Friday, January 8, 2016

Why is description SO important?

When I think of a coffee shop, I imagine a place that is cozy and welcoming. Somewhere to unwind and relax...or somewhere to study or chat with a good friend.

But if I were to write about my character walking into a coffee shop, saying, 'Sarah went into her favorite coffee shop to unwind because it was such a cozy place,'...not only would be terribly cliche and bland...but would not give the reader a chance to visualize the scene.

Even though it's easy to just assume the reader knows that a coffee shop is a good place to relax, we mustn't make the mistake of leaving out description.

While giving a five page detailed description of all the different coffee flavors and sizes displayed behind the counter would be much too is very important to make your readers constantly aware of the surroundings in each scene.

I have to admit that while dialogue is my strength, I always have to work extra hard on description. It's so easy to move along the story and conversation between characters without giving enough details on the setting.

If the reader can't picture a room in which your scene is taking place, they are going to be confused and frustrated. to describe your characters surroundings without giving way too many unnecessary details?

From reading good fiction, I've noticed the books that grab attention the most, don't tell, but SHOW detail through the POV character.

So what actually makes the coffee shop cozy and welcoming? We can find out through what is going on in Sarah's mind when she walks in.

What is the very first thing Sarah probably notices? Most likely the strong aroma of the many flavors of drinks. And probably the soft jazz music playing on the speakers in the background.

Little details like these give a relaxing and laid back effect which will automatically show the reader what kind of a place it is without flat out 'telling'.

While Sarah probably isn't going to observe every detail in each painting on the walls, basic details like tables, people, etc., should at least be pointed out, so the reader can see through the character's eyes.

As long as you keep the reader informed with the surroundings in each scene, the story will keep its flow and paint the reader the picture you want them to see!

Next week we will go into more detail on describing through the senses of see, feel, touch, taste, etc...

Have a happy weekend! :)

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Delayed blog post series

Just to let you all know...I am still alive! 

Due to the craziness of December, I am afraid my poor blog has been neglected and I apologize that no blog series was posted this month. 

Starting next week, my schedule will be back to normal, and I will go ahead and write 'The Importance of Description' for January. sorry for the lack of posts that I had originally planned.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you a very Happy New Year!

Friday, December 4, 2015

December Blog Series: The Importance of Description

It's finally that time of year! 

The day after Thanksgiving, I was blasting Christmas music and skipping around the house like I was a little girl again. We brought down our twelve foot tree from the attic, decorated the mantle with our little Christmas village, and went downtown to watch the Christmas lighting ceremony.

Merry Christmas Darling- I will Keep A Candle Burning In The Window For you till you are Home..#LadyLuxuryDesigns: And on the very first day of December, it snowed. It started as just sleet and flurries, but turned into much larger flakes which soon started to cover the ground in a lovely white glaze. It was a perfect welcome to the month of hope and joy!

Christmas is such a magical time of year. In my book I'm working on, some of my favorite scenes to write take place during this season. From the strong scent of fresh pine, to the cozy warmth of a wood burning fireplace, there are so many sights, sounds and smells to express and let the reader experience.

And that is why I've decided to cover the importance of description this month. We'll be going over the basics of keeping description active and consistent throughout your story. I'll be writing about describing the setting how the characters would see it. And then I'll talk about the problem with too much description.

I look forward to this new series and hope to hear your own ideas along the way!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Writing a Message: The climax and the resolution

The climax in a story is when the tension and action hit with full blast. Something usually happens to the main character that causes or forces them to make a crucial decision that leads to the final outcome in the end.

Deciding on your climax has a big part in creating your moral and unraveling the final message.

I googled some climax examples from stories most of us are familiar with and thought I'd share them with you:

  • The deaths of Romeo (who kills himself because he thinks Juliet is dead) and Juliet (who kills herself when she awakes and sees Romeo dead).-Romeo and Juliet 
  • Wilbur is declared the winner at the county fair, and his life is saved (the farmer will not butcher him).-Charlotte's Web 
  • Peeta and Katniss agree to eat the poisonous berries instead of attempt to kill each other (and the outcome is that they are both declared winners). -The Hunger Games
  • When Gaston and the townspeople come to attack the beast, and Belle admits her love for the beast. -Disney's Beauty and the Beast
The climax is always my favorite part to read and to write. It's when the characters are their strongest and bravest even though the end may not look promising. It's usually the most intense but inspiring part.


Due to the outcome of the climax, everything begins to fall into place which leads us to...

The resolution! This is where the reader can sit back and relax a bit. The story has come to an end. And if it's a good story, it has left the reader with much to think about. It's where the moral is revealed.

The moral of Beauty and the Beast, is that true beauty comes from within.

In Romeo and Juliet, we learn brutally to let go of old disagreement and feuds between families and friends.

What will your moral be? Do you know what your climax is and how it will lead to a satisfying and strong resolution?


Using the last few posts from this series, we have learned to surrender over our story ideas to God and seek Him for wisdom to write a strong message. We talked about writing a powerful story through real events. We learned about the importance of morals and lessons. And now, we just finished up the week, learning about the impact of a strong climax and its outcome.

I've had a lot of fun writing this series. I learned a lot as I explored and researched the topic of creating a strong message. I believe it's one of the most important parts of writing, especially if you want your story to make an impact on someone's life.

What are some of your thoughts on writing a message that is powerful and moving? I'd love to hear from you! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow and I look forward to beginning my newest series next week!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Writing a Message: Morals and Lessons

Every child grows up hearing the fable of 'The Tortoise and the Hare' by Aesop. You know...the story where very determined tortoise competes in a race with a very fast but haughty and over confident hare.
As the race begins, the hare speeds way ahead leaving the tortoise in the dust. In the middle of the race, because the hare believes he will easily win, he stops to take a nap. The tortoise though moving very slowly, passes him and wins. 

Which gives us the very famous moral...'Slow and steady wins the race.'

Old fables and children's stories often have a moral at the end which teach valuable life lessons. In these stories, the morals are usually very obvious.

As adults, we often read fiction for pure entertainment. Romance novels, action and suspense, adventure, fantasy...they all draw us into exciting, compelling stories, allowing us to escape from our own hectic lives into the lives of other characters . 

But what makes a story more than just entertaining and engaging writing, is the lessons the reader can take away from what they've just read. When I set down a book feeling motivated to grow and be a stronger individual, I know that it was a really good book.

When it comes to Christian fiction, if the story tends to be full of cliches, mentioning God a few times here and there without showing the true impact of His love and grace, I feel as if the reader just walks away with a fun story. I know some authors tend to be careful about coming across as preachy. 

But the books that put emphasis on the characters battling faith through hurt and the painful challenges of life, then finally surrendering their burdens to God, and seeing His hand work in amazing not only change the life of the characters, but the readers as well.

The books I can remember most are the ones that have helped me grow in my walk with God, and have encouraged me to write stories with impacting morals and lessons. 

Whether the moral of your story is 'Slow and steady wins the race', 'Being smart is better than being beautiful', 'Good always wins', etc...if it teaches a lesson that you have learned in your own life, and is something you can't help but sharing, the story will be much more than just a story.

Ask God to give you wisdom and strength as you put together a story that isn't just convicting. But a story that reveals His ways and teaches of His mercies and kindness even amidst a hurting and broken world.

I know it's easy to get caught up in trying to write something that your readers will enjoy. Instead, try to imagine what it would be like to find out your story helped someone. Truly helped them. Whether it convicted them to make the right decision, comforted them, or maybe just reminded them they are not alone. 

That, dear writers, makes a story much more powerful, personal, and worthwhile. <3 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Writing a Message: What makes a story powerful?

In the movie Amazing Grace, we watch an English politician and member of Parliament named William Wilberforce put years of effort into abolishing the slave trade. His strong belief in God's creation of men to be treated equal, pushed Wilberforce to help change what he did not think right.

In the book The Hiding Place, we become engrossed as Corrie Ten Boom describes the brutality of the concentration camps during WWII. We can almost feel the pain and hunger she and her sister felt. We cry at the devastation, the hurt and suffering atthe hands of Nazi soldiers. Then we feel conviction and bewilderment in the end when Corrie forgives the very soldier who was cruel to both her and her sister.

What makes these stories so powerful? What makes them draw a person in so much they can sense and feel every emotion that character went through?

Because they are stories that really happened. They are stories about real people who even through trials and devastation, they trusted their Heavenly Father to use them and bring glory to His name in the end.

Matthew 19:26 KJV -  But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.: It's stories like these that tell a strong message that reveals the power and mightiness of God.

Can you remember situations in your life where God's hand was evident? Can you remember trials or experiences that left you hopeless, but the Lord taught you to trust Him through it all? Remember looking back and being in awe of His constant goodness?

Or what about someone you know? Did they go through tough times that you could never imagine experiencing for yourself? Were you amazed as you watched God work miracles in this person's life as He turned ashes to beauty?

As you think over these times, get out a pen and paper and write it down. When you write a story based on real happenings, the story is much more believable and will touch your readers and open their eyes to the wonder of God.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writing a Message: Surrendering your words and thoughts

How easy is it to sit back and dream of the day you'll be holding a bestseller in your hand? Not just any best seller, but your bestseller. Isn't it a wonderful thought, imagining a long line of people waiting impatiently for you to sign their copy?

Do you ever dream of the constant royalties coming in? Can you just see yourself leaving your ginormous house in your brand new Mercedes as you are on your way to speak at a writer's conference?

Oh the glory and fame! What a life that would be to live! Right?

But after you spend ten minutes day dreaming, you snap out of it, return to reality, start typing out a paragraph, then frown because it stinks. You then open up blogs of best selling authors and spend ten minutes envying and admiring them, thinking, "Why can't I just write a book as good as their's?"

Yep. Been there. In fact, it's a daily struggle for me not to get caught up in this perfect plan I develop in my mind. Then I grow discouraged that I am still where I am, and not a well known published author.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. ~ Psalm 19:14: But whenever I look at my writing and cringe because I think it's awful, I suddenly become humbled, remembering that God did not plant in me the passion to write just so I could become a successful and famous author.

In fact, if I wanted to, I could write something that would appeal much more to the world instead of holding fast to the convictions in my heart...and possibly have more of a chance to get my name out there.

So, basically, I could pursue my own false desires to become a best seller by completely ignoring the wisdom and strength God has to offer and write things that do not honor His precious name.

Or...I could surrender all my dreams all my words and all my thoughts to write what He has taught me.

I would much rather know that one person has received Christ by reading something I write, than becoming well known for writing something that would break God's heart.

Don't get me wrong. There is certainly nothing wrong with becoming a well known writer and best seller! In fact, there are many Christian best sellers who I look up to and it is easy to want to follow their foot steps.

But as writers for Christ, if our focus is completely on our Savior, and if we are surrendering every word we write to Him each day...we need to trust that God will use our gift in ways we can never imagine. When we share a powerful message that shows who God is, we are living out His will and knowing that lives are being changed because we surrendered!