Corrected "Step in the Write Direction"--September 28, 2015--more nonfiction tips
A Step in the Write Direction
September 28, 2015
Update: This has been a good week. Had new tile installed in one bedroom, one more to go. Still doing a lot of sorting….My home church in Michigan has set up a home page and people are sending in photos of the “good ol’ days.” I went through and found about 40 photos and 66 slides. Two of the photos were my mother’s and go back to 1929 and 1938. My nephew (who’s smarter than I am!) is going to put them in some kind of an album for home page. Looking forward to seeing it…. After going through many resumes, our church board has selected one applicant who will be preaching at our church next Sunday. Praying he’ll be the one….Don’t forget to send in any prayer requests you have. Mine this week is for my daughter who is having many health problems: high white count (16,000), high liver count (179), high A1C (9.3), and stomach pains. Has an appointment Wednesday with an oncologist, and a neurosurgeon on the 16th for the back injury she had when she fell and tore her rotator cuff (still recuperating from that surgery). Thanks!
Thought for the Day: Corrie ten Boom was once asked if it was difficult for her to remain humble. Her reply was simple. “When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on the back of a donkey, and everyone was waving palm branches and throwing garments on the road, and singing praises, do you think that for one moment it ever entered the head of that donkey that any of that was for him? If I can be the donkey on which Jesus Christ rides in His glory, I give him all the praise and all the honor.” http://biblebaptistcares.com/2010/05/12/jesus-donkey
Song for the Day:
Come to my soul, blessed Jesus.
Hear me, O Saviour divine!
Open the fountain and cleanse me;
Give me a heart like Thine.
Judson W. Van Deventer, “A Heart like Thine”
Laugh for the Day: A young boy called the pastor of a local church and asked him to come by to pray for his mother, who was very ill with the flu. The pastor knew the family and was aware they were members of another church down the road. So the pastor asked, "Shouldn't you be asking your pastor, Brother Simon, to come by to pray with your mom?" "Yeah," the young boy replied, "but we didn't want to take the chance that he might catch whatever it is that Mom has."
Last week we talked about how you have experienced things in a completely different way than other people, so you are the only one who can write about that experience in your own voice.
Years ago I could have written an article on suicide. I could give statistics on how it’s the third-leading cause of death for teens.[i] I could give warning signs for parents and friends to look for. I could even list places where a teen could go for help. But the article would end there—facts only, no emotion.
After my great-nephew committed suicide, however, leaving behind an eight-month-old son, I could describe in detail the horrific emotion each family member experienced that day: my sister who found him hanging on his bedroom door, my brother-in-law who attempted CPR, my niece who didn’t get to the hospital in time to see her son take his last breath, his girlfriend who sobbed, “Didn’t he know how much we all loved him?”
This is what will grab your reader. It’s more than statistics. It’s writing! And this is what will set your article apart from all the others.
What have you gone through that you can write from your own personal
Update: I can honestly say this is the best week I’ve had since March 7th. I don’t know if six months is some kind of a miracle anniversary or not, but I’ve felt more peace and contentment these last few days. I know much of it is due to the support of my family and the prayers of my friends—those I’ve know personally and those I’ve come to know through this blog and Facebook. Thank you all!...I’m in a weird situation right now—no work to do—that is, for others! So I’m back to cleaning and sorting, reading books and giving them away, and the slides are all done. As soon as I clean out the two 4-drawer file cabinets, I’m going to tackle my photographs—bags and bags of them! I have them in albums up to 1974; the rest are divided by year and that’s all. Will be work, but fun. Any of you have that same dilemma? What’s your secret to getting them organized?
Thought for Today: “I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on, I go into another room and read a good book” (Groucho Marx, Reader’s Digest, October 2015, p. 21).
Song for Today:
Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun;
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is doe,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.
James M. Black, “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder”
Laugh for Today: Bob forgot his wedding anniversary and his wife was mad. She told him, “Tomorrow morning I expect to find a gift in the driveway that goes from 0 to 200 in 6 seconds AND IT BETTER BE THERE!” The next morning when his wife woke up, she looked out the window to find a box…gift wrapped in the middle of the driveway. She opened it and found…a bathroom scale. Bob has been missing ever since.
Writer’s Tips: Writing Nonfiction
When I first considered writing nonfiction, it seemed that others had already covered every topic I wanted to write about. I had a lot of ideas, but wondered how they differed from those already written. Then, while sitting in a nonfiction workshop, I realized that what made each article unique is the slant that only a particular writer can give it.
God has given each of us a distinctive personality, and He has allowed you and me to go through circumstances in a way no one else has experienced. You are a unique individual—a mother or father, brother or sister, aunt or uncle. You're part of a married couple, a single parent, or never married. You’re a student, you’re employed, you’re retired.
If married, what have you experienced? First-year adjustment, in-law problems, financial struggles? As a parent: infertility, adoption, preschool children, challenges with teens, adult children still living at home? Whatever you’ve gone through, you’re the only one who can write an article or book in your own voice.
The emotion you share in your story will make your article stand out from the other manuscripts the editor receives. Those may have facts—the skeleton, so to speak—but yours can have "flesh." You may have added research and statistics, quotations from other books, and even a friend’s story, but you’re also showing how this experience has affected your life. Showing how God has brought you through this particular situation can help others going through the same trial and help them to find victory.
What can you write about from one of your personal experiences?