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Controversial Opinion: “Reading makes your writing better” is bad advice

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions Controversial Opinion: “Reading makes your writing better” is bad advice

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  • #137436
    Noah Cochran
    @noah-cochran

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Don’t worry about it Cathy. I personally enjoyed your vivacious spirit, but one always has to be careful. 🙂

    I have six siblings  (4 boys 2 girls) and I share a room with all four of my brothers. Me and my oldest brother often debate morality and theology late into the night for fun. Somehow we find infinite things to argue about even though we share incredibly similar views. xD So yeah, I have the family debates as well. How many siblings do you have?

    I see what you’re saying here, but I would like to make a distinction between discipline and compulsion in that discipline is something hard you undertake because you choose it’s benefits where compulsion is something hard you undertake because you’re afraid of the consequences of failing to do so.

    That is a sound point you have there, Cathy. Discipline is indeed a more appropriate word. Well said. 🙂

    I absolutely agree that authors should continue to read their whole lives, and it will continue to benefit them their whole lives, I only wanted to clarify what I believe @LRC and @shannon were getting at.

    Lol ok! I promise I’ll try very very hard to not get carried away XD. There’s so much theology to talk about really, where would you like to start? If I can ask, what’s your religion? I know there’s Messianic, Baptists, Evangelists, Church of Christ…*can’t think of any others off the top of my head* Idk if that’s a rude question or not…sorry about my sharp-tongueness

    I think I can take your…how should I say it…energetic speech, so feel free to act normal with me. 🙂  Just don’t condemn my soul or anything. 😉

    I consider myself what is called a Primitive Baptist. As you probably know, there are many variation among all the titles, and that is why the “Primitive” is there. No, it doesn’t mean we worship in caves, it is essentially another word for “old-school” or “conservative.” So, I’m a huge fan of medieval history, and thus I have studied the catholic church and its beliefs a decent amount. However, I know many things have changed or been fixed since that period, so why don’t you enlighten me on your beliefs on following things:

    Your typical worship service (Church meeting, what’s it like?), Election, Predestination (do you believe in the predestination of the elect, absolute predestination, double predestination? Or none?), Justification, Calling/Eternal Salvation/Sanctification (it’s called different things different places, but I’m talking about being born again), Bible Translations (do you believe the bible is preserved in one form?), and the Church Institution (bishops, the pope, priests, hierarchies, etc…).

    I’m very curious on what precisely your beliefs are, I have actually never talked to a modern Catholic, or debated a Calvinist…or a Mormon…I know, I need to find some more people to talk to. xD Once I get a understanding of your thoughts on those doctrines and practices, I can compare my beliefs with yours and find out exactly where we differ. 🙂

     


    @imwritehere1920

    I think everything’s safe. 🙂

    I won’t argue that you can’t learn from reading a bad book, I just don’t find it necessary. Even books that are good, or pretty good, there are plenty of badly written things in or characters you want to throttle. One big way I get ideas for writing is actually reading a badly written concept or character, and then wanting to write a similar character in the proper way. I admit, it is a strange way to find ideas. 🙂

     

    #137464
    imwritehere1920
    @imwritehere1920

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Yeah, I’ve seen poorly executed movies too.  Sometimes the ideas/concept seem cool.  Other times, it just falls flat.

    “Anyway, now you can through the rocks at me instead 😉 *I’ll throw them back, if anyone…wasn’t wondering :D* “

    *grabs Captain America’s shield and a lightsaber* I’m ready!  Let fly!!

     


    @noah-cochran

    “I think everything’s safe. 🙂

    I won’t argue that you can’t learn from reading a bad book, I just don’t find it necessary. Even books that are good, or pretty good, there are plenty of badly written things in or characters you want to throttle. One big way I get ideas for writing is actually reading a badly written concept or character, and then wanting to write a similar character in the proper way. I admit, it is a strange way to find ideas.”

    Hey, whatever works to generate ideas!  And yes, there are some characters that I’d like to throttle too (there was one book where this main character was just flat.  I ended up liking the side character, who was ‘meh’, but more interesting than the protagonist.)

    I also saw you have six siblings!  I have five (two brothers, three sisters.)  Are you the oldest/second oldest in your family?

    “I’m very curious on what precisely your beliefs are, I have actually never talked to a modern Catholic, or debated a Calvinist…or a Mormon…I know, I need to find some more people to talk to. xD Once I get a understanding of your thoughts on those doctrines and practices, I can compare my beliefs with yours and find out exactly where we differ.”

    Hey, if you’re interested, I’m on a christian forum (I can send you the link, if you want.)  They have people from many different Christian denominations (not sure about Mormon, though) and they have a Bible Discussion forum.  It’s free, though to message privately you need a subscription.  The only thing to be aware of is that once you enter a username, you can’t change it.  I only say this because non members can view the forums and leave comments, so if you want your privacy protected, consider what username you want to be displayed.

    We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. — Ernest Hemingway

    #137465
    Buddy J.
    @wordsmith

    @noah-cochran – Thank you!


    @imwritehere1920
    – Hey there! I’m technically an SE oldie, but I was young back then. The most influential of the middlegrade books I’ve recently read was The One And Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate. It had me tearing up several times along the way, and even sniffling at one point. What’s a middlegrade book you like a lot?


    @josiah
    – Where does the law of diminishing returns apply to reading in this instance? Correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s not a thought that is very common among even high level writers. I might argue that exact reasons for reading might shift. But in the big picture, it’s not about diminishing returns as much as it is how writer applies what they take in.

    Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!

    #137466
    Noah Cochran
    @noah-cochran

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Btw, 90k words in 5-6 weeks is pretty impressive ;), I’ve actually never met a “pure” outliner before, what’s your method?

    Missed this. xD Yeah, well, I didn’t really have much else going on, so I did lots of writing. Honesty though, I still write quite slow. I had gotten up to nearly 1k word an hour, but now I feel like I’m back down to 6-7 hundred. I’m not a pure outliner, not even close actually. In fact, my sister (also a writer) says that my outlines are not near deep enough. xD To give you the jist of how I did my outline, I first made character profiles (which is absolutely essential in my opinion, but pantsers may do as they please), then I made a chapter by chapter outline. I did a few more in depth outlines as well, and organized it all on paper using the three act story structure (loosely), but I’m mostly just using the chapter by chapter outline and the character profiles. Do you outline?


    @imwritehere1920

    Sure, send me the link, I might check it out sometime, sound interesting. 🙂

    I’m the second oldest. How about yourself?

     

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Noah Cochran.
    #137468
    imwritehere1920
    @imwritehere1920

    @noah-cochran

    I’m the fourth in the family (though, the oldest in the house right now. My three older siblings are all married.)

    Here’s the link:

    https://christianchat.com/

     


    @wordsmith

    Ah, The One And Only Ivan was a good one!  Have you seen the movie adaptation? (book was the best, in my opinion.)  Also, have you read Wish Tree by Katherine Applegate?  Red is absolutely hilarious!

    My favorite(s) (I really have to pick one?! XD) would be When You Reach Me (Rebecca Stead) and Walk Two Moons (Sharon Creech)  Bring tissues for both of those.

    We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. — Ernest Hemingway

    #141988
    Josiah DeGraaf
    @josiah

    @wordsmith Yes–highly proficient writers certainly still read! But in terms of reading <i>for the purposes of studying the craft</i>, the brand new writer who picks up a novel to read it analytically will obviously grow more as a writer through it than, say, Stephen King does. 😛 So while skilled writers may read less, as you said, their reasons for reading may be slightly different than the amateur writer.

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

    #142114
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    *skids in chaotically!*


    @noah-cochran

    Don’t worry about it Cathy. I personally enjoyed your vivacious spirit, but one always has to be careful. I have six siblings  (4 boys 2 girls) and I share a room with all four of my brothers. Me and my oldest brother often debate morality and theology late into the night for fun. Somehow we find infinite things to argue about even though we share incredibly similar views. xD So yeah, I have the family debates as well. How many siblings do you have?

    Oh thanks! Vivacious is a new one…I know I’m glad you have a forthright and upfront personality, (I really hate trying to figure out social cues, also if one more person tells me I’m flirty I’m gonna punch ‘em! XD) And being careful, yes, it’s much easier to do the splits than be careful XD.
    Six siblings I’m impressed! I have one older sister, an older brother, two younger brothers and dog so that’s four siblings in all! I only have to share a room with my sister but dinner table and after dinner discussions are always very interesting!

    That is a sound point you have there, Cathy. Discipline is indeed a more appropriate word. Well said. I absolutely agree that authors should continue to read their whole lives, and it will continue to benefit them their whole lives, I only wanted to clarify what I believe @LRC and @shannon were getting at.

    That was very noble of you. And a good point, I did misinterpreted that part of their argument to start.

    I think I can take your…how should I say it…energetic speech, so feel free to act normal with me.   Just don’t condemn my soul or anything.

    Lol I couldn’t even do that honestly at all cos I don’t think your soul’s in any more danger than mine if we both believe in Christ! Energetic lol! I’m many things but I’m not boring XD

    I consider myself what is called a Primitive Baptist. As you probably know, there are many variation among all the titles, and that is why the “Primitive” is there. No, it doesn’t mean we worship in caves, it is essentially another word for “old-school” or “conservative.”

    Oh I never actually thought about that but it makes sense!
    The only official variations with Catholics is Roman Catholic and Byzantine (controversy over which pope was actually pope brought down a schism, wasn’t until like a century ago or maybe even just some decades that they mutually absolved excommunication!)
    But there are some more conservative more liberal sides often on how literally the Bible should be interpreted, but that’s usually either just small deviancies or plain heretical when it gets too extreme…

    So, I’m a huge fan of medieval history, and thus I have studied the catholic church and its beliefs a decent amount.

    OH MEDIEVAL HISTORY!!! I actually know more about how they had matches, developed lanterns to replace a log of lit firewood to carry around and how they had blocks of sugar like blocks of cheese than who made Prince John sign the Magna Charta, or whenever the crusades started–which as a Catholic I should know that! Although I guess I know a “reasonable” amount of it and can look up to fact-confirm…

    Your typical worship service (Church meeting, what’s it like?), Election, Predestination (do you believe in the predestination of the elect, absolute predestination, double predestination? Or none?), Justification, Calling/Eternal Salvation/Sanctification (it’s called different things different places, but I’m talking about being born again), Bible Translations (do you believe the bible is preserved in one form?), and the Church Institution (bishops, the pope, priests, hierarchies, etc…).

    *was worried for a second you were gonna ask something EVERYONE asks a billion times like “do Catholics actually think the pope is perfect?” (LOL no, it’s called papal infallibility and only applies to non-negotiable ex cathedra decisions on Faith and morals like abortion being wrong)*
    Oh this is systematic and foundational!🥰 *Is very very happy!*🥰
    Ok! Our church service we call the Mass, we must celebrate the Mass every Sunday, priests offer the Mass every day typically. It is a sin to willfully not attend Mass on Sundays and special Holy Days like Good Friday when Jesus was crucified, but if you’re sick or tending to a sick person etc etc just in most reasonable circumstances every Sunday. Actually when Covid started bishops absolved us* from having to come every Sunday and that was frankly scary because that’s happened in the fourth century of Neverville but that’s over now.
    *could have several page footnote on the whys whats and wherefores from Sunday Mass requirement and bishops being able to absolve etc etc but that’ll be easier with a basic overall foundation first XD
    ANYWAY–*ahem* the substance of the Mass is divided into two parts; the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Word is the first part from the opening of the Mass to the Bible readings–more on that later. Every motion and word in the Mass is very deeply thought out and has Biblical meaning, Biblical quotes, Biblical reference but idk all of it because it’s very in-depth. We begin right before the priest walks to the alter in procession with the alter servers raising a cross in front. During this we the congregation stand and sing a hymn with the choir.
    When the priest reaches the alter which is always adorned with a crucifix he bows and moves to the side of the alter and faces the congregation, while the rest of the procession disperses to the sides of the alter as well where they continue to assist the priest throughout the Mass. The priest celebrating the Mass* makes the Sign of the Cross and says “The Lord be with you,” and the congregation responds “and with your spirit.” (And yes this means every time we hear “may the Force be with you” we instinctively think “and with your spirit.” XD)
    *It’s not uncommon for there to be two priests or a priest and bishop or deacon in procession but only one takes this role in the Mass at a time
    The priest’s words come from Scripture of course and our response actually an acknowledgement of his Apostolic priestly role that the Lord be with his spirit in a special way as he acts “in persona Christi” as a physical representative of Christ to the people during the Mass. This is traced back to the prophets mediating between the people and God but is ratified by the New Covenant with the Apostles and I haven’t even gotten to the first five minutes it makes more sense the deeper you get into it…
    But anyway, (I’m skipping a couple things here and there because it’s a lot, but you can watch a Mass online at EWTN, St Bede’s parish, etc, if you watch a couple from different churches (some are more Orthodox some are not) there’s a lot of little variations and such but the actual body of the Mass is the same and now I’m rambling about not rambling…) then comes the Penitential Act which the priest begins:
    “I confess to Almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to. Through my fault through my fault through my most grievous fault–” we beat our chest three times harking back to the crowd’s reaction after Christ’s Death on the Cross. “Therefore I ask the Blessed Mary ever Virgin and all the angels and saints and you my brothers and sisters to pray for me to the Lord our God.”
    And then we begin to pray for each other in song. Sometimes it’s in Latin (or Greek?) and sometimes in English depending on the church’s preferences it’s not a big deal either way so I don’t think there are any real rules to it. It’s the Kyrie Eleison which means “Lord, have mercy” and it only has three lines (“Lord, have mercy, Christ, have mercy, Lord have mercy”)
    Then we sing the Gloria, which in English is “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to people of goodwill. We praise You we bless You we adore You, we glorify You, we give You thanks for Your Great Glory. Lord God, Heavenly King, O God Almighty Father. Lord Jesus (–traditionally, Catholics bow their heads at the Name of Jesus but it’s a devotion that has been fading out–) Christ, Only-Begotten Son of God. Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, You take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us. You take away the sins of the world; receive our prayer. You Who sit at the Right Hand of God, have mercy on us. For You alone are the Holy One, You alone are the Lord, You alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ. With the Holy Spirit and the Glory of God the Father. Amen.”
    This is where we actually begin to do the Liturgy of the Word right after the priest offers the collection prayers the congregation in the Mass so everyone prays for these intentions Like for instance;
    The priest; “For our sick especially [insert relatively long list here]”
    The congregation; “Lord, hear our prayer.” and we pray for our Pope, priest and local bishop too.
    After this the readings begin (Or was that after the readings…? *shrugs*). At Sunday Mass there are four Scripture readings, usually in the pattern of; Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament reading, and then Gospels. We sing the Psalms. All of the verses are carefully aligned by a three year liturgical calendar so that not only do we end up reading an excerpt from every book in the Bible but the Old Testament reading will be like the prophecy that’s fulfilled in the New Testament/Gospel readings and so on so that it’s a layered and meaningful as possible and every reading compliments the other. And not only that but because it’s all aligned this way, every single Catholic church in the entire world reads the same Scriptures together every day.
    Oh and also! Like during the Holocaust we were hiding Jews in the Vatican and all and the Pope actually wrote a homily and had it distributed to all the priests in the area covertly while the Gestapo was trying to stop us! So like every single priest there read the Pope’s homily while Hitler was trying to stop us from communicating with the Pope!
    *Ahem* anyway, slight digression there. Right before the Gospel reading we sing “Alleluia”. We sit during the first three readings but stand when we begin the Alleluia until the end of the Gospel. Then we sit and the priest gives the sermon which we call the homily where the priest speaks about the Scriptures we read. Then we say the Apostle’s Creed
    That kinda sorta sums the Liturgy of the Word I kinda skimmed over a lot XD
    Now the Liturgy of the Eucharist!
    This is the meat and the bones of the Mass it’s the most important part everything else was just leading up to it. The alter servers (who were in the procession) bring the priest bread and wine and for the first time in the Mass the priest actually goes directly to the alter. He stands behind the alter with the Bible in front of him right after he washes his hands in front of us like Pontius Pilot did and because all Jews of Christ’s day washed hands at meals and also signifying his unworthiness to perform this especially the next part…
    Members of the congregation now bring the bread and wine to the priest at the alter. The priest places these on the table of the alter and mixes water with the wine. Then he says to the congregation; “Pray, my brothers and sisters that this sacrifice may be acceptable to God the Almighty.”
    The congregation; “May the Lord bless us protect forever and bring us to live everlasting amen.”
    Priest; “the Lord be with you.”
    Congregation; “and with your spirit.”
    Priest; “Lift up your hearts.”
    Congregation; “We lift them up to the Lord.”
    Priest; “Let us give praise and glory to God.”
    Congregation; “It is right and just.”
    Priest; “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give thanks. And so with angels and archangels, thrones and dominions we sing the hymn of Your Glory, as without end we proclaim;”
    This prayer is, of course, from Scriptures, sometimes in Latin sometimes in English, the Sanctus prayer we sing;
    “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts, heaven and earth are full of Your Glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”
    We stand and say the Our Father around this time. Then we kneel, and the priest sets out the bread and wine carefully and reads with his hands raised;
    “On the night He was betrayed and entered willingly into His Passion, He took bread, broke it and said ‘This is my Body which is for you, do this in remembrance of Me.’” –Here the priest raises the the Host with both hands for everyone to see while the alter server rings the bells. Then he gently sets the Bread down. “In the same way also the cup after supper saying ‘This cup is the Covenant of My Blood, do this as often as you drink this, in remembrance of Me.”
    He raises the chalice and we respond in song, still kneeling; “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim Your Death, O Lord, until You come again.”
    Alright; this is the most pivotal and controversial part of the Mass because we believe at this point Christ is physically present in the bread and wine which are now His Body and Blood. We call it transubstantiation (wow I actually spelled that right on the first go. The name goes way before lgbtq+ got popular, just to note :P!)
    Now–understanding that time does not exist in Heaven–we believe we are present to the sacrifice of the Cross at every Mass and partake in that Passion Narrative the same as if we could see that we’re there. So the wine is the Blood and the bread is the Body; the Final and Eternal Paschal Sacrifice for our sins. And so the congregation–still kneeling–sings the Anus Dei (I think I misspelled it…)
    “Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us
    Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; have mercy on us
    Lamb of God, You take away the sins of the world; grant us peace.”
    Then the priest raises both the Chalice and the Host and the alter server rings the bells ever.
    Priest; “Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.”
    Congregation; “I am not worthy that You should enter into my roof. Only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
    Now the choir may begin to sing presently (I actually skipped a lot of the choir singing with the congregation from the hymnal…XD) as we go in procession close to the alter. Depending on the number of people attending and the priest’s resources/preferences some of the congregation will help the priest distribute the Host and the Cup.
    We go and young children put their left fist on their right shoulder and their right shoulder on their left fist to indicate they’re too young to receive (well if they’re old enough to do that) and are given a blessing instead until their First Holy Communion at around seven or eight; as soon as they reach “the age of reason” but also after their First Confession. We fold our hands in front of us and bow before the alter then the priest–or server says–with the Host “the Body of Christ” and with the Chalice “the Blood of Christ” and we respond “Amen.”
    We can either let the priest or server (but I’m just gonna say priest cos that’s quicker) sets the Host on our tongue or shape our hands into a small throne for the priest to set the Host on and then we very gently set the Host in our mouths. For obvious reasons we’re supposed to do the latter during Covid.
    When we have all returned to our places and the priest has returned the remaining Hosts and Cups to the most sacred part of the alter and fastened shut the small gold door, then he stands facing the congregation. He’ll give a couple parish announcements and then raise his hands to bless us;
    “The Lord be with you. May the Almighty God bless you in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”–he makes a large Sign of the Cross over us. “The Mass is ended, go in peace.”
    Congregation; “Thanks be to God.”
    And then there’s one more song as the priest leaves in procession and is there to greet us when we leave.
    So that’s the–kinda abridged–Catholic Mass!
    Next is Election:
    ok, I’m gonna assume you mean the appointment of bishops, priests, the pope etc. I don’t know all the ceremony of it but bishops are appointed by the pope or other bishops, priests are appointed by bishops after spending some time in seminarian studying to be a priest and the pope is appointed from bishops by the bishops–stick with me. Bishops go into the Vatican to elect the pope and they shut themselves in there with no contact with the outside world to pray. There is some discussion also but the main focus is prayer. We’ll know if they’ve chosen a pope by the smoke; bishops will send white smoke out of the Vatican when they have decided and gray or black smoke when they haven’t yet.
    That’s not a very specific or thorough explanation but I can probably get more on it deeper in XD.
    Predestination!
    Do not get me started on the number of church councils addressing that bug! (–Don’t get me started because I haven’t memorized them and that’s a lot to research again!). Predestination is heretical; we do not believe a God Who is Love would ever create people destined for damnation. We believe all people are destined for salvation through Jesus Christ and yet are given the freedom to refuse it. We believe God goes out of His way to save each and every one of us and though He knows the choices we’ll make and the path we’ll choose He never makes a person that is–not only capable but designed–to receive salvation.
    In more advanced theology there is sometimes debate on how God could’ve created–for example–Hilter or for that matter Satan if He knew how much damage they would cause. But we believe that His Love for us not only gives us life but perpetuates our lives so that if He ever “forgot” us for a split second we would not only cease to exist but cease to ever have existed. So He must still love even Satan and still want his salvation even though because he is entirely cut off from God who is Love and therefore he is not capable of even seeking to love, yet God still wants him. We believe hell is the state of absence from Love in such an absence that there is no good or desire for good that could even change slightly our decision to reject God.
    So in this life we have the choice and no matter how we reject it we still have His Grace and we still have the “destiny” as it was to reach Heaven. No person in the world is destined for hell, we were all “predestined” for Heaven but given the choice to refuse it.
    Justification:
    This one is subject to a lot of confusion, it probably had more ecumenical councils than predestination, but we believe only Faith–as a verb–can save. We believe faith cannot exist unless it is shown in works (James 5:15? Somewhere in James). While we believe it is not possible at all to be justified (and that’s a different heresy) we also believe our actions demonstrate our choice, whether to serve God or not. So Faith without works is dead and works without Faith is dead as well…or perhaps more accurately works without Love.
    So as far as that goes we don’t believe in justification although sanctification might be work 🙂
    We believe every person must be baptized to be saved. But there are exactly three baptisms: baptism of water, baptism of blood, baptism of desire. Baptism of water obviously is the sacramental baptism everybody thinks of and I think Christians and Catholics alike believe it necessary to enter the faith(?). We believe it takes away all previous stain of sin etc but it’s very important in Catholic theology to note cos we believe in Purgatory but Baptism takes the stain of sin so if somebody dies right after they’re baptized we believe they go straight to Heaven–long digression possible here XD–Next is baptism of blood where someone dies for the Faith whether or not they’ve been baptized by water they go straight to Heaven. Baptism of desire is the baptism in which the person has no true understanding of Christianity but given the understanding will choose God; at the moment of death this person is saved.
    So being born of water and the Spirit is necessary and we believe in being born-again.
    Bible Translations:
    Probably only Bible-geeks would really get this XD. There’s plenty of back-and-forth in the Bible-geeking community over which translation is “the best” from the substance of the translation to the footnotes but it’s really inconsequential to Salvation. We believe the Bible is preserved regardless of our actions or poor translations but it used to be pretty dang popular to read a particular Bible translation into Latin to the point that uneducated people often depended on individual priests to translate the text for them and we can both see how that was a problem.
    So eventually some couple centuries ago the Bible was translated into English and all the other languages everybody could read, it’s still frowned on to read a couple translations like King James or whichever one during the Elizabethan Era of trying to get everybody to worship the way the king said *eye roll*. But pretty much only in the circles that really go for that thing. A good translation is good, but not absolutely necessary for salvation or anything…
    Church Institution:
    Ok this could take a couple pages. A very brief summary would be:
    The laypeople is everybody in the congregation, we each have the duty to be “Prince, Prophet and Priest” in a particularly general sense to others; to live a Faithful life to God, to spread the Gospel by living the Gospel and being ready to give a defense for our Faith to anyone who asks, to sacrifice our lives to God to be filled with Love etc. (Actually the “prince prophet priest” thing is pretty in-depth long series of insights that most Catholics haven’t even read; but it’s there!)
    Holy Orders; generally any person called to and choosing a life of celibacy, covers monastic life with nuns, friars, priests, bishops etc. Now not all people who are called to a particular Order are celibate–chaste but not necessarily celibate. For example, my mom is a lay-Carmelite and that’s a particular order and she has a habit to wear for retreats and devotions but not the full habit people imagine with nuns. So there’s that and people in Holy Orders have the particular duty to pray for the world, to live very holy lives as an example to others, to serve and to be love for others. Each Order has a unique set of duties and a particular mission like Little Sisters of the Poor help the poor and Carmelites vow to obedience and contemplation and that’s where they put their attention spiritually. It’s one of the Seven Sacraments to enter Holy Orders and more is expected of people who dedicate themselves to really commit to a spiritual life like that and they’re meant to serve others with their dedication and prayer and holiness.
    Priests are in Holy Orders and they have the special duty to celebrate the Mass and be present in a pivotal part of all the Seven Sacraments and they shepherd their parish.
    Bishops can perform exorcisms or give priests the authority to perform exorcisms, but that’s like kinda a nobody really talks about it except Catholic geeks like me XD. They shepherd the dioceses so they like shepherd the priests who shepherd the parishes in a particular area and they’re present for particular ceremonies like the Sacrament of Confirmation and they also have councils which anybody can participate in but it’s usually the bishops and the pope and a couple concerned parties over heresies. And you know what, the plague started right after this last here council over the Pache-whatever idols in the Vatican so that.
    And the pope then, think kinda like Supreme Court appeals. Now people get pretty confused over whether or not we think *siiigh* “the pope is perfect” obviously not. Trust me we’ve had some pretty bad popes in history before. But over the course of the entire history of the Church not one made a heretical proclamation ex cathedra, that is from the pulpit, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, in a particular circumstance of religious authority, on official Church teaching on Faith and morals. Only ex cathedra proclamations carry the stamp of infallibility on them, although we are morally obligated to listen and adhere as far as morally acceptable to the pope in the same manner as we are obliged to obey our parents growing up.
    Ex cathedra proclamations are most common coming from ecumenical councils blessed by the pope in a particular official way.
    So that’s the basics…
    Now *leans forward in chair with bated breath* tell me all about your religion, from the typical worship service to all the questions you asked (:

    I’m very curious on what precisely your beliefs are, I have actually never talked to a modern Catholic, or debated a Calvinist…or a Mormon…I know, I need to find some more people to talk to. xD Once I get a understanding of your thoughts on those doctrines and practices, I can compare my beliefs with yours and find out exactly where we differ.

    I know, it’s so hard to find a good Calvinist or Mormon to debate with! And I love hearing about different beliefs and discussing them!! This is gonna be so fun!!

    Yeah, I’ve seen poorly executed movies too.  Sometimes the ideas/concept seem cool.  Other times, it just falls flat.

    Ikr! Some of my best ideas spring from “this movie was so horrible my brain automatically drives me crazy trying to ‘fix’ the story and adjust things to make it work”!

    *grabs Captain America’s shield and a lightsaber* I’m ready!  Let fly!!

    Haha! Use the Force..of my fist!!

    Missed this. xD Yeah, well, I didn’t really have much else going on, so I did lots of writing. Honesty though, I still write quite slow. I had gotten up to nearly 1k word an hour, but now I feel like I’m back down to 6-7 hundred. I’m not a pure outliner, not even close actually. In fact, my sister (also a writer) says that my outlines are not near deep enough. xD To give you the jist of how I did my outline, I first made character profiles (which is absolutely essential in my opinion, but pantsers may do as they please), then I made a chapter by chapter outline. I did a few more in depth outlines as well, and organized it all on paper using the three act story structure (loosely), but I’m mostly just using the chapter by chapter outline and the character profiles. Do you outline?

    Lol I’ve never even really kept up with how many words I write a day, I know for one forum I actually did note that I do “springs” over an hour at about 400-600 hundred words so you’re still ahead of me ;).
    Do I outline? *kinda glances at the literally full drawer at my desk that is crammed with notes and the billions of publications also crammed with notes and the chaotic mess of notes just kinda scribbled in random places everywhere (mostly on my school notebooks and you know…in my algebra and science and grammar because I’m such a dutiful, attentive student…)* Weeell, outline kinda implies I know what I’m doing…LOL, I didn’t outline a single thing in my first draft I just started writing like every single day every spare minute of the day from when I was thirteen to a couple days after I turned fourteen and then I kinda spent a year rereading, redrafting, and eventually totally rehauling the entire story on its head. THEN I kinda tried to outline, like a lot, not actually to organize or generate ideas–I spent months trying to do that and convince myself I was doing that hence the crammed drawer–but now I outline stuff I’ve already got so I can remember what the heck I’m doing here. I’ll probably have two books by the time I finish my first book; one the story one my encyclopedia for worldbuilding that I’ll forget unless I write it and then be inconsistent.
    Now, instead of outlining I freewrite my way out of problems. Before I start a chapter I freewrite what happens in the chapter and how it fits into the “big picture” and then I “fine-tune” by redrafting more in-depth. I set the deadlines for each chapter so I spit out two chapters a month; on the 7th and 21th, I’ve been emailing it to my cousins for a while to keep accountable cos it’s the FINAL DRAFT (DO YOU HEAR THAT WIP YOU GOT ONE LAST CHANCE YOU GOT THAT?!!!!). So I think I’m almost ready to begin showing it.
    I had the 3 Act Structure, but now my mind just kinda be like “mini climaxes everywhere; every chapter set-up for a mini-climax with max emotional/thematic impact”
    Lol I have no clue what I’m doing! 😀
    So basically character profiles and chapter by chapter as I write in, so like you there!

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #142118
    Buddy J.
    @wordsmith

    @imwritehere1920 – I’ve not seen the movie yet, but I want to! Also, for some reason I said The One And Only Ivan when I meant The One And Only Bob. TOAOI was amazing and beautiful, but TOAOB was masterful. As a sequel it is extraordinarily deep and meaningful, far surpassing its predecessor in my opinion.

    Also, I have not yet read either of those books, but I am intrigued. Very. Thank you!


    @josiah
    – If the bar for growth is in the secluded category of basic essentials, then I might agree. But when talking about the law of diminishing returns, I think “the returns” that mean potential growth remain just as high and don’t diminish.

    Every expert should ideally only see increasing depth in understanding nuance, contexts, and presentation. The teacher should become more like the student (with greater context). The expert becomes a child learning and playing (with more knowledge). This is one of the most essential patterns in not only creative endeavor but most any endeavor that humans sink themselves into.

    I’m a teacher, and you’re a teacher. We both know the crucial nature of continued soaking up. AND we both understand and acknowledge that continued doesn’t mean constant. We understand that the best way to make continued soaking-up effective, is to not let the returns diminish. It’s pushing ourselves to the edge of comfort, soaking up more and more than we had, and never letting ourselves stagnate.

    One of the key differences between an expert and someone with passing interest is that the expert can’t accept diminishing returns. He seeks those profits because that’s what it takes.

    We know from Proverbs that knowledge and wisdom are calling out to us. Yet, we are responsible to seek out those calls and to unceasingly search for them.

    While Proverbs deals very directly with insight and wisdom that deals with ethical dealings and right-standing before God, secondarily those principles apply to any kind of wisdom or insight that God sets in place for us to seek out and find. Given that Story Embers is based around the the concept of God and Christ in literature…I think we can hold ourselves to the same standards set by Solomon.

    Published author, reader of many books, Student in writing, and Lumenite!

    #142130
    Noah Cochran
    @noah-cochran

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Okay, first off, I want to say that I really enjoyed reading that. You obviously have a firm understanding of your beliefs, and though we may disagree, I greatly respect someone who knows how to articulate what they belief to be true. 🙂

    Before I make a few comments and go into my beliefs, I would like to ask a few clarifying questions:

    One: How exactly do priests and bishops differ (in most denominations the elder/bishop/preacher is the overseer and message giver to a local church)?

    Two: This is an ignorant question, so forgive me, but do Catholics read and study the bible on their own (without a priest)?

    Three: Could you give me a verse supporting transubstantiation?

    Four: Would you agree that the church institution shown in the New Testament does not have the hierarchy of cardinals, bishops, archbishops, priests, archdeacons, pope, etc.. (I can’t find it anywhere)?

    Five: I would just like to clarify exactly how you belief someone receives eternal salvation. This is my understanding of what you belief: God loves everyone, meaning he gives everyone the choice to do what it takes to get to heaven. What it takes is for a person to be baptized in one of the ways you listed, for a person to perform the sacraments (Eucharist/communion/Lord’s Supper), and for a person to strive to please God. Is that correct? If it is, how good does one have to be? Do Catholics still believe a person has to repent of their sins to a confessor to go to be eternally saved? Also, which baptism if any would you say applies to an aborted baby? Sorry, lots of questions, I’m really curious about all your beliefs. 🙂

    Okay, so I’m going to start with bible translations because that is something of great importance. I once saw a video of a man asking a bunch of different Christians to read Psalm 23 from their own bibles aloud at the same time. They did. What happened was total chaos with the different translations saying different things from each other. I give this example merely to show how important it is to find a specific translation (possibly more than one if they are the same), because if one doesn’t they will have a mess on their hands. I’m not going to go into which translation I belief to be the true one, but suffice to say, I belief that God inspired and preserved one specific text, and that text is the only accurate one (not that God cannot use un-preserved translations for good, he can use many things for good). After saying all that, the verses I reference when I present my beliefs will not be in all bible translations. Some bibles literally removed verses or parts of chapters, abominable in my opinion, but I won’t get carried away. xD

    Predestination, Election, Calling/Born Again/Attaining Eternal Salvation, and Justification (yes, I’m going to cover them all at once for reasons you’ll see in a minute xD): 

    Okay, so no, I actually didn’t mean the election of the clergy, but that was interesting to read. 🙂 I meant the term election used in reference to God’s elect spoken of in Ephesians 1:4-5 and Romans 9:1-16 (but really focus on verses 11-16). I’ll get to election in a moment.

    Okay, so here is the basic layout of my beliefs and their order: Predestination and Election, Calling/Being Born Again, Justification, Glorification (resurrection, going to heaven). Romans 8:29-30 lay these ideas out nicely. So let me give a quick summary of these concepts:

    Before time began, before creation (Eph.1:4), God loved a people, he chose (chose = elected in the bible) a people, and he predestined (the word merely means to determine a location beforehand) those people (the people being the elect) to heaven (best verses: Eph. 1:5, Rom. 9:11, Rom. 8:29-30, Eph. 1:11, 2 Tim. 1:9).

    Now, before I move on, let me clarify what the bible is speaking of when it comes to predestination. What it is not  speaking of is God predestinating people to heaven, and people to hell. We were all already bound for hell, what God did was choose some of those wicked people (the elect) and predestination them to heaven. To understand why this is, what I always find the most helpful is the foundational concept of Total Depravity. This concept merely means that after Adam fell and sin entered the world, man fell with him and became bound for hell. Everyone, no exceptions. Not only were we bound for hell, but we also had no ability to change are ways, we were dead to the things of God, we could not please God, we could not understand spiritual things. The best verses to show this concept of total depravity, or us all being dead with no ability to redeem ourselves or become spiritually alive are: 2 Corinthians 15:22, Romans 3:9-20 (where Paul is quoting from the Psalm 14&53), Romans 8:1-8, and 1 Corinthians 2:14.

    So, we all died in Adam, and could not save ourselves, could not change our ways, could not doing anything spiritually pleasing to God. Knowing this would happen, God chose a people (the elect) out of the fallen from the us, and predestined us. He then justified us in the sight of God when his Son Jesus Christ died on the cross for those elect.

    Now we get to regeneration/spiritual calling or sanctification/attaining eternal salvation/being born again. In this again, the doctrines of election and total depravity are of paramount importance. If we understand the bible teaches that man could not please God, could not perform good works or be faithful (as you mentioned James talking about), then we will understand that something must change in man before he can do anything pleasing to God. That is where being born (or the others) comes in. Sometime during an elect’s lifetime after conception (as soon as an aborted baby is conceived it can be born again), that individual will be regenerated/called/born again (they’re all the same thing). How will they? Well Ephesians 2:1-9 says it quite explicitly. I won’t types the verses here, but I would encourage you to go read them, and the others I’ve posted, that way you can at least know where I’m coming from. 🙂 What that passage states is that only through the grace of God touching that elect person’s heart can they be saved eternally and start acting spiritually and serving God. Man had nothing to do with, he couldn’t, because he was spiritually dead (totally depraved), it only took God, man’s help or what people think of us good works (people can’t do good work until they are born again) do nothing.  John 3:1-18 is another fantastic place that teaches this doctrine, but before someone comments on John 3:16, let me get to it first. xD

    Almost everyone knows what the verse says, but I’m going to type it out anyway: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” First things first. God loves the world. Well what exactly is the “world?” As in many places in the bible, verses must be taken in context, and compared to sister verses (such as Eph. 2 and John 3:8). An example of having to take a verse in context is in Luke 2:1, where it  says that Caesar taxed the world. Did Caesar tax the Chinese? The inhabitants of the Americas? No, of course he didn’t, the word “world,” has to be taken in context to make sense, as it does in John 3:16. In the God so loved the world case, “world” means the world of his elect, his chosen people. Okay, so that I tried to explain that concept, let’s move on to the other controversial part, the “whosoever believeth in him.” One of my clarifying questions was meant to determine what exactly your current thoughts are on this verse, but what many people belief it to mean is that one was must accept God, or belief in God, or some variation of these to be saved to eternal life. But when we understand the concept of total depravity, and we compare this scripture with Eph. 2, we see that what it really means is that the belief is evidence  of being born again. In other words, John 3:16 is saying that whosoever believeth on him has  everlasting life, basically, the belief shows that they are already born again. I hope I made these verses clear, I sometimes come out a little jumbled. xD

    A few more quick things. One, the bible does not teach absolute predestination (the belief that all of are actions, sin included, is predetermined by God, i.e, we don’t make decisions for ourselves). Two, at the end of time, God will return and his elect’s physical bodies will be resurrected and glorified. Three, here is a quick rundown of our worship service: We use a regulative practice, which means we only use thing we find in the New Testament. Thus, we have no instruments, motorcycle shows, youth groups, Sunday schools, etc..We start with congregational singing with prayers mixed in, then we moved on to preaching. That’s really it. We have the Lord’s Supper and Foot Washing at intervals throughout the year, we believe in water baptism by immersion. However, this water baptism does not save people to heaven (total depravity, election, Eph. 2, no by works of men, etc..), it is just a symbol of us following Christ into the grave and rising with him a new man, a now as a member of the Church.

    There are other things to say, but this post is getting crazy long. xD I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts. 🙂

     

    if one more person tells me I’m flirty I’m gonna punch ‘em!

    I would like to see that. 😄

    What’s the premise of your book?

    #142139
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @lrc I feel a little bad piling another response on when it seems like you haven’t yet had a chance to reply to the excellent other discussion points people raised… but not that bad.

    I agree with you that the “You must be always reading or your writing will be terrible!” we sometimes see needs qualification and suffers from returns that diminish with skill. I disagree that it’s fundamentally wrong.

    All stories follow similar patterns, have similar tropes, and have similar pitfalls. Once you know these things and what to look out for, the general advice of “read all the time in order to be a better writer” no longer applies to you.

    There won’t be a new book that suddenly changes the rules to the craft. It will either be executed well or executed poorly, and you already know the reasons why a book is great or not. Very rarely will you read a fiction book that teaches you something that you did not know previously.

    I disagree with the basic philosophy that you can internalize a universal model of “good storytelling” that you can apply to every story for any audience. I used to believe this, but then I started reading books from different storytelling traditions and decided that wasn’t true.

    If you choose to accept, say, the monomyth as the core of good storytelling, that it simply describes the most effective way of structuring a story and that most stories which deviate from it are by definition less effective, then I could understand how a person might come to your conclusion.

    I don’t, and I believe it’s possible to find very real value in the ways experimental or otherwise non-“traditional” stories are told. In this philosophy, if you keep pushing your comfort zone as a reader, you’ll keep having opportunity to learn more as a writer.

    One very important thing she explained to me was this:  if I wanted to write songs, I could not be constantly listening to music. If you constantly fill your mind with someone else’s melodies and words, there is no longer any room for your own.

    This, of course, applies to writing as well. We cannot constantly read if we want to have mental space to express our own thoughts. Because of this, we cannot analyze other writer’s works while we are in the process of creating our own. It is counter productive.

    Either you are going to analyze books, or you are going to write them. These two things do not mix well.

    This will be useful for some people, but not for everyone. I know people who can only read one book at a time, while I can read two or three at a time. In fact, I prefer having a more serious and a more fun book available to me at one time, so I can switch between them to better suit my mood. I don’t think that’s the best way for everyone to read, but it’s the best way for me to read. I’m also in analysis mode every time I read a book (unless I’m deliberately not for the sake of beta reading), which isn’t how everyone else does or should read.

    I also write for two hours every weekday morning, and I don’t think my reading negatively affects that writing. I take a lot of care to sculpt my writing style with copy work, as firmly believe everyone should, and between that work and the fact I do read several books at once, my prose doesn’t seem to come under attack from any given source simply because I’m reading it.

    As for ideas? Everyone should be stealing ideas. There’s no such thing as a new idea. The more ideas you have, the better you can combine them in fresh ways.

    In general, it sounds to me like you’re taking your personal experience, the issues which you find helpful to avoid in your own artistic process, and believing them to be universal.

    As I hope the diverse responses to this topic have showed you, everyone works differently. The fact that you’ve been able to pin down why certain techniques and behaviors don’t serve you well is impressive.

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #142140
    Taylor Clogston
    @taylorclogston

    @this-is-not-an-alien @noah-cochran

    While I enjoyed reading both your posts, maybe you could take the theology discussion to a new thread? It doesn’t exactly fit this topic =P

    "...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

    #142141
    Shannon Caeley
    @shannon

    @taylorclogston @imwritehere1920 @this-is-not-an-alien @arindown @sparrowhawke @Josiah @noah-cochran @wordsmith

    Ok I think I got everyone.

    Hello.

    It has been very enjoyable to watch the debating/agreeing/disagreeing/arguing over the past few days. When LRC and I came up with this idea, we knew we wanted to spark a conversation, and it seems that we definitely have! Thank you all for weighing in with your opinions. Due to the large amount of information here, we aren’t going to reply in detail to everyone, but I think the general consensus is, as @Taylorclogston puts it, everyone has their own style.

    So again, thank you all for your insights, and thank you also for not throwing too many tomatoes. I shall now exit. Tata.

    "Let us run with endurance the race that is before us." Hebrews 12:1

    #142194
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    *Skids into ten tables and rolls fifty yards, landing on feet and deciding to act like that was intentional* Ack! Sorry I’m late, life kinda knocked me over so I had to clobber it 😀

    While I enjoyed reading both your posts, maybe you could take the theology discussion to a new thread? It doesn’t exactly fit this topic =P

    Oik! Yeah…*kinda spiraled out of the reading controversy there* 😁
    I’ll get that! <3

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

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