Do questions help you move through the writing process? Whether brainstorming, writing, revising, or editing, I think questions are an important part of the sequence. That said, here are a few questions and answers that might aid your journey.
Today's guest post comes to us courtesy of Jeanette Levellie. I met Jeanette through blogging; she is a sweet and talented author who has a knack for making readers laugh. Her latest book, The Heart of Humor offers a "...vacation from stress, worry, and global whining." I've read it and I must say, it does just that!. :)
Jeanette has offered a paperback copy of The Heart of Humor to one of my followers, so check out the details below.
If Socks Could
Talk By Jeanette Levellie
What is it with socks? Do you think they
conspire to separate when we wash them? Perhaps as they come off the assembly
line and their price tags are attached, they yell to each other, “See you the
first week in November at the International Sock Reunion. This year we meet in
For the first few months you own them,
they behave, staying in tidy pairs from the hamper to the dryer. But soon the
time approaches for their annual get-together with the friends they haven’t seen
since birth. They start to strategize in the drawer at night.
“Hey, Bernie, you drop on the floor when
the guy throws you in the hamper from across the bedroom. You know how he likes
to pretend he’s Michael Jordan. Scrunch behind the dresser where no one will
find you. I’ll fall out of the lady’s hand when she tosses clothes into the
washer. We’ll meet outside at ten tomorrow night and hitchhike to St. Louis. I
can’t wait to see if one of those little French anklets with the purple lace
around their cuffs shows up.”
In the meantime the orphaned socks slump
in the back of the bottom drawer, reading the novel LeftBehind and wondering
what they did wrong. A men’s trouser sock grumbles to an athletic, “They better
find my mate soon; I haven’t been outta this drawer since last October. I just
hope the sock police didn’t catch him. Their toe-jam torture nearly ruined my
sister’s boy. I heard the black dress shoe telling its mate how he could hardly
breathe after a day with my nephew.”
“I don’t believe you,” cries the
athletic sock, huffing in disgust. “What kind of idiot do you think I am?
Everyone knows shoes can’t talk!”
Jeanette is a popular speaker, editor, and pastor's wife. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, traveling, and finding ways to avoid housework. She and her husband are parents to a son and a daughter, grandparents to three, and servants to four cats.
Jeanette is giving away one paperback copy of The Heart of Humor. To enter, please note the following:
1) Open to U.S. residents only 2) Please leave your email address 3) You must be a Google Friend Connect Follower of Write Now (on sidebar) 4) Giveaway ends Friday, March 20 at noon Eastern Daylight Time 5) Winner will be announced Monday, March 23
Congratulations to Jessica Haight, winner of last week's Amazon gift card giveaway!
Do your socks talk and tend to disappear? What's your "missing sock theory"?
March is Blogoversary month here at Write Now. Year number 6! It's hard to believe that I've been blogging that long. It's been a wonderful adventure, and by far the best part has been the people that I've met.
To celebrate, I'm hosting a giveaway today. (Details below.) In addition, two author friends stop by later this month and have offered to give away copies of their books. I hope you'll indulge me while I reminisce and share about someone (besides my Mom) who helped foster my writing journey.This writing "cheerleader" was found in an unexpected place. I
met this inspiring woman about 26 years ago, and our initial contact
had nothing to do with writing. I needed info on homeschooling, and my search led to a lovely woman by the name of Nancy Plent. She was the founder of the Unschoolers Network, New Jersey's only state homeschool organization at the time.
We became acquainted through phone calls and emails (we
lived 2 hours apart), and before long, I was writing occasional articles for
the Network newsletter and helping with parent support
services. Working with Nancy was a pleasure; not only did she become a good friend, she offered opportunities
to write and build other skills. The experience was priceless. Nancy was the one who encouraged me to write and self publish a booklet for homeschool
parents. She offered advice on content, formatting, and marketing. I would
not have taken that step had it not been for her
support. The booklet eventually became Homeschool Co-ops 101, my first book published by a traditional publisher. Her advice, even back in the days prior to the social media explosion, is timeless and applies to other writing too, such as articles and blog posts. Nancy's Timeless Tips
1) Be real. Down to earth, approachable, authentic - people relate best
to these qualities. Nancy's friendly, conversational,
and encouraging writing style taught me a lot. 2) Give people something they need. Content must have audience appeal and be user-friendly. What info can my reader apply? 3) Use examples. Well chosen nuggetsillustratea pointand help readers say, "Yes, I can do this!" 4) White space is important. A balance of text and white space
is key for a pleasant reading experience. Clean, clear text is
appealing; clutter and disorder distracts. It ties in with #5: 5) Employ digestible blocks of text. Large sections of text canoverwhelm
and potentially lose readers. Not that they must be spoon fed a few sentences at a time, but a good balance helps readers process content. I am grateful for friends like Nancy who take time to share and
encourage. Although Nancy passed away in November of 2011, I still use and treasure her advice, writing and otherwise.
Blogoversary Giveaway Details
I debated about what to give away as a small token of appreciation for your faithful support and friendship.Chocolate? A sports car? Books? I finally settled on a $15 Amazon Gift Card, since they offer most anything you might enjoy. Except maybe a sports car...
To enter, I need you to do two things:
1) Leave your email address. 2) Be a Google Friend Connect Follower (see Followers on sidebar).
That's it - no jumping through hoops or posting on social media. It's low key because I want one of my actual, faithful followers to win. I don't want someone who stops by just to enter a giveaway. Not that I dislike them;I appreciate their time too, but you've invested more time with me here and I want to express my thanks to you. Make sense?
Deadline to enter is Friday, March 13 at noon Eastern Daylight Time. Winner will be announced on Monday, March 16.
Who has helped encourage your writing journey? What have they taught you? Happy writing,
That means it's time for a rousing discussion on grammar, right? :) Well maybe not, but I'm thinking we can at least share a few grammar tips that have helped us along the way.
One of my favorite gems comes from William Strunk and E. B. White. In their book The Elements of
Style they said,
“Do not overstate. When
you overstate, the reader will be instantly on guard, and everything that has
preceded your overstatement as well as everything that follows it will be
suspect in his mind because he has lost confidence in your judgment or your
poise. Overstatement is one of the common faults. A single overstatement,
wherever or however it occurs, diminishes the whole, and a single carefree
superlative has the power to destroy, for the reader, the object of the
I believe that overstating can take different forms. For example:
1) Capitalized Words
Consider - which is better? This:
I KNOW you’ll AGREE with ME when I
SAY that we MUST put an END to THIS DISPUTE.
We must end this dispute.
Have you ever received an e-mailloaded with caps like this? I understand the desire to make a point, but this is distracting and unprofessional.
We can avoid this pitfall and emphasize instead with clear, efficient prose. Skip the caps except for abbreviations and similar instances.
2) The Exclamation Point
The exclamation point
(or mark) suffers from overuse too. Its true purpose of course, is for commands or
Ever read anything (other than informal correspondence) that
had exclamation points sprinkled throughout? Was it really that exciting or was
the emphasis lost?
I've read advice that said to review your text for exclamationpoints and remove all but one. Other alternatives such as italicizing key words and selecting sharp content help make our writing shine.
I think Strunk and White had the right idea. When we put our best writing foot forward, we avoidweak and diluted content. What do you think?