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

Monday, May 23, 2016

What Makes a Page-Turner?

Let's talk about what makes us keep turning the pages of a book. When a thousand things call to us, why is it that we can't put the book down?

I think we'd all agree that it's a character we begin to care about on page one. We care because she's likable, and she's got trouble. Or, as writers call it, conflict. 

But what exactly does that involve? In the overall story, it means the difficulty the main character has in reaching her goals and the uncertainty of the outcome. We're not sure if she'll get what she desires so badly, so we read on.

Conflict is not just disagreement or argument. In fact, that can be annoying. But a character torn in two directions, makes us want to read on. 

So if you're writing a story, force your character into something she'd never do. Make him say something he'd never say. 

Write so that there's macro tension--the goal that she can't reach, and micro tension--the concern about what's said or done in the next sentence.

What do you think? What makes you keep turning the pages of a book? And what annoys you in a book? 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

How to solve problems--or fill a hole in the ground

Delores E. Topliff
How can we redeem a problem? What can be made of scarred earth or a 135-acre hole in the ground? Convert it into something beautiful.

In 1904 Richard Butchart moved from Ontario, Canada to Vancouver Island to get rich limestone deposits for his cement production. Five years later with the limestone excavated, his wife created a sunken garden. The next year she converted their vegetable garden and tennis courts into lavish rose and Italian gardens enjoyed today by one million paying visitors yearly from all over the world.

Vancouver, B.C.’s 500’ Little Mountain was quarried for rock for city roadways until 1930. When those quarries were depleted, the British Columbia Tulip Association suggested transforming that 130 acre hole into a well-planned sunken garden. One of the city’s greatest beauty spots today, the Queen Elizabeth Garden is a world-class floral park with six million paying guests per year. 

Consider the before and after. What if both problems had been neglected? View the post-card lovely photos and think what both would be like if no beauty had been added?

Our lives and writing or artistic projects may have holes, or occasional scars, but all devastation that can be transformed into beauty. Ask God for His inspiring grand design to make your problem area so attractive that many come to be refreshed, create memories, and take pictures for family albums.

Tell us about a hole or scar you’ve seen or redeemed, that is now a work of beauty with wisdom gleaned to bless others. And when you see something magnificent, look for the story behind the project to learn the often amazing process for how it got that way.