Hobbiton of the Future?


I love looking at original artwork for writing inspiration. Here’s a cool one I came across today. I love it because it merges obvious fantasy overtones with hints of science fiction.

What do you think is going on in this painting? What is this village? Who are the three travelers? Are they entering this place for the first time, or is it where they live, and now they’re departing for destinations unknown? What’s your story for this image?

Source: “Arrival in Ordania” by Timo Mimus.



Writing Tip: Stop In the Middle

Teachers and experienced writers will tell you to “start in the middle” when telling your story, because the middle is generally more interesting and exciting. This well-known tactic suggests that all of the introduction and exposition materials that generally go at the beginning of a story (and can be a bit dull) can be filled in along the way. I’ve done this several times myself.

But I bet no one’s ever told you to “stop in the middle.”

When writing, we like to keep going and not take a break until we get to “a good stopping point.” In other words, when it comes time to stop writing, we prefer to get to the end of a chapter, scene, or section. It feels more like an accomplishment that way because you can easily measure your output.

Here’s a trick that I’ve found more productive: stop writing in the middle of a chapter, scene, or section. Don’t wait to the end. Stop smack dab in the middle.

Why? Because the middle is easier to jump back into.

Writers know when they’ve reached their sweet spot. That place where your creative juices are flowing like a river, your dialogue crackles, you’re thinking the way your character does (instead of the way you do), and everything pops off the page. Some writers can go straight into that mode the minute they start writing, but it takes most of us some time and effort to get there.

The problem with stopping at a clearly defined point of separation is that when you pick the narrative back up, you might be writing a different setting, a different situation, from a different character’s P.O.V., and so on. It forces you to start working your way back into that sweet spot entirely from scratch.

So I use this trick as a shortcut: Stop at a point in the narrative where you know exactly what’s going to happen next. It may seem counter-intuitive to walk away when you can already hear the next few lines of prose in your head. Just try it.

I’m always amazed at how quickly this little trick brings me right back to my creative sweet spot — as if I never left it.



Hollywood Finally Gets One Right

I can scarcely believe my eyes.

For so very long, Hollywood has shunned films of an overtly religious nature, or water down the material on the rare occurrences when they attempt one. Have they finally figured out how to make a big-budget, intelligently-made movie with a Christian worldview at its core? A movie that manages to be touch the heart without preaching?

If this movie turns out half as good as the trailer, then Sony Pictures deserves our applause. By all accounts, Heaven Is For Real (based on the bestselling book of the same name) has a stellar pedigree behind it: it stars Greg Kinnear and Thomas Haden Church, and it was written and directed by Randall Wallace — the writer of Braveheart and The Man In the Iron Mask, among others.



A Little Spark

I’m crazy about orchestral scores from movies. Nothing helps me more to set the mood while I’m writing than a great score. This track is one of my all-time favorites. It’s called “My Name is Lincoln,” and as you can see, it’s from the movie The Island. This big, sweeping anthem is hope perfectly portrayed through music. It also happens to be the music that my wife and I used as the recessional at the end of our wedding.

I hope it sparks your creative juices!



Thoughts for Today


1. I believe that God is precisely who he says he is: the great God of the universe, who created everything, who can do anything, and who’s ready to answer our every prayer.

2. I believe that God is love. He loves us exceedingly abundantly beyond our wildest imaginings.

3. I believe that God wants only good things for us.

4. I believe God is standing in the great storehouse of Heaven and he’s ready to pour out magnificent riches and blessings upon us.

5. I believe that sometimes God chooses to wait for us to ask before he answers our needs. I believe that we can present our needs to God with confidence, and ask him for whatever we need without fear or anxiety. I believe that persistence pays off!