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Jan's New "Class"--Writing Basics

These lessons, by one of our most consistent FaithWriters' Challenge Champions, should not be missed. So we're making a permanent home for them here.

Moderators: mikeedwards, glorybee

A Nonny Mouse
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Greetings!

Postby A Nonny Mouse » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:27 am

Hey Jan!

I saw your comment on my story, so here I am! I've not had time in the past to be very active in the forums, but I'm really interested in improving my writing skills. This "class" looks wonderful! I'll try to keep up with the homework you've assigned. Hope I can!

Well, now that I've checked in, lol, I'm going back to reading the posts in this thread.

Blessings!
Michelle

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Postby Joolz » Tue Jan 19, 2010 7:20 am

Thanks for inviting me to this thread, Jan. I'm sure I'll learn a lot here.

My contribution:

Unashamed by Francine Rivers

Yet no one knew the fierce heart that beat within her. No one suspected the stored resentment, the gathering fury, the aching hunger to break free and escape.

I think I have all the salsa words, though not sure.

These words make the reader feel the intensity of Rahab's passion to escape her life in Jericho.

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Postby glorybee » Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:36 am

Welcome, Michelle--I look forward to your contributions.

Joolz, thanks for the passage you chose! Francine Rivers could have said the same thing with rice cake words--but how boring!

Yet no one knew how strongly she felt. She was very upset and mad, and she wished she could be free.
Jan Ackerson

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Postby Verna » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:48 am

Old dog learning here...

I think I can...I think I can...I think I can.

Simple--I wasn't highlighting. :cry:

Thanks Jan, you're a great teacher in more ways than one!

A few additional topics you've probably already thought of for this thread:

Authentic dialogue
Writing to audience
Voice
Variety in sentence structure
Avoidance of too many "ing" verb forms.

And we have so many new people, I think repeating some of your earlier lessons would be good for them while serving as reminders for those of us who attended those classes.
Verna

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine...
Proverb 17:22

Facebook author page: Verna Cole Mitchell
http://www.magnificomanuscripts.com/

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Postby Verna » Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:49 am

Hey Ruth, I can italicize too!
Verna

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine...
Proverb 17:22

Facebook author page: Verna Cole Mitchell
http://www.magnificomanuscripts.com/

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Postby JesusPuppy » Tue Jan 19, 2010 10:49 am

Hi Jan. a slight little tip here for you. I noticed on the comments you let others know about your class... but... if they didn't know to look in the Message Boards, they wont know where to look. :wink:

As for future topic to have in the class, Tenses were mentioned already, and I have a bad habit of those. That and POV shifts. I am getting better but it is a chore.
....JesusPuppy (or just call me Pup) Image

And just for the record, I am a Male.

"I am a writer, I do NOT lie... I fictionalise." JP

"The Lord Bless thee, and keep thee.." Num. 6:24

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Postby glorybee » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:49 am

Thanks, Pup! I said "forums", but "message boards" might have been clearer. Rats.

Either Ann or I will definitely be addressing tenses--thanks!
Jan Ackerson

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Postby Green Leaves » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:50 am

I would like to be a part as well; I have SOOO much to learn...

What about this from THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE by Kristin Hannah:

"Memories didn't live on streets or in cities. They flowed in the blood, pulsed with your heartbeat. She'd brought it all with her, every loss and heartache. The weight of it bowed her back, exhausted her."

Carol Penhorwood
http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=45576

"God has not called me to be successful, God has called me to be faithful." Mother Teresa

"...not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.". Brother Lawrence

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Postby glorybee » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:51 am

Carol, great example! I especially like 'pulsed' and 'exhausted'.

Are there any other topics in particular that you'd like to see covered here?
Jan Ackerson

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Postby Green Leaves » Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:54 am

I can't do dialogue at all, but that's been mentioned a few times.

And when to use present or past tense would be useful.
http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=45576

"God has not called me to be successful, God has called me to be faithful." Mother Teresa

"...not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.". Brother Lawrence

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Postby Green Leaves » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:24 pm

There's something else I could use help with and I don't know if it has been mentioned quite this way. In my poetry I sometimes tend to switch from "we" to "I".

Sometimes it is deliberate to personalize it, but other times, it is a problem.

Also, the use of commas. Will you be covering that?
http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=45576

"God has not called me to be successful, God has called me to be faithful." Mother Teresa

"...not to advance in the spiritual life is to go back. But those who have the gale of the Holy Spirit go forward even in sleep.". Brother Lawrence

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glorybee
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Postby glorybee » Tue Jan 19, 2010 12:28 pm

Ann Grover will cover commas and other grammar/punctuation/spelling issues in her column (Ann's Jots and Tittles), startin up soon.

I'm not sure about the we/I issue...maybe you could send me (in a PM) a poem or two where you think it's a problem, and I'll see if I can help.
Jan Ackerson

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Writing

Postby browniesgal » Tue Jan 19, 2010 2:28 pm

Hurray Verna!!! :rockon

I worked and worked on some italics in my oops article, had to start over a bunch, then finally at 5:30am I realized I was putting the slash after the i instead of before it, to end the italics. This old dog is worn out but I finally have it!! :heehee Bring on some more Miss Jan! Thanks so much. Ruth

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Postby PottersClay » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:27 pm

Hi Jan
I'm also here in response to your comments on my challenge - thanks!

I love the concept of "salsa" words - that will definitely stick in my mind.

My extract is from Silverthorn by Raymond E. Feist:

Jimmy hung for a moment, his hands, arms and shoulders afire with pain. It would be so simple just to let go and fall into soft darkness. Shaking off the fatigue and pain, he urged protesting muscles to pull himself back onto the roof.

"protesting" is an adjective, but a great one here I think. Does that count as a salsa word? I particularly love the description of "soft darkness".

Some of the things I struggle with most as a beginner writer, which you could possibly cover, are:
* Creating strong, multi-faceted characters
* Pacing - moving the story along (without giving a blow by blow account)
* Writing "truthfully" as opposed to "sentimentally" (ie. having my characters react in a real way as opposed to a forced way that tries to elicit an emotional reaction from my reader). Not sure if I'm describing that so well, sorry.

Joan
Give me the love that leads the way,
The faith that nothing can dismay,
The hope no disappointments tire,
The passion that will burn like fire.
Let me not sink to be a clod,
Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.
Amy Carmichael

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Postby glorybee » Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:49 pm

Joan, thanks for your example. Any word can be a salsa word (although I can't think of too many salsa prepostitions). I just focuses on nouns and verbs, for fear that some beginner writers might interpret the lesson as an invitation to add dozens of adverbs and adjectives. I'm not opposed to those; but I recommend mastery of nouns and verbs first.

And thanks for your suggestions! Glad to "meet" you here.
Jan Ackerson

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