Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Defensive Tactics- Cover

Defensive Tactics is a story of struggle and escape from forces seeking to destroy.

Years after a family tragedy left him emotionally scarred, Jimmy finds himself in a desparate situation so he turns to an old friend. Paul is an up and coming FBI Agent and agrees to help Jimmy, but almost immediately regrets it when Jimmy starts making a play for his girlfriend, who is also an Agent in the Kansas City Field Office.

As Jimmy and Paul struggle to become true friends, they are pulled into Emily's undercover assignment aimed at bringing down a corrupt federal judge. The assignment turns out to be more dangerous, and more difficult than Emily first anticipated, forcing her to decide how far she is willing to bend morally, to see her mission through. As the three new friends fight to protect each other and overcome conspiracies of organized crime, they must evaluate who they really are, and who God wants them to be.

Monday, May 24, 2010

On Writing- Review

Stephen King is an amazing story teller. Even when he is telling stories about writing and the lessons he has learned. On Writing, is a funny, entertaining and insightful book about honing the craft of writing that every writer, or aspiring writer, should read.
The first lesson I learned from On Writing is this, Don't Overplan your writing. What does this mean, you ask? Let me explain.
Stephen King writes because he loves to, but he also writes because he is disciplined. He has a writing schedule he keeps, and when he's not writing, he's reading, or watching TV and movies, all which help to spur his imagination. One of his pet peeves, and mine, is watching a movie or reading a book that is predictable. Maybe we identify the killer in the first scene. Maybe it is so obvious what the hero is going to do, we can just put the book down or turn off the show because there is no use in finishing. Why is so much of our entertainment so predictable? Because the writers follow the same patterns. They plan what will happen, and then write to meet that plan. Unfortunately, readers and even TV watchers are often too smart for this.
Stephen King was once asked "How come your books are so unpredictable"? He answered, "Because when I write them, I don't know what's going to happen next. If I (as the writer) don't know what will happen next, how can the reader?"
Writing needs to be a natural progression. Scenes need to unfold and characters need to develop organically, just as they do in real life. Now, every writer's process is different, and that is good, but it is hard to argue with the success Stephen King has enjoyed.
Most often, he begins his writing with a question, or a situation and then lets the writing unfold from there. For example, he might ask the question, "What would happen if a famous writer was trapped with a psychotic fan?" From that, he wrote Misery. Or, "How would a man who was wrongly imprisoned, reclaim his life and find joy again?" The answer, is The Shawshank Redemption.
We often need a blueprint, to keep us on track, but we shouldn't overplan every aspect of our story, or characters. Things become too predictable that way, and what fun is reading a 300 page book that you've figured out by page 20?

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Writing Process- Part 1

Every writer has their own process for finding material to write about, and even the physical process of writing itself. Some have a muse, or a picture they look to for inspiration, while others find interest in mundane daily activities. Some writers type on a laptop, sitting on their favorite chair or at a quiet desk, or scribble on pads of paper and then later reassemble their thoughts. No matter what process the writer employs, or the inspiration the writer may seek, the most important thing for a writer to do, is write.

A writer should write. Kind of a no brainer, right? It is, but just like other "no brainers", sometimes we fail to do the basic, simple things, like saying our prayers, getting the oil changed, or balancing the checkbook. We know we should, but we find other things to fill our time, or we simply fail to plan our time wisely.

The first thing every writer should do, is schedule time to write. Yes, this is basic. But we lead busy lives, coaching baseball and serving in our church and community. We want to spend time with our family and of course, most of us need to work full-time. Should I write in the morning or at night? On my lunch break? How much time should I alot? Whatever time works best for you, schedule it, and be diligent in sticking to that schedule.

We write because we love it. We want to express ourselves. We find satisfaction in creating something new. We write to magnify our talents. We write because we are curious to see where the story leads. Whatever the reason is, if you are a writer, or hope to be a writer, or just want to try it out, write...write...write. Its a "no brainer".

Monday, May 10, 2010

Kansas City Temple- Groundbreaking

On Saturday May, 8 2010, my family and I were blessed to attend the ground breaking ceremony for the new Kansas City Area Temple. Elder Rasband, Senior President of the Quorums of the Seventy presided at the event.

It was a cool and windy day and the children didn't necessarily appreciate all the dirt and cold, but 30 years from now, they will be able to tell their children they were at the groundbreaking for the first Temple in the Kansas City Metro area. Then, they will remember what a momentous day it was and how blessed they were to attend.

Now, we look forward to the Temple Dedication in a couple of years and hope to be blessed with tickets to attend there as well.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Far West Ward- 1st Meetings

On Sunday, May 2nd, the Far West Ward met together for the first time. To my knowledge, a congregation at Far West has not been organized since the saints were forced to flee in late 1838. For many, the creation of this new Ward is the fullfillment of a dream and an answer to prayer.

It was a wonderful day. Many members had a chance to bear testimony during fast and testimony meeting, and during a joint Priesthood/Relief Society/Young Men/Young Women meeting, we were able to discuss hopes and dreams for the Ward.

As we embark on building a Ward from the ground up, it is wonderful to know, that as long as we do things in the Lord's way, we can make our Ward family into something special. We are limited only by ourselves: our willingness to spend time and effort in accomplishing the missions of the church as we strive to become a Zion people.