Compel Training 101 Session 2

Empty cookbookI have to admit that while I have had the desire to write for many years I have no formal writing experience and I’ve never taken any creative writing courses. What I do have is a passion to learn and a desire to string wonderful words together into beautiful images that you my readers can see in your mind and feel as if you are right there in the moment.

Recently I joined Compel Training  and am learning so much about the craft of writing. I hope to post a tidbit of valuable information from each teaching I view.

The most recent teaching I watched was how one author does some pre-work before she begins writing by asking herself these questions:

  • Who am I writing to?
    • While we may want to reach a wide and varied audience, who is that one person you really want to reach? This helps to keep us focused on our topic.
  • Is there a specific situation, problem or idea I want to address?
    • Choose one topic and stick to that.
  • What is the practical application?
    • How can my readers apply what I have to say to their life?

After the pre-work move to the crucial first sentence which should be a sentence that draws your readers in and causes them to want to read your words. The following are some crucial first sentence guidelines.

  • Is my first sentence on point?
  • Don’t get off topic.
  • Don’t make it all about me.
  • Don’t send your readers to a buffet line by giving  your reader too many things to think about.
  • Don’t cause your reader to lose hope.

Finally, here are some examples of crucial first sentences.

  • Admission of your own failure.
    • When I left for work this morning I forgot to turn the crockpot on. Surprise! Dinner wasn’t ready.
  • A question that draws others in.
  • A surprising statistic.
  • A counterintuitive thought.
  • An invitation to imagine.

I hope you have found these thoughts and ideas helpful!


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Talk About It

The word LOVE highlited in the dictionary. Shallow focusWhen I was little I use to love to talk – a lot. Okay, maybe talking is just what I like to do even now as an adult. I grew up in the free love and peace of the seventies, that would be the 1970’s. And, as decades go the 70’s was not one of my favorites. None the less, during this time many parents still practiced ‘children are to be seen and not heard.’ At least mine did to some extent, greater than less.

My paternal grandmother was a little, itty, bitty, stern Italian woman who immigrated to her new Country from the Old Country  with her husband to start their new life and family. She use to love to say in Italian that she didn’t understand English, which is funny because in English she would call me a talking machine!

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in our Country and we were invited to celebrate with an amazingly gracious family. They were loud, there was laughter and most of all there was love. There was one other thing, they love to talk! All of this reminded me of our family get togethers when I was younger.

As I was having individual conversations throughout the night I sensed it wasn’t my time to talk but to simply listen. Sometimes we talkers are not good listeners, something Holy Spirit and I are working on! I realized something I have known and that made the shift from my head to my heart; everyone has a story and everyone wants to be heard.

As I reflect on these thoughts this morning I am reminded of James 1:19,20.

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

These verses are some good food for thought as we make our way through leftovers for the next several days.

Precious One what would the world look like if we practiced being quick to listen and slow to speak? Perhaps there would be less anger and more love.