A bit of self-promotion, plus thoughts on writing…
One of my old stories, written before 9/11 (and, eerily enough, spotlighting a misguided global response to terrorism),, a new e-zine featuring speculative fiction from a Christian wordview. Character-driven, rather than science-laden, “The Memory of the Flesh” examines the nature of the soul, scientific shortsightedness, and technology run amok. Love for family drives the core of the story, told in first person by a poor farmer living in an unnamed “-Istan” as he watches the unseen dismantle his world. A love story, “The Memory of the Flesh” occupies a rare niche in science fiction. Women readers, especially, have enjoyed it.
As an older work, it’s not the level of writing I’m producing currently, but I like it anyway. Purists may find fault because it contains a fair amount of passive voice, but that’s in keeping with the way people speak in that part of the world, plus it reinforces the idea that things act upon people, rather than the other way around. In other words, I wrote the passivity on purpose; it’s part of the theme of the story.
So, you can tell me what you think. At around 13,000 words, it’ll keep you occupied.
One last writer’s comment on the craft…
Everywhere I go in writers’ circles, I hear this same piece of advice: Write the story within you.
Personally, I think that’s the worst advice writers receive. Here’s why: The story you have within you is no stinkin’ good.
What I mean by that goes back to pushing boundaries. Anyone can write the story they have within them. But the only memorable story is the one that comes from some place beyond you. It’s not what you can produce now, but what you could never write unless the combined muses of Dante, Homer, Clancy, King, Dickens, Dick, and Dr. Seuss descended upon you en masse.
Good writing costs. It forces you to reach to another level. It calls on skills you don’t possess, ideas that aren’t yours, characters you’ve never met, voices from regions unknown, and points of view you’ve never once considered. Anyone can write the story within them. But the kind of story that grabs other people’s hearts isn’t that story. It’s the one you don’t think you could write in a million years, but you’ll still die trying to commit to paper—a story that expands you as much as it expands other people.
Don’t write the story within you. Write the story you consider impossible. Readers will know the difference.
Thanks for reading.