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"Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God." Psalm 102:18

"Write my answer on a billboard, large and clear, so that anyone can read it at a glance and rush to tell the others." Habakkuk 2:2

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Face to Face

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending a one day mini writing conference with my Mother. We had a nice time together, and also meeting other local writers. The workshops were informative and inspiring. As I spoke with a writer at lunch, I realized the importance of face to face communication.

I have the distinct pleasure of being a part of ACFW - American Christian Fiction Writers. There are many avenues of encouragement and learning through the group. They offer monthly courses, a prayer loop, genre loops, daily blogs, a yearly conference, etc. Members have the ability to connect via the world wide web and through email. As encouraging as all this has been for me, I realize how important it is to actually meet with people in person. Perhaps it's because you can see people's facial expressions. But there is something special about communication with others when you are actually all together.

It's been a week since I met with these other writers, and still I feel the influence from that day of connecting together. My writing has been a bit at a standstill as of late for several reasons. One is that I have been sick for the past three weeks, and just haven't felt up to it. Then there also is the fact that we are down to the last five weeks of my son's homeschool year. When we finish, I will have completed 16 years of my homeschooling career. The next month or so will be spent finalizing graduation requirements, working on final grades, homeschool evaluations, etc. Since it is our final year, I'm devoting my time to my son and our last homeschooling days.

But even with all that going on, I still decided to enter two more writing contests. I had the courage to do so because of my time spent with other writers last weekend, and also because of an email of encouragement from a friend of mine. I praise God for the different ways that He uses people to encourage us - in person and online.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Love to Write

I was working through my writing assignment this week with Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and I made a discovery - I LOVE TO WRITE. All right, it really wasn't something new, but it did remind me of how much I enjoy writing.

I had to write a two paragraph scene three different ways - first with no emotions - more like a narrator. The second one could show a little more attachment, and then the final was to be completely in character. Here's what I came up with for the assignment.


Very Distant

It was the winter of 1878. A cold wind blew, shaking the windows of the log house. A woman shuddered and wrapped her shawl tighter around her shoulders. She tossed another log onto the dwindling flames. A child’s cry sounded from the bedroom. The woman stretched her back and directed her steps to the infant.
            Screams reached a fevered pitch. The woman paced the room, patting the infant to no avail. A hound dog whimpered, nearly tripping the woman. The door open, followed by a blast of cold. A man entered.
Mid-Range
North Dakota was always cold and the winter of 1878 was no exception. The blowing snow rattled the windows of the log cabin. Emily Wentworth shivered, drawing her shawl around her shivering shoulders. Jack should have been home by now. Was he caught in the blizzard? She tossed another log on the fire watching as the flames popped and sprang to life. Jack Junior set to howling. He never woke cooing, but always with a cry. Emily sighed and stretched her aching back before heading to the bedroom.
            She picked up the infant as his screams intensified. Emily feared her milk wasn’t enough nourishment for the tyke. But at a month old, he wasn’t ready for anything else. A tear dripped off Emily’s chin as she nearly tripped over Tucker, their faithful dog. He looked up at her and whined as if asking her to make the cries stop. Emily paced to the kitchen when the door slammed open, followed by a cold blast of air. She shivered and watched as a snow covered man stepped in the room.
No Psychic Distance
            Devil’s Lake, North Dakota was the opposite of its name when it came to winter time. Frigid air constantly blew off the lake. Folks said the winter of 1878 was the worst they’d ever seen and Emily Wentworth believed them. It was much too cold for a southern gal. Too bad she hadn’t considered that before she agreed to become a mail-order bride. Emily shivered, huddling in her shawl as she threw another log on the fire. She couldn’t allow it to go out or they’d freeze to death. Jack Junior bellowed from the bedroom. Would he ever wake up happy instead of angry at the world? Emily sighed and stretched her aching back. She’d just put the month-old infant down thirty minutes ago.
            “Mama’s here.” Emily murmured as she adjusted the baby to her shoulder. She patted his back. Maybe she forgot to burp him again. Either that or her milk wasn’t satisfying her child. His insatiable hunger never seemed to be quenched. “Guess you’re too young for mashed potatoes.” Jack Junior’s screams pierced her heart. Will I ever learn how to be a good mother? A tear trickled down her cheek. Emily paced back and forth between the kitchen and the bedroom. Tucker, their hound dog, matched her steps, whining with each of Jack’s cries. Emily was about ready to give into her own sobbing when the kitchen door flew open. A snow covered man stumbled inside. She set the wailing child in the cradle by the fire and hurried to help her husband.


So what do you think? Which do you like better?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Keeping On...

The more I work at writing, the more I realize there is for me to learn. Perhaps part of being a writer, is that continual desire to learn new things. I never enjoyed history when I was attending school, but find it fascinating now. Good thing, since I'm interested in writing historical fiction. :)

I was impressed by a blog post I read yesterday on Seekerville, about keeping on with our writing, even if you don't yet see publication in sight. I felt inspired to keep on writing. I'm still editing my lighthouse novel, but decided too that I need to move forward with the plans for my mail-order bride novel.

I'm going to keep on, keeping on with this writing quest. I pray for God's anointing on the words and stories He gives me. May He one day use them to speak to hearts and to move in the lives of my future readers. May His name be praised on my writing journey.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lessons Learned

I've been thinking a lot about lessons learned through my writing. As I worked through the various books that I've written over the years, whether fiction, nonfiction, or Bible studies, there is always something that God teaches me through the process of getting the words on the page.

As I look toward starting a new historical novel, I can't help but wonder what God will be teaching me (and my characters) as I write. I pray that He not only conveys His truths into my own life, but also into the lives of my future readers too. May my heart's desire be to be more like Him.