Blog Archives

Seeds of Truth: Genesis 18:14

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Genesis 18:14, NLT

What are you facing that’s too hard for you? How can you turn it over to God? What does trust look like? How do you know when God is working in your life? What helps you stop trying to fix it yourself? How do you patiently wait for God to work?

How Can You Use This Verse in Your Writing?

  • What kind of nonfiction piece can you write?
  • What tips would you offer in a how-to article? What tips can you offer?
  • What story can you tell in a personal experience piece? What takeaway value can you give?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire fiction?
  • How can you use this verse to inspire poetry?
  • Do you know someone who lives out this verse? Can you interview them and write a personality profile on them?
  • How can you explain this verse to children? What kind of children’s story can you write? What kind of nonfiction piece can you write for children? For teens?
  • What kind of devotion can you write on this verse?
  • How can you apply this verse to writing about marriage, parenting, singleness, relationship struggles, school, work, trusting God, God’s sovereignty, forgiveness, unplanned pregnancy, new baby, health issues, national disasters, politics, anxiety, patience, grief, finances, prayer, persecution, salvation of loved ones, trials, etc.?

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A Day to Remember

I can’t do a “Fun Facts” today. It doesn’t seem appropriate. However, I can tell you that on this day in 1773, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “There was never a good war or a bad peace.”

As you write today, remember the families of the people who died on September 11, 2001, and the families of the heroes who died in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Write something that honors them.

Plowing Together – Writing to a Tragedy – Please Comment

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)?

Hope in the Flood

hibiscusI know several people who live in Colorado. Many of them are good friends. Earlier this year, they faced devastating fires. Now, historic floods threaten their homes and their lives.

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.

Write Hope

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

Write What You Know – And More

2013We’ve all heard it: Write what you know. Your everyday, ordinary life is full of writing ideas. You know more than you think you know. Take all that knowledge and write. But then, take a risk and move into areas where you’re less familiar.

Your Life 24/7

From the moment you get up to the moment your eyes close at night, writing ideas surround you: your journey with God, marriage, parenting, pets, caretaking elderly parents, illness, financial issues, singleness, dealing with loss, decorating ideas, forgiveness, gardening, and on and on.

Share your insights on what you’ve learned. Bring your readers with you on your journey. What is God teaching you today? What’s do you handle a disagreement in your marriage? How do you discipline your child? What works and what doesn’t? How did you discover that your pet had a health issue? How did you help your elderly parents transition to a more dependent living situation? How did you know the warning signs of a serious illness?

Do you get the idea? You know more things than you may realize.

Now Expand Your Vision

Look for ideas where you least expect them: a commercial on TV or radio, a TV show, a conversation you overhear at the grocery store, current events, the newspaper, a website, ideas from friends, your child’s homework, a song you hear. The ideas are there. You just need to recognize them as ideas.

Look for ideas in every experience, everything you read or hear, everything that comes into your life. You never know where you’ll find the next nugget of inspiration. But if you don’t look for it, you won’t see it.

Research, Research, Research

You may never know the pain of divorce or the trauma of a crime victim, but someone else does. Research expands your writing so you can then offer comfort, information or point them to where they can get help.

Research every idea. Do interviews, search the web, go to the library. Even your research can spark ideas. For example, you may be writing an article on breast cancer and discover information on how diet affects your health. It doesn’t fit into your current piece but you can use it in something else.

Step Into 2013 Full of Ideas

Start 2013 with a notebook in hand – or Notes on your smartphone, or some other way to capture your ideas. Then, write. Ideas birth more ideas.

Figure out how to use your idea in nonfiction (personal experience, how-to, personality profile, devotional), fiction (short stories, novel, character traits, plot lines), poetry, and writing for children. Take one idea and use it several ways and in every genre. You’ll increase your output.

Now, go. Write what you know – and more.

© Deborah Christensen

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Out of the Ashes

red budsWe’ll never understand the horror that visited the idyllic little town of Newtown, Conn. We helplessly watch the images on TV. As more information of what really happened dribbles out, our helplessness turns to sadness and then to rage.

But as writers, we’re not helpless. God can use us to bring healing. He can speak through us with words of hope and love. And, Newtown isn’t the only tragedy that needs our words.

Personality Profiles

Stories of heroes are already coming out: teachers who shielded their students, first responders who bravely did their job despite the massacre they confronted.

You may not be able to write about these specific people but there are heroes where you live. Unfortunately, disaster strikes everywhere. But so does heroism. Has a tragedy hit your city or state? Can you profile the heroes there?

How-To Articles

Families need to pick up the pieces of a shattered home. Neighbors and friends need to know the best way to offer comfort. Parents need to help their children overcome fear and walk with them through the sadness of a tragedy. We all need to know how to shine God’s love in the darkness.

How can you help people facing the pain that comes into our lives? You can share insights on the issues that arise. Maybe you’ve gone through a difficult time and can share what you learned. Maybe you can interview experts and offer their guidance.

Personal Experience

The parents of Columbine victims are in a unique position to understand what the parents of the Newtown victims are going through. Many of them have reached out to help the families deal with what’s happened.

You may not have gone through something like this. However, we all face heartache. How did God comfort you? How did you see His love through your pain? What’s your story? What did you learn?

Poetry

If you express yourself through poetry, your words may touch someone in a unique way. You can touch the deepest part of the heart.

Devotionals

Point the way to God. Show your readers that He understands the brokenhearted. He lost a Son, too. And now His Son brings hope and salvation to the world. Use His Word to speak to people who are hurting.

Writing for Children

You can’t expose children to the full horror of a tragedy. But, they may feel afraid. They may not even understand everything they feel. You can write stories and articles that will speak to them on their level.

You don’t have to helplessly stand on the sidelines. God gave you a gift. Find a way to reach out through your writing and you will nurture hope out of the ashes.

© Deborah Christensen

From the Idea Garden – Colorado Fires

Colorado is burning. Homes are destroyed and people are evacuating, leaving their treasures and memories behind.

How can you share their stories? What stories of courage can you tell? What stories of faith can you share? What miracle stories can you tell? How did people see God work? How did the many Christian ministries in the area respond? How can you use these stories in a personal experience piece? In a meditation/devotional? In poetry? In a how-to article? How can you tailor these stories for a denominational publication? How can you write a news piece on this tragedy?

The Torrential Rains of Tragedy

I dialed my friend’s Mississippi phone number. Again, it didn’t go through. I glanced back at the TV as images of Hurricane Katrina flashed across. Wind, floods, devastation. I prayed. I knew her family was near the disaster zone.

After several days, I finally reached her. She and her family were fine. They suffered a little damage but were grateful for God’s protection through it all.

Last summer, I watched the TV again as tornadoes ripped through Alabama. Again, I prayed for friends who lived near the destruction. They were safe but neighbors and friends of theirs faced overwhelming losses.

Do you know someone who’s gone through loss and tragedy? Maybe you experienced it yourself. Fires, storms and earthquakes take their toll with loss of life, loss of property and, sometimes, loss of hope.

As a writer, you can share stories, and you can help others prepare for or recover from the torrential rains of tragedy.

Interviews

Is there someone you can interview? Can you share an inspiring story of hope? Is there a ministry that is helping people recover from the tragedy? Can you interview a volunteer or leader?

How did God make His presence known to the victims? How did He protect them? What miracles did they see? How did they sense His comfort through their pain?

Why did someone volunteer to serve in the tragedy zone? What needs does the ministry face? What can the readers do to help the ministry meet the many needs?

Every person who goes through a tragedy has a story to tell. All you need to do is ask them.

Denominational publications, general interest publications, family magazines and ministry newsletters are just a few of the publications that need these articles.

How-To: Prepare

There are things people can do to prepare for a tragedy before it hits. How do you prepare for a fire? How do you design a workable escape route? What do you need before a tornado hits? How to you make sure that your shelter will protect you? How can you earthquake-proof your house? Do you need a preparedness kit? What should be in it? What can you do now that will protect your family members and pets? What’s the best equipment to keep in the house to prevent or protect you from a tragedy?

The elderly, disabled, children and pets are usually the most vulnerable during a tragedy. How can you safely and quickly maneuver wheelchairs out of the house? What is the best way to provide wheelchair access to your shelter? Children and pets, in particular, tend to hide when they get scared. How can you ensure that you get everyone to safety? What can you do now to prevent children and pets from getting caught in possible hiding places?

Family publications, senior citizens publications, pet publications and general interest magazines need these articles.

How-To: Recover

People overwhelmed by a loss need hope: physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. What practical advice can you give them? How can you share hope with them? What can you write that will show them that they’re not alone, that God is with them and that He will walk with them through the healing process?

What do people need to know about insurance? What do they need to know about reconstructing their home? How can they rebuild their lives?

Tragedy will strike all of us someday. When those torrential rains come, writers can offer hope and guidance. You may write that piece that will save someone’s life.

© Deborah Christensen

Gleaning Fiction Ideas from the News

Several years ago, a local newscaster inserted herself into a sensational news story. She thought she was being a good journalist. Instead, she became the story. And, she was fired from her job because of it.

That’s why I chuckled when I heard her complain that “Law & Order” was going to feature her story. She really got upset when she found out that her “character” was the murderer. As it turned out, the episode was only inspired in part by her story. It didn’t tell the real story.

“Law & Order” successfully gleaned their story ideas from the news on a regular basis. Another example of a story they used was Madonna’s adoption of a boy from Africa.

The News is More than the News

Whether you read a newspaper, listen to the evening news or a news channel, or get your news online, you’ll discover a wealth of ideas. You can’t pigeon-hole news. You’ll get everything, from serious news stories to politics to light-hearted stories.

Do you like to write murder mysteries? Love stories? Children’s stories? You’ll find a news story that can inspire you.

Crime

How would you solve a crime that occurred in your city? What story can you create around murders, bank robberies, drug raids, etc.? What characters can you develop as police officers, FBI agents, narcotics officers or security guards?

You could write a story based on the actual crime or you could take it in a completely different direction. The crime could serve as the basis of the story or a peripheral scene.

Sports

How can you use a traumatic injury or an inspiring win in your fiction? What character qualities do you see in sports figures that you can incorporate into your characters? What sport do you follow? How can you build a story around it?

National Disasters and War

How can your characters deal with the aftermath of 9/11; an earthquake, hurricane, blizzard, or tornado; or the financial meltdown? How does it change them? How does it change their family? How do your characters live through these events?

How do your characters live through the war? Face life with a major injury? Come home from the battlefield? Deal with the horrors of war? Rebuild a normal family life after the military member returns home?

Politics and Espionage

The political arena offers countless avenues for ideas, from elections to issues. Can you create a love story between political rivals? What about a murder mystery? How can you create a story around the global warming issue or the abortion issue?

Tom Clancy weaves intriguing stories based on espionage. How can you create unique stories in this arena? The war on terror? Drug cartels? Israel?

Feel-Good Stories

Most news sources will give you a story that’s uplifting. How can you create fiction inspired by those stories? What fiction ideas can you glean from a story about a woman who turns 100? The rescue of an animal from a chunk of ice? A child who collects money for the poor?

The next time you see a news story, let your imagination go. You may find characters and stories that will help you create readable and appealing fiction.

© Deborah Christensen

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