Christian biography or Christian fiction over the novel, over the theater, and over the media. Remember the Jesuits have always used the theater, and now Hollywood, to influence the masses with their heretical message."

I'm not sure who the people are that have published this resource guide, and frankly I don't think I'll be visiting this site anytime soon, but they do have a link to some George MacDonald fiction on the page to their credit.