A Thousand Words A Day

A writing journal _____________________________ PROFESSORBLOG@HOTMAIL.COM

writing: _ Christian Writers _ _ NaNo _

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Reader, writer, podcast listener, and TV watcher. And real nice guy.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Story Summary

In 2051, American Protestant missionary Bryce Wade arrives at his posting in Central Africe. Hired to do bible translation work at the ecumenical Works of Mercy Center at the old border between ___________ and ________________. Bryce quickly realizes that the Center is largely a ministry of teh Roman Catholic Church, and that his presence on staff represents their efforts at ecumenism. The only Protestant on staff, he nonetheless gets to know his co-laborers, including Brother Paolo DelHierro, the spiritual director of the Center, which has recently been renamed the Saint John Paul Ministry Center. He also meets the administrative director, Liesel Van Pelt, who is about halfway through her six-month stay at the Center, after which she will return to Denmark.

Wade's duties are not limited tot he cloistered academic life of translation, but finds himself performing outreach with Brother Del Hierro and teaching language classes with the teacher of the Center's school, Edmond Osuwa, a native of Mali. He develops an especially close relationship with Del Hierro, as well as becoming enamored of Van Pelt. Wade & DelHierro open each other's eyes about their own particular strain of the faith. They find that their commonalities outweigh their differences.

Independent of each other, Wade and DelHierro hear rumors of strange occurences in the surrounding villages: visitations in the night, animal mutilations, human deaths by exsanguination. Fearing evil spirits, the victims are burned by the villagers, thus destroying any evidence of these attacks. The pastors dismiss the rumors, but grow concerned as the rumors -- and the fear -- spreads. Around this time, DelHierro and Wade meet a newcomer to the area, Lucas Griffin.

Through flashbacks, readers have gotten to know Griffin, although his presence in 2051 should be a surprise to them. Lucas was born in 1901, to parents who were followers of Madame Blavatsky and the spiritualist movement. Mediums and seances were a regular part of Lucas' upbringing, and he acquired a "familiar" named Maplhas. In 1918, Griffin's father dies, forcing him into the workforce. He became successful, especially in the stock market of the "Roaring Twenties," and he credited the success to Malphas. During this time, Mrs. Griffin was hosting a regular meeting of the Theosophical Society. Lucas' wealth was wiped out in the Crash of 1929, and rather than face life as a poor man, decided to jump off the top of his bank building. On the rooftop, Malphas speaks to him, offering long life and success if he simply asks Malphas to enter him. At this point, 122 years before the current day, Lucas becomes possessed by the demon Malphas.

In 2051, DelHierro and Wade travel from village to village to gather information and offer the peace of Christ to the villagers. Lucas attends one of these meetings, and DelHierro grows very wary of him, a feeling that Wade confirms later. They suspect him of some involvement, but they do not know to what extent.

At this point it is revealed in violent scenes that Lucas is a vampire, and is indeed responsible for these attacks -- although his minds is "cloudy" about the events, and about his own past; he does not truly know who or what he is. Immediately before or after these violent scenes is a scene focusing on the Blood of Christ -- DelHierro giving communion, Wade preaching, etc . . .

Lucas realizes that the pastors suspect him, and under Malphas' leading, he attacks Liesel Van Pelt. Wade is able to break up the attack, but Liesel is seriously wounded. Realizing that the medical care at the Center is insufficient to heal her, DelHierro and Wade offer spiritual care . . . eventually she is healed.

Lucas allows himself to be followed/cornered by DelHierro and Wade, at which point they attack him. Eventually, the demon is exorcised, although DelHierro has to go beyond his Diocesan authority to operate in this manner outside the property of the Center. He must step out of his duties for a time, and the Protestant Wade takes over the spiritual care of the Center, causing all to be uneasy.

Lucas, meanwhile, is "empty" -- free of the demon, but still "clouded" about all he has done, and not saved, and his 122 years quickly begin physically to take their toll. DelHierro cares for him, as does Sister Ekatarina, the nun who is in charge of the medical ministry of the Center. As Lucas' mind clears, he realizes the extent of his villainy, and wonders if forgiveness can ever be available to him.

A series of happy endings ensue . . . . . . .

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Setting Sketch

The Saint John Paul Resource Center (formerly the Works of Mercy Center), recently renamed and expanded as a school, health center, ministry center, communication center, and outreach center to the local ytribes and peoples. This was done at the urging of Pope Gregory XVIII, a Tanzanian man, formerly Archbishop of Nairobi, now the world's first African pope. Gregory is known for his desire for ecumenical srevice in the name of Christ, as well as desire for ministry in his home continent in the bloody aftermath of the Water Wars.

The Center itself is near the former border of _________ and ___________, although national borders have become moot amidst the post-war desolation. The School is overseen and taught by a Catholic layman, the health center by a Catholic nun.nurse, and the outreach center by Brother Paolo, who serves as the Center's spiritual leader, under the authority of the Diocese of ______________. There is no priest in the surrpounding area, and Brother Paolo serves the appopriate spiritual/priestly functions on Center property.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Character Sketch

Bryce Wade; Born in 2018 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Grew up in an intellectual/atheist home, one of three sons born to an artist father and history profesor mother. Had a religious experience as a result of a friendship with a family of Assembly of God beleivers, and made a commitment to Chrsit in college. The strain that this caused in his family was exacerbated by the fact that he chose to go into the ministry. Still an intellectual -- a trained linguist and a master of language and translation -- he joined Wycliffe Bible Translators and is now heading to Central Africa to head up the translation and communication side of the Works of Mercy Center.

motivations -- serve by using his intellect for God's glory. Lifelong search for right doctrine.
change -- power of God in reality, as opposed to just the intellectual.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Character Sketch

Brother Paolo Miguel DelHierro. Born in 2007 in ___________, Argentina. Devout Catholic family, appreciative of the church's care for his mother and family after the death of his father in 2021. Joined the Benedictine order in 2032, after the death of Pope Benedict XVII. Served at the monastery of St. ____________ in ___________, _____________. Felt called to serve in Africa, to help the refugees and hurting in the aftermath of the Water Wars of the 2030s and 2040s. In 2051, he agrees to serve at the newly renamed Saint John Paul Resource Center, near the former border of ____________ and ___________ in Central Africa. He assumes the pastoral duties of the Center, as well as specifically overseeing the outreach ministries of the Center. Brother Paolo is not a priest, but as there is no diocesan priest in the surrounding area, the Diocese of ____________ has given him the authority to perform all priestly duties and functions within the boundaries of the property of the Center.

motivations: to serve the hurting, and to please his superiors in the Church
change: eyes opened to the spiritual world around him . . . serving God or serving the Church?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Questions to answer

I ned to know some of the steps to sainthood, as well as whether a Pope who becomes a Saint (as a posit for John Paul II) is known as Pope or Saint. My main characters work in a buliding named for him, and I need to figure out if that would be the "Saint John Paul II complex" or "Pope John Paul" or "Saint Pope . . . " I just don't know.

I also need to skim a biography of John Paul, and find out some of his work/visits to Africa, as I figure this complex should be at or near a place he visitied.

I also need some more generic Africa geography facts, for some settings.

And I need a hometown for my Argentinian main character, as well as the name of the order he is a prt of (this I can probably make up, but then I need to pick a favorite Saint to name it after.

And I need to learn about the spiritualist movement, in which my vampire Lucas Brennan Griffin was raised in the early 1900s. Was is Madame Blatavaski? Something like that.

Did I hear someone say "GOOGLE?"

Monday, October 16, 2006


Paolo Miguel DelHierro, Catholic brother/monk, missionary in Central Africa

Bryce Wade, Protestant missionary, his work intersects with DelHierro

Lucas Brennan ________ (needs a last name), has been a vampire for 120 years

Lucas' mom (needs a first & last name), whom we learn in flashbacks was into the spiritualism movement of the early 1900s, including seances and mediums, opening the family up to the demmonicMalphus, a demon, in possession of Lucas

Pope Gregory XVIII . . . may not actually be a character, but figures in the ministry choices of DelHierro

Saturday, October 14, 2006

More Setting

I have settled on Central Africa for the setting, with an American Protestant missionary aiding a Brazilian or Argentinian Catholic missionary. Their work is needed in Central Africa due to the "Water Wars" . . . . I have read a few futurists predicting that the next great wars will be over water, so I'll toss that in as the background. I need an African nation or region to anchor it to, maybe even one that does not exist today . . . a split-off tribal revolution or a conglomeration of nations, or at least a name change, a la Rhodesia to Zimbabwe . . . something possible.

It takes place in 2051, remember, so I have some flexibility on the details of the world then . . . . I would like to present the church as less Western (and white) then it is now, as the balance of power is shifting south, to southern Asia, Africa, and South America. That I definitely want to present, as well as a thawing of relations between Catholics and Protestants.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I have figured out the setting, at least a little bit.

I think that 2051 sounds good to me, I wanted it in the future to add some commentary about the world/church . . . Since the church is progressively moving below the equator, I am thinking the hero is either South American or African, and perhaps the setting is the other. Maybe an African missionary working in SA, or a South American missionary working in Africa. If I am thinking Catholic, probably the heavily Catholic nations in SA make more sense (Brazilian? Argentine?) . . . maybe the Protestant is a native African . . .

How do Catholics do missionary work? I actually don't want my hero to be a priest, but rather a monk or brother . . . do they do missionary work -- like Mother Theresa and the Sisters of Charity, but men? How structured is it? I would like this guy (gonna be a guy, even in 2051 my future Catholic church is not ordaining women) to be sort of solo, maybe a small brotherhood, or he is actually doing solo missions work apart from the order? Could he do baptisms and exorcisms and give communion? I need to do a little research on this, although the future setting gives me some leeway here if this would not be possible in 2006 maybe it will be in 2051.

I am thinking the vampire dude was involved in the spiritualist movement (seances, mediums, etc . . . ), which was at its peak in the late 1900s and early 2000s . . . . his parents involved? I want him to be in business, and the stock market crash of 1929 causes him to contemplate suicide, at which point the demon approaches him . . . and off the story goes!

Monday, October 09, 2006

"Christian Vampire" it is

I think this idea has potential, actually, although NaNoWriMo gives me the opportunity to just write it as a lark -- talk about potent imagery, blood, crucifixes, etc . . . it's a natural tale to tap into from my perspective.

I am thinking that a guy is demonized (in flashbacks?) and lives a long long time (more than 100 years?) as a vampire, or at least thinking (deceived) that he is one. Don't know which way to go on that count.

I am thinking that my hero probably needs to be Catholic, as the rituals of the church are part of the vein I am tapping into . . . exorcism? baptism? communion? These all have symbolic (and visual, artistic) meaning that the Protestant equivalents lack. But I may give him a Protestant sidekick -- somehow.

I am thinking that I will set it in the future, so there is the opportunity to hypothesize about the future of the world and church. Maybe that is how the Catholic and Protestant work together.

Maybe on a misison field?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

NaNo is almost here!

I have two ideas for this years NaNo . . . re-do last year's, which was interrupted mid-month by my mother's death. Or something new, the something new being . . . a Christian vampire story. I have not worked out the details yet, but it's a concept that has been running around my brain for most of this year, and maybe if I spend a month writing it, it'll not bother me anymore.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Book on Writing

Plot and Structure, by James Scott Bell. Bell is a writer of Christian fiction, and even though I am a reader of Christian fiction, I have actually never read any of his novels. Anyway, he is also a columnist at Writer's Dirgest, and this book is one in their "Writing Great Fiction" series.

What I learned in this book was the LOCK process of plotting . . . L for lead character, O for the lead character's objective, C for Confrontation involving the lead character, and K for knockout ending.

He also talked about the 3-act structure, but added the notion of the 2 doorways, the scenes/events that lead from Act 1 to Act 2, and then from Act 2 to Act 3.

He also broke the world of writers into 2 groups: OP (Outline People) and NOP (No Outline People). I am an OP myself, but he gave advice to both groups about how to adopt some of the aspects of the other in order to craft better plots.