Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

    **MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. For permission on reprints or reusing this material, please contact the individual authors. For sharing the actual post, please use the share buttons.

  • Blog Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 87,322 hits
  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • Chicken and Waffles
      It’s been such a crazy-busy, crazy-fun week that I almost missed a week of A-Z! But never fear, the letter C is here.C as in chicken and waffles, Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles to be exact.My daughter turned eleven this week, and to celebrate we spent a couple days in Atlanta with her Mamaw doing girlie stuff, like eating yummy food (because only girls […]
      noreply@blogger.com (April Gardner)
  • RSS Barn Door Book Loft

    • The Promise by Beth Wiseman
      Back Cover Blurb:Mallory’s search for happiness leads her to a faraway place. There she finds heartache, betrayal--and danger.  Can the only man she’s ever loved rescue her before it’s too late?Mallory Hammond is determined not to let her boyfriend, parents, or anyone else get in the way of her #1 goal--to save a life.  She had that chance when she was a tee […]
    • A Blizzard Full Of Book Winners
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.And before we announce these eight winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:Raelee May Carpenter who offered her Young Adult book: The Lincoln High Project. Misty M. Beller who offered her Historical Romance The Lady and the Mountain Man. Virginia Tenery who offered her […]
    • Florida Author Victoria Buck
      Welcome to the Book Loft, Victoria! Is there a story behind your book, Wake the Dead?I studied transhumanism—something most Christians have never heard of—for a while before I began writing Wake the Dead. But that wasn’t what I intended to write about. I’d planned on writing a satire about game shows—how people go nuts when they win any little prize. But I c […]
  • RSS Clash of the Titles

    • September New Releases Clash
      Welcome to the September clash!!Five new books for your bookshelf this month! From suspense to humor, these books are the newest addition to CBA. Which one lands at the top of your to-be-read pile? Based on what you see below, please choose the book that grabs you--the one you'd read first. Cast your vote below and help bring one book to the top of the […]
    • Announcing the 2014 Laurel Award Winner!
      2014 LAUREL AWARD WINNERAuthor Ruth Reid's novel A MIRACLE OF HOPEis the winner of Clash of the Titles's fourth annual Laurel Award.CONGRATULATIONS, RUTH!Ruth will receive the following: a beautiful banner to display on her website; a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, A Miracle of Hope; a "Heart of the Matter" radio in […]
    • ANNOUNCING THE LAUREL FINALISTS!
      The entries have been read and the scores have been tallied. Our unique panel of judges, comprised strictly of readers, has determined our three finalists. And they are…Ruth Reid's A Miracle of HopeJune Foster's Deliver UsCarole Brown's The Redemption of Caralynne HaymanCongratulations to all three!!(Of special note, this is Ruth's second […]
  • RSS Little Bits Blog

    • Are You Teachable?
      What? You think you know everything? I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but no one knows everything. Oh, there is one, Hashem. He's omniscient. But no one else is. Even Yeshua (Jesus) isn't. He doesn't know the hour or day he will come again. Some people rejoice in learning something new. I tend to be one of those people. I read about […]
    • Too Blessed To Be Stressed
      I’m pretty addicted to computer games. There have been a number, over the years, I have enjoyed. Right now I’m playing Zynga’s Castleville Legends. I’m in an alliance of ladies who play and help each other. It’s a generous,  supporting group with a fair number of believers. We encourage each other and have a lot of fun. The ladies are from all over the US, p […]
    • 12 Reasons to Live in a Small Town
      Living in small towns has special challenges and delights. When I say ‘small’ I mean ‘small’. The town I live near has approximately 250 people. The county seat has 3600 and the county has about 16,000. So this is rural America. You might think this county was in the western states where the population is lower and space is not a problem. No, I live in Illin […]
  • RSS Living Our Faith Out Loud

    • From Now On, with Susan A. Royal
      Remember, friends, MuseItUp is a Canadian publisher, so some Queen's English rules apply.Introducing Susan A. Royal, a fellow MuseItUp Publishing author, to talk about her new book,From Now OnAbout the Book:     Griffin has traveled across centuries to reunite with the woman he loves, but he and Erin may not get their ‘happy ever after’. Not if Lady Iso […]
    • Book Review Desperate Dreams by Kim McMahill
      Desperate Dreams: Deadly ExodusKim McMahillc. 2012Prism Book GroupISBN: 978-0984764587Price 3.9911.99Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes and NobleSet in the scary near-future, Desperate Dreams is a dystopian story about a state-controlled society attempting to reduce crime and corruption by moral bankruptcy.McMahill tells the story of four teens plotting to rebel aga […]
    • World Wide Blog Hop and High Stakes WIP
      I'm pleased to follow Cherie Burbach in a World Wide Blog Hop.Cherie posted here last week: http://workingwritersandbloggers.com/2014/10/17/world-wide-blog-hopWhat am I working on?I'm currently at work on a project that follows my 2010 award-winning novel, Meander Scar. The story takes place in that year, and I wish I had been taking better notes a […]
  • RSS Nearly Brilliant

    • Book Giveaway: The Beckoning by Michael Minot
      In celebration of Michael Minot's new book, The Beckoning, Nearly Brilliant is giving away one copy of the book (print or ebook, winner's choice). To enter, leave a comment below with your email stating why you'd like to win a copy. Here's more about the book and the author.Several years after graduating from law school, Michael Minot dis […]
    • Free and Discounted Kindle Book Deals
      Don't miss this special promo for free and discounted book deals on Kindle Books and TipsThe Treasure Seeker: The Quest to Find God, Spiritual Intimacy and Value is just .99For more freebies and deals, sign up for their ezine. www.fkbooksandtips.com 
    • BOOK REVIEW: THE BECKONING BY MICHAEL MINOT
      Michael Minot, a lawyer, is a former atheist who now follows Christ. The Beckoning is not only his story regarding how his beliefs changed but an orderly and methodical account of how the methods he applied to find authentication and proof of God’s validity as he conducted research of the scriptures.While still single, Minot was challenged by a Christian fri […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
  • Second Monday: Sophie Dawson

  • Tuesdays – Promotion in Motion

  • Wednesdays: Life of a Writer – April & Positivity – Lisa Lickel

  • Thursdays – Luther’s on board

  • Fridays – Revolutionary Faith, Devotions by Elaine

  • Saturdays – Janet Perez Eckles

  • Sunday – Reflections Book Reviews

  • Blog Authors

  • The Barn Door

  • The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.

  • John 3:16 Marketing Network widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)>

Balancing My Tone as an Author

Posted by Luther D. Powell on March 14, 2012

R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books were the first chapter books I read and collected as a child. My parents being protective of my underdeveloped mental and emotional state, it took a few years of pouting and ‘but Moooom’-ing to convince them to let me read them.

Much like this ^

Though the Goosebumps books are considered children’s horror fiction, I could read one of them now and love it like I used to. The books were scary, but in a fun way. They grossed me out, made my skin crawl and made it hard to sleep at night, but they didn’t make me fear the reality of the world around me, if that makes sense. I was only afraid of the creepy-crawlies and monsters in the books, which were usually magical, supernatural, or of some science-experiment-gone-horribly-wrong kind of origin.

When I was younger, I wanted to write like R. L. Stine.

My most recent struggle as a writer is the realization that this story I’ve been writing for so long was started when I was something less than a young adult. Because of that, the majority of what’s written is lacking a certain ‘adult’ tone that I would like the story to have. The beef of my story was written five years ago and since then, I’ve been adding and changing things at a rather sluggish pace. My issue is figuring out how to write about young adult characters in a way that adults would enjoy reading, to write about unbelievable monsters in a way that’s believable, and to write about adult fears in a way that young adult readers would understand.
 
I was eleven when I first invented my main protagonists, and though they’ve undergone some intense surgeries, they’re still my protagonists. Most of them are the age I was when I began writing the story, which seems natural, right? We write about what we know about, and what we enjoy reading most usually involves characters we can relate to. The Goosebumps books were never about adults, not about husbands or wives or mothers or fathers or people working in office cubicles or whatever (that’s a hefty generalization, I know, but I also know a lot of adults who work in office cubicles). R. L. Stine’s books were about kids like my kid-self, doing stuff kids did, only adding haunted houses and green slime. They didn’t need the assistance of graphic sex and violence to feel real to children, and they stirred fears of the unknown more than those of reality. For the record, I also feel that they’re ‘safe’ books for Christian kids who want a good scare, as they don’t involve anything Satanic, demonic or otherwise anti-Jesus. Clean language too!
 
Were I to leave my story untouched as of now, it would probably be read as young adult fiction. I have nothing against young adult fiction, but I want a broader audience than that.
 
If I could pick a book which has influenced my writing more heavily than anything else in the past few years, it’s Let the Right One In, by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist (also known as Let Me In). This book is a serious work of horror, very much not intended for children, and features a variety of adult themes. It plays on both fears of worldly and otherwordly things in an extremely graphic fashion. However, the main protagonists are children (well, sort of *wink wink*), and the author does a great job of portraying the characters in a way that is reminiscent of my childhood. It feels nostalgic, as opposed to writing the story to please the age group which best relates to the characters.
 
I consider myself an adult now, with adult problems and adult fears and adult responsibilities. As a writer, I want to sound like an adult, like I’ve had experiences like those of the characters. What separates young adult from adult fiction, anyway? Graphic content? Length? Age-range of characters?
 
Goosebumps books aren’t young adult books, but as children’s horror, they could be compared to and contrasted with Let the Right One In. As an adult-fiction-horror writer, I’d like a mix of worldly and otherworldly scares in my stories; both the campy-fun quality of Goosebumps scary and the gut-wrenchingly-dark quality of LTROI scary. I want to write about high school students, but still appeal to adult readers. As a Christian author, I want to leave out bad language and sexual content that most ‘adult’ books might be filled with, but still write as realistically as possible. I need to balance my tone.
 
That’s the interesting thing about The Bible (preachy tangent alert!): there is no Young Adult Bible. A Precious Moments toddler Bible maybe, but nothing blatantly dumbed down or edited for other age groups. There is only The Bible; God’s Word. He wrote it and man put it on paper. The Book is raw, gritty, in-your-face and beautiful. There was no worrying about tone when the words were translated; it was translated to say what it says. Interpretations may vary inevitably, but there’s no escaping its message, no matter how old you are. Just a thought. Until next Thursday, God bless!
 
In Christ,
 
Luther D. Powell

5 Responses to “Balancing My Tone as an Author”

  1. Luther, the dilemma we all face: How much is too much and how much is not enough? As Christian writers it is a challenge, but not insurmountable. As a Christian Romance writer, I weave a fine line between being acceptable to Christians, but romantic enough without being explicit. Talk about a dance! The key I have found is PRAY before I write, that GOd will direct my “pen” and then run it by other Christians to get their view. Is is too much? Not enough? I want to know. But my first audience is the Lord and I want to please him while entertaining my reader. I’ll pray for you and ask for your prayers for me as well. Blessings!

    • Libby said

      As a Christian romance reader and a wanna-be author, I commend you for being sensitive about too much and not enough. I have not read your stories (yet), but my beef with many Christian books is the sappy sweet characters that are so unreal they cannot possibly be of this earth. As far as romance goes, to me romance does not equal sex, it’s getting to know the person, the things that draw the couple together on a daily basis, the crises they encounter and survive together. It’s the look across the room, the laughter of a shared private joke. I despise secular reads that rely on explicit scenes and bad words. That’s not writing, that’s a sorry excuse for a writer who doesn’t know how to dialogue without bad language and how to keep the reader’s interest without explicit scenes. Nothing turns me off like that and many, many times I put the book down at that point. So kudos to authors who have to rely on their creativity and ability to write dialogue! Maybe some day I’ll be on this site as a writer!

      Libby
      (Luther’s mom)

      • Thank you, Libby! My characters are anything but sappy. They are very real, who confront life’s difficulties with courage and faith—and lots of romance. I agree with you—sappy is not realistic and I don’t have time for that either. If you want to try my latest release, it won the Los Angeles Book Festival award for Best Romance last month. It is called, “The Promise of Deer Run.” Blessings and nice to meet Luther’s mom!

  2. Being scared, afraid, delighting in a good, clean scare can really be fun. I love Alien, Aliens, because I know it’s not real. But things that are real, are evil make me more than frightened. That’s my line I can’t cross.

    • I’m kinda with you there, Lisa. My “line” is being pushed by judging the paranormal genre on the Grace Awards this year. Gulp. Best not read them at night…

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,246 other followers

%d bloggers like this: