Adding Colour by Pamela Mytroen

The hotel room I am staying in depresses me. Shades of brown from the bedspread to the carpet and drapes and even the beige wallpaper and gold-framed art are lacking an accent colour. But what is worse, a bland monochromatic colour scheme or loud colours of every shade shouting at you?

To add colour to our writing maybe we should paint it on as an accent rather than pour on the whole gallon. Writing through our five senses of smell, taste, touch, hearing, and sight adds pops of colour.

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A Sabbatical, Not an Excuse by Tracy Krauss

The book of Ecclesiastics tells us that there is a season to every activity. We are all familiar with the “list,” but nowhere does it say, “A time to write and a time to refrain from writing.” Still, God Himself provides us with a cyclical example by resting on the seventh day. It is reasonable to assume, then, that creative activities like writing also benefit from a season of rest.

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From Picture to Story by Jack Popjes

I just finished reading the second in the three-volume series of Ransom Riggs’ “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” Riggs came across some vintage photographs of children and was struck by the peculiarities of expression, bodies, dress, or poses. He collected more of the same style of photos and eventually developed a storyline based totally on the photos and the peculiarities they showed.

After personally handling and viewing 100,000 photos, he wrote the first volume, using a photo to introduce each character, setting, and situation. The result is not only a fascinating story liberally illustrated with vintage photos but a book that was on the New York Times best sellers list for nearly a year and sold 2 million copies.

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Are You Hooked? by Steph Beth Nickel


“Imagine for a moment that one of your favorite female Bible characters were to somehow travel through time to the modern day. What would Esther, or Ruth, or Mary Magdalene think as they stared, amazed, at our lives?” (opening of Chapter 1 of The Life Ready Woman: Thinking in a Do-It-All World by Shaunti Feldhahn and Robert Lewis)

“It was a scary year when I sat down to write this. The toughest I’d been through by far. My place in the world never seemed so uncertain.” (opening of the Introduction of My Life A.S. Is: An Inside Look at Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome by Benjamin Collier)

“This is the story of a family living on a farm that once belonged to my grandparents. It is about the individuals, the personalities and the ties that bind us to each other, in love and in faith, within a community of extended family, neighbours and friends.” (opening of Chapter 1 of Once Upon a Sandbox by Carolyn Wilker)

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Metaphor is a Golden Thread by Pamela Mytroen

One of the biggest challenges I face as I write human interest stories is to weave the hundreds of little anecdotes and stories that a person, business, or concert provides into a cohesive piece.

I learned a strategy with the first piece I wrote for the newspaper—but not without some growing pains. The old gal was ninety-eight and fell asleep 15 minutes into the interview. After I rescheduled the visit, I came away with reams of fascinating but disjointed stories. What would I use for glue?

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You Still Get Fudge by Brenda J. Wood

Even though the recipe is unbelievably simple, even though there are only two ingredients, the result is terrific fudge.

1 pkg. (225 g) Baker’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate
1 can (300 ml) sweetened condensed milk
Line 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides; spray with cooking spray. Melt chocolate as directed on package. Add milk; mix well. Spread onto prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into 24 pieces.

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Happy New Year

It’s here . . . a brand new year with brand new writing opportunities.

Here are twelve suggestions to make this your best year yet:

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Showing or Telling by Carolyn Wilker

A student wrote a story about a memory from her childhood when she went on a walk by herself. Fascinated by the water that flowed in the ditch alongside the road near her home, she got into mud and was stuck. She didn’t know what to do. Fortunately, her parents were not too far away and heard her call. This was a story that could include much showing. What was she thinking as she walked along in her rubber boots? Did she realize she was heading into danger? Actually the student did a pretty good job of relaying the story so we could see it.

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Curtains: Writing Effective Endings – Pamela Mytroen

Three that I come across regularly are the “Sudden-Death Curtain,” the “Preview Curtain,” and the “Curtain Call. In the Sudden-Death Curtain ending, a story or article ends without warning. Read More

Holed Up or Hold Up?

A while back, I got to thinking about why I have such a tough time just sitting down to write. I have lots of ideas for books floating around my head. And because I work from home, I have the privilege of creating my own schedule. So, what’s the hold up?

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