Captain’s Log, Stardate 04.30.2005
I just got my ACFW Book of the Year judging packet. Looking over the score sheets, I realized that this is very much like a contest for an unpublished writer. The authors are receiving anonymous feedback from readers who can freely give opinions on things like character, conflict, motivation. Many times, I’ve read a book where the character is inconsistent, or the conflict isn’t strong enough, or the motivation isn’t quite believable, but I’ve never written to the author to complain.
I can see how this might be scary for an author. I know I’d be freaking out.
I was just talking with a friend of mine last night about Christian fiction. While much of it is excellent quality, there are a few that really disappoint. It doesn’t even matter sometimes if the authors are new or multi-published.
Some things are blatant and unprofessional--I recently read a Christian book where the heroine had absolutely no goal and no conflict with characters in the first several scenes. There was conflict between the secondary characters, but I didn’t like any of them and I certainly wasn’t rooting for any of them. I couldn’t go on--it was just too boring.
Some things are more subtle, but I still wonder how this got past various critique partners (if the author had any) and the editor. I read several books with strong characters who would then do something horribly dumb with not enough good motivation to do it. I call those “Too Stupid to Live” moments. Or else a character will do something and I really can’t understand why, it just doesn’t make logical sense.
However, that being said, I am praying God gives me wisdom and love in judging these books, to be honest in both my praise and criticism. I don’t anticipate poor writing in any of these books, but I guess the sudden freedom of saying exactly what I want has me feeling a bit nervous, just in case I don’t like the book for whatever reasons. I’m probably being silly.
Writing: I got a bit done last night on outlining my wip, but then I read the guidelines for Barbour and I’m freaking out. My storyline is more like a Chicklit, since this is a Chicklit anthology, but I wonder if I need to write it more like a straight romance. Can I write in the straight romance elements and still keep the Chicklit atmosphere? Will I be happy with the finished product?
Diet: I ran for four days this week, and I’m hoping to run a little today with the dog before going to Youth Group meeting. I weighed in and I’ve lost about a pound. I need to work on my portion sizes.
I haven’t felt hungry or deprived the past week, and I think it’s because I’m kind of careful with my food choices, and my lapses are made up for by the exercise. I can’t eat whatever I want, whenever I want, but I think I can indulge sometimes in not-so-good things for me as long as I’m careful with my portions and I keep up an exercise regimen.