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Posts Tagged ‘J.R.R.Tolkien’

Before we begin talking about plot outlines, character development and setting, let’s discuss a little concept called genre. The word is pronounced john-ra or zhon-ra, and it simply means kind or variety. In our case, it refers to the kinds of stories we read and write.

There are as many kinds of stories out there as there are crayons in a box.photo Some of the basic genres are:  Mystery (Anne Perry’s William Monk or Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series), Thriller/Suspense (books by Brandilyn Collins), Horror (Ted Dekker), Sci-Fi (DragonKeeper Chronicles by Donita K. Paul) , Fantasy (J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings), Western (Louis L’Amour), Romance (Karen Kingsbury), Historical Fiction (Bodie Thoene’s Zion Covenant and Zion Chronicles), Children’s (classics like A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle), Young Adult (excellent theme books by Melody Carlson), and Short Fiction. Each of these genres can be broken up into sub-genres, of which new ones are being developed every day. For example, some of the sub-genres in the Mystery theme are:  Amateur Investigator, Bumbling Detective, Cozy, Legal, Police Procedural, Whodunit, etc. See the following link for more information: http://www.cuebon.com/ewriters/genres.html.

What’s your genre? The key question to help you discover this is usually: what kinds of stories do you most like to read? I say usually, because I love reading and listening to mysteries, but I haven’t figured out how to write a good one…yet. I also love reading historical fiction, and the more I read, the more I learn about how it’s done.

Based on your favourite genres of fiction, which would you most like to write? Why? I like Historical Fiction because it reminds me that every historical figure that inspires me to write about them has actually lived and died, loved and hated, succeeded and failed. Each is real and unique and deserves to be known and understood, at least to some degree. When I create characters in historical fiction, it is with the hope that they will become as real as if they had actually lived.

Perhaps you wish to write Children’s Fiction because you love to tell stories to the little people in your life. Maybe you want to try writing for teens in order to help them better understand themselves and their parents and life in general. The draw to Fantasy may be the opportunity to create a new world with its own set of rules and parameters. Of course, there’s always help on the web. Here’s just one site of many to check out:  http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/genrefiction/a/How-To-Choose-A-Genre-For-Your-Novels.htm

Although most of us know what kind of story we want to write, the conundrum that presents itself is whether to write what’s on our hearts or what will sell best. The answer depends on our goals. If our number one objective is to sell our story, then we must research and write what’s selling. My agent once suggested that anything with a buggy and bonnet on the cover would sell. (I can’t tell you why, after all this time, but that’s another issue.) We can still be creative when we write for the market, but we must make sure we’re okay with it.

Personally, I need to write from the heart, whether it sells immediately or not. Pair that with the premise of Kevin Costner’s movie, Field of Dreams:  “Build it and he will come.” Write it, and the readers will come, so we hope and pray. The choice is up to us as individuals.

For the Christian writer, published or not, the choice of genre is important. If we plan to build a platform (the genre and style of writing that people think of when they recognize our names, also referred to as our brand), we will need to concentrate on writing in one genre until we are known by our readers.

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Today I’d like to introduce you to fellow writer, Melanie M. Jeschke.

Melanie Morey Jeschke (pronounced jes-key), a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in Richmond, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia as a Phi Beta Kappa with an Honors degree in English Literature and a minor in European and English History. She also holds a Master of Arts in English Literature from George Mason University and took courses on Jane Austen and Shakespeare at Oxford University. Melanie currently teaches at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. 

Melanie M. Jeschke

Melanie lived a semester in Paris and has traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East. She has made numerous trips to Great Britain and organized a group tour to Scotland and England that included a stay at J.R.R. Tolkien’s Merton College in Oxford. She has attended five conferences on C. S. Lewis at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and served as the Oxford information hostess and walking- tour guide for the C. S. Lewis Foundation

Melanie’s various trips to the UK inspired her novels The Oxford ChroniclesInklings containing the sequel  Intentions, July 2004;Expectations, March 2005; and Evasions, a “prequel” set in WWII, August  2006. An earlier edition of Inklings (without Intentions) was  published by Xulon Press in 2002.

A free-lance travel writer, Melanie contributed the Oxford chapter to the Rick Steves’ England guidebook. She is a member of the Capital Christian Writers and Christian Fiction Writers as well as three book clubs, and taught high-school English before home-schooling most of her nine children. Melanie lectures on Lewis and Tolkien, Oxford, and writing, and gives inspirational talks to all manner of groups, including university classes, women’s clubs, young professionals, teens, and school children.

Melanie committed her life to Jesus Christ as a teenager and has been married for thirty-six years to Bill Jeschke, the founding pastor of The King’s Chapel in Fairfax, Virginia. Together they are the proud parents of nine wonderful children (three daughters and six sons) and twelve adorable grandchildren.

“God-sightings”

A Blog by Melanie M. Jeschke  

This summer at Vacation Bible School, we taught the children to look for “God-sightings,” evidence that God is at work in our circumstances or through other people. Recognizing God’s love and leading in our lives encourages and enriches us. Recently, I experienced the special blessing of one of these “God-sightings.”

My husband is a pastor and we rarely have an opportunity to visit other churches; however, this past weekend one of our youth ministers stepped in to preach. My sister had also come up from Florida to visit and be on hand to stay with my elderly parents, and so my husband and I decided to “play hooky.”

Consequently, I was looking forward to the opportunity for a little “getaway” at a B &B in the country. My husband declared he had prayed about my plan, but thought we should stay locally and attend one of the churches not far from our new home, so that we could “get to know our community better.” (My parents moved in with us the end of May, following a laborious move of our own last year from our home of 23 years in Vienna (Fairfax County), Virginia, further west to the town of Manassas). A tad disappointed but happy to have any time “away,” I promptly booked a room in a lovely Civil War-era B & B in “Old Town” Manassas.

The next morning, we visited a large, well-known church in the area. After the inspiring worship service, we explored the church building and listened in on a business meeting, so that by the time we emerged to the lobby, most of the congregation had cleared out. However, I noticed a woman, with curly strawberry-blond hair, talking in a small group of people. Her hair looked like that of an old friend we hadn’t seen in many years. This friend, also a “Melanie,” and her family had been founding members of our church, The King’s Chapel. Later, they had moved to Manassas and attended the church we were now visiting. A number of years ago, they had moved again to Lynchburg, VA, and although we keep in touch through email and Facebook, we had not seen them in person since then. Spotting this distinctive curly hair, I moved around for a closer look, and sure enough, there stood our friend Melanie with her family and some other mutual friends, whom we also hadn’t seen in many years! This “coincidence” of running into old friends at a church we had never been to before, amazing in itself, proved to be only part of the blessing.

Joyfully, Melanie explained that they had almost visited our church The King’s Chapel that morning because they so wanted to see us while they were in the area for Melanie’s birthday. They had prayed and felt the Holy Spirit’s leading to attend this church instead, and although torn, they obeyed. And voilà! There we were! If they had gone to The King’s Chapel, they wouldn’t have seen us; and likewise, if we had not stayed in Manassas, we wouldn’t have seen them. Experiencing the clear leading of God’s Holy Spirit in our lives multiplied the blessing of our unexpected reunion.

What a fun and serendipitous “God-sighting!”

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