Tag Archives: description

Making Every Word Count

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

My Bible study group is reading “The Girl’s Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God that Rocked Her World” by Liz Curtis Higgs. Higgs is well known for her series of books about women in the Bible, especially what she calls the “bad” ones. But she’s also published award-winning contemporary fiction, historical fiction and children’s literature. So if you’re tempted to stop reading this blog entry for fear of unsolicited preaching, I promise that what I’m about to say has everything to do with writing. Please stick with me. Continue reading

Short and to the Point

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

People who know me would describe me as a talker. I can log two minutes on my husband’s voice mail just to ask him to pick up milk. What can I say? I like back stories and context. I’m wordy. Yet, my writer friends would hesitate to describe my writing as “wordy.” I’m known as the one who uses sparse description and concise transitions. After years of crafting newspaper and magazine articles that needed to fit a set word count, the to-the-point journalist in me is hard to shake. Until recently, I didn’t realize other writers admire the ability to write lean. So I thought I would share how I’ve fine-tuned that skill over my career. Continue reading

Stories Worth Telling

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

Whenever I prepare to talk to kids, regardless of the subject, I think about what they’ll find interesting. I consider what will grab their attention and hold it beyond five minutes – much like a writer must captivate readers from the very first page of a novel and keep them turning the pages. So when I spoke to three 5th grade classes about my career as a journalist and writer a few months ago, I didn’t start talking to them about why I became a writer or what I love about my job. I began by asking how many of them had ever been to Disney World. Continue reading

Practical Prompt 8–5-15

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Does your dialogue suffer from white room syndrome? You know, where disembodied voices speak to each other in an empty white space? Sometimes it’s easy to write the words of a conversation, but we forget to place them in context. The characters are standing (or sitting, or reclining) in a place, and they have bodies that move (or itch, or ache, or bounce with energy) and emotions that are affected by the words they say and hear. Readers want the whole package, so when you sit down to write, incorporate the characters’ reactions and physical experiences along with their words.

The Power of Being Present

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

Two weeks ago, I had the unexpected opportunity to travel to a small city in South Louisiana that I haven’t visited in nearly 16 years. The town – in the heart of sugarcane country – serves as the inspiration for the setting of the novel I’m writing. And while my main purpose for going there had nothing to do with research for my novel, I found myself noticing details about the place that will only enrich my writing. Continue reading