Monday, October 24, 2016



One of my hobbies is quilting. Through the years, I have subscribed to many quilting magazines. Recently I went old copies, trying to decide which ones to keep and which ones to pass along.

I found it interesting that each magazine had their own voice. I could pick up a copy of a certain magazine and know exactly what their patterns would look like. Some feature modern quilts. Others have a certain style with lots of borders. And then there are the ones that feature applique or paper piecing. It made me realize we all have a voice. A style if you rather call it.

The same goes with writing. Every author has their own distinct voice. Whether it is historical fiction or contemporary, each writer brings their own voice to the page. Looking back in literature you see Charles Dickens books were heavy themes. Jane Austen's were about romance from her time period. Agatha Christie and Alexander Dumas are thick with mystery. Surely they were influenced by their own history.

In writing, voice is as natural as your speaking voice. It's unique to your style. But voice and style are different from each other. To break it down, voice is your personality. Voice is the expression you put on the page. Each of us is unique in life experience. Distinct. It's our personal style. Style is how you translate it in the words the writer uses. But in the end it's the marriage of the two that makes your writing distinctive.

Did you know that it's usually the writer's voice that keeps the reader reading? Jeff Goins is a writer and teacher. He makes a point concerning reading habits. He suggests you write down five books, articles or blogs that you enjoy reading. Examine them and see how they are alike. How are they different? I enjoy contemporary romance, so I read Denise Hunter, Eva Marie Everson, Rachel Hauck, Dani Pettrey and Kristen Heitzmann. Historical authors line up with Sarah Ladd, Sarah Sundin, Elizabeth Camden, Tamera Alexander and Jody Hedlund.

Do you find that your reading habits run along similar voice?

Monday, October 17, 2016

After the Storm

Sometimes I'm not exactly sure what God is trying to teach me. I know that I am a difficult student. For years I've struggled with the learning process. Some days, after feeling as though I'd been bashed in the head, I'm wonder if I will ever learn the lesson.

You see my will is strong. I've followed my own heart for too long. And when a situation presents itself, my will immediately jumps up and says "It's not right!"

Of course it's not right.

When someone walks all over you, or takes advantage we want to scream "it's not right!"

But was it right for Jesus to endure the cross? Was it right for Him to give up His life for me? Was it right for Him to save me from my sins even though I do not deserve God's mercy and forgiveness?

Sometimes I get angry. It boils up inside of me. But when I stand back and look at the situation that has caused me to be so upset, I wonder, why? Why is it so hard to let it go??

Too many questions.

Only one answer.

" And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2: 1-10

Monday, October 10, 2016

Writing a difficult scene

I've been writing a novella, which is a preview for the novel I've already written. A prequel of sorts. The story before the story.

The writing is flowing and I'm probably about half way through. But I've come to a scene and I find it difficult to write. The images in my mind are too vivid. Perhaps it's because it's related to a true life event. An event where a young man lost his life. When I think about it, it makes my insides turn. I can't help but think about the horror the family went through as they lost their sixteen year old son. Not only was it a tragedy, but the way he died was gruesome. An accident.

Everything I read about writing says we have to suck it up. Be tough. Whether it's the writing, the criticism, or the rejection letters. I thought I could write this and not be bothered by it But truthfully, it has found spot that makes my heart ache.

Writing can be hard. Especially when you filter real experiences through the grid of fiction.

 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:26

Monday, October 3, 2016



Movies. We all love them. Whether we enjoy a good comedy, romance or murder mystery. There is something about a good movie that captures our attention.

Two of my favorite actors are Tom Hanks and Jack Lemon. In a sense, Tom Hanks has become the Jack Lemon of this generation. They both can portray light comedy and serious drama. They star or are featured in many of my favorite movies. And believe me, they both have made a lot of movies.

Watching a movie on TV the other night, the intensity of the music captured me. I started thinking how music is just as much the actor as those portraying on the screen. When your thoughts are caught up in a scene, the music pulls you to anticipate the next action. Feel the intensity? The drama?

How does that relate to writing? If my words are not compelling, not powerful enough to draw you to turn the page, it's like a movie without music. Have you ever turned the sound off when an actor is about to commit a crime? Or when the suspects name is going to be announced? You lose the building tension. The drama of the music steers you to watch and listen carefully. More times than not, the music crescendos and they go to a commercial! Come on! Who wants to buy another flashlight, or youth serum. Let's get on with the story.

In writing a story, there are no commercial breaks, so the intensity has to be developed by the author. The little innuendos, hints at what is coming. Sometimes a chapter breaks and you are taken to a new set, a different scene with a different player. But you know... you know, the drama will eventually unfold. I always try to figure out the "who done it" in a mystery novel. Sometimes, when I just cannot wait, I jump to the end and find out if I am right. Sigh... Yes, I know, it's probably not fair, but it sometimes gives me an "in" to watch for the clues that are dropped along the way.

Learning the craft of writing has opened my eyes to many areas I previously had missed. The drama that is life! Maybe one day I'll be able to pull it all together and garner the complete package.

As they keep saying. Practice, practice, practice.

 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. -Colossians 3:23