Dragons

I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I need to explain this in its entirety – which means that it’s gonna be a long one (or several posts, whichever works better).

Ok. First of all… a few basics:
If you believe Genesis 1:1 – 2:2 to be a literal creation by God (whether or not you believe in literal days or “ages”) then you have to acknowledge that dinosaurs were created on the same day/age as humans: Day 6. (some may have been created on the 5th day, if they flew or swam). Thus, you have to acknowledge that dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the Same Time. (this is very important)
Even if you believe in the “age” theory, you still have to acknowledge that dinosaurs and man walked the earth at the same time because you have to acknowledge that sin and death did not enter the world or the Garden until After Day 7. If nothing died before day 7, then you have to acknowledge that every creature God created on Days 5-6 existed together at least for days 5-7.

Alright… moving right along. If you concede that dinosaurs and man existed at the same time, then you start to realize that the world’s propaganda about “cave-men,” “neanderthals,” “cromagnon men,” etc, is all a lie. There never were any cave men. (This is not to say that nobody has ever lived in a cave, that happens all the time… but the people in history/present day who lived in caves were/are simply humans, just like you and me, not the grunting, violent, sub-intellectuals that are portrayed in movies/TV shows, etc.

It’s not a huge stretch, then, once you’ve discovered that humans and dinosaurs lived on the same planet at the same time… to realize that there must have been SOME dinosaurs on Noah’s ark. (Not full grown ones, that would be silly). But God told Noah, “You are to bring inot the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal, and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.” (Gen. 6:19-20) – He didn’t exclude fierce animals. We accept that he had elephants and rhinoceroses and alligators and giraffes on the ark, animals that, when full grown, aren’t exactly small. This ark… to give you some perspective… was HUGE. (about the size of the Titanic – but with less “stuff” inside, so it could hold more). Here is a good link with a picture.

Ok… so if we believe that dinosaurs lasted at least a little bit beyond the flood… then we get to Job. Most Bible scholars believe Job is the Oldest book of the Bible, predating Moses. Many Bible scholars believe that Job was a contemporary of Abraham, only about 400 years after the flood… in that time, it is possible that the dinosaurs (even the big ones) were still around. Maybe not many, at this point… but if you allow for them to be around, and well-known enough to be recognizable, then it is not hard to believe that the behemoth of Job 40:15-24 is, indeed, a dinosaur. Imagery such as: “tail swings like a cedar,” “his bones are tubes of bronze,” “his limbs are rods of iron.” “He ranks first among the works of God,” “he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth.” “Can anyone caputre him by the eyes, or trap him and pierce his nose?” Bring to mind images of something FAR larger and more impressive than an elephant or a hippopotomous (both of which have been trapped, elephants are commonly used for riding, and neither of which have very impressive tails)

But then, read on into Job 41… this is where it gets interesting. For here, God describes a creature called a “leviathan.” (Remember, this is the Lord speaking… and He doesn’t exaggerate)

41:7: can you fill his hide with harpoons or his head with fishing spears?
41:8: if you lay a hand on him, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!
41:9: Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering.
41:10: No one is fierce enough to rouse him.
41:15: His back has rows of shields tightly sealed together
41:18: His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of the dawn.
41:19: Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out.
41:20: Smoke pours from his nostrils as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds.
41:21: His breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth.
41:24: His chest is hard as rock.
41:26: The swords that reaches him has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin.
41:27: Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood.
41:33-34: Nothing on earth is his equal – a creature without fear. He looks down on all that are haughty; he is king over all that are proud.

Does this sound like a crocodile to you? The Lord spends Four Whole Verses talking about the fact that this creature breathes fire! The rest of the chapter makes it clear that this is not an animal you can capture, tame, or subdue. “When he rises up, the mighty are terrifed.” (41:25) This is not a creature that Crocodile Dundee would Dare wrestle with. I would encourage you to take a moment to read through the whole chapter of Job 41, it’s a fun read… and it pretty much talks about a dragon.

Besides all this, the word “dragon” actually appears in Scripture 19 times in 18 different verses, and the Leviathan himself shows up in 3 other passages of Scripture besides Job 41. In the NIV they have translated the words: tannah – dragon, and tanniyn – dragon, serpent, sea monster, whale – to read as “serpent” in most cases, and “sea monster” or “monster” in the rest and “desert jackals” in one. In the KJV (which, I know has some issues) they translated both of these words as “dragon” 18 times out of the 28 that it is used.

In the new Testament, we find the Greek word “drakon” 13 times in Revelation – translated as “dragon” every time.

So there you have it… my reasoning behind the belief that dragons existed, and that we get a lot of the imagery surrounding them from the Bible itself, including their size, ferocity, the fact that they breathed fire, and even that their chests were pretty stinkin’ invulnerable.

~ jenelle

On Growing Up as a Writer – accepting criticism

I have recently realized (as in the last year) that if you can’t take criticism, you aren’t ready to send out queries. You aren’t ready to publish. Because if you can’t take criticism, then you aren’t ready to improve.

I wasn’t ready when I self-published my first book. I wasn’t ready when I self-published my second book. I wasn’t ready when I wrote book three. I was getting closer by the time I was writing book four. I turned a corner when I entered the 2010 ABNA contest.

I don’t know what it was. Meeting other authors. Receiving helpful advice and critiques from people who know the world of writing better than I. Or maybe I just finally grew up. But somewhere during that contest, I finally learned how to accept criticism. I learned how to take suggestions for what they were: suggestions. When you enter the realm of writing (and probably any creative realm) you put a lot of yourself into your work. By giving your words to others to read you put yourself out there for judging. And sometimes the judges aren’t kind.

But sometimes they are right.

And you need to be able to see clearly. You need to be able to see when they are right, when something does need to be changed, edited, tweaked, thrown out, or rewritten. You need to distance yourself during the editing process, because otherwise it will hurt too much. Throwing out whole paragraphs is painful if you can’t distance yourself, because those words are your babies, they sprang from your mind and they live on the page and you can’t delete them…. because that’s like killing part of your creativity… but sometimes those first words… sometimes they just aren’t any good. They need pruning. Some need to be tossed. Some, some few, might be perfect. Most will need revising.

If you can accept a critique from someone who isn’t close to the material, it makes your job of editing easier. If you can blink back the momentary tears, the fleeting defensiveness, the half-second of disbelief, you will find that you can take the good advice and apply it to your words and they will be so much better than you even thought they could.

Sometimes you can look at that critique and your response will be, “Nope… I like that bit just the way it is.” And that is fine. You don’t have to change everything based on one reviewer/editor/proof-reader.

I write this because I ask for critiques often. I ask for criticism on my fan page, and here on my blog, especially come contest time. And I don’t want anyone to hesitate to tell me something needs to be edited because you think you’re going to hurt my feelings. I may take your advice, I may not… but you aren’t going to hurt my feelings (as long as you aren’t attacking me personally, obviously). I welcome your critique. I welcome your critique. Because I want my writing to improve. I want my skills to improve. I want my talent to grow. So, thank you, to those of you who have helped me out with editing and critiquing the past few days. I really appreciate it.

~ jenelle

Fridays

What is it about Fridays that makes it impossible to get anything done? I planned to start working on my new novel today. I planned to work on an outline at least, if not get a few pages written. But here it is, almost 4pm and I haven’t written a word. I haven’t even opened a pages document to start writing words. Maybe it’s because my daughter is sick. Maybe it’s because she ended her nap 30 minutes early. Maybe it’s because I played DDR and watched half an episode of Angel instead of writing? Yeah, probably a combination of all of those things… but I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of it being Friday. :)

~ jenelle

Progress Report

I am ready to submit my book to the ABNA contest, a full week early! Hoorah. :)

I have sold 15 books this month!

I do intend to continue with some polishing and I look forward to getting feedback from my editor(s), but I feel confident that my manuscript, excerpt, and pitch are as ready as they can be.

So, what next? A lot of waiting :)

Meanwhile, (while I wait for my editor to get through all the pages and send me his notes, while I wait for the contest to open, and then while I begin the waiting that is the majority of being IN the ABNA contest), I intend to take a break from Tellurae Aquaous, and start writing about Aelon Ere – my new world and entirely new set of characters. I also may start looking at ideas for the idea my brother gave me for The Mirror, and trying to flesh out an outline for that story as well. I’m also going to return to writing query letters to various agents and publishers.

That should all keep me quite busy! :) In addition to this, I have a house to run, a 2 year old to keep up with, as well as the potential for a couple (hopefully!) of large-scale changes to our lives in the coming year. I will keep you posted on all of this as it happens… of course, if it doesn’t, I suppose you’ll never know what it was…

~ jenelle