Monday, November 12, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--November 12, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction

November 12, 2012


Not much to report from this last week—a usual busy week: 200-page typing (reprint of a Lloyd Ogilvie book on the Holy Spirit, great material; proofing of a 113-page book for church secretaries, and a 336-page proofing job coming today on “Difficult Bible Verses.” So it looks like I’ll be keeping out of mischief! Our pastor preached a good sermon yesterday on “Prayer and Fasting.” I wonder how many Christians still do this. One interesting point he made is that we don’t do it to seek something for ourselves, but to seek the face of God.

Thought for Today:

"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself" (Chinese Proverb).

Laugh for Today:

A grandmother was so tickled to learn that her grandchildren were coming for a week that she put a $10 bill in the offering plate.  When they went home at the end of the week, her joy must have been double because that Sunday she put a $20 bill in the plate.

Call for Submissions

I’ll be compiling another anthology of stories, poems, and recipes dealing with fathers and grandfathers. Deadline is March 31, and I’ll be looking forward for your stories. If you have a story about your husband, perhaps one of your children would like to write the story. For guidelines, email me at:
Writing Hints

12 Hints on Conducting an Effective Interview (#7-9; #10-12 coming next week)

7. Take Time to Get Acquainted

This pre-interview conversation can include comments about their house, the furniture, a painting, and so on. Asking to see photos also helps to break the ice.

8. Using a Tape Recorder

I prefer face-to-face interviews as you can more accurately describe the subject—dress, gestures, and so on—and their surroundings. Also people tend to feel more at ease in their own home or office where they have access to photos and other information. Others may feel more comfortable in a neutral environment such as a coffee shop. But whether the interview is in person or over the phone, I record it to avoid any later questions regarding quotations.

If you are taping an interview over the telephone (an adapter can be purchased for this), by federal law you have to inform the subject that this is being done and get their approval on tape before asking your questions.

Test the recorder ahead of time. If you’re not using a digital recorder, take along an extra tape as the interview may turn out to be longer than expected. It’s a good idea to also take written notes during the interview in case your recorder fails.

If it’s a face-to-face interview, it’s important that you conduct it in a quiet environment. I once interviewed a Miss America contestant. Our interview took place in a crowded restaurant and we were seated near the kitchen. The banging of pots and pans and the noisy chatter of the workers filled the tape and made it hard to transcribe.

Ask the subject to spell names of people, places of employment, exact job titles, and any unusual words that will appear in the final story. Also, make sure you quote statistics accurately.

9. Stick to the Subject

It’s tempting to want to respond to the person’s comments with some of your own, but be careful that you’re not talking more than the interviewee. A newspaper religion editor, speaking to our writers’ group, said, “A good interviewer is a good listener. People want to talk; they’re excited. Ask a leading question, and then shut up.” You can let them know you understand, she suggests, by nodding your head or saying an occasional “Yes” or “I understand.”

Dennis Hensley agrees. “Observe common courtesy. Don’t talk along with them. Don’t cut them off. Don’t finish their sentences.”

Have a great week spreading the gospel through the printed page!

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