I am glad to see you have made it to the fifth stop on the 31 Author Scavenger Hunt! By now you have learned how this works, so relax and enjoy this interesting article by Donita K. Paul on what makes a classic.
For those who have just discovered the hunt by opening this page, still enjoy the article, but then go back to the beginning to get all the clues – Stop one is here.
You will find the fifth clue somewhere on this page. But now…
Meet Donita K. Paul
I have the privilege to host Donita K. Paul, a retired teacher and award-winning author of several novels, including the Chiril Chronicles and the DragonKeeper Chronicles. She has also co-authored some books (still about dragons) with her daughter, Evangeline Denmark. I am wearing my dragon shirt (yes, I have one and love it) for the occasion, but I will not post a picture to distract you from our guest and her very interesting article. Enjoy!
THREE THINGS THAT MAKE A CLASSIC
by Donita K. Paul
I have a lesson I teach at workshops that captivates me. I love to teach it because it excites me, and I love watching people’s faces when the simplicity of this lesson dawns on them. Oddly, I don’t remember where the concept came from. Perhaps it was presented whole to me in some mostly forgotten class in college or even high school. Perhaps I pieced it together from lectures and textbooks over the years. Maybe I made the whole thing up. I’m good at making things up.
I connected with this concept when a student asked, “What makes a piece of literature a classic?”
I knew the answer! I’m sharing it with you in the hope that it will impact your enjoyment of what you’re reading.
Why do we read some books over and over? Why do some books end up in curriculum, and each generation forced to savor the story of an author long dead?
Three things make a book a classic:
1. The work must identify the condition of man.
2. The work must shed light on a universal truth.
3. The work must inspire the reader to seek a higher plane.
This applies to the greatest story ever told.
The Gospel identifies humankind as sinners separated from God.
Universally, people struggle with the emptiness that living without God generates.
Believing in Christ and the resurrection after the punishment for an individual’s sin motivates people to accept salvation, read the Bible, and follow God’s Word.
When DragonSpell first came out, my editor said, “This is destined to become a classic.”
You can bet I wrapped that little sentence in fine cloth and treasured it in my heart. I revisit it when I feel like I’m not of much use.
The theme of DragonSpell is moving from a state of slavery to a servant attitude. Assessing the story through the lens of a classic might look something like this.
Condition of man: Kale has been given gifts that she doesn’t recognize.
Universal truth: To develop and utilize one’s gifts takes effort, courage, and guidance.
The higher plane: To use one’s gifts for the benefit of others without regard to fame or fortune.
Sometimes the higher plane can be identified as a moral warning.
In Little Boy Blue, the boy neglects his duty and loses his sheep. So the higher plane is choosing to honor commitments.
In Goldilocks, the little girl learns to use some discretion when entering into unknown territory and pillaging things belonging to others. The higher plane is to aim to be a wise explorer and therefore safe from bears. And the bears learn to lock their doors.
But classics are enjoyable whether you’ve identified them as such or not. So, please don’t start reading all your fiction books as if there’s a test at the end. Enjoy the story. But also be aware that a classic might change your attitude. In fact, some books have changed the attitude of a multitude of readers. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and To Kill a Mockingbird are two that come to mind.
I confess that I generally liked the classics I was forced to read in school. Many of the messages stayed with me. Some of them I even read again when I didn’t have to. They read so much better when you don’t have to write a report afterwards.
But another thought rears a venomous snake-like head: Story impacts our minds and hearts. Wonderful, when the tale brings truth to a searching individual. Devastating, when the words lead a fragile personality down a path of deception, destruction, and distance from our loving Father.
Be careful what you read.
Be careful what you write.
God of the Fairy Tale by Jim Ware
Finding God in the Lord of the Rings by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware
Here is a sneak preview of Donita’s latest book, One Realm Beyond.
Her website is the next stop in this Hunt, so you can visit her there.
But first you need your clue, don’t you? Well, it’s “to celebrate“! Now you are on your way…
But WAIT, just one more minute! There is still a…
Before you rush on, there is a giveaway on this website too! A package of three autographed books for three winners – about three women in church history – Lady Jane Grey, Renée of France, and Olympia Morata. The books were written for different age groups, so they may be used as presents for your loved ones this Christmas. Click on each cover to find more.
Lady Jane Grey is a biography for children 6-12
Renée of France is a biography for adults.
Weight of a Flame – The Passion of Olympia Morata is a semi-fictional biography for young adults.
The winners can also choose to contact me personally to get a special dedication along with my signature. And… this giveaway is open to readers all over the world!
You can enter this giveaway in two ways:
1. Like CBYR on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CBFYR AND leave a comment to the Scavenger post there
2. Leave a comment here.
I will use random.org to choose three winners from all the participants. Pass on the word to your friends!!