Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Unseen

It wouldn’t surprise you, would it, if I told you my two sons were exceptional? Even if you disagreed – if you’d met them and hadn’t found them special at all, you would at least concede that I would of course think they were, because I am their mom.

You wouldn’t disagree, though.

If you met them, you would find them handsome, kind, bright, creative and engaging. Really. That’s what I always hear from people who go out of their way to tell me. They truly are remarkable.

But what if I said that when I see them, I feel the light that emanates from their souls, I honestly see halos around their heads, I practically hear the angels sing? Well, you might believe me the way Scully believed Mulder ( “I’m sure you thought you saw… “), but you wouldn’t see the halos, and you wouldn’t hear the angels.*

Madeleine L’engle held that we are made like onions, with all the ages we have ever been still layered inside. The infant still lives, as does the two year old, the ten-year-old, the teenager. I believe this is true.

So the reason, I think, that I see these young men so clearly is that I have witnessed the formation of all those layers. Few others — their father does, and my eldest’s mother (I’m his step-mom) — understand the things I know because I was there.

I believe that when, as the Bible predicts, the lion will lie down with the lamb, then at that moment we will all see more clearly past our noses into the souls of each other. We will see one another the way I see my boys and be astonished that we ever passed a human on the street without looking up.

Because we will see what was formerly unseen.

Trust me — this all has to do with books.

Over at Novel Matters, we are having a long conversation about why the novel matters, and I believe the answer is connected to all I’ve just said.

The following video is an excellent interview with Eugene Peterson conducted in 2007 at Point Loma Nazarene University. Toward the end of the video (you can drag the slider to 26:11 if you’re in a hurry), he says something I like:

“Imagination is almost, not quite, the same thing as faith. It connects what we see with what we don’t see, and pulls us through what we see to what we don’t see. ”

When an author writes a novel, she must know her characters, layer by layer. She uses her imagination to blend what she knows of her own story with what she knows of the stories of others — some of them people she knows very well.

When you read a book, you use your imagination to flesh out the story the author has given. She has written down the words, but you supply the pictures. You bring to the page what you know of yourself and those you love.

And somehow, when this collaboration works at its best, the result is that you look at the stranger on the street with new eyes. You glimpse the light between the layers. You hear music.

*Their wives might, or if not yet, I think they will. You should meet the man I’ve come to know these past 29+ years. Light and angel songs.

Friday, August 22, 2014

You See, But Do You Observe?

This is a summer rerun because I just received season 3 for my birthday and it reminded me how great this show is and how amazing the characters are. Oh, and the importance of deductions, of course.

 I would like to thank my sister for getting me hooked on the BBC's Sherlock series starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson. It all started when she gave me a 3-episode DVD for Christmas, recognizing that some things are just good for people, whether they know it or not.  The stories are tightly written, smart and compelling. The characters are well-developed and complex.  And the villain is...well, a madman.  Both soft and vicious at the same time, which makes you squirm whenever he enters a scene. A fitting nemesis to the self-proclaimed 'high-functioning sociopath.' There are only 9 episodes so far. Total.


What I also love about the series is Sherlock's deductions, which appear briefly in writing over a person or situation stating a fact that he has ascertained by keen observation.  A piece of lint, an impression in cloth, a subtle change in gait reveals clues that are so obvious to him that he remarks to Dr. Watson, "You see, but you do not observe."  Commonplace objects and conditions tell the story for him.  How amazing it would be to have his keen eye to help me to flesh out characters and scenes.  It has challenged me to sharpen my own powers of observation.

In fact, I've put it into practice.  Not really snooping, just watching.  Last week I covertly peeked into the shopping cart of a 50-something man in the grocery aisle and deduced from the copious amounts of single-serving frozen dinner entrees and boxed macaroni and cheese that he would be dining alone, and for quite a while. Possibly he was newly single judging from the men's body wash, men's shampoo, jug of mouthwash and new toothbrush.  People don't usually run out of everything all at once.  But it could happen, and it could be an interesting twist if his actions were misinterpreted.  Perhaps he just got released from prison, or his home burnt to the ground.  Maybe he was running from something...or someone. 

Of course, physical clues are only part of the story.  Intent and motivation are not easy to deduce or to show. The truth is, I 'see but don't observe' much of the time.  It takes practice to read a person's body language and the clues they unwittingly give. Some good news is that I think that just getting older has helped to make me more observant. Maybe because I've seen a lot. And I bet you have, too.
 Image result for deerstalker hats for sale
So be the 'hat' detective.  Slip on the deerstalker cap (interesting name) and use your powers of observation to really 'see' something you might otherwise have missed.  Look for the intent or motivation behind it, and share it with us, unless you're saving it for your next novel, of course.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

We at Novel Matters put together a recipe book a while back: Novel Tips on Rice. It contains some of our favorite recipes, along with some of our favorite writing tips  ... all in good fun! You can purchase this delightful book for $15, postage paid in the US. To order, email Sharon at
Below is Latayne's marvelous disclaimer.
Disclaimer:  The NovelMatters authors cannot be held responsible for any untoward factors related to the development and use of this cookbook, including but not limited to:  errors in printing and/or errors in judgment; download viruses, food poisoning, gagging children; small kitchen fires, large kitchen fires, house fires of any description; appliance malfunctions, ingredient malfunctions, logic malfunctions; wrong measurements, unauthorized condiments, failure to rise; rejection slips, slips of the tongue, slip and fall cases; the spoiled or out of date condition of your ingredients or query hooks; marital disputes, editorial disagreements, writing-related depression; accidental insertions of chapters from WIPs due to rogue cut and paste computer functions; hurt feelings, moral outrages, menopausal symptoms; forgetfulness, hearing loss, oblivion; ringing in the ears, phantom tastes, missing-limb syndrome; weight gain, weight loss, intolerance to all waiting; list-obsession, list-phobia, listlessness; tics or other involuntary actions; allergies, lip chewing or any other causes of swelling of the mouth; technophobia, claustrophobia, cibophobia (look it up), bibliophobia, gynephobia, chronophobia; dropsy, palsy, leprosy or any condition whatsoever that involves bodily emissions or any other King James malady. Or from any other Bible version.
This book was processed in facilities which produce other literary works involving nuts.
I have read and agree to the above conditions.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday at the Movies: NOT a rerun!

Welcome to Monday at the Movies! This is not a rerun but a wonderful interview with two of the most acclaimed YA writers in the world, Katherine Paterson and Kate DiCamillo. (Patti here: I adore them!)

They talk about what a writer is, and it's amusingly honest. You won't hear any must-dos from these ladies. You will hear that writing is hard work. Sorry, no magic pills!

If I were to recommend two books, one from each of these ladies, I would have to suggest The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by DiCamillo and The Day of the Pelican (because you've all read The Bridge to Terebithia, and if you haven't then pity your deprived reader's soul).

Without further ado, here's the interview:

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Reruns: The Pain of Promotion

This expanded article originally posted on October 9, 2013.

Not long ago I read a novel by an author I'd not read before, selected it late one night from the sales pages of when I'd run out of things to read. The first thing that caught my attention was that it was published by NavPress, the house that published my first two novels, so I read the opening pages and was intrigued enough to order it. It was surprisingly good, a refreshing find, completely out of the box for CBA. It was published in 2006. In my opinion, CBA has tightened its net, so to speak, in the intervening years, and I'm not sure this book would find a home in CBA these days.

The author, first name Annette, did a remarkable job of writing a male protagonist (a topic we discussed on this blog in August 2013). She wrote real-world characters you could truly identify with, who had goals beyond getting the girl/guy next door, and problems that look a lot like mine; problems that don't always have good solutions. I applauded her guts and her ability, and sent her an email saying how much I'd enjoyed the novel. Her response kind of blew me away. She graciously gave me permission to share some of what was contained therein.

Annette is the author of 13 novels, the first published in 1997. It sold roughly 140,000 copies. The others, combined, sold about the same number. Combined or not, I was struck with Serious Envy when I read her sales numbers. I've never come close to that, nowhere near, though I never stop working at it.

But it was her next statement that really blew me away. She wrote, "As for why I stopped writing ..."

Excuse me?!?

Stopped writing?!?

With that kind of success?!?

Yes. Stopped. She had three main reasons:

First, I absolutely cannot bear promoting. I'm quite private, more so as I've gotten older (I'm 54). I am the only person I know not on Facebook. When I began writing, promotion meant speaking a bit, doing book signings, giving out bookmarks. I did do a blog for a bit, and didn't mind that. But now ... I just can't do all that is expected and needed of an author. When I weighed the pain of promoting vs the joy of writing for publication, writing did not come out on top. I do not see how someone unwilling to promote can publish today.

Second, writing was never a calling for me. I loved it. It came easily and naturally for me, and I had a talent for it. I read a few how-to books and subscribed to Writer's Digest, but I never took a writing class. I attended my first conference after I'd had 7 books out. It wasn't something I longed for or dreamed about. I was a voracious reader, but really never thought being an author was in the realm of reality. It was an amazing surprise.

But my true calling? Hospice nursing. I've been an RN since age 20. It is what I was born to do. It is where I have served, where I have done my best work. It was easy to let writing slip away when it wasn't my only thing, or even my main thing.

"Wasn't my only thing, or even my main thing."  That line really struck me. Because aside from my relationship with my family and God, writing IS my main thing and has been for 28 years. Aside from unforeseen circumstances, I have no intention of stopping. But I completely get what she's saying. Debbie wrote a great post on the truth about introverts. Many writers are introverts --- and shy to boot, as Lori Benton pointed out in the comments to Debbie's post. That certainly describes me. So when Annette said she couldn't bear self-promotion, I could relate so well. And yet, as she points out, someone unwilling to self-promote these days won't get far as an author.

The environment we find ourselves in as writers is somewhat a dichotomy. On one hand, publishing opportunities are greater --- and less costly --- than ever before, if one is willing to go the independent route. Because many authors, even those who have been multi-published traditionally, are choosing to go independent, the stigma of self-publishing is diminishing.

On the other hand, going independent means the full weight of promotion falls on the author. And for those of us --- which basically is all of us --- who dislike self-promotion, it makes the writing life that much harder. Building a readership is like tossing a stone into water and watching the ripple spread out from the initial splash. Turning that ripple into a tsunami is the goal, but how do you do that?

We learned from Latayne's post last week that Lisa Samson, an author all of us here respect and admire, has thrown in the towel, primarily because of the demands of marketing. She's not the only author to give up on writing, at least in the traditional sense of publishing. The burden of marketing is a huge factor in the decisions, but it isn't the only factor. Authors with really good sales numbers are finding it difficult to get contracts these days, or if they do get contracts, to get the type of advances they're used to and need to get by.

That makes the ground beneath my feet unstable indeed, because I don't have the sales numbers, I don't have the industry contacts anymore. I don't have the following of a Lisa Samson. But what I still have is the desire and tenacity to press on ... in spite of another recent series of frustrations and setbacks. And so I press on. Especially for the next novel I plan to release, because of all the stories I've written, this is the one I most believe in; the one I so want to succeed. I have no idea what kind of success it will be met with, but my daughter Deanne helped put things in perspective when she said, "If you sell your books to 100 or 1,000,000 people, continue to write. Do your best to market and earn money, but keep writing.  God didn't give you the passion and the talent...and the story for you to quit because of someone else's version of success. You are successful because you've completed the task. And your writing is stellar."

I appreciate her encouragement so much.

Have you found a way to balance writing with promotion, and have you found a promotional tool that's been successful for you? Is the fear of promotional responsibilities enough to give you pause in your writing, or perhaps deter you from going independent? What, if anything, would make you put down your pen for good?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Story is Our Wailing Wall

Robin Williams died and I can't take in that truth. I've been thinking about all the stuff of life that people can't talk about. 
There are shards of my life that I can't talk about it.

There are things that happened in my past that I cannot even utter. Still. After I'd already grown impatient with myself.
Times when I've been little more than raked earth, half returned to the ash I came from. When I looked with eyes blind to the wonder all around me, but saw it anyway. 
There are things beyond language. I know this because I've been there.

This is where story plays its most fantastic role. It's where we all go to find ourselves tucked between the words. Story is our 
dear diary, 
wailing wall.

I've done real soul-baring in my writing, but not in a way that would be easy for the reader to locate. Not theme, or subject matter. Not plot. My soul shards are tucked between the words, present, but hidden from plain view. This is the way it must be for me. Every writer is different. For some, it must be front and centre, painful as that is. Why? Because it must.

For me, I must tuck it away. Will that change? Maybe. I don't pursue it, instead I let it pursue me. A writer never travels to the place she intended to go.

I'm good at the road I never wanted to walk. Sometimes I didn't get my way because my dreams were too small. Sometimes . . . well. Here's a poem I wrote a while ago.
With Thanks to Bill Holm
by Bonnie Grove
Words lined up in particular form
bring the mirror to your face,
it isn't your reflection as much as it is
the face you thought you'd already forgotten.

I've been taken up by my hapless collar and
pulled through the rake of divorce;
tendons separating from bone.
Bone and marrow finely defined.

Later, I leapt
foolish footing from a cliff's edge I hadn't
noticed, or pretended not to see. I didn't think, only
felt the fall and blessed its decent. The
ragged bits of me weightless in the movement;
fantom limbs.

I forgot
the sensible thing, the priority of self
preservation and gave it up
for a guy with blue eyes, his hapless collar tented at the
back. His raked form lovely to my missing eyes.

All these years
for the sake of the heat of the hand in the middle of the night.
The one that has been there for years. Will be.
             The heat that could melt a stone. 

Tender writer, all raw-souled and roiling, how do you put yourself in your work? Are you front and centre? Tucked between the words? A shadow falling across the page, or a charge of light illuminating the ink?

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Circumference of Hard Times

Today's Summer Re-run is from a guest post elsewhere. Written a couple of years ago, but more true now than ever.

I approach today’s post with an assumption about you: that some time in the past month – or week – you've felt a wobble in the wheels of your wagon of life. One more setback, one more bill, a single word more of bad news, and your wagon might collapse altogether.

I feel safe in my assumptions. I know so few people who haven’t commented that surely the present trial couldn’t last much longer. The five ladies I blog with certainly understand the feeling. When we first banded together – most of us strangers to each other, all of us newly published authors with big plans and high hopes – we thought our purpose as co-bloggers would be to encourage our readers and hoist each other to ever higher levels of publishing success.

We found out different. Even as our shared relationship flowered into a rare and special kind of friendship, we discovered that our purpose was in fact to help each other survive the coming wave of hardship. Maybe this is a case of “you had to be there,” but I cherish our lifeboat friendship much more than the hand-up-the-ladder kind. Or – to say it better, I hope: the surviving is more precious to me than success.

There is something lovely about falling into the hole you hoped to stay out of. Once you’re in there, you can walk its circumference, and feel the cool clay of the wall, and realize that you can settle in for as long as you must, and you’ll still be alright. The fear you might once have had of not being able to take it begins to show itself as the lie it was.

Even in the hole, you have friends. You learn, in whatever state you find yourself, to be content.

My prayer for you is that you will find the kinds of friendships that  make surviving a beautiful thing. In that hope, I offer a few suggestions:

Choose people with a capacity for affection and optimism, generosity and humor.

Love them well.

Cheer them on when the news is good, sympathize when it’s not. Be lavish about this.

Stay in close touch, close enough to feel the pulse. We ladies at Novel Matters live far apart, but we email each other every day. We may not know how to pull each other from the hole, but we sing to each other till the wind picks up.

You know the wind, right? Ever hear the Ojibwe saying?

“Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while a great wind  is bearing me across the sky.”

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summertime Reruns: Writing Advice: Help or Hindrance?

This post originally ran on October 24, 2012. We had recently interviewed Julie Cantrell, author of the bestseller, Into the Free.  It's always fascinating to read about an author's road to success.  I was shocked and saddened, however, by her 12th grade English teacher's advice:

 “Whatever you do, don’t waste your scholarship to study writing. You’ll be lucky if you ever publish a greeting card.” 

My first thought was, "Who says that to a young person?" My next thought was to hope that her English teacher would see Julie's name in print and realize what poor advice she'd given. But when my indignation for Julie cooled, I suspected that there was something more behind her teacher's words.  Perhaps she truly thought she was giving Julie practical advice.  But it may have simply been wisdom distilled from her own struggles to see her work in print, culled from a dark place of disillusionment You never know.  For whatever reason, it's still just bad advice.

I once heard Debbie Macomber speak about her attempts to sell her first novel.  A heavy-handed editor sliced and diced her manuscript and told her to throw it away.  Debbie screwed up that place inside of her that knew better and sent it anyway.  Now a New York Times bestselling author, she encourages writers to follow their dreams as she did.  

We can't all be Julie Cantrells or Debbie Macombers. We won’t all be bestselling authors. Some of us won’t even see our books published through traditional means. Our stories will be different. We all get bad advice during our lifetimes.  How do we know the good from the bad?

Julie said it took ten years to get her teacher’s voice out of her head and to believe that she could write, only after remembering that a different teacher had said she had talent. We need to carefully choose those whom we allow to speak into our writing lives.

There is much technical advice for writers, and not even these rules apply 100% of the time.  ‘Show don’t tell,’ and ‘don’t use adverbs’ would be two.  There are times when both telling and the use of adverbs are appropriate for the story.  But the advice about whether or not to write or what to write has to come from a place inside of us. I don’t think anyone else can give you advice for this.  I could be wrong. 

Have you received advice – good or bad – which helped or hindered you in your writing?  We’d love to hear. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

One Novelist Calls It Quits

We at NovelMatters have writers we admire, and Lisa Samson is at the top of our list. She's published a bazillion books, won a Christie Award, and Publisher's Weekly calls her "a talented novelist who's not afraid to take risks." I count The Passion of Mary-Margaret among the best, most memorable books I've ever read.

So what would cause such a fine writer just to stop writing? She's not old. To my knowledge, she's not sick or under a governmental gag order.

Things have changed for novelists. We at NovelMatters have said it before, but Lisa says it concisely and well. Here, with her permission, we're reprinting her post from Facebook in which she explains.

What do you think, NovelMatters readers? Is there a solution that would encourage such a writer to continue?

Here is what Lisa said:

Dear Friends,
All good things must come to an end, the saying goes. I, however, like to think that all good things continue to evolve. For twenty-two years I have been writing for the inspirational (read: evangelical Christian) market, and it has been an honor and a privilege. True, with the artistic strictures and the increasing necessity for a platform, it has had its share of frustrations for a novelist who simply wants to explore an artform, but sharing stories and getting to know readers as friends, hearing how these words have been used to encourage, inspire, affirm, and even challenge, has been a thrill.
The publishing world has changed drastically since I first set pen to paper almost exactly twenty-two years ago on August 8th, 1992. Back then, you could just be a novelist. I raised my children while writing stories and it was a blessing. Some of my readers have been with me since the beginning and I am truly grateful. But as most of you know, things changed. The author has become increasingly responsible for marketing, publicity, and that platform I mentioned earlier. I’m simply not that kind of writer. I write, create, mull, think, write some more, go look in the fridge, and am not interested in nor gifted for the new responsibilities and I never have been. So, in essence, I’m a lousy person to publish in this new world. I fall down on the job when half of my job isn’t writing. In other words, what is now required of an author is something I’m neither equipped for, nor willing to do. I write. That’s it.
I was recently offered a contract that was insufficient for me to support my family. A real step down from the previous one. And that is all I will say about that matter. It wasn’t personal, I realize, but it was severely disappointing to have worked faithfully for two decades only to have your work go down in value to that point. I wish money didn’t matter, but it has to, and that saddens me. I'm still intensely grateful for the time I spent writing for that house and the people there who are, quite simply, wonderful. But traditional publishing is a business and I'm no good for the bottom line no matter how much I'm personally loved, and good feelings don't keep the lights on over here at my house.
And so, out of respect for those of you who have encouraged me, published me, worked with me, lifted me up in prayer, and have been there for me throughout the years, I want to honor your friendship and love by telling you the news that I will no longer be writing as I have been. A Thing of Beauty will release and after that, I just don’t know. As far as I’m concerned, having worked for over two decades for it to all come to a place where I cannot support my family, I’m just discouraged and ready to move on. I do believe it’s time.
Will I write again? I just can’t say for sure. If God drops something good in my lap and says follow me, of course I will follow. But doing what I have to do to move forward as a person and a mom, I have enrolled in the Lexington Healing Arts Academy and will begin their massage therapy program in late September. I hope to give relief to cancer, hospice, and Alzheimer’s patients. It will be a new adventure and one I am truly excited about. Please continue your prayers for me, and keep in touch. I’ll maintain this page through the release of A Thing of Beauty, and I hope that my “retiring” of “Lisa Samson,” does not mean that we still aren’t a part of each other's lives here in the crazy little space called facebook. I love you all, and appreciate all you’ve done and been to me all these years. God bless you and again, my gratitude for you is deep and wide and filled with love. You are amazing.

Monday, August 4, 2014

10 Steps to Success as a Novelist--Summer Rerun, sort of

Note: Yep, this is a summer rerun, too, but I've done some tweaking. Are we not all editors at heart?

One perk of being a published writer is gaining credibility whether I deserve it or not. I'm frequently asked to speak to church groups, book clubs, service groups, and writer groups. I love it! I'm a teacher, first and foremost, and a bit of a ham.

I spoke at my first writers conference not long ago. They asked me to speak on what it takes to be successful in publishing. (Don't worry, I'm doing research!) These are my notes on 10 steps to success (I know, there are more than 10. I'll have an addendum in my handout):

1. Determine if you're a dabbler or a writer (This is from Sharon).

A writer will trouble over the perfect word, insist upon writing draft after draft until the manuscript sings, dream about her characters, forget to eat, listen to critique and make changes as needed, and never, never, never give up even in the face of repeated rejection. A dabbler is easily discouraged.

2. Read poetry.

We've all heard to read the best fiction the world has to offer. Let me add poetry to your reading list. No other writing form can train you on the power of word economy. And poetry makes the ordinary extraordinary. I've learned to see my world more fully through a poet's eyes. Above all, a novelist must be an observer. It's the details that bring authenticity to our stories.

3. Care about people.

Be fully engaged with the people around you and take every opportunity to broaden your circle of friends. LISTEN to people. Hear their stories. Become part of their stories. As a novelist, you write about people. And since I believe you have to love your characters--the good, the bad, and the incorrigible--you should practice loving the people around you. The result will be more fully developed characters and a broader variety of personalities.

4. Duct tape yourself to the chair! (From Latayne)

A writer writes purposefully. Some writing teachers will say you have to write every day. That works well for some people. It's impossible for others. I say, find what works for you. Come up with an achievable goal, even if it's a paragraph a day while sitting at soccer practice. And do it. My goal is to write 1,000 words per day. I find that is about my limit for creating slop in one day. Apply duct tape as needed.

5. Learn the publishing biz.

Oh my. The publishing biz is really changing with eReaders and self-publishing and the economy upending the publishing houses. Go to a writers conference and make a gracious pest of yourself by asking every editor and agent what is going on in publishing. Be a student of the industry. Read professional journals like Publisher's Weekly, The Writer, and Writers Digest. There are many more!

6. Don't stagnate.

Take classes. Read books. Grow as a storyteller and write the very best story you can. By the way, this is the strongest element of your marketing plan. 

7. Ask your prospective agent these questions:

  • Will you read my story?
  • Will you offer editorial comments? (This is becoming more typical as the publishing houses are looking for manuscripts that are ready to go. Also, sadly many publishing houses are letting editors go to save money. And we LOVE our editors!)
  • Do you LOVE my story?

8. Fall in love with your craft.

Genius is highly overrated and possibly nonexistent. On the other hand, you can't quench the passion of loving your art. You will do anything to perfect your technique. You will gladly--almost without notice--invest the 10,000 hours it takes to master a skill.

9. Be patient.

It just so happens that all of us are learning this at the moment, and we aren't exactly happy about it. You have to be patient with people who have promised to be beta readers but have gone AWOL, an endorser who eats your manuscript for breakfast, your agent may seem to be sitting on your manuscript, a critique partner keeps rescheduling, and/or agents aren't as much in love with your story as you are...and they're dead wrong. It only took God six days to create the earth, but publishing moves much slower. I hope you're the one exception to this, but that's not what I'm hearing.

10. Define success for yourself

Let me ask you a few questions: Are you a born storyteller? Is entertaining people one of your gift areas? And here's the tough question: Can you be happy with a small audience? Is connecting with your reader the reward you crave, or are you hoping for a rancho in Napa Valley? We hear get-rich stories about big-time writers all the time, but the reality is quite far from that. If you're going to pour your life into a story, you must love what you're doing and define success for yourself. For me, telling a redemptive story that entertains is a huge challenge. The payoff is hearing that people connect with the characters and say that they look at the world and eternity a little bit differently. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Test Your Grammar Skills

Yet another misspelled word in the overhead at church on Sunday prompted this little quiz. Just for fun, test your grammar skills (no fair looking up the answers -- they're pretty easy anyway) then go to our Comments section and post the number of answers you got right. Ready ... set ...

  1. The team had (its, it's) first win of the year.
  2. There was a (fowl, foul) odor coming from the neighbor's backyard.
  3. There's quite an age gap between her and (me, I).
  4. (Whose, who's) fault is it anyway?
  5. I'm beginning to think (they're, their) not coming.
  6. It was a heavy burden to (bare, bear).
  7. His apology was in (vein, vain, vane).
  8. I hate to exclude her, but she's such a (boar, bore).
  9. We went as a matter of (course, coarse).
  10. (Its, it's) one of my favorite books of all time).
  11. I don't recall (there, their, they're) address.
  12. The (cord, chord) on the lamp was twisted.
  13. In the (past, passed) I would have (past, passed) on the pie.
  14. I didn't mean to (bare, bear) my soul to her.
  15. I couldn't follow the (vein, vain) of his explanation.
  16. It was a (course, coarse) remark he made.
  17. It struck a (cord, chord) with me.
  18. Her (aid, aide) was late two days in a row.
  19. I wonder how it will (effect, affect) their relationship.
  20. A new haircut can certainly (alter, altar) one's looks.
  21. It was a (capitol, capital) idea!
  22. There was a (duel, dual) meaning to the paper he wrote.
  23. She entered the room with a (flair, flare), which had nothing to do with fire.
  24. I will (pour, pore) over the chapter until I have it memorized.
  25. The (principle, principal) put forth a (principle, principal).

Match the definition:   Antonym, Homonym, Synonym
  1. A word having the same meaning as another word.
  2. A word having  the same pronunciation as another word.
  3. A word having the opposite meaning from another word.

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