donovanmneal

Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

It’s Inspiration Tuesday!

In It's Inspiration Tuesday!, Uncategorized on April 30, 2013 at 6:12 am

It’s not often that I get the opportunity to showcase not just a great piece of epic music, but how I’ve personally interpreted the music use in my own work.  The music is from David Edwards The Age Of Man (Fringe Element Trailer Series Epic Choral Action).

It’s a powerful sweeping piece that starts off in a brooding somber tone then quickly ramps up the tempo until there’s nothing left but a pounding crescendo that marches over and over.  Only to end in shrill high pitched choral ‘screams’.

In launching my Kickstarter campaign I used this music to create the self made trailer for my novel, The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars.  When you view the trailer you feel the launch away from the planet as you journey to the realm where God and the angels live.  The Third Heaven.  I don’t think a more beautiful and powerful  piece of music could better create the feel that I was trying to convey here.

What do you think do you agree?

Are there any pieces of music that inspire you?  Particularly to write?

P.S.   The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars needs your support on KickStarter! With only 29 days left, can you help me succeed??? Would you help spread the word? Help back me if you have a little extra cash laying around!  

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1744195552/the-third-heaven-the-rise-of-fallen-stars

D

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How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 9: Get some beta readers!

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps, On writing on April 30, 2013 at 5:35 am

edited-manuscript

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I am going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I am going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step nine: get some beta readers.

A beta reader (or betareader, or beta) is a person who reads a work of fiction with a critical eye, with the aim of improving grammar, spelling, characterization, and general style of a story prior to its release to the public.

Another way to think of a beta reader is as a product development tester.  Essentially, you have someone who represents a sample demographic of the market for your book to gauge consumer reaction.

I like the idea personally of a beta reader being more than someone who checks for grammar, spelling and the like.  But thinking of this person(s) as representative of your selling demographic will really tell you if your writing is connecting with your audience, and what you might need to do to improve.

Where can you find beta readers?

Well there are various areas that you can look.  A few of the best I’ll just list out and link for you.

  1. Family/Friends
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Good Reads         http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/50920-beta-reader-group
  4. absolutewrite.com             http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=30

What are the basic steps?

  1. Send out your manuscript.
  2. Get back the replies.
  3. Go through the replies, and thank each person by email phone or a mailed note.
  4. Follow up and see if they are willing to look at further work
  5. Determine if their input warrants changes to your draft.

Things to watch out for

People who don’t respond!  Yep you might have some that say will do it, you provide them with the information but they simply don’t follow up, or through for whatever reason.  This is why you want more than just a couple of readers.

Secondly be very clear on what you’re looking for from a reader.  Having a reader tell you the story was good.  Or it was awful wont help you become a better writer.  What was awful?  Why?  The more you can help focus your reader on monitoring how they are interfacing with your work the better off you will be.

Thirdly, you have to decide how much of your work you want to give out.  Will it be a couple of pages?  A scene of work?  A chapter?  The whole novel?

My recommendation is that you give out based on do you trust the person to not ‘steal your work, and are they providing feedback?

Register with the copyright office. The best way to protect yourself legally from any copying is by registering your material with the US copyright office (www.copyright.gov). While each and every material produced by you is automatically copyrighted upon publishing, registering with the Copyright office will give you more extensive legal rights. In the event that someone publishes material that is exactly the same or similar to yours, having a formal copyright will make it easier for you to prove first instance, which means that you are the first author of the work.

Send any correspondence via email. The email provides documentation that you are the source of the material.

Typical Beta reader questions

Interest:  Does the story hold your attention

Were you ever bored during the story?

Was your mind ever wandering?

Can you tell me in the story where it happened?  Where do you remember losing interest?

World creation: is more detail needed?

Was there ever an occasion during the story where it seemed not “believable”?

Was there a point where you said, “Oh come on!” or where they any “logical fallacies” which you noticed?

Exposition: How was it handled?

Where in the story were you confused?

Was there anything you had to read twice?

Are there characters you found you didn’t care about?

Did you like the character(s)?

Did you hate the character(s)?

Did you keep forgetting who the characters were?

Was there any plot questions left unresolved for you?

Tension: Are the plot lines resolved?

What do you think will happen next?

What are you still wondering about?

Remember  the reader is reporting on their experience of what they are reading…their opinions are not wrong.  They are helping you to acquire great clues on how a reader is interfacing with your writing.

Again always make sure you tell your readers thank you!

D

The Prequel to the Bible is Here!

In My novel: The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars on April 29, 2013 at 11:59 am

Would you partner with me in a dream? 

For years I have watched movie makers and novelists write best sellers, of epic tales of far away places.  I have always dreamed that God would one day use me to speak to the world in a gripping tale of like manner.

In my audacity to think big, I believe God placed in me almost 8 years ago the desire to tell the story of the fall of Lucifer.  To use my imagination to weave a tale of wonder, angles, God, and battles involving the angelic host.  Now after all these years I am approaching the finalization of that dream.

The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars is the novel that has taken me 8 years of work.  I am asking if you would be willing to help me by adding your support to this project.

I have started a KickStarter campaign showing how you can specifically help and am emailing everyone I know to share in the novels success.  You can find the link here. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1744195552/the-third-heaven-the-rise-of-fallen-stars

I’m offering some great rewards for my supporters and hoping you will join me!

You can find the complete details and what I am pledging to you as the creator of this project here. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1744195552/the-third-heaven-the-rise-of-fallen-stars

The novel is done.  However, to make it a success commercially I am in need to some professionals to assist me in the areas of copy editing, cover design and marketing.  Your contribution will allow these challenges to be met.

Here is the brand new trailer for my book!

You have been a supporter of me, and I want to thank God in advance, for your taking the time to join with me in helping to bring this novel to commercial realization.  I believe this is the year, and with your help it will happen!  I’m looking for YOUR support.  Would you help me?

​Remember: the prequel to the Bible is here!

Controversy is Christian:Guns & Gun Control

In Controversy is Christian on April 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

heston

Ok so I want to start a weekend topic dealing with subject matters that are controversial.  Yep  stuff you’re not gonna like.  Or at least will have a strong opinion about.  Actually, I want this to be a lively debate about what you think, and more importantly, why you think what you do.

So today’s topic of choice is Guns and gun control

Yep I put it out there.  I’m not skeered. 🙂

As a Christian, not an American, not a republican, not a democrat.  What should be my take on gun ownership?  You TELL ME.

Now before I have people make assumptions about me and where I’m going, let me tell you a few things.  I do not own a gun.  BUT I want one.  I have voted republican all life, but I did vote for President Obama.  I am a conservative Christian.  (How do ya like me now?)

Oh for those that wonder, I’m college educated with a graduate degree.  I’ve lived in urban and suburbia, I’ve had my home broken into several times and have witnessed gun violence personally, and have had my own brother violently taken from me due to gun violence.

So I figure for those that need to put me in a box…good luck with that one.

So here’s my take on WWJD.  I think as an American, yep I have the constitutional right to own a gun.  No doubt about it.  Hey as I already mentioned I actually do want to purchase a handgun at some point.  I understand that government does not like an armed citizenry.  I get that historically, and the idea that we should not fear government is naïve to me.  Especially if you believe as a Christian that one day there will be a government headed by an antichrist that has the ability to control all that is bought and sold.

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Revelations 13:14-17

So this scripture says NO man.  Not just Europeans, not just Asians, the above would have to include Americans too.  So the idea that you should not have to be afraid of your government is simple naive to me if you hold to the belief in this scripture.  There is a day coming.  When those who live under this rule should be afraid.

So as an American if anything this scripture should make me just say they will have to take my gun before they put a mark like that on me.images (2)

But then I’m confronted with a simple scripture like this.

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Matthew 26:52

So Jesus tells this to Peter after Peter defends Jesus from being taken away to a bogus trial, to protect leaders positions, and government interests.

So how do we practice this scripture in our modern life?  We do not carry swords around today.  But let’s face it.  Swords were the guns of Jesus’s time.

So what we if changed this verse a bit and said “all they that take the gun shall perish with the gun.”  No how do you like it?

There is no indication that Peter was a violent man.  Although the Bible does not tell us Peters skills in swordsmanship perhaps this was his first time using a sword. In fact, wasn’t he justified?  Who can go wrong defending someone like Jesus?  Isn’t that what we need guns for to protect us from those who would seek to do us harm?  I mean here is a representative of the government coming to arrest Jesus, and at least one disciple picks up arms to defend their Lord.  I can relate to this.  But Jesus rebukes Peter, and undo’s the violence Peter had done.

Rebukes Peter, and then undoes the act of violence a disciple has committed in his name.  Think on that for a moment.

What does this say to us?  What meaning does it have for us as modern day Christians?  I find myself reminded of scriptures about not resisting evil.426286_246011435488353_1026417449_n

But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. Mt 5:39  Then jesus talks about giving my stuff away…pssft..really?  Ugh sometimes I just don’t want to read some scriptures, they are like mini ‘inconvenient truths’..lol

Man I wish that verse was not in there because sometimes people need a good slap on the cheek.  Just saying.

Hey but it’s there so now I got to frigging figure out how to incorporate this in my life.

This following Christ thing can be hard.

So what about you?  Don’t talk to me about rights, and the constitution.  What would Jesus do?  Would he be endorsing your packing? Give me your thoughts.

Double Vision

In On writing on April 26, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Double Vision

I thought it was just me!

 

Does this happen to any of you!  Post and let me know!

The Prequel to the Bible is coming!

In Look what I did!, My novel: The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars on April 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm

On Monday 4-29-13 at 10am I will making a major announcement on my novels progress.  The Third Heaven: The Rise of Fallen Stars.

I want you to be a part of what I’m doing and relish in the success of the book.

I will be debuting on that day the brand new teaser trailer for novel right here on my blog!

I promise you.  You will not be disappointed!

The prequel to the Bible is coming!

DImage

It’s resource Monday but on a Thursday! Duotrope

In Its resource Monday!, Uncategorized on April 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm

trumpet-sounding

Ok each week I am scouring the net for great resources of all kinds.  Primarily for writers but it can be whatever fancies me.

This week I would like to present…drum roll please… https://duotrope.com/index.aspx

Let us give them a hand shall we!

Duotrope is a subscription-based service for writers that offers an extensive, searchable database of current fiction, poetry, and non-fiction markets, a calendar of upcoming deadlines, submissions trackers, and useful statistics compiled from the millions of data points we’ve gathered on the publishers we list.

You need help in finding which publisher or agent might be best to solicit too.  Look no farther.  Per their site, “We offer a robust search feature to help you find the perfect match for your piece from thousands of current fiction, poetry, and non-fiction markets.”

What more could you ask for!  For 5 bucks a month, you get a wealth of information available to you.  Hard to beat that, and you start off with a 7 day free trial.

Thank me later!

 

D

 

 

 

It’s Inspiration Tuesday…one day later than normal. :-)

In It's Inspiration Tuesday!, Uncategorized on April 24, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Because I know that music makes your braver this inspirational piece comes from Audio Machines Helios Album.  Entitled Sol Invictus.  It’s a powerful piece of instrumental music.

Violens parade in symphony, bowing as the snare drum causally makes its presence known, each pounding and rumbling echoes deeper and deeper in a royal march that opens the curtain of ones mind to reach what is a choral finish that ascends and rises to reveal a triumphant ending deserving of any hero.

It is a great piece of epic music.

How I write my novels a 10 step beginners guide. Step 8: Revise, revise, and revise again.

In How to begin your novel in 10 steps on April 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm
Revision doesn't have to be hard.

Revision doesn’t have to be hard.

Writing a novel can be a daunting task. I know because it’s taken me 7 years to complete my first one.  However, writing is easier for me now, than when I started. I realize that there are many of you who want to write that first novel, so let me lend my acquired experience to make your journey easier.

I have 10 steps that I realized I have used to complete my book.  During the next 10 weeks I’m going to provide you with the actual and specific tools that have used.  I am going to put them up on this blog for you to see, and I am going to give them away to you for free!  Yes, free because I want you to be successful! I know that they will work for you  some of you are more computer literate than others, so my tools are going to help you no matter what level of proficiency you have in software or hardware.  All you need is a desire to learn, and a willingness to implement the steps.

Ok here is step eight: Revise.

Revision

When do you start revision?  Some have a tendency to revise as they write.  I do this a bit, but the reality is if you do; it slows down your writing and you are leaving the ‘flow’ of your streaming consciousness that is giving you scenes to write.  Therefore, revision should be its own step.  Do it after you get the thoughts out on paper.

How to revise you ask?  Well I’m glad you asked that question!

There are several steps that have helped me.  Essentially, I go from a larger view of the novel until I zero in to the smaller aspects of it.  When I hit the center of the bull’s eye, I start over until I feel there is no more revision left to do.

So using the image of a bull’s-eye (concentric circles) I do mine like so.

Revise the plot: are there plot holes or anything that is not tied together in the novel?  Unanswered questions.  Frayed edges?

Revise the scenes.  Do you need to rearrange them?  Does some need to be deleted?  Added?

Revise Characters:  Are there too many? Can some be combined? Are the descriptions there?

Revise Dialogue: Does the dialogue of the characters sound unique to that character? Does it need to be shortened, lengthened?

Revise for grammar and spelling.  Some word processors will do this as you type the manuscript out.  This is last step for me.

csg_writing-the-revision-process-tone

I don’t profess that these are all the steps.  What I do profess is that the method will work if you work it.  If in using this method, you need to add another ring in your concentric circle.  Do so.  However, always move from larger issues with the novel to smaller issues.

Lastly, when should you revise?  Well I would say wait at least 4 weeks after you have done your first draft.  Then start revising.

4 weeks!  Yep, I know you’re excited but let me tell you after you start revising after a while you will get tired of reading what you wrote over and over.  Revising is taxing work.  I emphasize the work piece.  It is not fun.  Think of it like this.  You are essentially going to be cutting things like a movie editor.  Remember in the DVD all those deleted scenes?  Well that’s how your novel is going to be.  Slimmer than the original in all probability.  You are cutting the dross away.  In addition you need to give yourself space from the work to get perspective.  It will help to read it with fresh eyes.

Remember those attachments you have to scenes, and characters, and all that while you wrote.  Well in this stage you have to let that go, and ask yourself the crucial question, does it move the story forward?

A film editor for example is a mechanic who removes the unneeded and fits pieces of film together to make a finished movie. He is a collaborator who works with cinematographers and sound editors to bring sight and sound together. And he is an artist who captures a director’s vision and tells a compelling story.

You are the film editor for your story.  You have to ask yourself is this needed?  Why.

Once you can do that and follow the steps involved, you will be well on your way to revising.

Have fun!

D

Controversy is Christian: Does finding intelligent life ‘out there’ threaten Christianity?

In Controversy is Christian on April 20, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Ok so I want to start a weekend topic dealing with subject matters that are controversial.  Yep stuff you’re not gonna like.  Or at least will have a strong opinion about.  Actually, I want this to be a lively debate about what you think, and more importantly, why you think what you do.

So here’s my question for this week’s blog post on Christianity and things controversial.

If we found intelligent alien life on other planets; how would that impact our view of God and the Bible?  Does it threaten Christianity at all?

If the Bible is God’s word to man, then would it stand to reason that God might have a different book for another species?

Would Christ’s death on the Cross have efficacy for the Romulans.  (I’m serious)  Christ is called the last Adam.  (1 Corinthians 15:45)  Not the last Regallian.

“When Christianity spread throughout the West, the Ptolemaic system became very widely accepted, and although the Church never issued any formal pronouncement on the question of alien life,[111] at least tacitly, the idea was aberrant. In 1277, the Bishop of Paris, Étienne Tempier, did overturn Aristotle on one point: God could have created more than one world (given His omnipotence). Taking a further step, and arguing that aliens actually existed, remained rare. Notably, Cardinal Nicholas of Kues speculated about aliens on the Moon and Sun.[112]”  Wikepedia

Here’s something to mull over.

Peter Stoner, in his book, Science Speaks, states that coincidence can be completely ruled out by the science of probability. Of this science of probability, Stoner says of eight prophecies that “we find that the chance that any man might have lived and fulfilled all eight prophecies is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000.” Now maybe that seems possible. Not completely unlikely. But for one man to fulfill 48 prophecies, Stoner says the chances are 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.”

So here we have the chances of Jesus fulfilling all these prophecies as well…a really big number.  And we will claim that he is the fulfillment of these astronomical possibilities.  So if the odds of this being true is something we can believe is it so hard to fathom the possibility of ET?

There is an equation, called the Drake equation that gives us some idea of the odds of finding intelligent life.

When you  look into research by Professor Andrew Watson and keep Drake in mind the chances of intelligent life emerging is low – less than 0.01 per cent over four billion years.

So when it’s all said and done we might not be alone after all.

Now assuming we find it; and some say God forbid that we do: because were up poops creek without a paddle. As in all likehood they will probably be more advanced than us.  (Remember Columbus and the Indians?)  Think Independence Day people.

Will the gospel apply to them?  Forget intelligent life.  What if we find ANY life on other worlds.  Again how does this alter our view of God, and Christianity?  Should it?

I would say it doesn’t   The Bible was written for man to man.  Not from God to the Romulans.  But again hey maybe the scripture that deals with those who have not heard the gospel applies to aliens?

Romans 2:12-15 it states, “For all who have sinned without the Law will also perish without the Law; and all who have sinned under the Law will be judged by the Law; for not the hearers of the Law are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified. For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts ultimately accusing or defending them. In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”)

The Bible teaches we all have inherited the sin of Adam. Romans 5:12 states that “Through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.”

But that means sin didn’t come from Regulus.  So this scripture wouldn’t apply to our alien friends.  Would our evangelism efforts be limited to humans?  Should we even evangelize Romulans?  On what grounds?  How should Christians then look at behavior where Aliens co-habitate?  What if they have more than one spouse?  What if they engage in same sex relationships?

Angels are extra-terrestrial life are they not?  So the Bible wouldn’t apply to them.  They have their own codes and laws don’t they?  After all they can leave their first estate.  There’s no indication from the scripture that angels have ceased from falling or don not have the ability of free will where they cannot fall.  Why not other species?

Yeah, yeah your thinking…not in my life time.  It will never happen.

Ya never know…the Rapture is not here yet.

 

D