A publisher asked me last week what my distinctive mission as a writer is. I think it's to probe beneath the surface into the deep longings of people, then to open a door into the invisible spiritual realm so people can see ultimate realities (including God, angels, demons, heaven and hell) with the eyes of faith and imagination.
Books about writing fiction:
Stein on Writing by Sol Stein
Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King
Scene & Structure (How to Construct Fiction with Scene by Scene Flow, Logic and Readability) by Bickman
The Complete Guide to Writing and Selling the Christian Novel by Penelope Stokes
How to Grow a Novel by Sol Stein
Show, Don’t Tell by William Noble
Books about writing:
Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace by Joseph Williams and Gregory Colomb
Make Your Own Words Work by Gary Provost
The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes by Jack M. Bickham
On Writing Well by ...
- Wed, Jan 06, 2010
Do you find it easier to write a book set in a place you know really well or do you prefer to set your stories in fictional places?
It’s certainly easier to write about the places I know.
- Wed, Jan 06, 2010
I’m not a published author but feel God has gifted me to write full time. Do you think it is a realistic goal to expect my writing to provide my yearly income?
It takes about 1.5 to 2 years to write a book. Assuming you have a publisher interested in your book, the book would need to sell between 10-12,000 copies in order for the publisher to break even. 20,000 copies is considered a good seller. An established author would need to sell 50,000-250,000 in order to break even depending on the advance, printing, marketing budget, etc.
The amount of money brought in does not usually justify the amount of time spent on writing the book. There are very few full-time Christian writers. It's very rare ...
Do you use an outline when you write, or do you work with just a general idea of where the story is going, and the characters just tend to take over on the details?
I’ve tried outlining, and it works better with nonfiction for me, since fiction is so organic. While fiction has structure, it’s not as easy to control as nonfiction, because it has a life of its own. Your characters do tend to surprise you, and sometimes attempt insurrections. Of course you are still in charge and occasionally you must remind your characters of this. After all, they owe you their very names, which you are free to change at any time. Sometimes you must even threaten them with extinction.
My writing is a ministry, because ministry is service, and every aspect of our lives is to be a service that glorifies our Lord.
Every time I see a story I wrote printed without my permission, I feel cheated. How do I handle this injustice?
Question from a reader:
I wrote a story several years ago and had passed it around to family and friends. As time has gone by I’ve now seen it in print and credited to another person. Every time I see this story, I feel cheated. How do I handle this injustice?
Answer from Randy Alcorn:
What strikes me is how counter-culture and counter-instinct the gospel really is. Paul says to the Corinthians in 1 Cor. 6, to persuade them not to sue a brother or sister, “why not rather be wronged?” We tend to think there’s nothing worse ...
When you write, do you try to work each day until you’re “done,” or do you have certain hours or a daily word count goal?
I have no certain hours or word count as a goal. Once I get going on the writing, which is always a monumental struggle because of all the other things vying for my attention, I work until my brain shuts down, or my fingers stop moving on the keyboard. This is the sign that I’m done. Often I work very late, into the wee hours of the morning.
- Sat, Jan 30, 2010
When you write, what sort of theological “puzzles” have you had to sort through to your own satisfaction before you could continue with the story?
One example would be the problem of evil and suffering that plagues Ollie in my novel Deception. Of course, I didn’t resolve that problem, and none of us will, but I had to really ponder it, and think of it in terms of the confusion and anger it might instill in someone like Ollie. Why did his wife die? Why did someone else close to him die? (Not saying who to avoid spoiling the story.) Why do the bad guys sometimes get away with it, and why do the good guys sometimes suffer and die? Ollie’s road to ...