Spreading your wings in a perplexing world
June 2023 James P. Hurd
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- Blessed Unbeliever published!
- Writer’s Corner
- New story
- This month’s puzzler
- Wingspread Ezine subscription information
New Novel: BLESSED UNBELIEVER
I am happy for the people and libraries that have secured their copy of Blessed Unbeliever.
Sean McIntosh lives in a California world of Fundamentalist certainty—until his whole world unravels. He loses his girlfriend and loses his dream of becoming a missionary pilot. And he’s shaken by contradictions and mistakes he finds in the Bible. His missionary zeal languishes, then morphs into religious doubt as he sinks into unbelief and commits a blasphemous act after declaring himself an atheist—all the while at Torrey Bible Institute! But Grace pursues.
Blessed Unbeliever (paper or Kindle version) can be found at Wipf and Stock Publishers, Amazon https://a.co/d/9su5F3o or wherever good books are sold.
Tips for writers: “WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW.” Much better when writing fiction to “mine” you own life: places you’ve been (e.g., Amsterdam), experiences you’ve had (e.g., caught in a hurricane), people you knew (e.g., a bully or a teacher or a boss). Fictionalize this raw material for your own writing. Drill down to the details—this will draw your reader into your fictional world.
Word of the Month: BRICOLAGE. A woven fabric or a mosaic of many different items fashioned into a new whole. One thinks of a tapestry or a mobile. Each detail is a piece of your puzzle that will create a beautiful, surprising, coherent whole.
Book of the month: C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. The best apology for Christianity that I’ve seen. C.S. Lewis, most known for his Narnia Tales (beginning with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), was also a brilliant apologist.
Question from last month: Who is the most interesting fictional character you’ve ever read about? I like Cadfael, a twelfth-century Benedictine monk from Ellis Peters’ “Cadfael Chronicles” series. Smart crime sleuth, socially fluent, compassionate, spiritually deep, he is a Crusader who later took the Benedictine cowl and became a monk in Shrewsbury, England.
A new GPS for writers
New story: Crafting Gripping Dialogue
Elmore Leonard famously said that you should find all the parts of your writing that people tend to skim over—then delete them! But your readers will never skim over dialogue.
Why dialogue? Use dialogue to make the scene more immediate, vivid, in-the-moment. Use dialogue to reveal character, rather than having the narrator do it. Use dialogue to describe a scene—through the eyes of a character. Use dialogue to reveal conflict. Use it to reveal attributes of your characters—regional or ethnic identity, personality, temperament. Use it to reveal the thoughts of your character.
How to write compelling dialogue? Good dialogue never is a word-by-word transcription of the spoken word. But it needs to read as if it is. It should never seem contrived, made up. It should always be believable. How to do that? . . . To read more, click here: https://jimhurd.com/2023/05/31/crafting-gripping-dialogue/
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This month’s puzzler
(Adapted from Car Talk Puzzler archives)
No Googling or websurfing to answer this one! This is a short historic puzzler.
What is the capital of Liberia and why was the capital given that name?
(Answer in next month’s Wingspread ezine.)
Last month’s puzzler:
What is this sequence, and how would you complete it?
Answer: These are letters in theInternational phonetic alphabet. It continues: Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra . . . Pilots use these to make a call number explicit, for example: “YVT-STP” becomes “Yankee Victor Tango — Sierra Tango Papa.”
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My wife asked me to help prepare our 4-year-old for his first day at school….
….So I stole his lunch.
Whenever it rains, my wife just stands at the window looking sad….
….Do you think I should let her in?
If anyone knows how to fix broken hinges….
….My door is always open.
There’s nothing like a brisk fall morning….
….To keep me in bed till noon.
There’s no excuse for laziness….
….But if you find one, let me know.
What did the drunk driver die of?….
Where do you take someone who’s been injured in a peek-a-boo accident?….
….To the I.C.U.
Doctor: I’m sorry, I had to remove your colon….
Did you know that before the crowbar was invented….
….Crows had to drink alone, at home.
….Takes too long.
I admit that I live in the past….
….But only because the housing is so much cheaper.
If you are not yelling at your kids….
….You are not spending enough time with them.
Only in America …….do drugstores
make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their
prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the
Only in America …….do people order
double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.
Only in America ……do banks leave
vault doors open and then chain the pens to the
Only in America ……do we leave cars worth
thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.
Only in America ………..do we buy hot dogs
in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.
Only in America …….do they have
drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.
EVER WONDER ….
Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
Why can’t women put
on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why don’t you ever see the headline: ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?