Maureen Pratt, CAN Member-at-Large

Maureen Pratt

Hello, again! Maureen Pratt here with my monthly CAN blog about the art and craft of writing. This month’s topic is, “Help! Where’s my story?!” or, “What to do when your story goes one way while you go another.”

Whether we write fiction or non-fiction, plotting or outlining is often an essential part of the publication process. From the first query to the last book cover blurb, most of us try to envision the beginning, middle and end of a work before we dive in.

But, as we authors know, as hard as we might work on those early ideations, “things happen” once we get started. New facts come to light. A secondary character takes center stage. A plot thread we knew was right suddenly becomes oh-so-wrong.

How do we handle these and other creations of the creative process? First of all…

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                                            [Pic for website 2012The woman] looked closely at Peter and said, "This man was with him." But Peter denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said. (Luke 22:56-57, NIV)

A blessed day to you! Maureen Pratt here with my second CAN Blog post. This time, I'm going to dive right into the deep end and talk about writing controversial subjects, characters, and themes. I've had very recent (ongoing, actually) experience with doing this, so I'm looking at the topic with eyes wide open and have some tips for handling not only the material, but also the feedback that inevitably comes when one "stirs the pot." (Although my experience is with a non-fiction piece, I hope these thought will be helpful to those who write fiction, too).

The Scripture verse I chose for this blog post sets the stage: For many people, even the strongest believer, controversy stirs up feelings of fear, denial, even cowardice. Yet, we people of faith are often called upon to confront issues and situations and stand firm, as our Lord did throughout his life. How much inside of us is Peter's "no!"? How much is Jesus' "yes!" How can we put on more courage and write boldly and maybe, just maybe, change hearts, too?

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Kern_web shot Jan here, writing about nonfiction writing craft on this fine Friday in January of the new decade.

Let’s talk about the craft of storytelling in nonfiction. Fiction writers naturally spend much focused time developing the craft of story. Nonfiction writers quickly discover this is essential for their writing as well.

It is very possible that a section of story excerpted from its larger context could be told so well that a hearer or reader would need to guess if it’s nonfiction or fiction. Is it a true account told by a storyteller who has skillfully woven the facts through a creative use of fiction techniques? Or is it fiction written with such factual, researched detail that it seems real?

For this post, we’ll look specifically at the story crafted as nonfiction. What are some of the ways we can build stronger storytelling technique into our nonfiction—whether essay, article, or book?

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