Featured Writing Addict: Benjamin Phillips

1931365_1084550834666_7953_nBen Phillips is a 35-year-old father of four remarkable and rambunctious children. He has been married to his loving and patient wife, Katie, for 16 years. Ben’s lifelong passion has been writing and creating music to lead people into a better understanding of God’s pursuing love for them. By God’s grace, for the past ten years, he has led people in worship as a full-time career at Calvary Community Church, a non-denominational, 13,000-member church located in Phoenix, Arizona. During Ben’s time leading at Calvary, he has written more than 40 songs, and published two albums. His band, North Element [formerly North Worship], is available through iTunes, cdbaby.com and other major music-based websites.

Ben began his love for reading at the young age of eleven—he enjoyed tackling novels by authors like Stephen Lawhead, Terry Brooks, J.R. R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. Ben began creating fictional characters in early childhood, and progressed to writing short stories in high school. He found the same love and interest in writing fiction as in music. For years, as God led him to use music for His glory, Ben’s love for writing was focused on songwriting lyrics. In 2010, following a back injury, Ben was forced to lay low from his busy, musical lifestyle. During that time, a desire to communicate God’s beauty, plan of salvation, and love through fictional stories was rekindled.

Ben was becoming aware of the growing divide among American subcultures—and the general lack of interest in hearing the gospel of grace. These two realities, combined with his children’s love of reading, sparked the idea of joining others who have portrayed Christian ideals and spiritual truths through fictional characters. He had a sincere desire for his children to understand the honor, strength, and lifelong wonder found within a relationship with Jesus, and knew it could be communicated through stories and characters in ways other than theological non-fiction—a genre widely unread by the majority of the world’s children and adults. During the past three years, Ben has worked on a fantasy trilogy: The Shadow Champion. His new sci-fi novel, Eonian, will be published and released in the fall of 2014.

Ben’s Genre:

Post-Apocalyptic Sci-fi; Heroic Fantasy

Ben’s Passion for Writing:

“My passion for writing began years before I could read or write. It was a love that stemmed from a vibrant, wide-eyed amazement of all things make-believe: bedtime stories, picture books, theater productions, movies, backyard pretending—it all embodied the possibility of an otherworldly escape to my impressionable, pre-school mind. As a boy, I would get lost in books, privately placing myself as a character within those fictional tales. Before I was ten years old, I had begun dreaming up my own worlds, complete with larger-than-life characters, and deadly archenemies. It wasn’t long before I attempted to write down the adventures from my mind, often in storyboard form. Somewhere along the way, while I grew farther into adulthood, the wonder was lost to me, as I think happens to many of us.

In my early twenties, I came into a saving faith in Jesus. Soon, when reading authors like Lewis and Tolkien, the idea of writing fiction with the intention of incorporating analogous truths that hold an eternal value became romanticized in my mind. As I matured in my faith, the make-believe of my youth—that had once been lost—began to reemerge.

Without necessarily intending to do so, I found myself dreaming up new, elaborate, imaginations that I would share with my sons. I have to confess, the actual act of writing has always been more of a burden—a means to an end. Dreaming of the story, in all its grandeur and beauty, comes easily…typing the words on a page, to convey the depths of those dreams, is daunting to say the least.”

What is Ben’s book about?

Eonian

“Death, blindness, and chaos—this is the reality that the 22-year-old military subcontracted courier, Gavin Marksdon, awakens to discover. It’s been nearly six months since a meteor storm pummeled one of the largest cities in America, causing a mysterious plague to spread throughout the world. The unknown bacterium is saturating every living organism with a contamination level that is bringing all civilization to a halt—technology and organic life are both struggling to survive.

Gavin regains consciousness in total darkness. Recovering from a grievous wound received by a meteor fragment, he learns there is a tangled web of his own government’s knowledge—deceit as well as a war—that has raged for countless eons from beyond Earth. While battling powerful changes to his physical form, Gavin and his handful of allies find themselves on an expedition that holds the balance of their world—a world wavering between a dark evil, and a new light. Journeying their way through a devastated, post-apocalyptic America, to find and save Gavin’s 13-year-old sister, Lenora, they stumble on a deeper conspiracy of a global alien presence…and their own government’s betrayal.”

 

A Book’s Mind |  iTunes: This Dust  | iTunes: North Element | PureVolume.com |
 | Facebook | Twitter | Email |

 

 

Ben’s Published Music:

 

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This Dust
by North Worship; 2008 | Spiritual / Alternative

 

“Slow and peaceful tones collide with driving rock to create a worship project that glorifies Jesus Christ with the honesty of humanity.”

 

A Book’s Mind |  iTunes: This Dust  | iTunes: North Element | PureVolume.com |
 | Facebook | Twitter | Email |

 

 

 

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North Element
by North Element; 2009 | Spiritual / Christian Rock

 

“A seven song EP with music that ranges from songs of wonder and praise to heart-wrenching cries for God to intervene in seemingly hopeless situations.”

 

A Book’s Mind |  iTunes: This Dust  | iTunes: North Element | PureVolume.com |
 | Facebook | Twitter | Email |

 

 

Upcoming Events:

Book Launch:

Eonian is scheduled to be released in fall of 2014 through A Book’s Mind publishing. The official book launch is scheduled for October 2014. Watch for the date!

 

 

Tell Ben you heard about him on editingaddict.com!

 

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Notes and Words Dance

[found on dittomusic.com]

Two tips of ten for writing music:

“Tune In To Your Emotions

When writing songs, it’s important to make sure that the lyrics have a powerful emotional impact. One of the best ways to make sure a song has an emotional impact is by writing lyrics with passion. It’s essential to be passionate about something in life. Without passion, everyday life can become dull and uninteresting. This insipid and bland lifestyle can seep into one’s lyrics. When you sell music online, don’t send people to sleep

Do Crazy Stuff

Few people ever hear a truly great song that was written by an accountant or a dentist. While these are good career choices, many musicians lead colorful lives that serve as an inspiration for their lyrics.”

To see more tips from Ditto Music, click here.

[found on http://www.dittomusic.com/blog/how-to-write-a-song-10-tips-on-how-to-boost-your-creative-side-when-writing-songs]

Exercise Your Writing Muscles

[found on writingforward.com; by Melissa Donovan]

“A compelling story speaks to us much the same way that music does, communicating thoughts, feelings, and ideas in ways that go beyond concrete language.

The result?

A click takes place within the psyche. When you hear a song or read a story that resonates in this manner, you connect with it on a deep level. It almost feels like the author or songwriter was speaking for you, about you, or to you.

Some say that truly great art communicates directly with the subconscious. That’s why the arts coexist so naturally. Where you find a buzzing music scene, you can be sure a booming literary crowd is nearby. And where filmmakers toil with scripts and cameras, you can bet dancers aren’t too far off.

Creativity breeds creativity and we are like magnets, drawn not just into our own passion, but those that complement and support our passions. Music, film, and art all enrich and inform one another. So do the musicians, filmmakers, artists, and of course, writers.

Fiction Writing Exercises

Some people say that everything has been written, every story told. But that’s not true. There’s always another angle, a different perspective that can be taken. And writers have all the tools they need to grab that perspective and run with it. You just need a starting point, and these fiction writing exercisescan help you find it. Try starting with a song.

Before you get started, here are a couple of tips to help you work through these exercises:

    • Make sure you aren’t familiar with the song’s video or that you don’t rewrite the video treatment.
    • Pick a song you like, something you can tolerate listening to several times over. In fact the more you enjoy the song, the greater the chance you’ll have fun with this experiment.

Exercise 1: A Story for a Song

Some of the greatest stories of all time have been told through song. Remember Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee?” John Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane?” What about Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff?” Each of these songs tells a clear and distinct story.

Choose a song that tells a clear story and write the story behind it. This is kind of like traveling backward and trying to find those one thousand words that represent the value of a picture.

Exercise 2: Ambiguous Tales

On the flip side, we have ambiguous lyrics, like “Hotel California,” by the Eagles or “Losing My Religion” by R.E.M. Tunes like these have inspired lively debates that ask, what are these songs about, anyway? And if we don’t know what the songs are about, why do they succeed at speaking to us? How do they become enormous hits that cross genre lines?

Choose a song that tells a vague story and write about what really happened. Your goal is to take a hazy story and make it clear.

Exercise 3: Who Needs Lyrics?

This is the biggest challenge of all: choose a piece of instrumental music (with no lyrics) and find the story in the melody, harmony, and rhythm.

Music and Fiction Writing Exercises

Throughout history, great artists have collaborated and mixed mediums and media to come up with fresh takes on ancient truths. These fiction writing exercises provide a new source for inspiration, get you working in collaboration with other artists (musicians), and give you creative license to put a new spin on something that’s been around for a while.

You can write a paragraph, a few pages, or an entire novel. You could also write a script for film or stage. If you’re strapped for time, just write an outline or a few character sketches. And if you don’t feel like writing it down, just work it out in your head. Find the connection between music and storytelling and let it capture your imagination.”

For more great information on writing and exercises by WritingForward.com, click HERE.

[found on http://www.writingforward.com/writing_exercises/fiction-writing-exercises/fiction-writing-exercises-story-for-a-song]