Monthly Archives: September 2013
Science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury, wrote the screenplay for the 1956 film “Moby Dick,” which starred Gregory Peck.
Random Trails: Calendar Days—Holidays, Special Days and Downright Crazy Days in October | The Write Conversation
Here’s a list of holidays and other special days in October. Use this list to inspire your writing.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,
but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs,
that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 4:29, NIV
Have you ever struggled with using unwholesome talk? Have you struggled with taking the Lord’s name in vain or swearing? Have you struggled with gossip or complaining? How did God lead you through these struggles? How do you make sure that you speak encouraging words to others? How do you use your words to build them up instead of tear them down? How do you control your tongue?
How else can you apply this verse? How can you use it in your writing?
- How can you apply this verse to marriage?
- How can you apply this verse to parenting?
- How can you apply this verse to your relationships at work? To the way you serve with others at church?
- How can you apply this verse to the way you interact with unbelievers?
- What stories can you tell in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give your readers?
- What insights and tips can you share with your readers in a how-to article?
- How can you use this verse as a theme for fiction?
- How does this verse inspire your poetry?
- What kind of devotion can you write based on this verse?
- Who lives out this verse? What kind of profile can you write on them?
- How can you explain this verse to children?
What was the most inspirational interview that you ever did? How did your interviewee inspire you? What writing ideas came from that inspiration?
For me, it was an interview that I did with a young man named Ryan for InSite. At 25, he had terminal cancer and he served in full-time camp ministry. He wanted to serve God to his fullest for as long as God gave him. He lost his battle with cancer a few months after we talked. But, he inspired me to serve God to my fullest. He showed me what true commitment to serving God looks like. One idea that my interview with him inspired was to look at others who serve God despite difficult circumstances and to encourage readers to do the same.
Now, it’s your turn. Please comment.
I’ve been doing interviews for years. There’s one thing I’ve discovered: I almost always discover a nugget that I never thought of before. I begin the interview with my list of questions but I usually hear something from the interviewee that takes me down another trail.
Be Sure to Listen
It’s easy to keep your focus on the next question you want to ask. You know where you want to go with your article and you want to make sure you get all the questions in. However, your interviewee may offer something that needs further investigation.
Listen to your interviewee. Interact with them, especially if you’re interviewing them over the phone. Ask questions to get them to clarify something. Ask questions to pursue a new direction. Ask questions to unearth treasures.
You may be surprised. The interview may take the focus of your article into a completely different topic. Or, you may discover something during the interview that sparks an idea for another article.
Stay alert and listen. You never know what you’ll hear.
When the Interviewee Doesn’t Say Anything
What happens when your interviewee doesn’t give a good interview? They mutter one-word answers or they don’t answer the questions. What do you do then?
It’s time to get creative. You need to think of new ways to ask the question. You approach the topic from every direction and even ask unconventional questions. In the process, you may discover writing ideas to pursue at a later time.
This isn’t ideal because you’re thinking on the fly. You’re scrambling for answers. But, ideas are there. Write down random thoughts as you try to create new questions. Go back later to see if you can glean a new writing idea from your notes.
Writers need to do interviews all the time. Think of this important aspect of writing as another field to glean writing ideas.
© Deborah Christensen
Here are a few fun word facts:
- The name of each continent begins and ends with the same letter.
- “Go” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
- No words in the English language rhyme with month, orange, silver or purple.
Here are some great suggestions to find writing ideas:
Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights
in a world full of crooked and perverse people.
Philippians 2:14-15, NLT
How do you conduct your life without complaining and arguing? How do you develop a positive attitude? How do you resolve conflicts with others? How do you get along with difficult people? How do you learn to accept your life circumstances? How do you live a life of thankfulness? How do you live a life that’s clean and innocent? How do you live a life that honors God?
How can you use this verse to inspire your writing?
- How can you share your story through a personal experience article? What takeaway value can you give your readers?
- What insights can you share through a how-to piece?
- How can you use this verse in fiction?
- How can you use this verse in poetry?
- Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and do a personality profile on them?
- What kind of devotion can you write based on this verse?
- How can you explain this verse to children through your writing?
- How can you use this verse when addressing marriage and parenting issues?
- How can you use this verse when addressing relationship issues?
- How can you use this verse when talking about our work or the way we serve God?
Whether it’s the deadly Colorado floods or the shooting rampage at the Washington Navy Yard, the last few days have been filled with stories of tragedy. Difficult times hit all of us.
PLEASE COMMENT: How can you as a writer offer hope to hurting people? In what writing genre do you offer that hope (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, devotions, writing for children)?
When you hear about such natural disasters, you can find ways to offer hope and comfort. Help people see the larger picture. Use your writing to encourage others to reach out to people in need.
The News Story
This is a news story. Contact your local newspaper to see if they want a story on the disaster. Do your research. Get quotes. If you’re close enough to the disaster, get photos.
Write about the disaster. Look at rescue/recovery efforts. Write about what churches and ministries are doing to help people in need. If people lost their lives, tell their story. Give the statistics a face. Help your readers see beyond the numbers.
Do it quickly before the story is gone. And remember, you need the who, what, where, when and how.
Where is God when everything is swept away in a flood? How can you turn despair into hope? How do you overcome fear? How do you deal with discouragement? How does God help you through grief?
You can write hope to people who face disaster. Help them see God’s love. Offer them comfort from His Word. Don’t give pat answers. Instead, show them that God’s care is real.
Tell your story or someone else’s story. Offer insights that you’ve learned along the way. Interview someone who’s faced trials and tell their story. Write poetry. Write a devotion. Help your readers see that God is bigger than the flood.
Teach Through the Disaster
Look for things you can teach. How does a flood begin? How powerful is the water? What is the history of floods?
This is an opportunity to write nature and history articles. Write for children, but think of adults, too. Many adult publications feature nature and history pieces.
You may even consider writing about the Great Flood and the archaeological evidence for it. Many ancient civilizations tell a flood story. Put it all in perspective of God’s Word.
When you discover a story like this, let it inspire your writing. Think of the story from all angles. Offer hope today. Then, think of the things you can write when the flood waters subside.
© Deborah Christensen