IVP - Andy Unedited

August 23, 2016

How Did He Make It So Suspenseful?

Eric Larson achieves the drama and suspense of a political thriller in his book on the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915. This is a remarkable achievement because everyone knows how it ends before they start--a German U-boat sinks the ship. How was he able to do this? When I read the acknowledgments at the end of Dead Wake, I found out. He listened to his editor.

My editor at Crown Publishing, Amanda Cook, wrote me an eleven-page letter that provided a brilliant road map to tweaking the narrative. She proved a master at the art of offering praise, while at the same time shoving tiny knives under each of my fingernails, propelling me into a month of narrative renovation that was probably the most intense writing experience of my life.

Larson Dead Wake.jpgshowed great humility and objectivity by listening to his editor when he was already the author of several national bestsellers. He could easily have thought that with all that experience and success he didn't need to pay attention to what was suggested. But he did and the result is exceptional. By cutting back and forth with increasing speed between the stories of the U-boat, of the passenger liner and of the British Admiralty, we are drawn inexorably and with heightened tension into a compelling tale.

Editors aren't always right. But when I've been edited, I find they are right ninety percent of the time. Something that helps get psychological distance from your work is to get some temporal distance. While an editor or others are reading the manuscript draft, stay away from it. Don't look at it or tweak it or rework it for at least six or eight weeks. If ideas come for additions or revisions, just keep a list in a separate file that you can refer to later. But don't look at the manuscript. When we come back to it, after a couple months not only can we hear our editor better, we can see its virtues and vices for ourselves more clearly.

Achieving that kind of distance from your own writing is rare. But when it happens, the result can keep a book that had some holes in it well afloat for a very long time.

Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:06 AM | Comments

August 16, 2016

Prophetic Lament

Throughout my life I have attended worship services in a variety of traditions, but they tended to have one thing in common--they began with praise to God and then moved to confession. This is an appropriate model to follow with much merit. When we see how holy and good God is, we see more clearly by contrast that we are not, and so we confess.

Continue reading "Prophetic Lament"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:15 AM | Comments

July 28, 2016

Learning from a Presidential Biography

What might an incoming president learn from a biography of Thomas Jefferson? Much indeed.

Continue reading "Learning from a Presidential Biography"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:07 AM | Comments

July 14, 2016

Unlocking the Book of Job

Here's what many people know about the book of Job.

1. Job is on trial.
2. The book is primarily about suffering.
3. Job's hope for a redeemer foreshadows Christ.
4. God puts Job in his place at the end of the book, telling Job that God is God and Job is decidedly not.

All of those points, however, according to John Walton and Tremper Longman are quite mistaken.

Continue reading "Unlocking the Book of Job"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:00 AM | Comments

July 7, 2016

Happy with the Process

When employees are unhappy with a decision that leaders have made, often they don't react against the decision. Instead they complain long and loud about the process.

"All sides were not heard adequately."
"There wasn't enough time."
"We didn't know how the decision would be made."
"Key discussions were behind closed doors."
"The right people weren't involved."
"Clearly some ulterior motive was at work here."

Continue reading "Happy with the Process"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 10:11 AM | Comments

June 23, 2016

The Vaccine Hero

My sister died because of a vaccine . . . a vaccine she never received. On a September morning in 1952, at the age of seven, Lucy Rae Le Peau contracted polio and died that afternoon. The vaccine that would have saved her life would not be developed for another year.Lucy Rae Portrait edited.JPG It was a vaccine my grieving mother prayed for desperately, especially because her three other children, including me, were still vulnerable to the terrifying disease. Every year thousands of children across the United States were struck with it, peaking the year my sister died with over 57,000 cases, of whom 3,145 died.

Continue reading "The Vaccine Hero"
Posted by Andy Le Peau at 9:58 AM | Comments

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Get to Know IVP

book cover"Some publishers tell you what to believe. Other publishers tell you what you already believe. But InterVarsity Press helps you believe," says J. I. Packer. Andy Le Peau and Linda Doll describe how this came to be a hallmark of InterVarsity Press in Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength, an anecdotal history spanning the sixty years from the founding of IVP in 1947 to the present day.