More CSFF Info from Jeff Gerke

The interview with freelance editor Jeff Gerke continues.

RLM: has an interesting section called the “random story generator.” Can you explain a little about that?

JG: Absolutely. I wanted to offer readers of some idea starters to get their creative juices flowing. So I thought of this random story generator, a simple plot blurb type sentence with several variables that will be randomly filled in by the computer. I sat down and wrote dozens of options for each variable, then sent the whole thing to my Christian speculative novelist friend, Randall Ingermanson, who did the JavaScript coding for me.

So if you go to the page once, it might say:

This is a post-apocalyptic story about a bad girl who wants to find the meaning of life but is prevented from doing so by crushing financial debt bent on covering up her addiction. God has designs on our hero, however. He wants to teach her that He is faithful, a lesson she resists. In the end, through our hero’s family’s money and the intervention of the arrival of the cavalry, the children are rescued.

But if you hit “refresh” the story blurb might be:

This is a far-future story about a pretender who wants to relive the glory days but is prevented from doing so by medications bent on upsetting the balance of power. God has designs on our hero, however. He wants to teach him to surrender to God’s plan, a lesson he resists. In the end, through our hero’s athletic prowess and the intervention of dumb luck, the relic is preserved.

And next time it might be:

This is a near-future story about a middle manager who wants to get out of this place but is prevented from doing so by an ailing parent bent on paving the way for an insidious plan. God has designs on our hero, however. He wants to teach him to wait on His timing, a lesson he resists. In the end, through our hero’s horsemanship and the intervention of the arrival of the father race, the seas return to their normal level.

LOL. These are actual results from the story generator, by the way. The idea was to have a little fun and be a little strange–with the possible outcome that a randomly generated result might just be weird enough to spark an idea in the writer looking for a spark.

In terms of pure silliness, I think it’s the most fun thing I’ve got on the site so far.

RLM: From silliness to significance, now that you’re working as a freelance editor, do you have plans to concentrate more on your writing as well?

JG: That’s definitely my hope. But first I have to pay the bills. That’s going well so far, but I need to continue building my client base. When I have that done, I’ll be eager to turn to my work-in-progress. Which is, of course, an epic fantasy. Your readers can sample it at

RLM: What can you tell us about the work–where it’s headed and when.

JG: The when is definitely in God’s hands. I’d rather be working on that book than doing just about anything else. Even before I left NavPress, though, I was working on I’ve been percolating on something like this for a long time. And now, of course, I’ve got to get the freelance thing up and running. But always there’s a tug on my heart to get back to Tiercel and his world.

The story is a “hero’s journey” tale. I’m referring to Joseph Campbell’s theory [RLM: Interestingly, this topic was discussed in part, in the comments to Wednesday’s post at Speculative Faith] that certain stories are found in all cultures in all places throughout history. The hero’s journey, what he called the monomyth, is the primary story. It tells of a young person who longs for adventure and finally is thrust into it. It tells of vicious enemies and unlikely allies. It tells of a mystical marriage and a descent into the underworld and, finally, the defeat of the Enemy. Both The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars (especially the original trilogy) are hero’s journey stories. There’s a reason they impact us so deeply. I’m hoping my story will have a similar impact.

Tiercel is a young man living in a backwoods region on a fantasy world. He longs to become a holy warrior but all his life he’s been told he’s a complete waste of oxygen. Events transpire that send him away from what he’s always known to find he knows not what. God, he hopes, and possibly induction into the ranks of his idolized heroes: the paladins. He attends the paladin academy and…and beyond that you’ll have to read the book to find out. But there is a lovely woman involved, along with a surprising “villain,” glorious combat, stunning betrayal, and an impending evil that only those few who have studied an ancient, forgotten art may be able to thwart.

Good stuff, baby.

Your readers can check out a photo-enhanced quest map of the first phase of Tiercel’s journey: here. Start at the lower right and work left.

RLM: Do you have any other books in the works?

JG: I noodle on ideas from time to time. My agent has asked me to provide her with page-long synopses for fourth books I could add to my two existing trilogies. Those would be fun and might help the trilogies find new publishing homes. But I confess my heart’s mainly in Tiercel’s story. My poor agent: I never give her anything of mine she can actually sell anywhere!

RLM: Jeff, I so appreciate you taking the time to fill us in, but even more, I appreciate your active role in generating awareness of and enthusiasm for Christian science fiction and fantasy. This is the kind of attention to our genre many of us CSFF writers have longed for.

Published in: on September 1, 2006 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  
%d bloggers like this: