Rebel.

It’s not a word you’ll hear people using to describe me. I have never been a rebel. I’ve never fit the stereotype or the aesthetic. Teenagers are typically stereotyped as being rebellious, but that’s just not me, and it never has been.

I have always been known as the good one. I was the oldest child who grew up more sheltered than her siblings. I always got perfect A’s, I always excelled at everything, and I always followed the rules and never did anything to test the limits. In my friend groups I was always the cautious one who got anxious whenever anyone even suggested we do anything slightly rebellious.

Sure, I have a rebellious streak that comes out every now and then. People know that about me. Every once in a while I would let it come out for a little bit. If you know me well, you’ve probably seen it.

Notice I’ve been speaking in the past tense this whole time.

Because although I am nineteen, my rebellious phase is just beginning. I’m not rebelling against my parents, or against authority in general. I’m rebelling against myself.

I’m tired of being the good one. I’m tired of being the rule follower. I’m tired of doing everything perfectly all the time. I’m tired of being so afraid of breaking the rules that I give them first priority over more important stuff. I’m tired of being so preoccupied with my grades that I miss out on other things. I’m tired of holding it all together, and I’m tired of pretending I’m okay when I’m not.

If you’re familiar with the alignment chart, you might say that my alignment is changing from lawful good to something else. Something chaotic. Maybe neutral on a good day.

My friends, I must be honest, I worry about myself sometimes. Over the past two semesters, I’ve let myself break the rules a little bit. I let my grades slip sometimes. I’ve stopped holding myself to the standard of perfection I used to have for myself. I’ve stopped pretending to be holding it all together when I’m not.

That doesn’t really have anything to do with being a perfectionist, but I guess it makes sense, in a way. Perfectionism is one thing if you’re applying it to academics or your job or rule following. But the moment you start applying it to the way you present yourself to other people, it’s a bigger problem. Fun fact: pain doesn’t go away if you hide it. I guess I thought that since I was always so good at school and stuff and everyone praised me for it, I should be good at life too, and it should never cause me any suffering at all.

Why am I sharing this, you may ask. Because, I think it’s important. The world is crazy right now, and everything is broken, possibly even my soul. But when has it been any different? This broken world as we know it has always been broken, and it was never meant to be this way. It was perfect, once. A long time ago. People say all of this will be okay, that it will all work out. But it won’t. The world will still be broken and groaning. Until the very end, and then it will be made good again, and all the sadness and pain will go away.

So I’m a rebel now. I’m not trying to be perfect anymore. I’m not pretending I have it all together. Because I don’t. And I’m not perfect. Wanna join me? Then we can go be rebels together and do something slightly edgy, like going to get coffee at midnight when we should be doing homework. ūüėČ

4 ¬Ĺ Ways to Survive NaNoWriMo as a College Student

Co-written by me and my newest MC

Happy November, everyone! Seeing as I’m clearly qualified to write this post, I thought I’d share four and a half expert tips on how to survive NaNoWriMo as a college student.

First off, I’d like to say I’m sorry for not updating this blog in, well… months. Adjusting to college life is harder than it sounds, and learning to balance classes, homework, getting enough sleep, social life, a job, procrastinating, self-care, and blogging on top of all of that takes a lot of time. Just add in NaNoWriMo and you get what could be a recipe for disaster.

Fear not, friends! NaNoWriMo is not impossible even if you’re a college student. In fact, so far, it’s been going better than it has in years past. So, without further ado, may I present to you four and a half expert survival tips.

1. Be insane. You pretty much have to be insane to even attempt this. People will tell you that it’s not possible, that there’s no way you could complete NaNoWriMo and thrive at college at the same time. And I’m here to tell you that those people are probably right. Please, for the sake of your own sanity, stop reading and run in the opposite direction.

In all actuality, though, it may help to be slightly insane, but it really isn’t as drastic as all that. If you’re like me, if writing improves your mental health, then it might be just what you need. It also helps alleviate procrastination – instead of wasting time while procrastinating homework, I procrastinate by writing a novel, which is still productive. And when it comes time to procrastinate novel writing, I just do homework. It’s a win-win.

2. Take care of yourself. Please. Sometimes self-care trumps all projects waiting to be finished. Sometimes, going to bed at a decent hour is the best option. Remember to eat meals and lots of snacks, and don’t rely on caffeine and energy drinks to survive. Those do help, though. Not gonna lie.

Chocolate-covered espresso beans are my current favorite. If you eat enough of them, you’ll be awake for hours, plus, they’re covered in chocolate, which is the number one scientifically proven magical NaNoWriMo food.

3. Be patient. It’s likely that many people will ask you what you’re writing, and why you’re even writing at all. It’s just something that you’ll have to explain many times, so you might as well compose an eloquent speech to recite as soon as you see those questions coming.

Based on my experience, there are two types of writers. On the one hand, you’ve got the writers who are totally happy with telling you what they’re writing and what their story is about. If you’re lucky, they might even let you read some of it. And on the other hand, you’ve got the writers who keep their stories a complete secret and might kill you for even asking about it. If you fall into the second category, you have my empathy. May you be granted strength to resist all the questions. (We secretly like it, though. The fact that someone cares enough to ask what our stories are about makes our day.)

4. Listen to the story. You’ve heard the phrase “the wand chooses the wizard.” Well, it just so happens that every once in a while, the story chooses the author. And if that is the case for you, then what other option do you have but to listen to the story?

Even if you choose the story… characters have a way of taking charge. Before you know it, your main character might have gotten himself roped into a quest to kill the Archduke of Mordor, and you will have to go along with it instead of dragging him back to finish his tea and studying for finals. Little did he know that had he finished his tea, he would have found a message on the bottom from the Archduke himself revealing that he is his long-lost brother.

Oooh, plot twist!

4 ¬Ĺ. Do something else creative or out of the ordinary. A lot of people are saying this already, so it’s probably cliche by now, but it actually works. For example, try building a blanket fort that can be your little writing cave. Normally, people might chastise you for being childish, but this is college we’re talking about. No one will judge you for building a blanket fort. In fact, they’re probably jealous they didn’t think of it themselves.

That’s all I have for today, but I hope you benefited from these tips! And now, I’m off to work on my novel!

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?

What are your best writing survival tips?

Camp NaNoWriMo Questions: Plotting vs. Pantsing

It’s the age-old debate. Plotters form one side of it and pantsers form the other. The two groups of writers have gathered to hold a debate to decide which method of writing is better. There’s a twist, though: the plotters have all of their arguments carefully planned, written, organized, and well-rehearsed. The pantsers haven’t prepared at all. They don’t know what they’re going to say or what arguments they’re going to make. They’re winging it.

Obviously, this debate never took place, but if it did, it would probably go exactly like that. Most writers can be sorted into one of the two groups. Summed up in a sentence, plotters know what they’re writing, and pantsers… most of the time don’t. Plotters like to start with a lot of materials: outlines, maps, character charts, plot boards with sticky notes… you name it. When they finally start the actual writing, they know what they’re writing, where they’re going with it, and how it will all end up.

Pantsers, by contrast, like to start with next to nothing (if they start with anything at all.) They start writing and… that’s just it. They write. No outlines, no characters, no plan whatsoever. They figure it out as they go. They don’t know their story as a whole until they see the finished product.

So without further ado, welcome to my new-ish hopefully blog series: Camp NaNoWriMo Questions! I say “new-ish” because I’ve done a similar series before, and “hopefully” because trying to consistently blog in the summer when I’m also trying to get ready for college is a lot harder than it sounds.

I’m also not even doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month… yet. That may change. Who knows? With two novels sitting on my desk arguing over which one of them is more important (and my Muse not showing up at all), I might just have to set some goals for myself and go for it.

Now I am pretty much a full-on pantser. Which honestly is surprising even to me. Usually I can’t stand not knowing everything, but when it comes to writing, I guess my brain works oppositely.

But… want to know something? Most writers are neither. I know very few plotters or pantsers. Most writers I know, myself included, are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. A lot of people tend to lean one way or the other, which is why we like to use these terms to describe them.

With Camp NaNoWriMo in full swing, and regular NaNoWriMo looming just three and a half months away, you’re probably wondering which method of writing is best for this particular challenge.

Okay, first, if you’re asking that question, I would like to ask you another question: why would you write any differently than you normally do? If you normally write outlines, then spend a few weeks before NaNoWriMo starts working on all your planning stuff. Then you can just focus on writing once it starts. And if you’re a pantser like me, then jump in on the first day and go crazy. It’s one of the best feelings in the world!

I love pantsing during NaNoWriMo, because it’s so fast-paced and high-adrenaline and intense, it kind of just fits. Every time I sit down with my notebook, I have no idea where the words will take me. But I also wish I was a plotter, because the idea of writing outlines and then actually having a plan sounds so inviting. (I tried that once and it didn’t work. But it sounds lovely.)

So that’s my take on plotting vs. pantsing: why change you usual writing style? Especially during Camp NaNoWriMo, when the stakes aren’t as high, and you can set your own goals? The point of these challenges is to get you to write, and what better way to write than to practice the way you’re used to?

Have a question about Camp NaNoWriMo? Or a question about writing in general? Fill out the form below and I’ll do my best to answer it in a future post!

The Idea that Haunts You

I bet you know exactly what I’m talking about. I may only be a writer, but I bet all creatives know the feeling.

^^Five years’ worth of ideas!

If you’re anything like me, you have dozens of notebooks and Word documents filled with old ideas that never made it off the ground, snippets of scenes that got discarded, and characters whose names you may not even know. And I’m willing to bet you have at least one that you keep going back to.

You know, The Idea?

No matter how many other stories you finish, you keep going back to that one half-crazed idea. Or do you? Maybe it keeps coming back to you, like the ghosts that haunt people in those old horror movies. And maybe you keep pushing it away because even when you try to work on it, it doesn’t really take you anywhere.

Enter J. R. R. Tolkien.

I know I talk about Tolkien a lot on this blog, but I’m going to tell you about him again, because he’s my favorite author of all time. LotR is my favorite book, my favorite movie, and contains some of my favorite characters. You could for sure consider me a Tolkien geek (and yes. I know Elvish.)

Everyone knows that The Lord of the Rings is one of the most well-known, most quoted, most memorable classics of all time. But how much do you know about the man behind the story? Did you know that it took him twelve years to write it? Not counting the time he spent perfecting it? Did you know it started out as a sequel to The Hobbit, but ended up being a sequel to The Silmarillion? Did you know that he kept giving up on it, but found that he just couldn’t get away from it?

It is written in my life-blood, such as that is, thick or thin; and I can no other.

-J. R. R. Tolkien

Obviously I can’t get into Tolkien’s mind, but to me, it seems like this idea haunted him. It followed him around, and no matter what other things he wrote, he couldn’t get away from it. Even when he tried to write it – and kept trying – it didn’t work.

How discouraging.

Or does that make the finally finished story that much more beautiful? You decide.

But no matter how inspiring Tolkien is, we still have a problem. You have an idea and it won’t leave you alone. What should you do?

Well. Unfortunately I can’t read your mind. But if your idea is tugging on your heart this strongly, then maybe it really was meant to be, and it’s not just your Muse being annoying.

Can I tell you a secret? I have one of those ideas. It’s been haunting me for years. My notebooks are filled with many failed attempts at it, and vows to never come back to it.

And then, one magical day, I found the right story to go with it. Pretty fun, right? And I did end up finishing it. It was finally a complete story. So now I can finally let it rest, right?

NO.

That’s the bad thing about these ideas. They never leave you. Even after Tolkien published The Lord of the Rings, he couldn’t let it rest. The land of Middle-earth was forever his true homeland, and that other idea he was working on – the bigger idea, the idea which LotR came from – was still in his heart. It never left him alone.

And I suspect it will be the same for me. And the same for all of us. But don’t let it get you discouraged. In the words of Tolkien himself (and don’t bug me about how I’m totally taking this quote out of context):

Not all those who wonder are lost.

3 Tips for Showing Character Emotion

Ah, character emotion. It’s one of the hardest things to write right. It’s also one of the most important. You can have a deep, complex character, a compelling, well-crafted plot, and the setting descriptions nailed down to the tiniest details. But if you can’t write character emotion in a compelling way, your book will be only half as rich as it could be.

second-edition21As you may already know, if you’ve been hanging around the writing world for a while, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi of Writers Helping Writers have just released a new book! So, to celebrate¬†The Emotion Thesaurus: Second Edition,¬†I’ve compiled several tips I’ve discovered while on my own writing journey.

1. Don’t Resort to the Face

Many authors, myself included, tend to go straight to the face for signs of emotion. In my first drafts, all my characters smile, frown, and glare; their eyes shoot daggers and glisten with tears and shift away slyly. It’s true that the face does show emotion, but other parts of the body are equally good–or even better at it. When was in my Sherlock phase (if we’re being honest, I never grew out of it), I learned to watch people’s feet to deduce their emotions. Crazy, right?

unhappy-389944_640That’s not to say you can’t use facial expressions. When done right, these can be powerful descriptions. Take the following passage for example. I’ve read this book a total of one time, and that was two or three years ago, and yet I still remember how much this description stuck out to me:

[A] forehead with a singular capacity . . . of lifting and knitting itself into an expression that was not quite one of perplexity, or wonder, or alarm, or merely of bight fixed attention, though it included all four the expressions[.]

Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities


Just to be clear, I wouldn’t suggest actually writing descriptions like that (unless you’re actually Charles Dickens); the point is, it is possible to write good emotion through the face.

2. What is your character thinking?

Any good psychologist will tell you that there is a thought behind every emotion. It’s not always a conscious thought–in fact, unconscious thoughts and underlying beliefs are often more powerful. The¬†Emotion¬†Thesaurus (including the Second Edition) has a section all about thoughts and mental responses.

This isn’t something you do every single time your character feels an emotion. It also doesn’t have to be internal monologue (though it certainly can be). In other words, you don’t want a character who’s all emotion and no conscious thought, nor do you want a character who’s all thoughts and no feelings. That would just seem… odd.

3. Every Character is Different

Just because Ron Weasley has the emotional range of a teaspoon… yeah you get the picture. Every character will probably have a different emotional range. On top of that, some people tend to be very private about their emotions, while others spill them openly. And guys and girls experience emotions differently. (I hadn’t quite nailed this down when I wrote my first novel. You do not wanna read it.)

And, of course, different characters will express the same emotion differently. Just as a quick example, I have one character who tends to snap at people when he gets angry, but when presented with the same situation, another of my characters will have a full-blown temper tantrum.

The best advice I can give you is to get to know your characters. Showing emotion is just the tip of the iceberg. Beneath every emotion and reaction is a history, a backstory, a wound, a set of beliefs. Of course, there’s no way I can get into all of that today! (Hint: Angela and Becca have a bunch of other thesauruses that talk about all that!)

Giveaway!

One last thing here: there’s an epic giveaway going on right now!

To celebrate the new book and its dedicated readers, Angela and Becca have an unbelievable giveaway on right now: one person will win a free writing retreat, conference, workshop, or professional membership to a writing organization, winner’s choice (up to $500 US, with some other conditions which are listed on the WHW site).

What conference would you attend if the fee was already paid for…or would you choose a retreat? Something else? Decisions, decisions! This giveaway ends on February 26th, so hurry over¬†and¬†enter!

Are you excited about the new Emotion Thesaurus?

Do you have any tips on showing character emotion?

The Victory in Surrender

I wanted to make the title an oxymoron to grab your attention. If you’re reading this, it worked. Now instead of my usual storytelling style, I’m going to begin with the end:

When we surrender our lives to Christ, we are surrendering to the One who has already overcome the world.

Surrender is an interesting word. Its meaning is almost never ambiguous, and in most cases it has the same outcome. But it has either good or bad connotations, depending on what context it’s being used in.

Surrender means giving up. Losing the battle. Letting the other side take you. How many times have we heard the words “SURRENDER OR DIE!” shouted at the opposing side during a battle? Surrendering is what happens when one side isn’t strong enough to keep fighting. Surrender is quietly laying down your weapons at the opposing side’s feet and saying “I’m yours.”

This is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately. For the past year or so, actually. Even though I’ve been dwelling on this idea, and God has shown me lots of things, it just hit me a couple weeks ago: I am not in control of my life. Period.

If you asked me, I wouldn’t say I’m a very controlling person. I never thought this lesson would be “for me.” But if I’m honest with myself, I have plans. Good plans, even. Plans for my life, plans for my future. And I want to control them.

I had a plan for college. I had it all figured out–nope, God shoved me in a completely different direction. I had plans for this amazing book I was going to write–never mind, God definitely had his own plans for that one. I worry about a lot of things. I have anxiety. This one was the hardest, because sometimes it’s easier for me to trust God with the big things in my life–like college–but not the little things, like what if I make a mistake while playing the piano at church.

Usually when I have no control over something, it freaks me out. But lately, I have found peace in it. I can rest in the fact that I have no control, because I am resting in the One who holds all the control. Surrender may seem counterintuitive, but really, it’s what frees us to trust.

And with this surrender comes victory. Because Christ has already overcome the world; he has already atoned for your sin; he has already paid for your life; he has already defeated death.

What if, instead of fighting the battle for control, we surrendered?
What if, instead of worrying, we surrendered our worries to God? What if, instead of trying to control the outcomes of our plans, we surrendered to the One who already knows exactly what we need?

What if we surrendered our entire lives to Him, in faith, knowing that He’s in complete control?

If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
(Luke 9:23-24)

Cover Reveal: The ??? Thesaurus

I have a secret to spill!

For the last month, I’ve been part of a Street Team for Angela and Becca at Writers Helping Writers, who are launching their new writing book on February 19th. Because they are known for showing, not telling, they decided it would be fun to keep the thesaurus book’s topic a secret until the book cover reveal…WHICH IS TODAY!

If you don’t know who these amazing people are, you’ve gotta check them out! Many of you are probably familiar with their Emotion Thesaurus, which, not kidding here, was the book that singlehandedly helped my writing take off like a stick of dynamite after the flame burns down. (Also, I just realized that’s an oddly specific simile.) Not to brag on them or anything… okay, yes, I am bragging on them. That’s what I’m here for today.

Well, they didn’t stop after the Emotion Thesaurus. They published five more thesauruses, and they have even more that aren’t published. (Some of them are accessible online!)

It’s been hard keeping quiet about this (like, really, really hard), so I am THRILLED I can finally announce that The Emotion Thesaurus Second Edition is coming!

Isn’t that cover just beautiful?

This is a seriously cool book, guys. The original Emotion Thesaurus released in 2012 and became a must-have resource for many writers because every entry has a list of body language, thoughts, and visceral sensations for 75 different emotions. I read through them for fun. Did you know that showing character emotion on the page is one of the hardest things for a writer to do? It’s true!

And why is the second edition so special, you ask? Well, it turns out that so many people have asked Angela and Becca to add more emotions over the years that they decided to create a second edition. It contains 55 NEW entries, bringing the total to 130 emotions.

This book is almost DOUBLE IN SIZE and there’s a lot more new content, so I definitely recommend checking it out. And you can. Right now.

Preorder Alert!

This book is available for preorder, so you can find all the details about this new book’s contents by visiting Amazon, Kobo, Indiebound, and Apple Books (iBooks), or swinging by Writers Helping Writers. You can view the full list of emotions included in this new book, too.

One last thing…Angela & Becca have a special gift for writers HERE. If you like free education, stop by and check it out. (It’s only available for a limited time!)

Have you ever used the Emotion Thesaurus?

Share in the comments your best tips about showing character emotion!

…and a Happy New Year!

Here it is: the obligatory New Year’s post about memories, lessons learned, and resolutions.

Nope. Nope, nope, nope, not doing any of that, thank you very much. Today, I am here to tell you about a little word that I have come to love. Today, I am going to tell you about the magic contained in this three-letter word and what the magic means.

And the word is: Eve.

No, not like the woman Eve. I mean New Year’s Eve (hint: it’s today). Why is the eve of things so much better than the actual things themselves? Like, New Year’s Eve is full of celebrations, fireworks, parties, and Times Square. New Year’s Day is… um… well? Everybody sleeps in?

It’s the same with Christmas Eve, which happens to be my favorite holiday. Christmas Eve is a magical day, and somehow, even in the rush of hyper-excited children and tired parents, the song “Silent Night” still feels perfect for that night. It’s in that moment when you’re lying in bed trying to fall asleep, and suddenly, everything gets still, and you wonder if the entire world is pausing to catch its breath in anticipation.

That’s the real word I want to focus on: anticipation. As a writer, I am hopelessly in love with words and their definitions. Anticipation means “to look forward to something excitedly,” which is probably obvious because you’ve probably used that word before. But there is another definition that I like even better, because it captures the exact thing I’ve been trying to describe to you this whole time:

the introduction in a composition of part of a chord which is about to follow in full

(Oxford English Dictionary)


This definition is only applicable to music theory, but go back and read it again. Anticipation, in this sense, is literally a taste of what is to come. A glimpse. A fleeting shadow of the true form.

That’s why I like New Year’s Eve. It’s the anticipation of the year to come. It’s the anticipation of all the new adventures I’ll have. And if there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that my own plans are hardly ever the same as God’s plans. This year was one sweeping adventure for me as far as writing goes (and I’ll tell you about that later).

I don’t know why some people say “good riddance” to the old year. I’m sorry if 2018 was a bad year for you, but for me, it was an adventure. A very good adventure which I did not plan at all.

So that’s my take on New Year’s Eve. The anticipation of adventure. Don’t get caught up in all your intricate plans. And if you know me at all, you’d probably never expect me to sat that. Because I’m a planning planner who plans things. It’s great to have a goal (all adventures have an end goal, a place you’re trying to get), but the road along the way? That’s where all the story happens. And sometimes, God has a completely different ending in mind, and ultimately, that one’s even better.

So. There you have it. Happy New Year! And right now, I am definitely anticipating all the new adventures of 2019. ūüėČ

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? Do you have any resolutions?

My Honest Review of “Beyond the Circle”

Hey, everyone! After much recovery from NaNoWriMo, I’m back to blogging. And today, I’m going to give you my honest opinion of Ted Dekker’s newest adult series: it’s a two-book series called “Beyond the Circle.”

I did a review on the first book,¬†The 49th Mystic, which you can read by clicking here.¬†The sequel,¬†Rise of the Mystics, came out in October, and I was so excited, I read it in a matter of days. However, I was… not very impressed (I’m cringing as I’m typing this). Don’t get me wrong: Ted Dekker is a brilliant author, and¬†Rise of the Mystics¬†is some great storytelling. But I wasn’t very happy when I got to “The End.”

There won’t be any spoilers in this post, but if you’re VERY sensitive to sentences that very vaguely talk about things that might could possibly maybe happen, then I’d suggest reading the book first. ūüėČ

Now, I went into¬†Rise of the Mystics¬†very hopeful and very excited.¬†The 49th Mystic¬†was amazing and promising and, simply put, awesome! (The villain was pretty epic too!!) I’ve got no problems with that one.¬†Rise of the Mystics, however…

Let me start with the stuff I did like.

The storytelling. Ted has a natural gift for storytelling, and it shines through in this one. And overall, it was a great story. The characters were complex, the protagonist had a great character arc, all that stuff writers are supposed to say about other people’s books.

The story itself.¬†It’s a gripping story, minus the fact that the beginning is really confusing. It’s definitely fast-paced and has that traditional thrilling Dekker suspense vibe. I won’t tell you too much about it, seeing as it’s a sequel and the story is just a continuation of¬†The 49th Mystic. Plus, I promised there wouldn’t be any spoilers.

My problem is with the theology. (gasp!) If you’re unfamiliar with the series, theology plays a huge part in the story. Characters quote Scripture right and left and have huge, life-changing encounters with God. Which is great. Because encounters with God are very real things, and Scripture is of course the Word of God, and thus it is the source of all Truth. Ted’s not denying any of that, but the way he started interpreting parts of the Bible made me wonder what he was leading up to.

At first I just stopped reading for a second and made a mental note about it. No big deal. But as the story went on, the problem just got bigger… and bigger…¬†

And bigger.

And let me say, I was NOT happy with the way it ended.

Green was better.

And if you’ve been in the Dekker fandom for any length of time, you’ll know that the ending of¬†Green¬†is something we Do. Not. Talk. About.

At first, it seemed like Ted was trying to present a certain truth from the Bible, but the way he explained it didn’t quite feel right. Sure enough, it led to problems later in the book. Major problems. Like I-can-literally-point-to-a-hundred-specific-Bible-verses-that-directly-contradict-you kind of problems. Does the Bible say we should love everyone? Yes, because God made everyone, and all human beings are made in his image. Jesus personally told us to love our enemies. But that does not imply everything else that happened in the story… which I will not tell you about, because #spoilers.¬†

So… those are my thoughts. I enjoyed “Beyond the Circle” in general, but I am definitely still upset about the theology presented in it. All in all, I was disappointed. It’s a great story, it had great potential. It could have gone amazing places.

As a side note, Ted and his daughter Kara just came out with a children’s series called “The Dream Traveler’s Quest.” I actually really liked that series, but it was literally the same story, and thus some of the same theology. They presented deep truths in a way that kids can understand – a feat I admire – but once again, I started to question their theology at the end. It did have a better ending than¬†Rise of the Mystics, though, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Have you read “Beyond the Circle?” What did you think?

3 Common Clich√©s and Where They Came From

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all! (Depending on when you read this, it might be more like Happy almost-Thanksgiving.) Today, I am going to talk about three very common clich√©s in fiction. Surprisingly, all of them can also be found in the Bible. Not that that’s a bad thing, because the Bible isn’t fiction. It’s Truth. But it’s interesting to notice.

1. Ancient prophecies about the Chosen One.

Gosh, how many times have we seen this? It’s so common, I actually get disappointed when my favorite books do it. “Seriously? Another prophecy? I didn’t see that coming…” Prophecies are cool and all (especially in Macbeth), but really? Really? Authors can’t be a bit more creative?

And why do the prophecies always have to be ancient? Like, just why? And they’re always about some mysterious, powerful “Chosen One?”

Maybe the reason is because deep down, we long for a story like that. The earliest prophecy about Jesus actually occurred in the Garden of Eden, right after Adam and Eve sinned. And all throughout the Old Testament, we get glimpses of this Chosen One, this Messiah who is to come. There are actually hundreds prophecies about him. 

This brings us right into our next clich√©…

2. The Chosen One is just your average Joe.

Once we actually meet the Chosen One (usually the main character), he’s nothing special. He’s the farmboy. The orphan. The nobody. He’s got no special powers, no magic, no knowledge of this greater world all around him, and nobody ever pays him any attention. He’s no one.

Not on the surface, at least.

Once he finds out who he really is, though… That’s when the story really starts to get exciting. By exciting, of course I mean “eye-rolling.” Because it’s so predictable.

But if we look at Jesus, the Bible actually says he was an ordinary guy. He wasn’t particularly good-looking, he was the son of a carpenter, he wasn’t rich or popular. His closest friends were fishermen, tax collectors, and other completely ordinary people.

I think you know where this is going… Jesus was also fully God, given incredible power by his Father, and he eventually saved the world. That’s putting it in the simplest possible terms, but yeah. He died, so we could live…

…which brings us to our next point:

3. If a dead body vanishes, it’s not really dead.

How many times have we seen this one? It doesn’t only apply to the Chosen One, though it certainly does many times (I won’t spoil anything, but I’m sure you can think of plenty of examples). Even villains. “Oh, is the villain dead? Bummer. Well, nobody saw his body, so… yeah, definitely alive.”

As a little side note to all the Sherlock fans out there… this is precisely why I refuse to believe Moriarty is really dead. I mean, who actually saw his body? Just Sherlock? Anyway…

Jesus, of course, was resurrected – and the story was spread that his body was stolen. Interesting, considering the Romans took practically every safety precaution imaginable…

Yeah. The bottom line is, if a dead body mysteriously disappears, then they’re not dead. Or in some cases, they’ve come back from being dead.

So that’s my take on clich√©s. I think it’s interesting that many of them can be found in the Bible. That just goes to show that there is only one Story, and deep down, all of us want to hear it again and again and again.

Do y’all have any Thanksgiving plans?

What do you think about clichés?