Week 9, Step 9: “The Middle, Where It’s Tough”

Now that we’ve talked about plot-line and spiritual transformation, we’re getting to the middle of the book where it gets really tough. The middle is often where you feel like you’re just floundering. You know what the climax is, but you don’t know how to get there. So here’s a few tips that I hope help you.

First of all, try not to just sit down and write. Usually you’ll get yourself into an even worse bind. Try to plan out what steps need to be taken to get to the climax.

Second, add in some suspense and adventure! Don’t be boring.

Here’s some quotes from some of my writing friends that might give you a bit of inspiration:

“So instead of writing and finding out what happens along the way, write what happens and write how they got there.” – Caleb

“I’m so stuck on this one part of my story. I’m left no other choice: Someone must be killed, put in mortal danger… or a new plotline/character must be introduced.” – Emily

Sometimes you might have to take “drastic” measures like my friend Emily. :-) But seriously, that might be your only option. Whatever you do to add suspense or excitement, make sure it always advanced the plot and doesn’t take away. Maybe adding in an unsuspected clash with the villain would be the perfect thing to get you out of writer’s block!

Remember to use your plot-line map to keep yourself on track. You might want to save one of your characters to introduce now, as well. A new character provides fun and interest to your story, particularly if it’s a romance character or a side-kick or comedy-type character.

I would also suggest having some friends read your manuscript up to this point, edit it, and give you suggestions. My friends always seem to have brilliant ideas just when I need them. Or at the very least, they give me good ideas and I use that as a springboard for great ideas.

And lastly, pray a lot, persevere, buckle down, and do it! If you have to stop writing for a day or two or just skip to the climax for a while, that’s ok. Just remember to always keep your goal in mind and keep working towards that goal.

Suggested Homework:

1. Write out different sections of the middle of your book. Often writing short sections instead of just sitting down to write will help you get through writer’s block

2. Add something suspenseful or exciting to keep your audience engaged!

3. Get a friend or family member to start editing your story so that you can have a creative mind to help you when you get stuck.

 

Facebook Party Winners!

Thanks for joining at the Facebook Party, friends! 

Don’t forget to check our other Great Waters Press sites for the rest of the winners – Raising Real Men and Children in Church!

Common Sense Press A free ebook of your choice Laura O’Neill, Karen Patterson, Jalynn Patterson
Heritage History Early America Classical Library Carrie Loring, Debbie Phillips, Louise Hudson, Michelle Messer, Shannon Vickery
UniversityReady 3 DVD Set Sharon Huizinga
Circle C Beginnings A set of the new Andi & Friends paper dolls plus a Circle C Beginnings book of your choice. Sharon Huizinga,  Amanda Gust
Ancient Paths Christian Bookstore Dream Dating e-book Jennifer Herford, Sharon Huizinga, Angela Upright, Melissa Vanness, Sharon Moyer
The HomeScholar Total Transcript Solution Katrina Kolseth
Grain of Truth Bread Company Coffee Mill Angela Upright
Grapevine Studies Life of Joseph Teacher and Student Danielle Hull
Joyous Home Summer Joyous Home Journal – Digital           Sara Guist, Kate Estes, Sharon Moyer, Michelle White, Alexis Fruit, Ashley Primus,    Jessica O’Brien, Kimberly Charron, Carrie Gould, Judith Martinez, Brooke Church, Michelle Witt, Terri Griffin, Virginia Frazer,   Karen Patterson, Fibia Simona, Rissa Metzler, Jalynn Patterson, Suzi Fabry, Rebecca Collier

 

Week 8, Step 8: “Writing a Spiritual Transformation”

So last week we talked about making a convincing journey and plot-line. This week I want to talk about making a convincing spiritual transformation. Here’s what I mean by that:

Last week I talked about some of the obstacles that your main character (or characters) has to cross in order to reach their goal or defeat the bad guy. Now, since we always want to write something that brings glory to God, we want to make sure that the main characters goals are Christ-centered, that they’re always striving to grow and get better, and that their sins aren’t condoned.

Jarah, my main character, has a very big spiritual journey in my book, “A Cry From Egypt.” She has to decide whether or not she believes in Yahweh, the one true God. Doubts, conflicts between her family members, seeing and hearing things that collide with her beliefs, all try to hide the truth from her. But in the end, she has to make the ultimate decision that will change her life forever.


That may not be the spiritual journey in your book. Perhaps your character learns a new character trait like patience or kindness. Maybe they’ve become embittered towards someone – or something – and God have to soften their heart and teach them how to forgive and open up to love. You could have your character conquer a fear such as a fear of heights, darkness, despair, or failure. Have them striving to become more Christ-like, no matter what. Don’t have your character be perfect. I’ve read books or seen movies where the characters are absolutely blameless, and there’s nothing to grab your heart or make you relate to the characters. So don’t set them up to an unattainable level of perfection. But do have them be striving for what is right. Have them embrace the Biblical character qualities of unconditional love, forgiveness, peace, joy, patience, self-control, boldness, bravery, honesty, etc.

Also, do not EVER condone sin. Your characters can sin or learn from their mistakes. Having your characters conquer the habit of lying, or stealing, or being disrespectful to parents would be a wonderful thing. But don’t ever make sin out to be a good thing. So many movies and books today show children rebelling against their parents’ authority and make it out to be good! Pride and material wealth or compromising your beliefs for popularity are normal, everyday things that are praised in today’s culture. Little “white lies” are commonplace when God clearly says in His word that “lying lips are an abomination to the Lord.” Even in kids’ movies today rebellion is a key underlying theme, uncommitted love is expected, and whenever kids disobey they end up becoming the heroes. Please, please, please don’t allow our modern culture to seep into your writing. While your character can sin and will sin, always have them strive towards the higher call and never show sin or disobedience to God to be a good thing.

How do we incorporate spiritual lessons into your plot? Well, it’s actually a little easier than it seems. Those little dips that we talked about in your story? Have those not only be times where your character struggles against the villains in the plot-line but also the villains in their soul. The inner battle is what will turn your story into something that is a work of art and something that is truly worth reading.

Suggested Homework:
1. Map our your character(s) spiritual journey, just like you did with their physical journey. Then, combine the two together.
2. Start working towards the climax of your book. Try to make your characters easy to relate to. Make them have deep, passionate feelings that will grab your readers and keep them captivated to the characters’ struggles.

Q&A: Is there a curriculum or an approach your parents used that really cultivated your love for writing?

This question was asked by Jeanine:

Q: “Is there a curriculum or an approach your parents used that really cultivated your love for writing?”

Hope: Wow! That’s a great question! I don’t have a specific curriculum that we used, but I do have several different approaches that I can share with you.

First of all, read a lot to your children! Having a set-aside time in your homeschooling day to read books aloud to your kids is not only a great time of bonding and relaxation, but also encourages your kids to love learning and love reading. In order to be a great writer or a great leader, you need to be a great reader. Encourage that love for reading in yourself and your children. My dad often read books to us out loud after dinner or told my brother and I stories when we worked with him outside. My mom read me entire series of books! She read me all 28 of the 19th century “Elsie Dinsmore” books! We’ve also read countless books on homemaking, being a godly daughter, and many, many Lamplighter books. My brothers and I also listened to dozens of G.A. Henty books on CD, some of our favorites!
Curriculum wise, my dad actually wrote my own writing and history curriculum that was based on God’s word, the classics, and books written from a Christian worldview. My dad had me write lots of book reviews and essays and summaries of different periods in history. But he also saw how much I loved and enjoyed creative writing and made sure I had time to write what I wanted to write. He gave me assigned writing projects, particularly writing short historical fiction stories. I not only had fun writing, but learned how to research the internet for things that weren’t answered in my study of a particular era. For example, what did they eat? What did poor people’s houses look like? How did people speak or behave towards each other?
Some of the projects I did during my high school years were writing a short play based on the book of Job in the Bible, a short story based in Nineveh when Jonah delivered his prophesy, and a historical fiction based in Babylon while Daniel was a young man. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg of thousands of other creative ideas that you and your children could come up with!
Some other tips would be to have your children write short stories every week. They could be about a field trip, a vacation, a special outing with friends, a funny moment that happened in your homeschooling, or a story that they make up from their own imagination. As long as they write a few paragraphs every week they’ll be learning how to be a good writer and can decide whether or not writing is something they want to do in the long-run.
So to summarize, read a lot to your children and encourage them to read as much as possible. Assign some creative writing to your kids. Have them write a few paragraphs each week either writing a report or a story from their imagination. Find your childs’ strengths and encourage them in it!
I hope this gives you some suggestions and steps to help your children in their writing! Thank you! God bless!

Free Download: Basic Embroidery Class

Our friends at Joyous Home Magazine just shared an incredibly cool basic embroidery class download on their blog. It’s a pdf download with embedded audios! How cool is that?

Download Embroidery Stitches to Teach Your Girls from the Joyous Notions blog here.

While you’re on their site, you ought to check out Joyous Home Magazine, too. It is absolutely gorgeous and full of practical encouragement!

Melanie

Hal & Melanie Young

Publishers, Great Waters Press

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This complete resource for creating your student’s high school transcripts will give you the confidence and tools required to get the job done. You will save money, time and frustration by doing it yourself instead of relying on accreditation agencies and certified teachers.

The Home Scholar is giving away a digital copy of The Total Transcript Solution, which has a retail value of $47! Please follow them on their Facebook page to ask them more questions about the transcript process.

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The Early American Classical library includes over 80 children’s histories of the Early United States from the founding of British colonies in America to the First World War. Although a number of comprehensive histories are included, most of the books are biographies, military histories, or historical fiction suitable for students from fourth grade through high school. The Early American collection features “living books” rather than textbooks and includes plenty of stories about explorers, settlers, inventors, businessmen, military heroes, writers, presidents, Indian leaders, and every day people.

Heritage History (www.heritage-history.com) will be giving away one set to each of our five winners. Each set is worth $25! Please follow them on Facebook.