Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The ABC's of the Writing Life

I spent yesterday organizing the material I brought back from the Christian Writers Seminar I attended on Saturday. That's one down and two more to go (See blog post on 1/28/2010). Before going I had decided to venture beyond the children's writing track and concentrate on workshops to enhance my writing in general. I settled on attending the fiction track taught by novelist John Olson.

John has written seven novels, receiving numerous awards including the coveted Christy Award. The most significant piece of information I came away with involved a visual, which helps me remember. As John explains, the hero must have an overall driving desire that propels him/her forward inevitably encountering serial conflicts along the way. Those serial conflicts also involve desires that drive the hero through the conflict.

Picture a water skier holding onto several tow ropes. Each rope is attached to a boat with a label (e.g., Romance, Mystery, Thrill, Adventure and Transcendence). Only one boat can pull the skier (aka hero) at a time. So as you write, let the current conflict/desire (e.g., Mystery—another phone call from the anonymous caller) steer the story forward to its mini-conclusion until the next boat (e.g., Thrill—car chase through the streets of Paris) takes control through another conflict encounter. All the action and suspense keeps the reader involved, wondering what's next as the story moves to its conclusion where the hero solves his big desire.

Whew!... I'm worn out getting through all that action and suspense. Really gets your creative juices going. Speaking of which... I'm finding it very helpful to read lots of different fiction to help get my own juices going. My next book to read will be John Olson's Fossil Hunter. The female hero, Dr. Katie James, makes a shocking discovery that sets the world of paleontology on its ear. Can't wait!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sold... to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine

I heard from Suzanne Gosselin, editor of Clubhouse Jr. Magazine on Friday February 12th. They love my non-fiction article on dog jobs, It's a Dog's Job But Somebody's Gotta Do It.... and they will be purchasing the article! WaaaaaaaaaHooooooooo! I screamed for joy when I read the email. Yes! I am excited! Clubhouse Jr. has a circulation of 65,000.

Our twenty-eight-year-old son read all the Focus on the Family children's magazines while growing up: Clubhouse Jr. (ages 4 - 8), Clubhouse (ages 8 - 12) and the no longer produced Breakaway (boys 12 - 18). These wonderful, fun-filled magazines will delight your kids and grandkids. Get them a subscription for an upcoming birthday or Easter. Even a savvy two-year-old, like my grandnephew, loves Clubhouse Jr.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Haiti Update

Despite the devastation in Haiti the Haitians, resilient and resourceful, show signs of moving on. Life is returning to Port-au-Prince. Street vendors are slowly appearing selling fruits and vegetables and clothing new and used (likely salvaged from destroyed homes and shops). Even car horns and the roar of traffic have returned as fuel supplies stabilize—no more long lines.

Visit Bob Thorp's blog—Thoughts Twenty One Days Later—to read more about Haiti's ongoing metamorphosis. Bob has been on the ground in Haiti since shortly after the earthquake. Being a member of Compassion International's Complementary Interventions team, he assists the local Compassion staff in the daunting job of assessing damage to their partner churches and collecting information on Compassion sponsored children and their families. Because the Compassion office building shows signs of instability, the staff have been conducting business in the office parking lot. Many of the staff lost homes and family members in the quake.

We have discovered that our sponsored child, Jorkaeff, is safe and uninjured and the church where he receives instruction and support from Compassion through our sponsorship is intact. Montrois where Jorkaeff lives is about 35 miles north of Port-au-Prince along the seacoast. On our trip to Haiti in 2005, we helped build classrooms for the church in Montrois and met Jorkaeff during that time. He is now 7 years old.

Unfortunately the status of the partner church where Whatline, our sponsored child who was released from the program as an adult last year, is dire. Great damage and loss of lives. Whatline lived in the Delmas slum district of Port-au-Prince right in the middle of all the damage. We fear the worst, but must wait to inquire about her after currently sponsored children are accounted for—if that's even possible. Whatline aspired to be a nurse. Our hope remains that she survived and may be found working side-by-side with her fellow Haitians tending to the needs of the injured.

A picture of us and Whatline at the Compassion office in 2005 is shown at my blog post Horror in Haiti.

Please remember Haiti in your prayers and giving.

Ke Bondje beni Haiti (God bless Haiti)Haiti Donate Online


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