Marji Laine: Faith~Driven Fiction

Bringing Fiction and Faith Together


Reader Rejectable: Continuity

mashI’m dating myself, but are there any M.A.S.H. fans out there? I was a fan when I was a kid and most of the humor went over my head. I was a fan again about a decade ago when I got to see four late-night episodes at a time. The comedy genius of the writing and the combination of the actors was extraordinary.

But continuity? Forget about it.

Whatever the situation needed, they threw in. Sometimes minimal details that were unnecessary but made huge issues later on.

Case in point: Hawkeye’s family. Oh he had one in the first episode as he’s writing a letter to his dad. He mentions a greeting to “mom and sis.” And yet, the fact that he’s the only child of a widower doctor is a huge part of many episodes. Makes that letter kinda creepy when you  think about it.

Margaret Houlihan’s family is equally odd. Her parents are married, then her father is dead, then they are divorced and dancing together in New York, and finally he’s still in the army touring Korea married to someone else? I’m not sure. I never could keep them straight.

Continuity in a TV show with multiple writers is obviously a challenge, but continuity in a book shouldn’t be. I read one recently where Wednesday a party was being thrown. It was currently Monday and the main character had four days to prepare for the party on Friday.

Are you confused? So was I. I wasn’t sure whether there were two parties or the author just couldn’t count. In fact, the only thing I was sure of was that the current day was Monday and at some point in the near future a party would be thrown.

I didn’t put the book down for that one little instance, though. Of course not. Just a minor glitch that should have been caught but slipped through the cracks. Once in a while, things like this happen. Less in traditionally published books I think. If only because so many eyes are on those manuscripts.

Indy pubs have a greater challenge. As an author, I tend to skip over words when I’m reading through my own chapters. I miss little details here and there. In my own manuscript, I discovered that I had a man visiting an event for the first time – his reactions and discoveries – but it was the second instance in which he’d gone to the event. Oops.

Gong-ShowI recently read a book that I did put down for this problem, though. It was a mystery using extensive computer programming technology. The author went to great lengths describing every detail of the action, which would have been fine, if there had been real action. But this author detailed benign routines – like untangling and clicking the seat belt, fooling with the radio switch, shifting gears, checking mirrors. (Yep, at least a page of that boredom started off the first chapter – that in itself was enough to put the book down.) As the main character eases into traffic, she starts up a conversation.

Huh? I thought she was alone in the car. The woman she’s speaking with adjusts the mirror and slows at an intersection.

If you’re like me, your eyes are squinting, trying to figure out what you just read. As I continued with the scene, I learned that not only was the main character’s best friend in the car with her, but the best friend was driving.

I figured if the author couldn’t get that part of the story straight, I didn’t have much hope in understanding her mystery.


Your turn: This is my last reason that a reader might reject a book. Did I miss anything? What was wrong with the last book you put down? Tell me about it!

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Fathoming God: El HaNe’eman

treasure chestI expected to end my series on Fathoming God with my last article, El Roi. (I still love that name! So personal!) But I happened upon an extensive list of new names. Most of them, I’d never heard before, but each so expressive of God’s characters.

What a treasure trove! Continue reading

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New Review up at Suspense Sisters!

This book gave me flashbacks to some of the cozy days I’d spend curled up and reading a Phyllis A. Whitney book! Excellent writing. Twisted mystery. Gripping suspense. And intense romance.

Not to be missed!

Read my review at the Suspense Sisters Blog! 


Reader Rejectables: Coincidentally …

Pride and Prejudice 1995I hate coincidence. I think writers have been influenced by examples of coincidence in great literature. Here I need to insert a disclaimer and a plea for help. Though I’m a voracious reader at times, I don’t tend to read the classics. Not since high school (and Cliff Notes then! LOL!) So if you have some extra examples of things that seemed coincidental in literature, send them my way. Continue reading


Freedom: Obedience

LOC1bPrevious post on Freedom: Worship

“Not as though I have already attained, either have already become perfect … forgetting what is pass and looking to that which lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil3:12, 14

On this last day of my series on Freedom, I chose obedience because of the prayer initiative suggested by Anne Graham Lotz. This the seventh day of the seventh month is set aside for a 7-hour fast and prayer. Funny thing to think of Obedience as a Freedom, huh? Continue reading

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Freedom: Worship

worship servicePrevious post on Freedom: Speech

“For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12

What a party! I think our times of singing and rejoicing in our Lord’s presence is a precursor to Continue reading

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Freedom: Speech

campfirePrevious post on Fredom: Legacy

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

I find it interesting that this Psalm begs acceptance of not only the words coming out, but the thoughts and impressions creating those words. Jesus said to a crowd, “there is nothing outside the man which can defile him if it goes into him; but the things which proceed out of the man are what defile the man … For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts …” (From Mark 7:15 and 21. In context.) Continue reading


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