Scary Days

These can be scary days we live in if we don’t know where to find the answers. The times have changed forever the face of our world. The times, they are achangin’, but I’m grateful for the time we have to spend together each week. So let’s get to it.

 Often, we’re told that all  you need is a good story to succeed. So what makes a good story? Maybe vibrant characters will hold our reader’s interest. Or could it be we need an exciting plot? All this is true. What isn’t true is that that’s not all we need. 

This week we’ll take a look at description. Remember the last time  you couldn’t put  down a book. What kept the pages turning into the wee hours of the morning? No doubt the characters were well defined. No doubt the plot was intriguing. But what about description? It’s description that makes characters come alive (of course, great dialogue always helps). It’s description that creates a believable and drivable plot.

The key to holding your reader’s attention is to activate their imagination. How do you do this? Vivid description. You can help your readers see past the pages and take them into your world by using powerful descriptions of nouns, in particular. Think people, places, and things. Let’s add events to the list.

Detailed description allows you to establish an emotional connection with your audience, thus making the content more memorable, which keeps your readers engaged and coming back. 

I leave you with three thoughts on description. Hopefully, these will make your writing more compelling and clear.

1. Focus on the human experience. Realize that you are one human writing to another human. What do you experience in your human form? The one on the other side of the book experiences the same things. Make your description identifiable. Just like you, they go through challenges, moments of joy and pain, times of frustration. Let these show in  your writing.

2. Use sensory words. This is one of the best ways to help your reader understand the scene you set before them. You have five senses. Your reader has five senses. Use them all. Don’t just allow them to understand the scene. Allow them to experience it. Below are some examples of sensory words.

Sight: Dark, dingy, gloomy, bright, dazzling, shimmering, twinkling
Touch: Smooth, scratchy, frigid, scalding, fuzzy, rocky, slick
Sound: Screeching, buzzing, chirping, clinking, growling, jangling,
Taste: Bitter, sweet, buttery, zesty, spicy, tart, crispy
Smell: Musty, foul, floral, piney, smokey, acrid

3. Include anecdotes, similes, and metaphors. Especially when writing nonfiction, anecdotes are helpful. An anecdote is just a short narrative about a real incident that helps to drive home your point. In the world of preaching, we call them illustrations.

A simile is a comparison of two things using the words “like” or “as.” For example, “The rain flooded the streets like an ocean.” A metaphor is like a simile but without the use of “like” or “as”.  We could say, “The sound of the rain was music to my ears.” We compare the flooded streets to an ocean. We compare the sound of rain to music.

It may make things a little more difficult, but I believe developing description will be time well spent. 

That concludes another Wednesday. I hope yours is as great as I’m planning mine to be. See you next week.



The Third Dimension

Life goes on. One foot in front of the other – or so they say. But sometimes it doesn’t seem that way. Sometimes life throws us off-balance. We struggle, regain our composure and move on. Is that the life of a writer or what? So many things cause us to lose our focus, but we regain our composure and move on. At least, I hope we do. 

This week, let’s look at developing 3D characters. 

The first dimension is what we see on the outside. It’s the quirks and habits, the idiosyncrasies. This may or may not be who your character really is. Without a second and third dimension, it’s hard to tell.

The second dimension is where we see what’s on the inside. Make use of backstory here. Let us know why your protagonist and other characters act and react the way they do. What is it in their past that brings out the present in them? Think dreams that never happen. Think childhood fears playing out in adult life. Don’t be afraid to let your characters act out of character from time to time. No one in actual life is true to themselves 100% of the time.

The third dimension brings the stage to life. Let your actors surprise your reader. Have your strong man crumble. Have your weak man rise to the occasion.

It’s within humanity to search for a higher purpose. Give them one. We all have a destiny, so let your protagonist reach for hers. Give her a different path to follow than might be expected. Let it be known she was created for such a time as this. Maybe this unfamiliar path works. Maybe it doesn’t, but it does give an added dimension. 

Allow his inner feelings to show on the outside, to be expressed physically. What does a new haircut tell us about how an individual is feeling? How about a character that has worn the same clothes for a week? There is a difference in appearance, and likely there is a difference in how they feel on the inside. Just an example of showing, not telling. Trust your reader to figure it out.

Another way to deepen the third dimension is to use conflicting emotions. It may be the wife knows she’s not truly loved by her husband and needs to walk out, but deep inside she loves her husband. She is torn by the decision she must make. Or perhaps she feels she needs to stay for the kid’s sake. Either way, she’s reached a point of conflict in her emotions. Everyday people reach this point repeatedly. Make her an everyday person.

Use real-life emotions. Could it be that what your character is showing on the outside really isn’t what he is feeling? There are many reasons your main man might not reveal himself to the world, but inwardly his emotion is heavy. His outward appearance may be a smoke screen for something deeper. Then again, he may be very open with his feelings. We all have emotions, and we can identify with a character that has powerful emotions. It’s called empathy, and that’s exactly what you want to create in your reader. 

Let me summarize for you. You need to show your character with all three dimensions. People are emotional beings with conflict that includes all three dimensions. They are the sum of all their parts. This is what you want your reader to grasp. We’re filled with dreams and hope for a future, but we’re also filled with shameful secrets and self-doubts. Bring it all out in your key character and you have done your job.

Well, that should do it until next week. See  you then!


Sidestepping the Issue

Another week has passed. Time obviously doesn’t wait for anybody. I’ve always been interested in time travel – the ability literally to revisit the past or to take a peek into the future. Theoretically, it can be done, but that’s where it ends. Really, we’re all time travellers. We travel one moment at a time through time. We travel through hours, days, and years. That being said, let’s get to it.

We all know the writing cliche show, don’t tell. One of the best ways I know to show is to use dialogue. But just as we have a tendency to tell too much, we may also have a tendency to allow our character to say too much. Sometimes less is better. Sometimes allowing our character to sidestep an issue is good.

Think about the following conversation between Jim and Tom. Tom has done something stupid and hurtful to Jim. You want to paint Tom as cold and uncaring. It may be to your advantage to allow silence to speak. Let me show you what I mean.

Tom’s actions caused Jim to be visibly upset. “I can’t believe you did that! I can’t believe it! Why, Tom? Why?”

Tom said, “Just let me alone I don’t have to answer you.” Not looking up, he flipped another page in the magazine.

Jim repeated, “Why did you do it? Tell me.”

By this time Tom had enough. “If  you say one more word . . . “ He stood and gazed out the window.

“I hate you for what you’ve done!”

“You’re a jerk, Jim. A real jerk.” Tom turned and walked away. 

Now, let’s remove Tom’s dialogue. Let the silence speak

Tom’s actions caused Jim to be visibly upset. “I can’t believe you did that! I can’t believe it! Why, Tom? Why?”

 Not looking up, he flipped another page in the magazine.

Jim repeated, “Why did you do it? Tell me.”

He stood and gazed out the window.

“I hate you for what you have done.”

Tom turned and walked away.

Experiment with it. Have fun with it. Try it both ways. See what works best. 

Well, time has gone for this week. Imagine that! Let me know what you think in the comments below and I’ll see you later.


Writing from the Heart

There can be no doubt good writing includes proper grammar and punctuation, the mechanics. A thought leading somewhere is also a must. You can use all the right grammar. Spell-check it three times. Use your styler. But it’s all useless if you don’t write from your heart.

So today I’m writing from my heart. A few weeks ago, I said I was done with COVID-19. But today I’m writing from the heart and I must mention it again. People are so focused on the disease they miss what’s happening behind the scenes. Before I go any further, let me say I’m sympathetic to those who have suffered from the disease and to families who have lost a loved one due to the pandemic. 

I know some of you may disagree, but the fact is COVID-19 is media-driven for the purpose of causing fear and panic. What’s behind the fear and panic? The New World Order. The NWO is that which is prophesied in the book of Revelation. It will be a one-world government headed by the antichrist.

This is not a fairy tale, and we are living in the midst of it. Just when the takeover will be,  no one can say. This may or may not lead directly into the time the Bible calls The Tribulation. It may linger for several years, but it also may begin tomorrow. Either way, the stage is being set. As far as the prophetic element of our times, I will leave a link here for you to check out.

I have heard the lie, America is not equipped to handle the COVID-19. It is unprecedented in scope and power. Am I to believe this pandemic is the worst America has ever suffered? 

What about the influenza pandemic of 1918?  They estimate that about 500 million people or one-third of the world’s population became infected with this virus. It is estimated the number of deaths to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 occurring in the United States. 

We have the Asian flu of 1957. The estimated number of deaths was 1.1 million worldwide and 116,000 in the United States. Still, we have the N3H2 virus of 1968. The estimated number of deaths was 1 million worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States. The number of deaths caused by pneumonia is over 57,000/year. 

Enough ranting for today. So what does all that have to do with writing? Nothing except that I’m writing from my heart. I’m not big on conspiracy theories, but people are being blinded by a cover-up that falls under the category of fulfilled Bible prophecy. You need to know. Call me crazy, but that’s my heart.