Wednesday, January 22, 2014

How to Stump a Grammar Queen

“Let’s you and I pray about it.”

My brother Hugh called me a few days ago with a conundrum. His son Cameron had to diagram the sentence above for his homeschool homework. It was his first diagramming experience and they, Cam and his parents, were stumped. I’ve produced a writing course and have been dubbed “Grammar Queen” of the family. Not a smart move on my part, as it turns out. I was stumped, too. Even Grammar Queens find sentence surgery difficult at times.

I posted the sentence on my Facebook page and received enthusiastic responses from high school teachers, college English professors, homeschooling moms, avid readers and grammar geeks. Now, more than 24-hours after posting the sentence, I’m still a little uncertain. Let me share some of my research with you and we’ll see if we reach the same conclusions. If not, we’ll remain friends, I hope. What’s a split infinitive or two among friends, right? Remember, by the way, to differentiate between formal and informal writing. The speech I write for “Grammar Geeks Society of America” annual awards dinner will be far more precisely written and delivered than a “Grammarians Just Wanna Have Fun” pep talk at a bon-fire rally. You bring the marshmallows.

Now, on to the major hair-splitting purposes of this blog post. (Try diagramming that non-sentence; no, don’t.) How beautifully fluid the English language is! We can say what amounts to nonsense and, still, to the practiced ear, it’s completely, (or nearly so), understandable. Down to business.

First, we must do a little research to learn, or in some cases, refresh our memories concerning parts of speech. Within the innocent looking little sentence we’ve been assigned, “Let’s you and I pray about it,” lurk many hidden speech-labeling pitfalls, not the simplest of which to discern is the simple word “let.”

Let” simply would not let me label it as either a helping verb nor a linking verb . As it turns out, however, it’s sort of a first cousin. I will explain.

As you know, English verbs can be placed in three major separate boxes: Transitive verbs, which have the strength to pass action on to a receiver, “The boy threw the ball.”; intransitive verbs, which do not transfer the action performed but merely describe it, “The ball disappeared under the bleachers.”; and linking verbs whose job is to connect subject and predicate, creating syntactical flow, “The ballgame is (appears to be, seems to be, etc.) over.”

However, intransitive verbs need not sit in their passivity and pout. They may be propelled into action through the use of what we call causative verbs. Now we’re making progress towards our dissecting and labeling goal! Here’s a list of the most common verbs used as causative verbs. There are only three true causative verbs, have, let and make. These three causative verbs all require a base verb. The other verbs in our list, and those like them, require an infinitive verb. (For more on the topic of infinitive verbs, see the link further down in this post from Tanya Trusler).

Here’s a list of verbs often used as causative verbs which I’ve compiled from various sources :

ask, allow, cause, command, compel, convince, encourage, employ, entice, force, get, have, hire, induce, insist, let, make, motivate, permit, persuade, require, suggest, and urge.

“In sentences that use a causative verb, the subject doesn’t perform the action of the operative verb but causes someone or something else to do it. And … causative verbs do very well in enabling intransitive verbs to surmount their handicap of being unable to act on an object.”

Now we’re half way to our goal in determining the main verb. Since “let” is a causative verb, i.e., a cousin of the helping verbs that enables the action of the operative intransitive verb, we must conclude that the operative verb in our sentence is the intransitive verb “pray.” This verb falls into the category “intransitive” because of its designation as such in the definition provided in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “Pray: (second set of definitions) 1.) To make a request in a humble manner, 2.) to address God…with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanks, as in the sentence: “Let us pray.” ” [My note: “Aha!!”]

Thus, we must conclude that “pray” is the main or operative intransitive verb in our sentence, needing “let,” the causative verb, to promote or enable the action. A further investigation (I feel my Sherlock modality kicking in) of causative verbs provides us with this helpful insight from Tanya Trusler at this site . Ms. Trusler says: “English has three true causative verbs: have, let, and make. This grammar target has a special pattern that often trips students up because it requires a base verb where normally an infinitive verb would go. Once students memorize the pattern and see some examples, they should be able to recall it quite easily. However, it’s also important to point out the other verbs with a similar meaning that are not, in fact, causative verbs. Verbs such as get, force, allow, and cause take an infinitive verb, not a base verb.” It follows that causative verbs may not take an infinitive verb, not even an “understood infinitive” verb such as “to pray.”

Here’s more help from Ms. Trusler:

The verbs have, let, and make follow this irregular pattern when they have the meaning of causing someone to do something. …

Note that it’s important to give examples with both singular and plural objects as well as different tenses so that students truly understand that a base verb is required, not just a present verb. I find the biggest mistakes textbooks make is that they only give examples in the present tense. I’ve often had students tell me that they didn’t “get it” until they saw an example in the past tense.


Here’s a little more good information from Ms. Trusler:

We know, too, that “make,” “get,” “have,” and “let” can also make objects do the action of intransitive verbs: “She made the dog jump.” “She got the dog to jump.” “She had the dog jump.” “She let the dog jump.” In these three sentences, it’s clear that the “dog” is the object of the verbs “made,” “got,” and “had,” “she” is the agent causing the action, and the action of the intransitive “jump” is what this agent causes the object to perform.

The verbs “make,” “get,” “have,” and “let” belong to a class of verbs called causatives. In sentences that use a causative verb, the subject doesn’t perform the action of the operative verb but causes someone or something else to do it. And as we have seen above, causative verbs do very well in enabling intransitive verbs to surmount their handicap of being unable to act on an object.

We mustn’t think, though, that causative verbs are meant only for intransitive verbs. They work as well with transitive ones: “The mother made her child take the medicine.” “The movie director had the leading lady wear a wig.” The big difference is that transitive verbs—working with causative verbs or not—always need an object somewhere in the sentence for the latter to make sense. Drop the objects “medicine” and “wig” from the two sentences given earlier, for instance, and both sentences will collapse.”

Are you with me so far?

Before we start diagramming, it would be helpful to determine the subject of our sentence, “Let’s you and I pray about it.”

Here are my thoughts and conclusions. I’d be happy to hear yours. (Well, maybe not actually happy, but I’ll try to receive yours in a spirit of true friendship and camaraderie. Well, maybe I won’t go that far. Actually, I’ll be rather peeved with you if you strongly disagree since I’ve spent so much time on this hair-splitting venture. Rather like arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, isn’t it? I could have re-arranged all the closets in my house by now. Please, feel free to come over and help me do that. It would be a lot more rewarding in the eternal scheme of things).

Although at first glance, or even second glance, I assumed the understood “you” to be the subject of the sentence, I have come to the rather shaky conclusion (which will not be backed up by research and is, therefore, just as much a subject of your whim or deeper knowledge as it is mine), that the subject of our overly-scrutinized sentence is the compound, misplaced words “You and I.” The word “us,” which is the second word in the contraction, “let’s,” provides us with an appositive for the main subject, “You and I.” Or vice-versa. Perhaps, since it’s written first, the plural pronoun, “us,” should be hailed as the subject with a compound appositive, “you and I,” but this is problematic since "we," not"us," would have to be the subject. Here’s how my final diagrammed sentence would look.

Since I don’t have a program on my poor little Toshiba laptop that allows drawing my example, I’ll draw it and add the photograph.

Here are my basic grammatical conclusions (subject to change at the drop of a convincingly dogmatic argument):

Subject: You and I

Appositive: Us (put in parentheses beside the subject)

Predicate: let pray (let is the causative verb with pray as the intransitive base verb)

Prepositional phrase acting as direct object: about it (it is the direct object with about as the connecting preposition)

Because I couldn’t find any examples of my conclusions concerning the subject, I may stand alone here. But I think my conclusions are plausible, given the colloquial construction of the sentence. Try to recognize idiomatic, colloquial or simply conversational sentences and realize that diagramming them is next to impossible without changing the construction.

 Well, it’s been an education for me. Thanks for following along. I don’t expect many of you have; so to you, the true grammar-lovers of the world, my hat is off. Keep diagramming. And, should you ever have a concern that I should know about, be it grammar, recipes or world conquest,

“Let’s you and I pray about it!”





“Let’s you and I pray about it.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Grace Notes: New beginnings, sweet and bittersweet memories...

Grace Notes: New beginnings, sweet and bittersweet memories...

New beginnings, sweet and bittersweet memories...

"I toss upon the waves, but Thou dost steer,
Thou Who standest at the helm of all that Thou hast made." --Augustine

Today is January 31st, at least for a few more hours here in Canton, GA. It's the last day of the first month of a shiny new year. How many memories are tucked away from 2011! Almost too overwhelming to begin listing them, so I'll just throw out a random scatter of photos from 2011.

I'm so grateful for my friends, my precious family and my memories. We've had some challenges to face in the past 12 months. But the Lord has blessed us abundantly...we are grateful. And yet, we are keenly aware of the losses and crosses others have borne in the past year far greater than ours. Give us grace, Lord. We need your mercy poured out on us in torrents, more than anything else this year.

Tornadoes swept through the South last year, destroying homes, ancient trees and taking loved ones away from us...Lord, help us to think in terms of eternity more than the moment.

2011 was a landmark year for my webinars as I held the second one and published accompanying study guides. My deep gratitude to Doug and Beall Phillips, dear friends and traveling companions, warriors for King Jesus and His kingdom.

Doug and Beall Phillips on the Seine in Paris...they are beautiful, n'est pas?
My children were patient with me during all those webinars....weren't you?

My darlin's
The summary of my webinars: Write right, right?
..writing, proofing, study guides were finally finished!!

Mercy took the photos, played the online roles, created the power points and ran the technical side...what a girl.

I love hats! More hats in 2012!!
Mrs. Morecraft's second online writing webinar used the metaphor of food--we enjoyed a "cyber tea party."

We had a visit or two from dear friends from a faraway land...Texas...sweet!

Mercy went to Kenya with the Chanceys for two months and on her way home, side-tripped to London and Paris with her sister, Anne. Her passport was stolen in Paris, so they had to stay an extra five hard to be stuck in Paris!

Notre Dame

My two Morecraft granddaughters, Izalou and Clara Hope--nothing quite like sisters.

And in May, 2012, Clara will be a big sister!! And Asa will be the big brother! John and Kim will know all about joyful chaos...

Sweet Asa


Joe and his boys

And speaking of sisters, the Scarborough girls had a momentous year with a move from Augusta to Columbus, GA, where their daddy has started a new clinic, MercyMed, ministering medicine and hope through Christ to the needy there.

More sweet Scarborough grandgirls.

...more sisters

My sweet son-in-law and his girls (couple of years ago)

All the lovely Scarboroughs in 2011--Grant, Anne, Jane, Anita, Jessie and Mary Piper

Grandson Charlie (Joseph Charles Morecraft, V) turned four this month...his baby brother is due any moment!!

We were in Edinburgh at Greyfriars Kirkyard...again...still amazing. Iona was also incredible...the weather was crisp but sunny for three whole days...we can't wait to go back!
We were also in Normany for the 67th anniversary of D-day, in Paris and London--we saw the 25th anniversary performance of "Phantom of the Opera"...and so much more!! More photos later, I hope.

I was blessed to be with the warriors...the early September...
Lindsay and Brantley got married!

Things I want to see and do more of in 2012...
... visits by friends from far-away lands like Texas...

Sing with my sister Judy ...

...see more people coming to worship at Chalcedon Presbyterian in Cumming...
Spend time with friends I love but see too little Kathy McDonald...
Go to San Blas again with my children and grandchildren...we missed it last year.
I pray my dear husband's numb hand is healed this year...please pray with me for that.

I want to read more to my grandchildren...

I want to sing! With Doug Phillips, my sister, my church choir, Joseph Bowman, my family and just sing alone to the Lord!

I want to spend more time with my wonderful parents and brothers and their families in Virginia...

Hugh and Kerry Belcher, my dear brothers

Well, I've let it slip into February...I was too caught up in the photos to watch the clock! But I'll still say one last time as I intended to in the first month of the year...may God bless each of you with a year full to the brim of joy in trusting Him in all things! Happy New Year!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Asking the right questions: Why not me?

I have wept over the losses my friends and total strangers have suffered this past week, some of them gone from this earth forever. One thought came to mind continuously: why them and not me? Why all those beautiful trees swept away and not mine? Why those quaint little towns and homes, churches and businesses worked for sometimes for years and not ours? Why those children, husbands, fathers, mothers and grandmothers and grandfathers taken and not me and mine? I do not have a rational answer to these questions. I would like to think it is because somehow I deserve God's favor, but, with David, "My sin(s) (are) ever before my face." There must be other reasons that I can't comprehend.

Noah was righteous in the sight of God and God spared him and his family while destroying the rest of the world. I, however, sense my unrighteousness keenly. I love the Lord, but often my priorities become skewed and my conscience seared concerning areas of my life that I should address but tend to ignore.
I am undeserving of God's mercy; and yet last week, He chose to take some of His children home to glory and leave me, a poor, struggling sinner, here for a while.

"The Deluge," by artist Francis Danby c. 1837

Here are some thoughts that have come to me from all of this:

My first thought is this: Like many of the folks who died during these tornadoes I may not have any warning when God takes me from this life. God may choose to take me out of this life with a fraction of a second to cry out to Him or say good-bye to loved ones or I may have no warning at all. Therefore, I must strive with all my being to live like someone who expects to die. Not living with dread and fear of death in some sort of morbid premonition that the sword hanging over my head is about to fall any second; but rather in a way that looks death in the face without fear because of Christ’s salvation, saying with the poet John Donne, "Death, be not proud...for, death, thou shalt die." The only way to live like this is to keep short accounts with sin and with our brothers and sisters, confessing our faults quickly and thoroughly, asking forgiveness sincerely and striving to mend broken relationships. Joe likes to quote someone as saying, "Live in such a way that when you die, that's all you have left to do," living in such a way that you have no regrets at the end of life.

"Subsiding Waters of the Deluge," by Thomas Cole 1829
Secondly, I am faced with the cheerful though challenging thought that God isn't finished with me yet. He has left me here at least for today in order to accomplish something important for His glory. If you are reading this, you are also still alive, but you and I are dying. The newborn infant begins the steady march towards death with his first breath. What a gruesome idea, you may be thinking! What a morbid thought! It is a realistic and a sobering thought, is it not? God make us for Himself and our lives must have a sense of sobriety about them along with all the rejoicing that recognizes we will not abide on this earth in this frail body forever. When the new heavens and new earth are brought into being, then we will live in our re-created, perfect bodies on a perfectly recreated earth forever. Hallelujah! I can hardly wait sometimes.

my eighth grandbaby sleeping on her mama
 But then at other times, as I look into the faces of those I love or at the beauty of God's creation, I want to exclaim with the poet, "Oh, world! I cannot hold thee close enough." I rejoice in my family and my friends, in my gifts and graces as I employ them to encourage others. It distresses me to look around at the destruction wrought by tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanic activity, floods, mudslides, explosions, falling trees, wild animals, sickness and disease, the actions of sinful men and women, and I find myself thinking, "Why? Why does a perfectly good and sovereign God bring such things to pass? Why can't it all be perfect now?" He could make it all good if He would.

Joe and Honor Phillips at Kilmartin graveyard in Scotland
 Here’s where good theology comes into play. God is the sum of His perfections. He is His attributes. He is not only all-powerful, He is also all-wise, just, holy, good, true and all the rest. I acknowledge that I am a finite creature, created for and by Him for His glory to do His good pleasure. I must rest there and let go of questions that are futile and meaningless in the light of eternity and the vastness of an infinite God Who alone knows the end from the beginning. Isa. 46

Questions will come. We are created in the image of God Who is a personal being. Although He does not have a body or parts and emotions like His creatures, we are like Him in that we are personal, relational beings. We love to be loved. We crave interaction with Him and with other men and women. We glory in the work of our hands because God also loved His creation. When people we love or our works are destroyed, we grieve and suffer. The Bible recognizes this reaction as a natural one. We are told to “Rejoice with those who rejoice and grieve with those who grieve.” The Bible is full of many instances of those whose lives were devastated by loss, Job being a primary example. During these hard times, times of crisis, how do we handle the questions that come? When I have doubts and questions, griefs and sorrows, here’s what I ask God to help me do:

I try to focus my mind on what I know to be true about God, especially during times of crisis.

What do I know?

1. I know that the God Who planned and carried out the redemption of His elect through the death and resurrection of His only Son has a perfect plan for my life and the lives of all His creatures. All my days were planned out for me before I was created. Neither I nor any other person can lengthen or shorten my life. I am safe in the hollow of His hand. Psalm 139:16

2. I know that nothing can thwart God’s plan. No one, not the most sinful man who has ever lived, not even Satan himself, can cause anything to go wrong in God’s universe, for God is in control. He is the one true and living God, sovereign over all His creation, the God of providence Who is able to deliver His people from their enemies. No man can stay His hand from doing all His holy will. Psalm 45:5f

I can only see the immediate scene, the winds and the waves that cause me to fear. Despite my brave determination, when I start to sink beneath the sea of my sorrow and doubts, Christ Himself comes to me, through His powerful Word and Spirit, and brings me up out of the waves. I cannot walk on water. I cannot calm the storms of this life, but Christ Jesus my Savior can. Psalm 138:7

Augustine said: “I toss upon the waves; but Thou dost steer – Thou Who standeth at the helm of all things Thou hast made.”

3. I know that God is working all these things together for our ultimate good and His glory as He said He would. Rom. 8:28

4. I know that God made me to live faithfully in the light of what I know to be true, trusting Him for each day's strength and looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, to carry me through to the end of life, singing "Amazing Grace," and "Great is Thy Faithfulness," though death is staring me in the face.

5. I know I can trust Him, even in the dark.

Knowing all these things, I will not fear but trust the One Who knows the exact number of breaths I will take because He has mapped out my life for me.

 -- in the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral, Scotland
 May this be my daily prayer: “I believe, Lord; help Thou my unbelief. I am still alive -- show me what to do today.”

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Spring Writing Contest ... Come and Dine!

the heart-shaped tomato that changed my life
"The summer I turned 14, just two days before my birthday, Mama sent me out to the garden to gather the ripe tomatoes, bell peppers and yellow crook-necked squash. I didn't mind so much picking those soft, hot tomatoes sagging with juicy goodness from the heavily-laden vines; but when she told me to harvest the okra before it got too big to eat, I frowned. I hate cutting okra. Not only do the prickly spines make my arms and hands itch, the sap that drips from the cut my knife makes coats my fingers with its sticky goo, then the gnats, mosquitoes and flies seem to hover over me just waiting to nip and chew at my arms. Disgusting! I don't even like okra -- not even dipped in egg and cornmeal and fried up in bacon grease. Well, if I was starving I might eat a few cooked like that, but never stewed with onions and tomatoes.

"I have a confession to make though. Despite my less than perfect attitude, if I had not dutifully gone to gather the ripe tomatoes and other vegetables from the garden that day, life would have continued on its dull course without the amazing series of events that has led to all my happiness since. You see, on that day, I plucked a heart-shaped tomato and my life took a turn that I would never have expected and could never have planned."

Are you interested in my little story yet? I wanted to illustrate how it's possible to include food in a story without making it entirely about the food itself. Maybe I'll finish the story if enough people beg ;-)

Garden Delights

I wrote this little vignette to lead into our Writing Contest Rule #1: please write about food. Food can be at the heart of your story (pun intended since mine is about a heart-shaped tomato), or simply included in some way. You can base your story, poem or article/essay on whatever premise suits you, but food must enter into to it at some point. That should set your brain to ticking right away, I hope!

1. Food must be included in the story, essay/article or poem in some way.
2. Contestants must have taken "Mrs. Morecraft’s Writing Webinar," either I or II, or both.

3. Contestants may enter as many times as they wish, noting that there will be a $10. entry fee for each entry.

4. The word limit for each entry is 1,200 words.

5. The contest submission time-frame is from April 15th to June 30th. The deadline for submission will be midnight, EST, June 30th.

6. Submissions should be made in hard-copy form, printed on plain paper in 12 or larger font, one and one-half inch spacing, and mailed, along with a check made out to Rebecca Morecraft with $10. per submission to: 300 Wrights Mill Way, Canton, GA 30115. Be sure to allow at least five days' time for me to receive it if mailed in the continental US. If you would like, you may also submit your entry to  However, the hard-copy is required for entry in the contest.

Mrs. Rebecca Morecraft, the Poet-Laureate of the Vision Forum Quadricentennial Celebration at Jamestown, VA in 2007
7. Winners will be informed in an email of their achievements, so be sure to include an email address where you can be reached.

8. Prizes will include: editing by Mrs. Morecraft and her panel of judges, our efforts to have your winning entry published, either in a periodical or another venue, and various other books or prizes that will delight and inform, such as:

This would make a great first-place prize!
9. After the winners have been chosen and notified, the winning entries will be posted on my blog with the permission of the authors.
10. Have fun!

 Suggestions for writing a winning entry: follow my example and Edit, Edit, Edit!!! You are almost never through editing as you rearrange, find better words, correct misspelled words and grammar, check punctuation, critique and accept suggestions, read your work aloud and edit some more!!! I still edit work that has already been published!! Really, I do...

Mrs. Morecraft continued to edit her Jamestown 400 poem, "Remember & Persevere," even after she read it there!!

Judging criteria:

Each entry will be judged by the following criteria:

1. grammatical accuracy

2. strong, imaginative imagery that avoids using tired, trite phrases, jargon or slang (unless the dialogue calls for it)

3. good lead sentences and first paragraphs, where applicable

4. clearly understood development of the theme or thesis, where applicable

5. a strong concluding paragraph

6. good sentence structure with strong nouns, verbs and properly used modifiers

7. for rhyming poems, strict adherence to the chosen meter

8. for all poems, whether rhymed or blank verse, strong, palpable imagery appropriate to the subject

9. in poetry, skillful use of internal rhyme where applicable

10. themes that capture interest for both poetry and prose

11. did the writing grab and keep our interest throughout, or was the piece

      too rhetorical (instructional with little to keep interest in a storyline)

      too artificial (either too silly and unbelievable or impossible situations)

      boring

      too ‘wordy’

12. With articles and essays, did the writer make and prove a point well? Was the thesis sentence stated clearly at the beginning and logically proved throughout? Did the piece have a strong conclusion?

13. In all types of writing, did the writer strike a chord with us so that we wanted to keep reading and felt satisfied when we finished reading it? We were either entertained, inspired or moved? Or was the piece easy to put down, even before the end? Was it enjoyable?

This final point is often the deciding factor for judges. If your writing moves us in some way that keeps us reading, holds our interest and leaves us wanting more, your submission has more winning potential than a piece that follows all the rules but doesn’t inspire, delight or instruct. Learning to grip your reader's emotions, not through soupy sentimental writing but in a way that strikes a chord in the heart, is more given than learned. Ask God for this ability as you write.

My poetess/songwriter sister Judy Rogers

"And whatever you do -- whether you eat or drink or whatever you do --
do it all to the glory of God." I Cor. 10:31

My sister Judy Rogers personifies this admonition. She is and has been for over 30 years an example of godly womanhood to me and all who know her through her music. Judy's songwriting and singing abilities have blessed literally thousands of people around the world as she writes and sings incredible songs, based on Scripture and sung to music that God gives her as she labors over her music and prays. Judy was a terrible piano student. I know because I tried to be her teacher. She doesn't read musical notation. Her music is all in her head, ear and heart and God has blessed it to come out in songs with complex musical scores that could compete well with the music of many schooled musicians. But Judy's writing and singing isn't about acclaim. She writes beautiful poems put to music to honor and glorify King Jesus, as well as in direct submission to her husband who first asked her to put the Shorter Catechism for children to music over 30 years ago.

Is that why you write? To glorify God? Or do you want people to sit up and take notice of you and say, "Wow, that girl is so intelligent and can write so well!" If you seek to honor yourself, God may decide not to see your goals met. But if you are diligent, as my sister has been and as I try to be, honing the gifts and graces He has given you to the best of your ability to bring Him glory, He sometimes sees fit to give you success. My prayer is that success will be yours in full measure as you write to make a difference in the world for Christ.

Maybe you won't win a place in this little writing contest. Don't be discouraged. All writing errors can be corrected. All writers can improve. Please don’t be despondent if your name doesn’t show up in the list of honorable mentions or in the winner’s circle. Keep journaling, writing letters and reading good writers as well as continuing with the vocabulary building and writing exercises we’ve brought to your attention. As you apply the suggestions we’ve mentioned in our classes and those you discover through other resources, attempt to apply them to your own writing. Keep reading your poems, essays, articles and papers aloud to your friends and parents and ask for suggestions for improvement. Submit them to various magazines that publish young writers -- learn from any comments they may make concerning your submission.

As you read great books on a variety of topics from many different eras and perspectives, your base of knowledge will be broadened and your ability to analyze and think expanded. Learn from these proven writers how to construct good sentences, find strong nouns and verbs as the building materials, how to use modifiers accurately, how to use discernment when describing a scene depicting emotions, how to write dialogue and especially how to create tangible, palpable imagery.

Remember that more is not better. Simple, clean writing is almost always best. Did you say what you mean and mean what you say? Sincerity and simplicity are key ingredients. Do you know your subject matter well enough to write about it? More research may be necessary before a word ever hits the page. Remember the pre-writing skills we studied during this last webinar? Mapping, asking yourself questions and other word-association techniques will boost the possibility of a winning entry.

Take time to smile at someone -- every day!
Read well-written books and take notes on all these topics -- this is perhaps the best way to improve your own writing. Don’t be too sensitive – don’t be afraid of criticism. In fact, ask for it all the time.

Ask anyone who will listen to your writing, “Does that make sense to you? What do I need to add? What do I need to take out? How could this be written to convey my point better? Do I need to re-write this or just start over?”

You will never improve as a runner if you don’t run or as a singer if you don’t sing or a rider if you never get on a horse. You will never become a better writer if you only practice writing skills occasionally. Write every day. Read every day. Ask the Lord to help you improve for His glory and He will.

Please pray for me as you think of me. I have a few big writing projects that I’d like to complete this summer. Pray that God will give me the freedom of time and the exact words to complete what I’ve begun for His glory.

How do you know who you really are till you walk around in a pair of red cowgirl boots! Yee-haw!Fun!!!