Wednesday, August 24, 2016

What’s the Good in Writing?


By Linda Brooks Davis





I recently read a novel that focused on the ins and outs of legal wrangling and duplicity. It held me spellbound. But I closed it wondering what good had come of reading it.




So I made a list:



1)      It provided spellbinding entertainment from first page to last. But its story, characters, and take-away deserted me in minutes. A fleeting good.
2)      It educated me in back-room plea deals, courtroom drama, and proper evidence gathering.  But will that knowledge affect a single aspect of my life? No.
3)      It illustrated effective dialogue techniques. But much of the dialogue tested my sensibility meter. The needle slammed to its upper limits and beyond. It inspired me to nothing good. I put it down praying the memory and imagery would fade.

Shortly thereafter I read a similar novel. But its story line, characters, and take-away stuck with me. They’re tucked away in a drawer of memories, in fact. What good had come of reading this novel?

I made another list:
1)      It provided spellbinding entertainment from first page to last. Will I hold onto the story line, characters, and take-away—and certain images they created? You bet. That’s good.
2)      It educated me in back-room plea deals, courtroom drama, and proper evidence gathering.
But will that knowledge affect my life? Indeed. One character in particular has become a reference point, a measuring rod, for how to stick to the straight road in the midst of so many crooked ones. That’s good.
3)      It illustrated effective dialogue techniques, but this time the dialogue tested my sensibility meter not a whit. The needle didn’t even twitch. Has its dialogue changed me even in a small way? Yep. The dialogue’s contrast of sunlight with darkness left me repelled by the dankness—the emptiness—of the first novel and reaching for sunlight on my face and fresh air in my lungs in the second. It left me striving for similar inspiration in my writing. That’s very good.

What made the difference for me? Heart. Faith. Or inspiration if you prefer.

The first novel challenged my brain cells; the second challenged my heart. The first built my knowledge; the second built my faith. The first aroused a sense of repulsion; the second inspired me to reach beyond the good to the best.

I’ll no doubt keep reading novels similar to the first, as well as the second. Why? Because I want to seep myself in the contrasts so I’ll forever run from the void created by writing that lacks heart, faith, and inspiration. And create instead a home for both heart and faith—inspiration, if you will—between the front and back covers of whatever I write.

That’s all good.
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Linda Brooks Davis, first-place winner of the 2014 Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel award, has lived in multiple states and outside the U.S, but she speaks Texan. Born and reared in Raymondville, a small farming town in the southernmost tip of Texas, Linda holds Bachelor's and Master's degrees. She devoted forty years to the education of students with special needs before settling down to her lifelong dream: writing. Set in 1905 pre-statehood Oklahoma, THE CALLING OF ELLA MCFARLAND, an inspirational historical with a strong romantic thread, debuted on December 1, 2015. When not writing, Linda enjoys teaching 4-year-olds at church, reading, and researching genealogy. She and her husband dote on six grandchildren, three of whom arrived in 2005--in triplicate form. In her first published article, "The Choice", which appeared in 2011 in LIVE, a publication of Gospel Publishing House, she chronicled her daughter's agonizing at-risk triplet pregnancy and the heart-wrenching choice her medical team placed before her. Linda likes to brag on her daughter and son, both veterinarians who like one another well enough to practice together. In Texas that's called learnin' to get along.You may visit Linda at lindabrooksdavis.com. Porch light's always on. 
Twitter: @LBrooksDavis  Facebook: www.facebook.com/LindaBrooksDavis/ 
YouTube Book Trailer:http://bit.ly/1VZcAi5


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