Archive for the ‘Philosophy and Worldviews’ Category

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Geeking Out Over Noblebright

August 17, 2016

Last night I discovered the term “noblebright.” I’m still geeking out about it. *happy squeak* 😀

It describes so much of what I write, and the tone of almost all my favorite stories.  Finding this term is like finding a word to describe a mood I have seen and loved all my life, but not had a way to describe.  It makes me so happy.

The term “noblebright” was created as a reaction to the negative term “grimdark,” which generally describes a setting that is dystopian, amoral, pessimistic, and/or violent – think Game of Thrones, or possibly Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.  (The last few books of Harry Potter might also be described as “grimdark” in tone, although overall I don’t believe the series could be called grimdark.)

This Wiki page describes the differences between grimdark and noblebright:

In a grim world, no matter what you do, an individual can’t secure more than an individual victory, if even that, because the rest of the world is too big/scared/powerless/selfish to act upon his impulse. A noble world is one where the action of a single hero can change the world, and a single big villain can f*** it all up : there are important people, who are so either by birth, rank or sheer willpower, and every single one of these people matter.
Now, a bright world is one full of opportunity, of wondrous sights to behold. It doesn’t mean that it has to be [My Little Pony], it can be dangerous, but your first instinct when looking at a new location should be awe and wonder: people may adventure to save the world, but they leave town with a smile upon their face, eager to see what comes next. The shadow of Risk is largely erased by the glint of Adventure. … A dark world is one where life sucks, and usually not long: whether it be because of demon overlords… or even the lack of water, everyone in this story may die, and they die for good.”

Art by Jane-Aspen

(There are also hybrids like nobledark – heroic heroes fighting evil in a very dark world – and grimbright – which I guess would be the ability to secure only individual victories in a world of wonder and adventure?…weird combo.  But I’m just sticking to the two main terms here.)

There is a basic worldview difference between these kinds of stories.

There are the stories where there is no hope, no meaning, and no lasting joy to human existence, where everything is sad and pessimistic – versus the stories where lives are meaningful because every individual makes a difference, good triumphs against evil in both small and great ways, there is beauty in the world, and there is real hope of victory.

Which of these is truer to my own worldview as a Christian?  The answer is obvious.

Art by Sandara

Now.  I believe there is truth to grimdark stories as well.  The world is fallen, cruel, full of atrocities and sometimes unspeakable evils.  Sometimes we need to look that in the face.  Sometimes we need grimdark stories.  They show us truth about this passing life.  We need to confront not just the evil in the world but the evil in ourselves.  We do live in a universe where “good people” do bad things, where every person has a dark side (except Christ).

But that’s not where my worldview ends.  When I look at the universe I see a noblebright place. I see true beauty.  I see right and wrong.  I see God working through even the worst circumstances to bring about ultimate glory for Himself and joy for His people.

So it makes sense that all the books and movies I love best fall under the “noblebright” category in some fashion.

Art from a video game: Lord of the Rings Conquest

Noblebright stories include: The Lord of the Rings [edit: one could argue this one is more nobledark], The Chronicles of Narnia, Firefly, some Marvel movies, and most 0f Star Trek.  There may be horrible villains, and dark parts of the tales, but a sense of wonder, morality, and nobility courses through these stories.  Beauty is real.  Life might be full of despair and destruction but that is not the end of the story.  The heroes might be flawed, but they are ultimately fighting for the good, and good will ultimately win.

I never knew there was a word for it.  I knew it was there.  I knew this undercurrent of hope, light, and beauty ran through all the stories I love the most.  It was part of my goals as an author to create worlds like this, running deep with joy, beauty, and love.  But I didn’t know it had a name.  And now I do!

I love noblebright.

Noblebright stories forever!!! 😀

Do you like stories that are darker or lighter in tone?  Which kind of truth impacts you more?  What are some awesome examples of noblebright stories you’ve seen or read (because I want to know more!!)?

Art by Sandara

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Simmer Starters – May 13, 2016

May 13, 2016

Since I missed my Simmers last week I had a lot of saved links to choose from!  There are some really good articles here. 🙂

Don’t Let Your Girls Grow Up To Be Moms (Gretchen E K Engel) – Don’t be turned off by the provocative title of the post.  There are really important things to say here (and they are things I intend to tangentially blog about in the near future).  “What happens when your daughter dreams of motherhood but is faced with its impossibility? What if she’s dreamed of marriage but finds herself alone?”

Why We Should Jettison the “Strong Female Character” (Alastair Roberts) – Very long but well worth the read.  “Within the kickass princess trope lurks the implication that, to prove equality of dignity, worth, agency, and significance as a character, all of a woman’s resolve, wisdom, courage, love, kindness, self-sacrifice, and other traits simply aren’t enough—she must be capable of putting men in their place by outmatching them in endeavors and strengths that naturally favor them, or otherwise making them look weak or foolish.  Herein lies a tragic failure of imagination that weakens both men and women.”

How I Gained My First 1,000 Followers on Twitter (Brianna da Silva) – Good Twitter advice be here.  I love Brianna’s tweets for her humor and encouraging advice – she’s definitely a good account to follow, and to get advice from on how to use Twitter.

Real Men Love Strong Women (Paul Maxwell) – “The real question we need to ask is: Do we want women to be weak? And the answer must forever be, on the basis of Scripture, ‘May it never be.’  Strong women are as vital as strong men to God’s purpose in the church.”

How Indie Novels Can Beat $4 Coffee and Chase Joy (E. Stephen Burnett) – This is a continuation of E. Stephen Burnett’s ramble against the “buy books and support indie authors” style of marketing – here he offers some great, positive marketing ideas.

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Simmer Starters – February 13, 2016

February 13, 2016

Simmers

Business Musings: Serious Writer Voice (Kristine Kathryn Rusch) – This is a great, encouraging article about how every writer’s books should be different and we don’t all have to follow the same rules.

How Atheist Authors Steal From God (Mike Duran) – “You can’t have bad guys without real evil. You can’t have compelling drama without real stakes. Even if a story is simply about survival, the underlying assumption is that life is better than death, that struggling against odds is more noble than simply surrendering to the elements. Which is the reason why moral absolutism is more viable for authors than, say, a relativistic worldview.”

The Writer’s Life According to Minions (Nate Philbrick) – Just some funnies. 😀

Christian Speculative Fiction and the Biblical Boundary Problem (Tony Breeden) – Interesting thoughts here. “The trouble is that there are two very different schools of thought where writing Christian speculative fiction is concerned. One school believes that creativity/craft/speculation must be our primary concern as Christian authors. Call it Scriptura sub speculativa (‘Scripture under speculation’) or Prima speculativa. … I believe that the Bible’s teaching/doctrines/theology should take precedent over speculation. Call it Speculativa sub Scriptura or Prima Scriptura.”

5 Things You Can Give to God Every Day (Tim Challies) – A good summary of the ways we can prioritize serving God each day.

Valentine’s Is About Jesus (Andrew Shanks) – The symbolism in this article makes my INFJ heart very happy. 😀 “The reality is that we live in a world of symbol and sacrament, wherein everything points to something else. Jesus himself teaches us to view the world in this way. Even in parching his dry throat with cool water, he sees in the act a picture of the living water which God provides to those who ask.”

What Are You Afraid Of? (Jon Jergenson) – I don’t usually link to videos, mostly because I tend to pass over videos myself, but this was a great piece of spoken word poetry I enjoyed this week.  “I used to be afraid of opinions – afraid that though words would not break my bones, they certainly would shatter my dreams. As if I started doing this for the approval of many rather than the glory of One.”

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Simmer Starters – January 16, 2016

January 16, 2016

Hooray!!  The Simmer Starters are back!  I’ve been saving links ever since I stopped blogging…it will be hard to pick the best. 😀

Blue Pomegranates (Abby Jones) – “[The famous pastor’s] response was to lump all fantastical type stories into a form of discontentment for the world God has created. Not only did he put Twilight hand-in-hand with such epics as Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Harry Potter, andThe Odyssey, but he said they were all a form of saying God just didn’t make the world cool enough so I’m going to make my own. Obviously, I took a strong offense to that.”

Catholic or Pagan Imagination (David Russell Mosley) – This is a fantastic rebuttal to an Atlantic article that asserted that the British tell better children’s stories because Great Britain’s literature has its roots in paganism instead of puritanism.

Three Questions to Ask Before Listening to Any Sermon (Tony Reinke) – This is a great way to cut right to the worldview of anything.

In the Grand Scheme of Things (Hana Schank) – This is long, about a mother’s coming to terms with her daughter’s blindness, but I love this quote in particular. “I’d known, of course, that there were people who weren’t perfect, but they had lived at the fringes of my vision, barely existent in a landscape populated by the able-bodied and able-minded. And now, suddenly, the entire focus of my world had been inverted. I no longer saw ‘normal’ people as the focal point, with blurry disabled people at the edges. The whole world, I now understood, was made up of disabilities. Some people just wore their disability a little more obviously than others.”

Nine Questions to Help You Steward All of Your Life for God’s Glory (Brad Hambrick) – I found this exercise very helpful; although my direction in life is pretty “fixed,” it gave me a little bit of a better understanding of where God might be leading me.

The Clever Trick My Dad Used To Turn Me Into a Rabid Reader at 8 Years Old (Christopher Reiss) – Love this story!

The Force is With Her (Alicia Cohn) – If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens, beware spoilers, of course. “Throughout the series, Star Wars has shown us a chosen character grappling with how to use his unmerited gifts. It established the pop culture expectation that a young man has the right to choose his own path. Now perhaps it’s time for an iconic coming of age tale about a young woman. It is particularly encouraging — particularly for the mothers taking daughters — that for once, a female coming of age story in popular culture might not involve a messy sexual awakening, but her own search for power, agency, and calling.”

The True and Better YA Hero (Shannon Stewart) – Love this!!!  “All these things we find so magnetic in our fictional heroes are already ours in Christ.” On a similar note, check out this article by my friend RJ Conte which talks about a common fiction trope and how it shows a longing for God at the root.

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Simmer Starters – October 19, 2015

October 20, 2015

I’m so sorry this is several days late!!  I have loads of links to share with you.

Porn and Worship: A Look at Emotionalism in the Church (Zach Bartels) – Great article, countering something I’ve been thinking about for awhile now…the tendency of conservative Reformed churches to look skeptically on emotion.  “Just as porn doesn’t change our view of sex, emotional abuses, artificiality, and manipulations shouldn’t change our view of emotional experience. Yes, someone can use the four right chords to make you feel ecstatic or melancholy … but just as the marriage bed is the right place (the ordained place!) to feel sexual gratification, worshipping God is the ultimate place to feel emotional gratification.”

Flash Fiction Tips Round-Up (Teddi Deppner) – A useful post that does what the title says!

The Power of Fear (Seth Godin) – This short post is very thought-provoking…it packs a punch for so few words.

Here’s What’s Behind Our Obsession with Zombies (Kurt Schlichter) – Fascinating theories here.  “What is out of control, or what seems like it is out of control, is our society itself. A pervasive unease in America is deepening. It is a sense that our society has become unstable, that the normalcy we took for granted is gone and perhaps not coming back.”

Open (Mirriam Neal) – On being open with our emotions, something I could get better at!  “It’s a frightening thing, pulling back that curtain and letting everyone see you for who you really are.” Truth.

Five Ways to Use Pets in Your Story – Without Killing Them (Mythcreants) – I found this a fun post with some really good ideas – I don’t even like pets much, but it made me like them in stories more! 🙂

If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy (Walter Kirn) – Like me, you might regret reading this. Hahahahaha.  Seriously, though, this is very thought-provoking.  And good sci-fi fodder…

Reprise: Satan, the Imaginary, and Halloween (Rebecca LuElla Miller) – Good thoughts here on the controversy of Halloween.  I especially love her concluding thought: “The only way we can insure that Satan has his day is by our disunity, our unloving attitude, our angry arguments over whether or not we celebrate Halloween.”