Useful Information for any editors reading The Naga Trilogy
If you are reading this then you have volunteered to help to edit this book. Thank you. Before we continue there are a few things you should know first about this book that will help you.
Guidelines for editing my book
Brief book overview: Join Chaz, a missionary kid, on a journey into a remote jungle in SE Asia. Be swept away by life endangering events that will either doom or save a group of desperate villagers. Encounter mortal-threat, mystery and spiritual warfare, as he learns to hear the voice of God and discover his spiritual giftings. A high stakes battleground determines the fate of many souls. The Final showdown will have you anxious for the sequel: “Garuda’s Wings.”
Target audience: Primarily Christian teenagers ages 12-19. Geared towards boys (more action than romance). Most Christian kids are forbidden from reading Harry Potter and Twilight but are not given an acceptable alternative. This generation is known as Gen Hex because of their interest in the supernatural. My goal is to prepare young people for spiritual realities without preaching at them. I expect non-Christians will be annoyed with my book. Primarily because there is subject matter containing: cross-cultural evangelism, prayer, casting out demons.
About the author: The author grew up in Thailand as a missionary kid. He returned to Thailand as a missionary and has learned to read and speak Thai fluently. He has now lived in Thailand for 18 years primarily involved in Church Planting and Frontier Missions and has led over 40 outreach teams. He, his wife and two children live in ChiangMai Thailand. He now wants to prepare this next generation for spiritual warfare and hearing God’s voice as he writes a series of books from the point of view of missionary kids.
My goal: To write a book that can compete with Harry Potter but for Christian kids. I know I’m not as skillful or creative as JK Rawlings but I am motivated to offer an alternative.
Since we are on that subject: In the Harry Potter books Harry is very disobedient, and is often rewarded by saving the world and becoming a hero. In my books, disobedience leads to penalties and failure.
All my protagonists need to learn and grow – nobody is perfect.
Chaz starts out bored, dissatisfied, easily irritated, critical, proud, reckless, wants a girlfriend. I did this to make him human and also to give him room to grow. Also, it emphasized that missionaries are just ordinary people. This adventure grows him up and gives him confidence, wisdom, and held him to understand his spiritual giftings better.
As a part of this you may wonder why the outreach team that visits is so horrible and it might discourage anyone from ever wanting to go on an outreach. First of all, books are made up of conflict. If everything were perfect and nice then I would have nothing to write about. Secondly, I am contrasting the first team with the second smaller team that goes on the main adventure. In future books I can have a nice team come. Third it moves the plot along- to deal with forgiveness at the end. Oh, and just because things get worked out with the yucky person that was prayed for, doesn’t mean that the offensive person is now completely cured and nice.
Technology – minimal use and mention. This book could have happened 50 years ago or 50 years in the future. I don’t want this book to be dated. I avoid cell phones, computers, and as much technology as I can.
I make bad people even more terrible – exaggerations and extremes are an important aspect of successful novel writing.
And at the same time, I want my characters to act as realistically as possible no matter what it does to the plot.
(What I hate about most Christian books is that the hero’s are too squeaky clean to be believable.) If my Characters are to overcome their selfishness, hatred, grouchiness, etc… then I need to show how they got there.
Romantic tension – Chaz likes Ashley, Nicole likes Jake, Derek has a crush on Nicole. None of these relationships come to anything.
Goals – readers learn cross-cultural evangelism, demon hunting, tools for Hearing the Voice of God, Spiritual Gifts. Explore spiritual giftings and very unusual supernatural giftings – miracles happen, supernatural is common place, learn wisdom in how to use these skills. I also want to emphasize the normality of missionaries.
I want my readers appreciate what missionary life is – a perfect calling, not perfect people. My characters are not holier-than-thou otherworldly people that no one can understand. They are normal people. I will resist publishers attempts to alter this. Emphasize a worst-case scenario for and outreach team. Ordinarily outreach teams are great.
I want to show how great Thailand is but balanced with showing it’s imperfections.
Cyrptozoology – this is a big planet – there are still undiscovered species
Burma – gently highlight the evils of Burmese Military. I want my readers to know that the Burmese army does evil things everyday but I don’t want my readers to hate the Burmese citizens who are victims. I call it Burma instead of Myanmar for very specific political/historical reasons.
I capitalize pronouns for God. This practice is archaic but for my book it will help the reader know what’s going on.
POV- This book switched Point Of View in complicated ways and needs to be cleaned up.
For now, my chapters are really short. I may compile them into longer ones later, but for now it keeps me organized.
Ordinarily most authors try to make dialog between 2-3 people. In many of my scenes there are lots of people interacting. This can sometimes create a bit of a chat-room feel. My purpose is to show team interaction and to show how Thailand is a big community of people. Not of individuals.
I try to avoid too much flowery language. I don’t want to slow the pace too much. This is an action book.
My writing Methodology is like painting different layers
- Write the action scenes
- This leads to a plot
- Write humorous or interesting dialog & insert it
- Develop personalities and relationships
- Write description
- Decide on theme – remove parts that don’t develop the theme.
- Link or remove sections that are unattached.
- Check for consistency and details.
- Ask input from others – don’t use every suggestion, especially if stylistically or philosophically a different direction.
- Send out to be read by potential people to recommend the book.
- Self publish and submit to some publishers or agents.