Monday, July 28, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--July 28, 2014--Will Your Writing Help Someone?

A Step in the Write Direction
July 28, 2014
Update: Not too much to report. Two of my tests came back negative, except for a hiatal hernia. The report also showed an enlarged heart, but doctor didn’t say anything about it (I read it in the report), so he must not be too concerned about it; have one more test this week. Guess it’s just the windy weather here and the progression of the COPD….Daughter and family have gone back to Oklahoma. I miss them already but glad they’re where God placed them….Such a good message this morning on the Prodigal Son titled “When God Ran.” Three points: 1) Something was lost; 2) Someone was concerned; 3) There was a celebration when the lost was found.

Thought for the Day: I used to ask God to help me. Then I asked if I might help Him. I ended up by asking God to do His work through me (Hudson Taylor, missionary).

Song for the Day:
The only time I ever saw him run,
Was when…
He ran to me,
He took me in His arms,
Held my head to His chest,
Said, “My son’s come home again!”
Lifted my face,
Wiped the tears from my eyes,
With forgiveness in His voice He said,
“Son, do you know I still love You?”

He caught me by surprise, When God ran…

            —“When God Ran,” John Parenti, Benny Ray Hester

Laugh for the Day: A man was told he needed surgery.  "Let me tell you how quickly I work," said the doctor.  "I believe in getting my patients up and around very quickly.  Three hours following the operation you'll sit up.  Five hours after, you'll stand up.  Eight hours later you'll be walking."
"Fine," the patient agreed, "but will you let me lie down during the operation?"
Writer’s Tips: (#6 from unpublished Writer’s Devotional book)

Playing Chopsticks

The one who calls you is faithful
and he will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

The story is told that at one of Paderewski’s concerts, a restless five-year-old sat
near the front of the huge hall. Waiting for the concert to begin, the boy slipped away from his mother, crawled onto the platform, and sat at the grand piano. He began to play “Chopsticks” with one finger.

As the audience sat in shocked silence, the great pianist walked out and stood behind the boy. Bending over the child, Paderewski improvised a beautiful arrangement of “Chopsticks” as he whispered, “Keep playing, son. You’re doing a great job.”

Do you ever feel like you’re just playing “Chopsticks” in your writing? You take an article to a writers’ group and the members tear it apart? You send manuscripts to editors and they come back with a form rejection note? You meet an editor at a conference who sounds excited about your book and takes it back with him, but you never hear from him or her again? “I’m giving up,” you say, and stuff all your writing materials on the top shelf of the closet.

A conference speaker tells of attending a camp meeting. He stopped at the book stand where he saw a minister friend who had been going through a rough time. The minister picked up one book after another, looked at it, and put it back down. “There’s nothing here for me,” he said and walked away. “Did God call you to write a book that might have helped this minister?” the speaker asked the conferees.

Will a devotional you write get someone through a depressing time? Perhaps a poem God gave you can be the means of encouraging a family member or friend. At the end of a songwriting workshop, the instructor gave the students the chance to share a song they had written. After one woman sang her song, the instructor kindly said, “That’s good, but I’m not sure it’s marketable.”

“Maybe it isn’t,” the woman replied, “but every time I sing it in church, someone comes up to me afterwards and says, ‘You wrote that song just for me.’”

The instructor then told the class, “There’s a lesson here. Not everything we write is meant to be published. If it gets you or someone else through a rough time, that may be the reason God gave it to you.”

You may just be playing “Chopsticks” today, but maybe that is what someone needs to hear. God will fill in the missing notes as He whispers in your ear, “Keep playing, child. You’re doing a great job.”

Has God called you to write something specific that would help someone? What’s the first step you need to take to begin that project? Ask Him for help to start it today!

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--July 21, 2014--Recycling Your Manuscripts

A Step in the Write Direction

July 21, 2014

Update: Another week. The year is more than half over. Where has the time gone? My mom used to say that the older you get, the faster the time goes—and she was right….This week brought some good news in that most of my tests came out okay. One culture hasn’t come back yet. Doctor still isn’t sure if the coughing is caused by the COPD, or perhaps mold in our mobile home. Will get that checked out this week….Tomorrow we’ll say good-bye to our daughter and family who are going back to Oklahoma after their visit here. They were supposed to leave today but our son-in-law got pneumonia while here, so they’re waiting another day.…Finishing up the corrections on the new “Step” book; trying to figure out how to scan forms on my new printer, then it’ll be done. (If I can’t scan them, will either have to learn how to type them or hire someone smarter than me to do it!)

Thought for the Day: "You are a remarkable gift to this world. What you bring to it is something only you can bring. Don't ever think that you have nothing to offer. You have everything because you are everything God planned for you to be" (Bob Perks); (Gospel Greats Newsletter, 7/15/14).

Song for the Day:
When the world that I've been living in collapses at my feet
When my life is shattered and torn
Though I'm windswept and battered I can cling to His cross
And find peace in the midst of my storm
There is peace in the midst of my storm tossed life
Oh there's an anchor, there's a rod to cast my faith upon.
Jesus rides in my vessel so I'll fear no alarm
He gives me peace in the midst of my storm
            —Steve Adams, written after tornado destroyed their church in Xenia, Ohio, on Good
            Friday, 1974.

Laugh for the Day: A new papa in the Armed Forces received a telegram: "Gave birth to little girl this morning; both doing well."  On the envelope carrying the message was this sticker: "When you want a boy, call Western Union."

Writer’s Tips:
Recycling Your Manuscripts
This is the day of recycling—in your writing as well as in your community. Don't ever be satisfied with selling something once! Continue to send out reprints until you know you have exhausted all the markets for that particular manuscript. Then rewrite it with a different slant.

Recall a time in your life when you struggled with a decision or a trial, but God brought you through. Write this as a personal experience article. Then, using the same incident, change the characters and location, make up a “what if” ending, and turn it into a short story.

If you’ve written this story from a mother's point of view for a woman's magazine, rewrite it from the father's point of view for a male-oriented periodical. If the story involves a family, write it from a teenager's point of view for youth magazines or take-home papers. Or change the dialogue and situations to that of a younger child for children's publications.

After you have sent to all the fiction markets, keep the same theme, do some research, add a few statistics, and turn it into a nonfiction piece. Or develop the main theme into a devotional or poem.

Dennis Hensley sold an article to a local newspaper about a high school boy who began a mobile horseshoeing business. He then sold it to a teen periodical. Because the young man was deaf, Hensley offered it to a magazine looking for stories on the hearing impaired. And since he was a Christian, the story next appeared in his denominational magazine. The teen used a Ford truck in his business, so Hensley then sold the story to Ford Times. And because he had offered only one-time rights to the local newspaper, he sold the story to other newspapers in the state, and eventually nationwide to the Grit newspaper. What a great example of recycling!

What manuscript have you had published that you can rewrite using a different slant?

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--July 14, 2014--Mnemonic Spelling Hints

A Step in the Write Direction

July 14, 2014

Update: This has been quite an interesting week with a lot happening. Monday I had a cat scan on my lungs. (The doctor has been trying everything with the COPD to lessen the coughing, so he wanted to see if they’ve missed something.)…My daughter and family from Oklahoma were supposed to leave Monday for a vacation in Michigan, then a woman from their church passed away, so they had to wait until Wednesday so my son-in-law could hold the funeral. Then also on Tuesday they got a call that my son-in-law’s mom here in Mesa is going to have hip replacement surgery on the 15th, so they changed their plans and came here instead. Got here Thursday night, so we’re enjoying their visit. (Note: If I had taken my trip to Michigan as planned, I would have missed their visit here!)….Also on Thursday I had a test I’ve never had before—a bronchoscopy, similar to an endoscopy, except this tube goes into the lungs, takes pictures and also a biopsy. So will find out the results of that and the cat scan at my appointment Thursday, July 17th… Finally finished reading over the edited manuscript for the new edition of A Step in the Write Direction, and learned how to globally replace straight quotes with curly ones—AFTER I went through the 393 pages and did each one manually! Sent the manuscript back to the publisher last night, and will just wait now for the final page proofs. The book is scheduled to come out in September with a new cover, which I’m eager to see.

Thought for the Day:
Lord, take me where You want me to go,
Let me meet whom You want me to meet,
Help me to say what You want me to say,
And keep me from getting in Your way.
                        —Father Mychal Judge, who lost his life on
    9/11/01, at the World Trade Center

Song for the Day:
I’ll go where You want me to go, dear Lord,
Over mountain, or plain, or sea.
I’ll say where You want me to say, dear Lord,
I’ll be what You want me to be.
            —Mary Brown, “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go”

Laugh for the Day:

"Do you believe in life after death?" a supervisor asked his clerk. 
"Oh yes, sir," she replied. 
"That's good," the employer said, "because yesterday after you left early to attend your grandfather's funeral, he stopped by to see you."

Writer’s Tips:
Mnemonic Spelling Hints
Affect, as v., alter, sway; as n., psychological state
Effect, as v., establish; as n., end result
All right, two words; remember its antonym, all wrong
Anoint, use an ointment
Balloon, two l’s as in ball
Battalion, two t’s, one l, as in battle
Capitol, building as in dome
Capital, city as in an area
Connecticut, first I connect, then I cut.
Deductible, i as in IRS.
Dependent, take dependents to the dentist.
Descendant, descendants come from ancestors.
February, “Br! It’s cold.”
Friend, a friend to the end.
Grammar, bad grammar will mar your progress.
Gray, a as in America; grey, the English spelling, e as in England.
Inoculate, one n, one c, as in inject.
Memento, mem as in memory.
Minuscule, contains minus.
Piece, a piece of pie.
Privilege, a privilege gives you a leg up.
Recommend/recommendation, contain the word commend.
Rhythm, divide six letters into two groups, each with an h in the middle.
Separate, break into parts.
Stationary, stand still.
Stationery, write on it (or remember e stands for envelope).[1]

* * *
And a great way to remember the names of the Great Lakes: Sailors refer to them as their HOMES—Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior.

[1] Source unknown. Received in conference handout.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Step in the Write Direction--July 7, 2014--Editing Tips

A Step in the Write Direction
July 7, 2014
Update: To my disappointment, on the advice of my lung specialist, I had to cancel not only the writing workshop but my whole vacation in Michigan scheduled for June 10-21. I had also intended to visit friends and family, my home church, and camp meeting in which my nephew is having charge of the music. Hopefully I can reschedule the workshop for next year as my ticket is good until June 20, 2015….I’ll be having a lung cat scan on Monday, and then a new test called a “bronchoscopy,” so appreciate your prayers….Am now reading the page proofs of the new Step in the Write Direction and hope to have that back to the publisher sometime this week.
Thought for the Week: “It is easy to surrender [to God] when you know that nothing but Love and Mercy are on the other side” (Richard Rohr, Spirituality and the 12 Steps).
Song for the Week:
            As a chalice cast of gold, burnished, bright and brimmed with wine
Make me, Lord, as fit to hold grace and truth and love divine.
Let my praise and worship start with the cleansing of my heart.. . . .
Let my actions, Lord, express what my tongue and lips profess.”
—Thomas H.  Troeger, “As a Chalice Cast of Gold,” vs. 1-2,
    Glory to God,  Presbyterian Hymnal, 2013, 429.

Laugh for the Week: Attending a wedding for the first time, a little girl whispered to her mother, “Why is the bride dressed in white?” The mother replied, “Because white is the color of happiness, and today is the happiest day of her life.” The child thought about this for a moment then said, “So why is the groom wearing black?”

Special This Week:
Shelia Shares....
"Frogs On A Log"
In a management training seminar, the executives were admonished to make decisions and act on those decisions. The leader gave an example. "If you had five frogs on a log and three of them decided to jump, how many frogs would you have left on the log?"

The executives were unanimous in their answer. "Two."

The leader explained that they were all wrong. There would still be five frogs on the log. Deciding to jump and jumping are not the same.

In our Christian lives, often it is difficult to make decisions regarding future actions. We don't want to make a wrong decision. But, once the decision is made, do we follow through with actions or do we sit and do nothing? (The Gospel Greats Weekly Newsletter).
Reading the above brought the thought to mind that “deciding to write” and “writing” are not the same. To be a writer, you have to write. (dg)
Writer’s Tips:

Some suggestions I sent to an author whose manuscript I edited this week:

·        The biggest thing I noticed is the overuse of all caps, boldface, and underline. You don't need all of them. Pick up a Bible study book you may have in your library and see how seldom all of these are used. They really detract from the message you so very ably put across, and also break the train of thought for the reader. Delete most of these from one page, print it out, and see how much easier it is to read. You want the reader to see the Lord, not you.

·        Underlines could be used perhaps in subheads, but not in the main title, nor should your title or subheads be in all caps. For example, the word PREFACE would simply be Preface.

·        Since you're putting all your Scripture in italics, if you want to emphasize a word or words, rather than underline them, delete the italic and put them in Roman (normal font).

·        The word EXAMPLE that you use so often could be Example. Just be consistent all the way through.  

·         I don't know who you're sending this to. If it will be self-published, does your publisher require that the right margin be justified? Normally it isn't. You can highlight the entire book, then go to “paragraph” and check on “left” instead of “justified” and it’ll change the whole manuscript. (Note: If you do this, you will have to go back and center the words you want centered.)

·        The other big thing, because this Bible study is all in outline form, if you have an a) you must have a b). If you have a 1) you have to have a 2), and so on. (NOTE: I have an outline format for anyone who wants me to send it to them.)

·        When you get to the last line of a page, don't Line Return all the way down to the end of the page. This makes a lot more work for the editor. Simply Enter once to get to the next line, then Ctrl Enter, and this takes you to the top of the next page.

·         The other thing concerns the versions of the Bible you're using. If you’re using Scriptures from mostly one version, then you can put on the title page: Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture in this book is taken from ­­­_______, then give the credit line for that version. Then you go on and say: Scriptures marked NIV are taken from ______ and give that credit, etc.. (NOTE: I have a list of all the credit lines for the various versions of the Bible which I’ll send to anyone who e-mails me. This information is also included in my Step in the Write Direction book.)

·        Some words that were spelled right but misused are: prophecy/prophesy; assistants/ assistance; board/bored; entrĂ©e/entry, and prospective/perspective. Also the word gospel is lower case when referring to good news, but upper case (as also is Epistle) when referring to a book of the Bible.

·        Also, spell out the books of the Bible. Let the publisher abbreviate them in their own style if they wish.

 Have a good week spreading the
gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"