Monday, 6 August 2012

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning ~ Olivia Newport

The saddest part about writing versus reading a book is that it can take as little as eight hours to consume what took the writer months (if not years) to create. If there's more than one in a series, the reader is then forced to wait before their next indulgence. Waiting for my order to arrive had me wondering if it did involve cutting down the trees to make the paper for the printer to print on... It turned out my order at the shop was misplaced. *sigh* But we all know anything worth having is worth waiting for, and every good thing is worth the wait.

So, after all that, was Lucy worth the wait? Yes she certainly was, and you can read the back page blurb here.

Olivia Newport's debut novel is soon to be followed by a second in the Avenue of Dreams series, and I will definitely be in line for it. I really do like it when a book is not what I expect, and this one fit the bill. The highlight for me was when Lucy is sitting in church and considers the pews purchased by "better" families (as was the norm back then), those sitting in the loft seats who cannot afford to be on the floor but get the privilage of looking down on those who are, and she is listening to the message from James 2 about how actions speak louder than words.

"Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes
and daily food. If one of you says to them,
Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’
but does nothing about their physical needs,
what good is it?"

For me this was a defining moment and embodies the tone of the book, and in an age where there's a lot of talk and no action, Olivia delivers a message well worth taking to heart. Lucy is a bonafide doer, and she does with flair, patience and love. It seems nothing is too much trouble, and when the new housemaid's secret is revealed, Lucy takes it in stride and doesn't back down (and what a secret it is!).

The descent of Lucy's fiance, Daniel, came as a surprise. And in a time where such 'descents' were dealt with differently, by the end I could not help but compare the way things were handled then to now. The historical details are a treat and I always love it when fact mingles authentically with fiction.

Lucy's determination to be her own woman builds slowly and steadily, and in an era where women were more seen than heard, this would have been quite the drama for her family. Women were on the cusp of breaking into their own, and her slow realisation of who she is, who she is meant to be, and what she doesn't have to remain as are like the slow rising of the sun after a long winter. I loved that she came out from under so many expectations and chose to listen to God and to her own heart. This message is true for women today. So often we go through life under expectations, neither listening to the Voice inside or giving expression to the beautiful gifts with which we were endowed for His every good purpose.

This book is in need of a second read, I think. I can hardly wait to see how the next one shapes up, and I think there may be a need to take the pre-order option ;) Thank you, Olivia! The reminder of James 2 is so timely. God bless the works of your hands!

Decide: *Can you be the person God made you to be? In your world, who gives you permission to be you, and how does it make you feel toward that person? 

*Did you know you are no surprise to God?

"As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead." James 2v26

En effet, de même que le corps sans esprit est mort, de même la foi sans [les] œuvres est morte.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

So What's the Big Idea?

Tonight I received an email from my Dad telling me about a novel idea he had. He can be a bit of a joker, my father, so I began reading with a grain of salt. As I progressed through his email and thoughts, I found the idea was actually quite good, so formed a serious reply with advice I'd like to share for any authors who're having an idea form in their head that they don't know what to do with (but need to do something so they can hit the hay in peace).

Basically, I gave him a starting point... I think the last actual story he wrote was one he told me before bed when I was six. Fresh ideas are so cool and should be encouraged, so here is the reply worth reading if you're having an idea and want to know what to do about it...

Without spilling the beans on his concept, you'll get the gist of what he said by my reply. The references to sleep are because the idea keeps him awake ;)

I like it, it's good! - and very you :)

I like the code name you chose for the character... as for his real name, you might want to consider the Bourne movies - he also has a real name (Jason Bourne is his file name) as 'real' names can affect the way the audience views the character, too. That he has no super powers gives him "street cred" or believability. Your character must have a weakness, and presumably the love interest becomes it (however a second weakness is also good because then the girl can become leverage)...

Books are way more detailed than movies, as every page of a screenplay equates to one minute of screen time, believe it or not. For this reason I would suggest to go with a book first, and the cinematic creative license can come later (make sense?).

I hope you sleep tonight, too :)

May I advise or suggest you buy a 96 page exercise book solely for the use of penning down your ideas in detail (inluding what your mind's eye sees in the background if you find it relevant because it can help set the scene for when you need to revisit the scenes you originally envisioned). Don't get bogged down in the details unless they are important, but write down as best and quickly as you can the important parts. My exercise books usually involve conversations and/or emotions the character(s) is feeling. The purpose of jotting stuff down is to clear your mind so the fresh ideas can flow in and the ideas that got you started are out of the way.

Another benefit is that you also get to sleep some :)

Also, I find actual writing with an actual pen quite cathartic, and also you can pick the book up at ANY time (beside the bed in the wee small hours, for instance) instead of having to turn on a computer or waiting for a program to load...

Go with it, Dad. You could be onto something. I'd buy it. And thanks for telling me your idea. It takes a lot of trust ;)


Q: Have you been struggling with an idea you didn't know how to escape? How did you get it out? Are you still stuck? Do you know how to find help? A great place to start may be with one of the books mentioned at the foot of this page...

In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to those he loves. Psalm 127v2

C’est inutilement que vous vous levez tôt, que vous vous couchez tard
et que vous mangez un pain gagné avec peine:
il en donne autant à ses bien-aimés pendant leur sommeil.