Sunday, May 18, 2008

Storytelling in My Blood

My biggest interest is not altering old books, but writing new ones. I have so many ideas for stories that I don't think I'll ever be able to write them all. I've participated in National Novel Writing Month for three years now, and each time I produced a first draft that was over 50,000 words long. I love writing.

My brother and I have created our own competition (just between the two of us) that we have done for two years now. It's an event we like to call "Nanooks in Pajamas," or NIP for short. It's a race to the 50,000-word mark, and whoever gets there first is the winner. We both write a novel with the same title, same main characters, and when it's over we compare them. We write about our Beanie Baby husky dogs (R. Nanook and D. Nanook), because when we were little, we played many unusual adventures with them. Last year we both finished in 6 days, and this year (with the title "Nanooks in Tuxedos") we both finished in 5 days. It's a little crazy and a ton of fun. Also, we developed writing, typing, and quick-thinking skills. Most of NIP consists of a never-ending game of 20 Questions.

I don't just write silly, typo-riddled stories. I have finished one other novel, a science-fiction/action-adventure story called The Shadow of Greed. It's my second attempt at writing a novel, and probably the best thing I ever wrote. I planned out the plot in one week, wrote the first draft in 30 days, and spent a month editing and polishing it before submitting it to for self-publication. If you want to know more about The Shadow of Greed and, check out the sidebar or click here.

My big goal is to get something published before I'm twenty-one. (I did have a poem published in a kids' creative writing magazine, but I didn't get paid for it, so that doesn't really count).

However, I don't want to just write anything and get it published. The publishing world of fiction has run amuck with ungodly, evil books, even for teens and young children. What disgusts me the most is that many of these are on the top of the bestsellers list. Some appear to be innocent and well-written stories on the surface, but underneath is an insidious pulse of anti-God and pro-evil mentality. Some lure unsuspecting readers in with engaging characters, plot, and style, but there is an ulterior motive to teach them atheism and worldly attitudes. And a few are obviously evil through and through. Sometimes I can't understand how today's children are reading such disgusting things.

So my goal is to write and publish fun, clean, exciting books for children and young adults. I want to create characters who have or learn good morals in a unique way. I will try to grab my readers' attention with a clean and well-crafted story that engages the imagination and subtly show them what a godly life might look like in an interesting setting and plot.

If this is what God is calling me to do, I will give it all my energy and with His strength, write fiction to the glory of God.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Camera!

One of my passions happens to be photography, specifically of nature and animals. Unfortunately, for two years I've been stuck with a hand-me-down digital camera that has no zoom, is all automatic, does not respond well to lots of light or very little light...and has only 1.3 mega pixels. Yeah. I'm not exactly complaining -I got a lot of good pictures out of it and I learned a lot- but I think it's a good time to upgrade.

After months of saving pretty much all the money I earned while working at the library, I finally got the camera of my dreams- a Canon Digital SLR, with 12.2 mega pixels! I got it on Saturday, and I used it for the first time yesterday, taking a Grand Total of 294 pictures in one day!

The difference between my old camera and my new camera is incredible.

It's the difference between this:

And this:
(Click on a picture to see a bigger version)

Both are pictures of the same subject: fiddleheads in spring. Can you tell which picture was taken with my new camera?

Yesterday a chickadee flew into our sliding door screen and fell to the deck rather dazed and befuddled. It took a long time to recover, and while it caught its breath I picked it up and set it on the railing, out of our dogs' reach. Then I grabbed my camera while the poor little thing was too shocked to notice me and started taking close-ups.

Seeing this tiny, living piece of God's handiwork at such a close range gave me a new appreciation for the complexity of Creation. God designed the intricate feathers, bright eyes, and sharp claws of this little bird, and many people don't even think twice about this common songbird. And God cares for the needs of this insignificant creature that lives outside in the storms and droughts and heat and cold all of its life. Jesus reminds us, "Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows." (Luke 12:6-7)

This is why I love photography: I am constantly reminded of the complexities of God's awesome creation, and that none of this could ever happen "by chance." I am always eager to head out into the woods to see the world in a whole new perspective- through the viewfinder of my camera.