Saturday, April 30, 2011

Benny's Angel: Journey through Conceptual Editing

It has been some time since I reported on the progress of the production of my children’s book. In my last report, Benny’s Angel: The Journey Continues, I outlined the anticipated course of  conceptual editing, which was just beginning.

When the process began, my editor had very few changes to suggest, which was a relief on one hand. At the same time,  I was not completely satisfied with my text. A short time before, I had attended a mentoring workshop for children’s writing with Christine Harder Tangvald at the Florida Christian Writers Conference. I worked on a different manuscript in the workshop but it caused me to look at Benny’s Angel with fresh eyes. I knew this was my final opportunity to work with the text. Once the manuscript moved on from conceptual editing, it would be “in stone". So I decided to energize the story with some additional dialogue and action tags. I submitted the changes to the editor, who integrated them into my original manuscript.  

Once I was satisfied that  Benny’s Angel was the best little children’s story I could make it, the next step was to sign off my approval of the text so it could move to the next phase - illustration. That begins next week, when an illustrator is scheduled to contact me to discuss making the book come alive visually. The words I have used to paint pictures of the characters, setting, and action will help him or her to produce preliminary sketches. When I evaluate those sketches and give my feedback and suggestions, the final illustrations will be executed. My prayer is that they will represent not only my vision, but more importantly, God’s vision for the book. With His help, may they spring to life in such a delightful way as to entertain and influence little minds to respond to the message of Benny’s Angel.

                                                                                                                ~ Laura Allen Nonemaker

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Register to Win a Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Print


"Old Timer" was executed in a blend of charcoal, conte' crayon, and pencil by Laura McCrea (since marriage, Laura Nonemaker). The original drawing won first place in the portrait division at the 2006 Kentucky State Fair.

To register for a chance to win, please enter full name and e-mail address in the comments form.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I Had No Idea!

With the observance of Good Friday, reruns of The Passion of the Christ, produced by Mel Gibson, are being shown on television. I am reminded of my reaction to it when it first came out in the theaters several years ago. I always react emotionally to depictions of the passion, whether in the movies or live theater. It  was particularly difficult for me to watch this extremely graphic portrayal of our Savior's scourging and crucifixion.

We had taken my Aunt Gertie, who was 90 and a recent Jewish believer in Yeshua, to see the movie. She had become a completed Jew just three years earlier.  After many years of praying on her behalf, the veil had been lifted, and she sought answers from me concerning Jesus and my faith in Him. When I explained the plan of Salvation, she embraced it whole-heartedly and with joy. Now she was being confronted with a detailed visual account of His passion and it shocked her. After watching it, she exclaimed, " I had no idea He went through all that!" Two years later, Aunt Gertie went to be with her Messiah. She now knows in full the significance of the price He paid for her to be reconciled to God and gain entrance into her  heavenly home.

The suffering that Jesus endured was brutal. Yet He did it willingly and laid down His life for us. The most dramatic demonstration of the goodness and love of God is the sacrifice that Jesus made to deliver mankind from the penalty of sin. This same gift of forgiveness for sin and joy in heaven for all eternity is available to all who will acknowledge their need of a Savior and ask Him to come into their life.

                                                                                                   ~ Laura Allen Nonemaker

Thursday, April 7, 2011

From Glory to Glory

Looking in the mirror this morning, I saw a face that is changing daily, and with increasing speed. It is not that I am neglecting my appearance. Anyone who would dare to peek into our bathroom could tell that from the full basket of “jams and jellies” sitting on the vanity. However, in spite of my best efforts, time is leaving its indelible imprint on this pot of clay.

I am reminded of when my dear mother came to visit some years ago. I was in my thirties, she in her sixties. We were preparing to go out to dinner and she looked with dismay into the dresser mirror and said, “Oh, Laura, where has the time gone. I look so old.” She fussed with her makeup.

“Here Mummy, let me help.” I picked up the eye shadow and applied the light blue pigment to the lids of her azure eyes, still her most striking feature. “I think you look beautiful,” I said, and gently dabbed at her fragile eyelids. You will always be beautiful to me, I thought.

Now, many years later, I understand how she felt. It gets more and more difficult to hold back the hands of time.  Of course, that is an exercise in futility, anyway. Because of sin, these earthly bodies are programmed to gradually self-destruct. We don’t live in the Garden of Eden, and our flesh is relentlessly bombarded with free radicals and countless other substances that age us.

Increasingly, I find myself looking for encouragement to the passages in the Bible that speak of the blessings promised to us as we grow older. Psalm 92:12 (NKJV) tells us, “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing.” While I don’t think this passage tells me the lines around my eyes and mouth will disappear, I believe it does say that as I root myself in the Word of God and honor the Lord with my life, I can be an influence for good as long as I live.

I have had the privilege of meeting older Christians who, although their bodies are aging, have a peace and joy that radiates through their eyes and speech. We read in 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 

My ultimate desire is to lift up the Lord Jesus in all I do and reflect Him to the world around me. As we move closer to that promised time when our physical bodies will be changed into heavenly bodies that will never age or die, may we allow the precious Holy Spirit to transform our spirits from glory to glory.

                                                                                                     ©2011 Laura Allen Nonemaker

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Newcomer's View of the Florida Christian Writers Conference - Part 4

During her mentoring track for children's writing, Christine Harder Tangvald taught us how to lay out our story in a way that helps us to see what works or does not work.

The exercise consisted of generating a printout of the text in a large font size, for example, 18 point, that is triple-spaced. Next, place blocks of text as they might appear in a picture book. If you anticipate a 24-page book, there will be 21 available pages for text and illustrations. If it is a 32-page book, there will be 29 pages available. Paste or tape blocks of text on the appropriate number of blank sheets of copy paper. Use colored markers to designate areas that need more dialogue, where you need to cut words, or where you need to show action or setting rather that narrating it. Make notes for potential placement of illustrations. I stick Post-its on which I have described my ideas for illustrations where I would like them to appear in relationship to the text.

Even though you may not have the final say on layout if your story is published, communicating a clear idea of the flow of the story will be an added selling point when proposing it to an editor. Should you self-publish, it will serve as a preference guideline for the layout department.

                                                                                                  ©2011 Laura Allen Nonemaker

"Just in Case"

This morning, a thunderstorm blew across Southwest Florida. For some reason, it felt like an outward sign of a world in turmoil. When events feel out of control, I often dive into organizing. I guess it’s an attempt to bring some order into my little world, to control what is within my control.

 I gathered some file folders and began to sift through several years of accumulation. As I pulled out some outdated information, I thought about the amount of paper we pile up in the course of our daily lives. There were old eyeglass prescriptions, long-resolved medical claims, and unneeded receipts. I found magazine and newspaper clippings saved for future reference “just in case". The topics ranged from gardening, to back exercises, to nutritional advice, and everywhere in between.

Although my mission to bring order to our file cabinet is not yet complete, I had the satisfaction of making a huge dent in the task. Some items surfaced that need immediate attention and I’m thankful I found them. Other papers had been misfiled and I was able to put them where they belong. The most satisfying part of the job was throwing away or shredding a large amount of unnecessary paper. Of course, I kept some of my clippings, “just in case”.

                                                                                                  ©2011 Laura Allen Nonemaker