MESSY DESK, PRISTINE PROSE?

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Hello! Maureen Pratt here with my monthly CAN blog about writing. Today, I pose a question, "Messy Desk, Pristine Prose?" or, "Does your writing environment help you or hurt you?" I recently saw a picture of a writer at work. Everything about her desk and surroundings was streamlined and clean. Not a pencil out of place, not a book up-ended. There were no sticky notes affixed to the computer screen, and no cork bulletin board groaning with mock-ups of book covers, flyers, and a scribbled-upon calendar. Even this writer's shirt looked as if it had just been ironed! If this…

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READING AND WRITING THE FINE PRINT

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                                           Greetings! Maureen Pratt here with my latest CAN blog post about the craft of writing. Today, I thought I'd steer clear of the "big picture" – that is, the major aspects of writing that we so often focus on in our work – plot and character arcs, basic personal attributes, action points. Instead, I thought I'd "sweat the small stuff" and talk about the importance of seeking, seeing and writing about the "fine print," those details that can truly make a huge difference between a piece that is okay from one that is, "Oh! Hey! [That really strikes home/makes this a…

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Help! Where’s my story?!

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  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…

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When Something Happens

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Hello, again!  Maureen Pratt here for my monthly blog post. And what a month it’s becoming! No doubt many of you have multiple works in progress gracing your keyboards, computer screens, notebooks, and imaginations. Some deadlines, too. The life of a working writer. And then…something happens. How do we handle health and other emergencies and keep our writing in mind and heart, too? We are writers, after all, and writers, well, we write. As I write this, I am in the midst of a significant family emergency. One minute, I was working on a new magazine article, and hours later,…

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Making Poems Different I

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Hello, I’m Donn Taylor, here again to talk about poetry and ways to achieve the “higher voltage” that distinguishes poetry from most prose. In my last few posts, I spoke of several basic ways to organize a poem. Now we turn to several ways of making your poem different than many, perhaps most, that editors will see. The vast majority of new poems I’m seeing are written in the poet’s own voice, with the poet as the speaker (persona) of the poem and one or more aspects of the poet’s self as the subject. It’s safe to assume that editors…

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Laughter

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Sherry Kyle here writing from my laptop in California.  Have you had a good laugh lately?  I’m not talking about a slight chuckle, but a good ‘ol belly laugh—the kind that makes your stomach hurt and the tears roll out of your eyes. There are certain friends and family members that bring it out of me. My husband is one of them. I love his sense of humor and how he can brighten my mood. Who makes you laugh?  I’m so glad God loves laughter. He wants us to enjoy life.  Psalm 126: 2-3 says, “Our mouths were filled with…

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Got Hope?

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Hi! Sherry Kyle, here, writing from my laptop in central California with a word of encouragement for you. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (def) hope:  1. to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely. 2. To believe, desire, or trust. What is your hope today?

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Writing Short

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    Then God said: "Let there be light," and there was light. Genesis 1:1 Hello! Maureen Pratt here with my first CAN Blog post. I've been asked to write once a month about writing – one of my favorite topics! Today, I'm going to start off with a topic that sometimes confounds many writers – "writing short." As I'm the author of a 600-word syndicated, international column, I'm steeped in this style with each piece I file. And, more than ever before, we use this kind of writing, especially on the Internet. But it can be so difficult to adapt…

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Decorating for the Holidays

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Sherry Kyle here, writing to you from my laptop in central California. Can you believe it’s almost December? Now that Thanksgiving is over for 2011, it’s time to decorate our homes for Christmas. I don’t know what it’s like at your house, but my kids can’t wait for the tree to go up and the decorating to begin.  Like embellishing our homes for the holidays, our manuscripts need that something special in order to capture a reader’s attention.

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At the Cross!

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Sherry Kyle, here, writing from California. I came home last Tuesday from an amazing time at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. It was a time of firsts for me after going every year since 2006. It was the first time I spoke to various groups, the first time I had books to sell at the Conference Bookstore, and the first time I roomed with four other women in a cabin. (We had a blast!) The most significant first, however, was the early Sunday morning hike to the cross.  

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