Clash of the Titles
by Lisa Lickel
Clash of the Titles recent participants Eleanor Gustafson and Gail Palotta (www.gailpalotta.com) share about their experiences.
Gail: I was thrilled to have my excerpt chosen for Clash of the Titles. It offered exposure for Love Turns the Tide in such a unique way. Even though putting one’s work up for voting is difficult, I liked the idea of letting the readers decide.
How did you both learn about Clash of the Titles?
Gail: I saw an announcement about it on the ACFW loop.
Ellie: I learned about COTT through the ACFW Loop—a fountain of information and opportunity!
Ellie: As I am always willing to take advantage of such things, I was quick to respond.
Gail: Exposure for Love Turns the Tide and letting the readers decide.
What did you find most enjoyable, or perhaps surprising, during your week?
Ellie: I was surprised—mostly by the tie vote, but also by the comments—to which I am paying attention! Some found my weather selection good but challenging to read. I could blame it on the necessity of disguising character names, but the David story is complex. It deals with ugliness but also glows with grace. AND The Stones makes the Bible version of David’s life come alive for most readers. Try it, and let me know—thumbs up or down. Check the Amazon comments—all of them five star.
What do you think are the three top essentials to a great story?
Ellie: In defense of a challenging read, I would say that the top essentials to a great story would be:
- The story must have substance and be worth telling. Les Miserable is heavy going but a powerful read.
- Characters must be authentic and complex, supported by dialogue that drives the plot.
- Assuming we’re talking about Christian fiction, the “message” must grow out of the plot and not be simply pasted on. My fear of sounding hokey drives me to dig deep through both good and evil to the spiritual bedrock of our redemptive God. I doubt that anyone ever accused Victor Hugo of being hokey in Les Miserable!
Tell us about your books.
Ellie: The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David is hot-blooded drama —a biblical novel that takes in the sweep of King David’s life from his encounter with Goliath to the devastating consequences of counting his fighting men. He is a man of titanic proportions, at once commanding, poetic, earthy, in touch with God. In the story, stones themselves serve as a metaphor that fits well with the contours of David’s life: stones of learning, of victory, of stumbling, of humbling, of hardship, of grief, of sacrifice.
Gail: Since publishing Love Turns the Tide, I’ve been amazed at how a person’s personality can come across over the internet. Visiting sites, such as Clash of the Titles, and finding friends is a great experience.
Ellie: And for fun, here’s how NOT to start a novel. I came across an old computer file labeled, “Worst Novels.” I don’t think I wrote the excerpts myself; I probably found them and felt they were worth keeping. Here’s one.
Where to start in the telling of a hypochondriac's awesome battle with the L-germ over 32,940.25 long days [that, dear reader, translates to 89 and 364/365 years], on nineteen continents and thirty-five dorkshires?
The other is even funnier, so email me if you’d like to laugh over that one, too. email@example.com
Go thou and write better!