I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Friday, April 29, 2011

Crafting a Compelling Story

There was a time in my life when I lived in remote foothills along western Canada's Alaska Highway, an hour from the nearest town. We learned to make things from scratch, repair broken items, or do without. With money in short supply, we invented ways to earn it. Once, I cut enough willow branches to fill a horse trailer with 735 medium to large-size attractive woven wreaths and hauled them 650 miles south to a large wholesale florist. I loved the outdoor exercise, but also asked God for a second, less-taxing income source.

Many in my community had broken jewelery. Since mailing pieces to big cities for the simplest repair cost $35 minimum, I wondered if I could learn how to do repairs. When I found someone to teach me, her closing words were, "This might grow into a good small business for you."

I learned safety pins are great jewelry-making tools. But I also discovered something better: the bead board. These are inexpensive trays with spaces to hold beads, as well as a generous trough with inch markers to show how long your finished product will be. After placing various sizes, shapes and colors of beads next to each other in the trough, you find your final pleasing combination and string them together. Voilá--excellence!

God also gave me the desire to write and then revealed ways to learn the craft. The February MBT Deep Thinkers Retreat provided a bazillion, gazillion gorgeous elements--rich colored beads in varied sizes, spacers, roundels, bead tips, clasps, hooks, dangles--everything needed. Under the tutelage of master craftsmen Susie and Rachel, writers tried ideas, working and rearranging combinations until we found the satisfying designs, colors and lengths right for each of us. Then we added clasps and applied needle and thread to tie our stories up.

Using our life experiences, God provides the colorful beads unique to each one of us. Waiting on Him, "oohing" and "aahing" as we cheer each other on, arranging and rearranging our story elements in the bead board--all this helps us create compelling stories.

Delores Topliff

Photo by alfredo-9/stock.xchng.com


  1. You have quite a way with analogies, Dee. I love the picture of beautiful, multicolored beads being strung together to create something one-of-kind. My daughters like to go to a local bead shop to make jewelry. They always had custom made necklaces and earrings for prom and homecoming. I watched more than I participated because I'm craft-challenged. But I always enjoyed how we worked together, even if I was just wandering around going, "Look at this pretty bead!" Or saying, "Did you see this one?" And I "oohed" and "aahed" when they were finished.
    You're right---writing buddies are like that. We encourage one another as we string words together to create our own unique prose.

  2. Dee, I love your analogy too. :) I am thankful He has placed you in my life as I embark on the writing road. Your words and your word picture today are a beautiful way of describing how stories are crafted and "strung together" to make something beautiful. :)

  3. Beautiful analogy! I love how you have described the craft of writing!

  4. Great post, Dee! You are so right...writing a story is a lot like jewelry making. Stringing iedeas together like beads, adding layers, twisting the wires together, weaving everything together for a satisfying ending! great analogy.

  5. Thanks, Pat. You're a fellow-jewelryist and understand perfectly.