• The Writer


    Hello! My name is Laura, welcome to my blog! I write weird stories, collect dragon plushies and stay up too late with my nose in a book. I am a wife, mom and child saved by grace. My hope is that you find encouragement here or at least a smile or too.
    God bless!

  • “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book that it may be for the time to come forever and ever.”
    ~Isaiah 30:8.

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  • Quotes

    We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "The only just literary critic," he concluded, "is Christ, who admires more than does any man the gifts He Himself has bestowed."
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    “Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”
    ~J.R.R. Tolkien

    "Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures."
    ~Flannery O'Connor

    You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke.
    ~Arthur Polotnik

    Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

    "There are forms of insanity that condemn people to hear voices against their will, but as writers we invite ourselves to hear voices without relinquishing our hold on reality or our right to control."
    ~Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway

    Christians have sometimes been suspicious of stories, because they really can influence you. If you read the Twilight novels once a month for a year, I think you'd be a different human afterward—and not a sparkly one.
    ~Nate Wilson

My Reading List

Finally wrote out my reading list.  Curious as to what is on it?  Well, here you go.  In no particular order…

  • Till We Have Faces – C.S. Lewis
  • Out of the Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis
  • A Time for Anger – Frank Schaeffer**
  • Kingdom of the Cults – Walter Martin**
  • When Dreams Come True – Eric and Leslie Ludy* (**)
  • When God Writes Your Love Story – Eric and Leslie Ludy**
  • When God Writes Your Life Story – Eric and Leslie Ludy**
  • Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus – Kyle Idleman****
  • Not a Fan: What Does it Mean to Really Follow Jesus? – Kyle Idleman****
  • J.R.R. Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth – Daniel Grotta-Kurska
  • From Darkness Won – Jill Williams
  • The Pirate Coast: Thomas Jefferson, the First Marines, and the Secret Mission of 1805 – Richard Zacks***
  • Tahn – L.A. Kelly****
  • Looking for the King – David C. Downing

That’s all of them… for now. 😉

* Currently reading
** Recommended by my parents
*** Started reading a long time ago but never finished
**** Recommended by a friend

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Reading Journal Entry #1

In my Fiction Writing class the professor is having us keep “Reading Journals”, a.k.a., journals we write in about stuff we’re reading.  For this same class we are reading a novel called, “The Financial Lives of The Poets”, by Jess Walker.  (I DO NOT suggest you read it.)  Since this book was the first new reading I had done since beginning the class, I wrote about it in my first RJ entry.

Here it is for you all to read.  My honesty opinion on this book.

One word comes to my mind after reading the first two chapters of Jess Walker’s “The Financial Lives of the Poets”; empty. I don’t know Mr. Walker, and I have a lot of respect for someone who has taken the time to painstakingly write a novel and get it published, but whatever happened to writing something with substance? Something that made you want to stay up all night to read it, that gave you something more than just modern words printed in black letters on a white page. Though this story does have a theme, an idea your everyday reader can relate to – the threat of foreclosure, a struggling marriage, worries for family and the future – it does nothing. It doesn’t pull at me or draw me in. A small part of me wants to care about what happens to these people because of their situation, but that’s it. The first chapter was enough to make me want to stop reading. Call me old fashion, but reading a novel filled with dialogue where the F-bomb is dropped after every other word, is not something I personally, want to be spending my time in.

It’s hard to put into words what I got out of these first two chapters or lack of. There was no hope, the feeling of depravity seemed to bleed from the pages, but maybe that’s what the author wanted. If so, he did it. For me, that’s not what fiction is. Sure it’s only the first two chapters, and things are bound to get much worse before they can get better, but fiction should give the reader hope. It’s an escape, a sanctuary, a place to be reminded that no matter how bad things are, there’s always hope for better days to come. It should give you a sense of fulfillment, not emptiness. I might be the only person reading this book who thinks this way, but it’s the truth.

Maybe it’s my Christian belief that brings this idea, but even so, who wants to read a story devoid of hope and empty of anything worth filling your mind with?

Christian beliefs aside, fiction, a story worth reading needs to have substance. A good theme or good characters won’t give you substance or meaning, even giving your audience something to relate too won’t. Substance is more than words; it’s the foundation the story is built on.

I guess in a nut shell, chapters one and two of “The Financial Lives of the Poets”, left me feeling sad and drained instead of fulfilled.

Reading Lessons: By Dyslexia

This is the final draft of the Narrative Essay I wrote for my college English 101 class.  I thought it would be fun to share it here. 🙂

Enjoy, and let me know what you think.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~  

She sat on the family room couch, hands clasped tightly in her lap.  Squirming in her seat, she worked her intertwined fingers back and forth.  She swallowed, fighting the dread that slowly crept up within her six year old mind.  Biting her lip, she concentrated on the floor at her feet, trying not to think of the coming trial.  Every day was the same, every day, nothing changed.  Here she was, barred from a world she so longed to enter, reaching for the door only to find it locked, and the key gone.  This little girl was me, and the dreaded trial was my daily reading lesson.  I struggle to learn how to read and write because of dyslexia, and though my case was mild, it still played a huge part in forming how I read and write today.  Each word was a mountain I had to climb, a vertical slope that more times than not, I would find myself sliding down, instead of climbing up.  Dyslexia made a huge impact on my literacy because it made learning to read and write a difficult challenge I had to confront and overcome, but it also taught me the value of working your hardest until what you want is accomplished.  I went from avoiding reading at all costs, to falling in love with the written word and making it my craft.

The most annoying part of having dyslexia is the games it plays with your eyes.  This was especially frustrating to a young child learning to read.  I couldn’t explain what was happening any more than I could change it.  I would be reading a sentence aloud, and suddenly, as best as I can describe it, a word would switch places with another word.  Now, where this new word came from I had no idea, all I knew was “the” had morphed into “cat” then as soon as I blinked morphed back.  I can’t remember how much I learned from these reading lessons, but I know my mom never gave up on me, no matter how frustrated or upset I became.  It was maddening to try and put in plain words what I was seeing. As a result, I soon gave up trying to explain this maddening phenomenon and convinced myself I would never learn to read fluently.  In my young mind it became a waste of time.  It was too hard, and, I believed, not worth it.  How wrong I was. 

My earliest memories of books were our family story times growing up.  My dad loved to read aloud to us and would do so every evening before my siblings and I all scrambled into bed.  He read us the Oz books by L. Frank Baum, the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and all the Dr Seuss you could think of.  Though I didn’t realize it at the time, it was in these moments that a seed was planted inside me, a seed that would sprout into a love for the written word.  I can still remember sitting on my dad’s lap, gazing in wonder at the little pictures in each book as his gentle voice brought to life every scene and every character.  All I knew was that someday, I wanted to do the same thing.  But how could I?  That was the problem, I didn’t know how, and I didn’t think I ever would know how.  All I could do was thumb through the books and make up what was happening based on the pictures and memories of when my dad read them aloud.

There I was, a kid with an itch for good stories who couldn’t read and quite frankly, had no desire to read.  Sounds a bit like an oxymoron.  That summed me up.  I was a walking contradiction, and I didn’t even know it.  One of the excuses I made about not reading was that there weren’t any interesting books at my reading level.  Now, I’m sure there were, I just never took the time to find them.  Excuses.  I became a champion excuse-finder and maker when it came to reading.  I never picked up a book unless it was full of pictures, or was extremely short, and I hated school because it involved so much reading.  But even when it came to English, I figured out ways to work around having to read much.  I exhausted every trick in the book, but I didn’t know the wonders of the words I was running from.

I can’t remember the title of that book I found one day on a friend’s living room bookcase.  I can remember the size, the weight and the big font type, but the title escapes me.  But I picked it up.  Why?  The pictures.  There were pictures on every page, interesting pictures.  Before I knew it I was slowly scanning the typed pages and found not only was it at my reading level, but the story seemed adventurous therefore drawing my interest.  That day I did something I had never done before – I borrowed the book.  I took that thin, paper-cover picture book home and read it.  I suddenly found myself drawn in by a story, a story I could read on my own and understand.  It was like a light bulb had finally come on, and I entered the world of books.

Thinking back, I find it rather ironic how I went from hating books to writing them.  Who would have guessed?  I currently didn’t.  Once I had knocked down that carefully built wall everything changed.  Before, my mom couldn’t get me to open the cover of a book for school let alone for pleasure reading.  Now she can’t get me to put them down.  I started living on the library website, placing holds on dozens of books, then begging my mom to pick them up when they came in.  It was a couple years later that I discovered what would become my life’s obsession: Writing. 

A friend showed me a story she was writing.  I liked the idea, so we started writing a story together.  There’s a saying about this thing called the “writer’s itch,” and that once you scratch it, it will never go away but only grow.  Well, I had an itch and I scratched it.  I like to tease my friend now, telling her that she created a monster.  Writing became everything to me, my passion.  

Dyslexia doesn’t affect me as much now as it did when I was younger.  My eyes have grown stronger and I haven’t let it get in the way, but it is still there and makes known its presence now and then.  When I’m tired or stressed I tend to type words backwards, or when someone is looking over my shoulder – I can never seem to keep letters in the right order when someone is watching.  I still fumble around a bit when I read aloud, especially if I’m tired, but the game of appearing and disappearing words has left me alone.   One funny thing that I do because of the dyslexia is the way I write out numbers when I do my banking.  I write them from right to left, starting with the last number, moving backwards to the front.  I’ve found this helps me write them correctly.  Yes, my mind is wired in a very odd way, but as my mom says, “If it works, it works.”

Though learning to read with dyslexia was hard and trying, if I could rewrite the years and get rid of it I wouldn’t.  Not only has it shaped my literacy, but it has helped shape who I am and the writer I am today.  When thinking about the books I like to read and the way I write, one word came to mind: simple.  I am not a long-winded reader or writer, and I believe this is because of the dyslexia.  I would get lost in long paragraphs and lengthy word choices, so I would avoid them.  And I realized, unknowingly, I still do to this day.

Reading “the Beast”

The reading of HEART OF HOPE has commenced!  It’s been printed out, left to gather dust in my closet all summer, and now, it’s time to read the beast of a manuscript.  I am very excited about reading it.  Really, I am. 🙂  It’s taken me four years to write it, now I finally get to read it! 😉

Plus, after ignoring this blog for a few weeks, I’m getting back to it and hopefully there will be multiple posts every week.  🙂  And I’m getting back to SoS, I’ve got awesome new characters to introduce!

Outlining for TYRA’S STONE is on schedule, hurray!

And… new story ideas are beginning to flood my mind!  Oh boy… this always happens when I start working on a book.  😛

Untill my next post,

~Laura

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