12 Writing Tips Hidden In The Garden: Brought To You By Cold Mountain

12 Writing Tips Hidden In The Garden: Brought To You By Cold Mountain

It’s planting season where I live. Buds grow, flowers bloom, and vibrant energy courses through the air (this energy, also known as pollen, causes frequent sneezes). If you are gardening or writing like me, you’re in luck. The novel Cold Mountain contains twelve time-tested tips to inspire your craft. The lessons are buried deep in this Civil War saga and National Book Award winner, so I’ve dug them up and scrubbed them clean.

Behold, here are a dozen secrets to a banner crop and brilliant writing.

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Three Things That Turned A Violent Dystopian Novel Into A Required Reading Classic

Three Things That Turned A Violent Dystopian Novel Into A Required Reading Classic

What books were you required to read in school? If you are like most Americans, it may have included The Great Gatsby, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, and Lord of the Flies. Each of these books has a fascinating backstory. Each has become embedded in the culture through the millions of formative minds that read them. But only one is a bloody dystopia in which students themselves carry out the violence: Lord of the Flies.

I recently revisited the book as I worked on my current novel, The Green Tower. I figured I could learn from another chaotic struggle in a jungle. But Lord of the Flies is much more than that. Here are three things that have turned this novel into a classic that has endured—long before books like Hunger Games made dystopia cliché.

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The Greatest Story Ever Told

The Greatest Story Ever Told

Science is catching up with ancient human wisdom. Studies of the brain show that stories activate parts of the cortex like nothing else. Or as one scholar put it, as he measured the brain activity of people watching a James Bond movie, he was “watching an amazing neural ballet in which a story line changes the activity of people’s brains.” (HBR, Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling).

We all know this is true. Stories change us. Sometimes profoundly. And it makes you wonder: what is the greatest story ever told? What story has produced the most total change in human brains? Here’s the definitive answer, plus a storyteller’s reasons why.

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Reading A 1,000-Page Book Is Like Running A Marathon

Reading A 1,000-Page Book Is Like Running A Marathon

When was the last time you read a book over 1,000 pages? I mean really read it. Not skimming, reading parts, or cramming with cliff notes before a test. I bet it has been a long time, if ever.

There’s no judgment here. There’s just this: we’re more distracted than ever, so reading a long book has become a monumental task. It’s harder than running a marathon, in my opinion, and I’ve done both. In fact, I might even invent a new bumper sticker like those ubiquitous white circles with the bold, black numbers “26.2”—except this one will say: “1,000+”. Here’s how to join the club, and why you should.

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Living Revelation: Understanding The End Times Mystery

Living Revelation: Understanding The End Times Mystery

This is the last of my four posts about Revelation. This is where I give all the answers. Here’s how we got here:

  1. The bestselling book of all time has a crazy last chapter;
  2. Theories about that chapter’s mysteries can be dangerous; and
  3. Stories shouldn’t offer definitive answers, but we need more of them.

Now let’s find out what it means to live in revelation.

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