I just noticed that this is the second time this year that my post is due on a holiday. And it’s due on Christmas Day, too. Next year it won’t be due on the 24th of July, but it will come in on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, should I love so long[i]. So in the spirit of that observation, I assert that we should celebrate March 20th each year as a holiday,[ii] as the anniversary of the letter from Liberty Jail.[iii] This is a date that could conceivably be viewed as “early in the spring,” the only date Joseph gives to what we call the First Vision, so we could celebrate both on the same day. Continue reading
Last year I wrote about five books that have shaped my sense of what Mormon literature can be. This year I can share five works that have fine-tuned this sense. It’s been a dandy of year.
(Although my slapdash image-making for this post should impress no one.)
I’ll begin by saying that I of course will not present an exhaustive list of the best books on writing. I’m going to list the best books I know of on writing, and would love to have people add onto said list in the comments. One thing about being a writer is that no matter how long you work on your craft, you are always competing against people who are older and have been at it much longer than you have. You can never stop improving if you want to stay in the game, and while there are a lot of ways to hone your craft, reading good books on writing is probably the cheapest way – in terms of money, at least. You still need to put in the time to apply what you learn. So here are the books that I recommend.
Wanderings on Writing by Jane Lindskold
I may be the first person to blog about this one, because it just came out. Some would say there’s no Golden Key, no magic word that you can learn to get yourself a writing career. Lindskold begs to differ. There is a Golden Key, the only catch is, you have to forge it yourself. So, while she can’t present you with a Golden Key, she can tell you how she forged hers. This book is a compilation of essays she’s written over the years on topics ranging from how to write a sympathetic villain to how to keep from driving your family insane as you pursue your dreams. The book is written in accessible, conversational prose. Once you pick it up, you may have trouble putting it down. Continue reading
Braden Hepner, who teaches at BYU-Idaho, had his debut novel Pale Harvest published by Torrey House Press. The story of a young man “struggling against betrayal to save his farm, his Mormon faith, and the girl he loves” received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal. The “Meeting of the Myths” Mormon Lit Blitz finalists were announced. In Provo, plays by Mahonri Stewart, Becky Baker, and a short play festival hit the boards. On the screen, there is a new prodigal son movie aimed at the Christian market, and a stalker/crazy missionary film aimed at the horror/thriller market. There are new YA novels by Orson Scott Card, Ally Condie, and Kimberley Griffiths Little. Avi Steinberg’s The Lost Book of Mormon is a non-Mormon’s travelogue exploring the Mormon scripture. Please send any announcements, news, or corrections to mormonlit AT gmial DOT com. Continue reading
Recently, I bought a copy of How We Play the Game in Salt Lake and Other Stories, a collection of short(ish) fiction by M. Shayne Bell. I’ve been reading at it since, and eventually plan to write and post a review (here or somewhere else). As I was reading along, though, I thought I’d something specifically about the collection’s second story, “The Shining Dream Road Out” (previously published in Washed by a Wave of Wind: Science Fiction from the Corridor, an sf&f anthology edited by Shayne and published by Signature Books) — because I think it makes an interesting case study for some of the issues we’ve talked about from time to time, both here and at other sites such as A Motley Vision, about related to Mormon fiction and various ways of being Mormon.
The Association for Mormon Letters has been honoring excellence in the arts annually since 1977, making it the oldest Mormon arts awards in existence. You can see the full list of past winners here. The awards are announced each year in the following spring. Too often they have gone by without enough attention. This year I have been asked to head the awards board, and I hope that through more openness about the process and better communication we can help make the public better aware of the best of the Mormon literary world.
The categories differ each year. This year, we intend to give awards in the following categories: Continue reading