Posts made in April, 2014

On the Ancient Art of Characters “Coming to Life”

Posted by on Apr 30, 2014 in Writer's Diary

The power of the below experience has lost none of its potency. I find it as true today as it’s ever been.

My fellow writers, enjoy.

The below content was originally posted at my prior blog, Stunk’s Stage on Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 at 8:26 am.

 

Runaways

By C.J. Stunkard

 

I know of few greater joys a writer can experience than having a character run away with the script. It’s truly a joy, witnessing a being you’ve essentially created take the idea or thought you have given them and just embrace it, demanding valuable page space to make their point or express themselves. This could take the form of the character doing something unexpected or simply redirecting a conversation. Regardless, the character’s actions alter and change a scene from what one originally expected into something new–something that’s usually more organic (and, thus, more entertaining and engaging); and I love experiencing this. It’s exciting.
 
I had a character named BRUCE pull this on me last night, while I was working on my latest script. I was intending to have him respond quickly to a person’s ignorant remark, but his correction quickly became an explanation and analysis of something else–it became a true outgrowth of something building up in him that I had not realized, and it was exhilarating to type. I hadn’t expected this to happen, and I assume readers (or viewers, should it come to that) will not either.
 
I love when this happens, when my little plans for my little characters in my little story turn out to be broader, larger, and deeper than I had intended. Sometimes, I wonder if God gets a similar type of joy from us. I certainly don’t think anything we do “surprises” God; but oftentimes we surprise ourselves, and I wonder if he finds great joy in that, in our discovery of the depth and insight that he has given us, which we had previously never recognized nor thought possible.
 
This latest script, as I continually reference it, has been really up-and-down. I’ve been horrible at making the time to work on it; but when I have, I’ve always been encouraged (except that first night, when I wrote drivel of the most hackneyed and banal type [but it’s good that I did, because my reaction to the dull nature of those initial pages led to something much more interesting] ). I have resigned myself to the idea that I will need a 15-day extension into April to finish, but I’ll do it; and I’m looking forward to all the e-mails I’m going to get saying, “I don’t get this.” (actually, upon a momentary reflection, I’m not looking forward to that at all…maybe I don’t want feedback on this one. =)

 

 

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Feeling Humbled by a Proverb a Day

Posted by on Apr 28, 2014 in Love of Scripture

Studying Scriptures humbles me, especially when those Scriptures are the words of Christ. Or Proverbs. I am often humbled by the book of Proverbs. And April’s been a humbling month.

Each day I’ve taken time to read through a single chapter of the book of Proverbs in the ESV, highlighting verses that struck a chord with my soul. Some of these I sent into the Twittersphere. Some I considered throughout the day. My study has been cursory—an initial reading, a few re-readings thereafter, and some reflection when the book was closed. In May, I hope to go through the verses I highlighted, looking for themes. Eventually, I’d like to compare and contrast the words of Proverbs with those of Christ’s teachings in the Gospels, just to see how they align.

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Further Thoughts of a Disorganized Writer

Posted by on Apr 26, 2014 in Writer's Diary

Back in March, I shared some neurotic thoughts on my disenchanted writer’s life. Tonight, I’m going to share some more.

Not much has changed since that tim, other than further exhaustion. If you’re reading this, chances are that you’ve heard of my recent life updates through some other connective social network like Twitter or Bookface. My wife and I are trying to get several matters in order: finances, insurances, wills, and so forth. On top of this, we are in the midst of a long-desired but whirlwind move into our own residence, after 20 months living with my parents in the house in which I was raised. Oh, and we have our jobs. I don’t know how we’d be doing it with kids also. To all parents, I salute you.

And once again, Ive been forced to re-assess my writing pursuits.

I have had to put To Retreat From Romance on hiatus–a particular discouragement given the momentum I had been building. My article output has slowed, even while I am looking for additional sites to which I hope to contribute. By summer’s end, I may be making weekly submissions across the web. Then there’s the other projects: the children’s books, the fantasy novels, and the two characters with whom I’ve fallen in love but whose stories I have yet to clearly define. I feel like I have more stories in me now than I’ve ever had previously; all the while my time to write and my energy to do so are at their lowest.

Then there’s the other pursuits. Hobbies notwithstanding, the joys or life require time. Excerise. Fellowship. Community. Prayer. Scripture Study. Reading. Watching Films. Sleep. Savoring Food rather than rushing through it. These things take intentional moments of pause and focus. Existing in perpetual quality time. Any and all of these pursuits costs minutes of doing something else.

Yes, balancing life is a troubling thing, but the blessings of doing so is worthwhile. How much more is life enjoyed when it is experienced with intentionality, with integrity, with a longing to use the time that God has provided to bring him honor and glory. It’s exhausting, yes; but some exhaustion is the result of fullness, of having worked hard and played just the same. In some ways I’m deeply glad to be burdened with musings of integration, wholeness, and Spiritual fulfillment. I believe it is good to be a man who thinks on these things and constantly adjusts his patterns and habits to acquire them. I want Wisdom. I want Community. I want to know the Lord more deeply and be his hands and feet on earth. I want these things, and I am glad to want them. I want to want them more. I’ve felt for the last several years that writing was a means to all of them, and an end in itself toward fullness and doing what the Lord has asked of me.

Perhaps that’s why doing it has become so hard.

Well, that is enough of my mundane self-reflection for one evening, especially a Saturday night. If you are reading this, you’ve done me a service. I ask for another. Please pray for me–pray for my endurance, pray for direction, and thank the Lord Jesus Christ for what he’s done in my life.

Without him, I would be lost in a sea of self-indulgence and delusion; with him, I am more than a conqueror, wholly loved with holy love. That’s a good place to be.

Thanks for reading,

 
 
 

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iGods by Craig Detweiler: A Recommendation

Posted by on Apr 23, 2014 in Reviews & Recommendations

iGods

by Craig Detweiler

NOTE: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

 

Christians are called to be sober-minded and intentional. The Bible’s writers exhort us to put aside childish ways of thinking and “old practices” of immorality and apathy in pursuit of a life that brings glory to God through all facets of our being—heart, soul, and mind. This is a high calling, to be sure; but for the Christian who desires Christ’s honor and the Lord’s will above all else, the challenge is welcome.

As are works and books that aid us along our path.

iGods by Craig Detweiler is one such tool. Part philosophical tome, part historical narrative, the book outlines concerns for the mindful person in the digital age, cautioning the reader against pure consumerism regarding the behemoths of the online landscape. This is a warning worth our attention, for the perceived demands of online media (like the very blog your reading, likely linked through a social networking site) tend to be making us less engaged but more entertained, living lives of increased information but diminished experience.

Because of the cultural context in which we find ourselves, iGods will prove a valuable conversation starter for any reader, particularly those who take an holistic approach to life, whether they are experiencing the digital sphere or reality.

And make no mistake, there is a difference; Detweiler points us to it and comments on how the former affects the latter, how both can be integrated, and why this is important. This is not light reading for one’s five-minute daily devotional; this is a “heady” book (some might call it a “thinking book”). Detweiler is not interested in simple practices or black and white solutions, he desires to navigate the grey (and do so well, despite prevailing attitudes or assumptions).

Even as Detweiler tackles the “worship” of technology itself as well as our implicit “faith” in the various sites to which we give so much attention and time, his tone is never terse, judgmental, or rigid. Rather, the author communicates the need for constant adaptability and grace, as if he knows that the practices he encourages will continue to change by necessity given the ever-shifting sea of devices and sites that claim our time, energy, and attention.

Dense philosophical musings bookend the work, and a wealth of topics receive useful attention between them. Every chapter, from the rise of Amazon to the programming of YouTube, is well-written and thoroughly engaging. It’s the type of book that makes one pause and think, “huh, I had not considered that” or “oh, I definitely act that way online (much to my shame)”, and so forth.

For the non-Christian, iGods serves as a vivid and accessible picture of the current digital landscape, and eventually the book will mark itself as a time capsule of the considerations wrought as a result of emerging “mobiquity” (“Mobile/ubiquity”; not mine, it’s in the book). For the Christian reader, however, the book offers more, for it rebuffs the generally accepted notions of online cultural conduct. Whereas the sites in question tell us to treat ourselves, post our thoughts, or build our platform, iGods suggests that the Christian may need to deny him/herself, share Biblical encouragement, and serve others’ interests. Of course, this are just a few rest stop the book visits along its tour of the information superhighway (if we are even calling it that anymore).

iGods is not for all readers, but I would highly recommend it for some. Indeed, it’s the type of work that proves that Biblical Christian thought is ever-relevant and applicable despite the endless change that happens around it. And we need those kinds of works.

iGods
is available at Amazon.com and other booksellers.

 

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