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Archive for May 15th, 2013

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In 1979, Gabriel Barkay, a Biblical archaeologist, chose to dig on the hill were St. Andrew’s Church is located in the Hinnom Valley, just outside the Old City walls, where he discovered these silver scrolls. It was an exciting archaeological discovery. It took three years to unroll the tiny scroll found inside the amulet. It has been dated to the seventh century BC, during the time of King Josiah.

During my last trip to Israel, David and I went to a Messianic Jewelry Shop. David bought me a beautiful silver ring and a pendant like the scroll found near the Old City with the Aaronic Blessing written on it. That silver scroll contains the oldest bible verse found so far.

Day05

 

The link featured today describes this archaeological dig complete with photos.

Our #4 archaeological find takes us to the ever important city of Jerusalem.  A discovery made in 1979 is still hard to comprehend.  The discovery came completely unexpected.  Archaeologist Gabriel Barkay, with a meager budget, and only 12 and 13 year old helpers from a local club set out on a completely ordinary dig.  What was Barkay looking for?  In his own words he states:

In the 1970’s I was interested in extra-mural activity, that is, activity outside the walls of the city.  There would be quarrying of stones outside the city, growing fresh vegetables, military gatherings, burials, roads and military watch towers.  These would have occupied a place not too far from the city, but not too close. Click here to read this fascinating article.

 

 

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Even when I was in high school I had a secret dream of growing up and being a writer. Decades later I attended the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, but the task of writing a book seemed daunting. No wonder it took so long. It wasn’t until after I had written my first book, a nonfiction, On Our Own in Jerusalem’s Old City, that I started writing fiction. Writing the Jerusalem book satisfied my desire to write about Jerusalem, as experienced by my husband, David, and me. We kept meticulous notes and I wrote the book following the structure of our itinerary, but it wasn’t particularly fun. It wasn’t until I wrote fiction that I discovered what I call The Shotgun Method. The Shotgun Method makes writing fun and adventurous.

My brother showed up from California and got snowbound at our house. At the time I felt antsy and at loose ends. He constantly perused the Internet, making me crazy. One time he looked up and said, “Why don’t you do a NaNoWriMo? At that time I had no idea what the National Novel Writing Month was about. He explained that it was a contest for fiction writers to write fifty thousand words during the month of November.  I told him he was nuts. I don’t write fiction, I don’t even have time to read fiction. Little brothers have a way of plunging you into something you wouldn’t ordinarily try. He challenged me on the 29th of October. I barely had time to get my head around the idea of writing a novel.

David and I were leaving to go to Florida on November 20. And on November 1st we were visiting my sister in North Platte, Nebraska. I felt like I needed to start my novel, and everyone took a break from playing cards so I could write. I wrote the recurring nightmare in Lyza’s Story. When we got back to Denver I started writing like a wild woman. I wrote anything that came to mind, and some how the Lord made a story out of it. So many times fiction reflects our true lives. And as I thought about the places I’d been able to visit, the life of wealth I’d often observed and desired, and the idea that one woman could be as powerful as Lyza, the story took hold. I added places I would have liked to visit and people I would have liked to meet. I let my characters lead, but I was having the time of my life. I laughed out loud as my characters carried me through the story.

Writing fiction could be fun! By the end of November I had my fifty thousand words. But I knew I still had a lot of work to do. During that time I met some fiction writers and they explained to me there were rules. Like I wanted to know that! A few months later I joined His Writers. Later I was introduced to horrible thing called a critique group (just kidding). Luckily, the one I went to was made up of many kind people. It only took a couple of meetings for me to realize I had a long way to go. It took me nearly a year to get Lyza’s Story where I wanted it. By then it had grown to eighty thousand words. I also knew I had another book to write.

After polishing off Lyza’s Story I started writing the second book of the Lane trilogy, the Legacy on November 1st. Once again my imagination took off like a wild goat in the desert. However, this time I had a few rules stuck in my head. By the end of November I had a rough draft of eighty thousand words in somewhat better shape than I had the year before. It took an entire year for me to get the Legacy where I wanted it before I sent it to press. I hung onto both manuscripts because it was November once again and I knew I had one more book about the Lane family. I wanted all three to come out around the same time.

My imagination rocketed and Leesa’s Story flowed like a maple syrup on a hot day. I can honestly say that of the three books, Leesa’s Story is the best. Remembering some of the rules that I’d learned in the last couple of years made my writing go faster and I was more confident. The NaNoWriMo experience taught me that I can actually write a story by the seat of my pants using the Shotgun Method.

The Shotgun Method means you write every scene that pops into your head, knowing that probably half of what you write will go away. But that’s all right; you end up having more fun and being more creative. The beautiful part is that you have not invested much time on particular scenes at this point. When you feel you’ve told the whole story, go back and choose the scenes that you need and toss the rest. Now it’s time to polish those scenes you’ve chosen.

The NaNoWriMo experience taught me how important it is to learn how to write fiction using the rules. I say that seriously. However there are been times when I have knowingly broken the rules in order to make a point. When Christians write fiction, it’s not about the story, it’s not about the author; it’s all about God. We want to write well to glorify Him. But we cannot always follow a rule if it sterilizes the scene. Each author must make their own call on that.

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