Monday, January 30, 2012

Word for the Week

I've been studying the book of Proverbs in the Bible. Last night I was meditating on Proverb 8:34.


Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.

After reflecting on this passage, I began to pray. My mind began to flit and wander and I couldn't focus. I asked God for calm. Immediately, my mind centered on him. I told him that I wanted to be one who listens to him, who follows what he says. I asked him what he wanted to say to me and a blank white board came to mind. I waited. Then the word "courage" was written on the board . That's it. No further instructions.

So, that's my word for the week. Courage.

What am I to do with it? Am I going to need courage this week? I don't know yet, but I'm sure the Lord will reveal it to me. In the meantime, I'm going to study the word and think on it further.

Did God ever give you a word for the week? Or a task to do? Do you have trouble focusing and listening to God?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Taking Control of Your Characters

 Writing Exercise included in this one!

When I write, the words just come out (most of the time). I don't know where they came from and I don't consciously take control of molding my characters.

Now that I'm revising, I need to.

I am the writer. My characters can not tell me what to do. They do not control their own destinies. I do.

I'm going to take a look at my MC's best friend, Jenesse. This is my opening paragraph for Jenesse.

Jenesse Waters was far from the typical librarian-type. She liked things big and bright; gaudy jewelry, high heels, brilliant colors, and she wore them in unusual combinations. She said her "style" made her feel "radiant". Others felt it too. She lit up a room. If you looked at her huge mirrored earrings by themselves, you might say, "Ewww, how awful; who would wear those?", but on Jenesse, they were just right. her accessories were as much a part of her, as her personality. She was enthusiastic and adventurous. You might wonder how she came to work at a library. That story is as unconventional as Jenesse herself.

Yes, there are problems. 

1. I went off on a tangent about her clothes, so much that you hardly see that she is enthusiastic and adventurous, which are important.
2. I tell. I don't show.
3. It's sort of boring and you don't really connect with Jenesse.

Here's what I WANT readers to get about Jenesse:
--She is enthusiastic and has a bubbly personality. She is a friend to all.
--She is adventurous and lives life to the fullest.
--She knows God has a plan for her life and she is actively seeking it.  

Did I accomplish any of those things? 


So, how can I fix it?

I need to take CONTROL of Jenesse. She wanted to flaunt her accessories. I need to write what really matters...her character.

Writing Exercise: For practice at taking control, rewrite my paragraph based on what I want the readers to know about Jenesse (above in red). I will be doing the same.  

Note: It doesn't matter that you don't know any more about Jenesse. This is just practice at taking control of a character and getting across what you want. Some things you may wish to use: Dialog, specific nouns and adjectives, active verbs. Show, don't tell. Post what you write in the Comments Section. I will do the same when I'm done. Sounds like a fun challenge! Let's go!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Short Stories are...short

Source: Amazon
Why I Like Short Stories
By Dawn M. Hamsher

I like short stories because they are short.

The End.



How was that for a post?

I am having the most delightful time at work reading short stories by Roald Dahl. I can read a whole short story over my lunch break and then I'm replete because I have closure (it helps the food digest better).

Do you like short stories or do you prefer killer thick books? Why?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Revising The Eggs

I'm still revising (and will be for months) and this comic hatched from my head...

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Source: Amazon
I finished reading Betrayed by J.M. Windle. I attended two of Ms. Windle's workshops at Susquehanna Writer's Conference last year and I enjoyed her information so much that I bought one of her books.

Here's what I thought of this book:

1. I really enjoyed the Christian aspect and theme that ran through it. I also liked how she introduced a Bible story through one of the characters. It was a clever way to do it that did not make the reader feel lectured to. She carried that lesson through the story -- in fact, that lesson changed the character's life (and her future decisions).

2. Her world-building is strong! I felt as if I was in the tropical rain forest -- her description was that vivid. She also knows her stuff on politics and corruption in Guatemala and that makes the setting really believable.

3. It was a good murder mystery with twists. It was neat how the entire book (past and present of character) connected together. That is some good writing to make it all fit together so nicely.

This is not the type of book I usually read, but I enjoyed it and learned a lot (about writing and about 3rd world politics).

What did you learn from the last book you read?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Psalm 119

My writer's group, 1st Writes, is studying Psalm 119. We went over the first 8 verses. Read them now, then answer the question below.

Psalm 119:1-8 NLT
 1 Joyful are people of integrity,
      who follow the instructions of the LORD.
 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws
      and search for him with all their hearts.
 3 They do not compromise with evil,
      and they walk only in his paths.
 4 You have charged us
      to keep your commandments carefully.
 5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
      reflect your decrees!
 6 Then I will not be ashamed
      when I compare my life with your commands.
 7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
      I will thank you by living as I should!
 8 I will obey your decrees.
      Please don’t give up on me!

Q: What can we learn from these verses that can impact our writing?

Please share in Comments Section. My take is below.

Wow. When Pam Williams asked the group this, I wondered how she was going to tie it to writing. Then we started searching. Words like "integrity" and "righteous" jumped out at me. My writing can reflect Christ by upholding his truths. 

Then the phrase "search for him with all their hearts" hit me. As I seek Christ, I can also include him in my writing (by praying and asking for his blessing). He longs to be a part of my writing (and yours). If only we'd ask him to. 

How about you? What do the verses say to you?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Something to look forward to...

During the winter months, I'll be preparing for the A to Z Challenge!  This is the blogging challenge where you post one blog per day in the month of April and you visit other bloggers in the challenge.

I really enjoyed it last year and found some great blogs, which I still visit regularly. It was a great way to network!

Maybe you'd like to join too!  You can start planning now and then it won't be overwhelming.

Read Helpful Tips from Alan Garrigues for A to Z tips. 

Another good place to get information about the challenge is from Arlee Bird at Tossing it Out. Lee is the founder of the A to Z Challenge. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Writercize Challenge - New Fairy Tale Ending

Alana at Writercize has a Weekend Challenge: New Endings, where you write a different ending to a popular fairy tale.

Here's my entry:

Hansel and Gretel – The Real Ending

Gretel did indeed trick the old witch at her own game. She slammed the witch in the oven when she was showing Gretel how to stoke the fire that would soon cook Hansel. When the witch’s screams stopped, Gretel let Hansel out of his cage. They searched the hag’s gingerbread home and found a small stash of rubies and emeralds, a fortune that would buy them all the food they’d ever need in this land of famine.

Then the two sat down to decide what to do. They could go back to their father, the woodcutter’s home, but even if their nasty step-mother were still alive, they would have to live with the fact that their father had abandoned them to die in the forest. No. They decided it would be better to make their own way in the world. 

They lived in the old hag’s cottage until they were grown and then, selling some of their jewels, they set out together to find suitable marriages.

Hansel married a fine woman who cooked him the richest of foods. He was plump and happy the rest of his life. Gretel married the town’s confectioner (for the famine was no longer in the land) and helped him in the shop. The one thing though, that she refused to let him sell was gingerbread. Of that, she could not abide.