Hope, Hearts & Heroes Blog

How Does One Write Well – Part 2

Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

In the first part of this article, previously posted here, I mostly addressed why a Christian writer should write well, though I also touched on some ways we can do that. In this article, I will address more ways in which we actually can write well.

In the first article, I mentioned learning. What do we need to learn? Every writer should have a fairly good knowledge of the basics of writing: spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and how to know when to begin and end a paragraph. Every writer should also know how to properly write dialogue. These are the mechanics of writing, and if you find any of these items difficult, you can still be a good writer. How? You will need to hire an editor. I will address editors more in depth later in this article.

What do writers need to know, in addition to the technical or mechanical aspects of writing? Writers need to know how to tell a story: how to choose the best words to write descriptions, action, dialogue, conflict; how to create deep characters that readers can relate to and how to give these characters strengths and weaknesses, as well as showing character growth in the main characters from the beginning of the story to the end of the story; and above all, how to weave the story together in a way that will grip the reader’s attention from the very first sentence until the very last sentence of the novel.

That all sounds like a tall order, and it is. If you are a writer, you, most likely, are also a reader, or, at least, you should be. Reading books is one way to learn how to write a good book. Reading books should also show you what not to do as a writer. I’m sure all readers have read at least one poorly written book in their reading time: a book that had lots of grammatical errors or had parts where the reader became bored or confused, or the book rushed the ending leaving the reader feeling as though some important information or action was missing, or names of characters or places were written differently in sections of the book—either changing the names or the spelling of the names, or a change in the description of a main character. Maybe the ending left the reader hanging and there is no sequel; the book is supposed to be a stand-alone.

There are many things that can pull a reader out of the story or disappoint a reader.

As a writer, do you know that you make a promise to your reader with every book you write, no matter what genre you write?

Continue reading “How Does One Write Well – Part 2”

Monkey Business

Writers love using pets in their novels. Not only is it great for character development, but it adds an extra element of emotion and makes the story more enjoyable. Even some book or movie villains are dog or cat lovers, though they tend to prefer cats, perhaps because cats are not as heroic as dogs, and not as easily manipulated. Like the crazy cat lady in the Harry Potter Books, and Cruella De Vil in the original novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians. After all, isn’t the main purpose of fictional pets to show a softer side of the characters?

I don’t know what inspired me to use a pet monkey in Misty Dreams. While romance writers typically write dogs or cats into their stories, I went with a primate. A bit unconventional, perhaps, but once the idea set in, it wouldn’t budge. I’ve always had a fascination with monkeys in general. I just think they’re cute and smart and funny. I don’t have anything against dogs or cats, don’t get me wrong. I just thought it would add a unique touch to the story. To make a tropical island the story’s present-day setting was an afterthought, and completely unrelated to my choice of fictional pet.

Me as a teenager at a Christmas ice skating show
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Memories of a garden

Today I thought I’d take a little break from sharing fiction and writing about fiction and share a post I wrote in 2017 (I can’t even believe it’s been that long) about planting a garden in the backyard of the house I was living in at the time. I hope you enjoy this little foray into my personal life as I reflect on the wonderful moments that planting season brought.

The Garden

Rain fell steady just like the weather app said it would and I felt a twinge of disappointment. I knew it would mean a couple more days of waiting to plant the garden my son and I have wanted for a couple of years now.

I had always dismissed the idea of a garden because we live in town on a busy, noisy street and somehow, for this country girl, gardens are meant for quiet, out of the way yards where they can be admired on a warm summer evening in golden hour light. 

I had wanted to wait until we actually moved to the country to create a garden but since that doesn’t seem to be remotely close to reality at the moment, we started planning what we wanted to plant and where, early in the spring.

Pumpkins, squash and various herbs for him.

Cucumbers, carrots, green beans, peas, and potatoes for me.

Strawberries and watermelon for her.

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A True Tale Part 1

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Having replacement surgery of my right hip in September has left me rather foggy brained. I struggled with writing only being able to concentrate for short periods. I spent time binge watching Ghost Hunters as simple, mindless entertainment. As I thought about what to write in my befuddled state, I remembered a story I had written a few years ago about my own, personal experience with the paranormal when I was in high school. It seemed appropriate to share this in the month of October when our thoughts turn to all things ghostly on Halloween. I hope you enjoy reading Part One of my scary, true tale. Part Two will follow on October 15. Stay spooky my friends!

Autumn had already swept most of the leaves from the trees, their sad remains clogging walkways and corners. The unmistakable sense of approaching winter hung in the air, like a bird of prey about to swoop. The night was dark, and we were young and reckless and looking for adventure. At least that is what I told myself. What we really were was a bunch of silly high school students. We were members of the Manville High School Drama Club. Our play practices usually ran until about seven or eight o’clock at night. Being young and irresponsible we did not go home after practice to do homework as sensible students would, no, instead we looked for adventure, driving around for about an hour or more before heading home. Laughing and talking we drove into the country that night investigating roads we had not travelled before; following our noses to see where they would lead. 

Continue reading “A True Tale Part 1”

Word Painting

Photo by Ben Wilkins on Unsplash

Hello, This post was written by Patrick Lauser who is doing some traveling right now and had problems with computer connections, so I am posting this for him.

I’ve thought for some time about an idea I like to think of as “word painting”: the idea of just having description, with story only occurring as a part of the description rather than the other way around. The idea of description is to paint a picture after all (or perhaps a map or diagram or what have you).

It would be a good exercise, yes, but also a finished product, a goal. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to take it in in a glance like a painting (made with paint), but it would have its own advantages over other mediums.

In a way people already do this: in the house we’re staying in they have decorations (the like of which I’ve seen before) which are words like “love” and “relax”, and they have duvets with writing all over them like “new day, new start” and “life is better in pyjamas”, and abstract artists will include words in pictures as part of the art. But I wonder what it would be like to hang something like this on the wall:

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