Thursday, September 30, 2010

Writing Contest Rules & Prizes...and more!

Mrs. Morecraft's Writing Contest

please submit entries to

You MUST write 'Contest Entry for Oct. 14' in the subject line of the e-mail with your submission attached in order for your entry to be received.

Rules and guidelines:

1.You may submit an original short story, a poem, an article, or song.

2.Word limit, 1,000 words, (use your computer's word count feature).

3.The topic may be fictional or based on reality. (Remember to write with a Christian mindset, so guard your heart and words accordingly. Listen to Week I of the webinar for guidelines in this regard).

4.Please indicate your name and age on your entry. Entries will be loosely divided into three age groups for each category of writing: 12 or younger, 13-17, 18 and older.

5.Prizes will be awarded to the top three writers in each category and age group.

6. Entry deadline is October 14th, 12 o'clock midnight, Eastern Standard Time. 
 No late entries will be accepted.

7.One entry per person.

8.Please send your entry to

9.No reply will be sent to acknowledge your entry due to the number of people who may submit entries -- sorry.

10.Winners will be chosen by a panel of expert judges. If in attendance at the SAICFF (San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival), the winners will be awarded their prize during the festival by Bertha Jean herself! If not in attendance, the winners will receive their prize in the mail. Winning entries will be featured on one of the last two sessions of the webinar as well.

11. Judging will be unbiased as each entry will be given a number so that the identity of each entrant will be unknown until judging is complete.
Partial list of prizes to be awarded:
The Grand Prize: Mrs. Morecraft will personally assist you in editing your work and pursuing publication. The Grand Prize winner will also receive a copy of  Verses of Virtue, edited by Beall Phillips and Roots & Vines, a poetry book by Rebecca B. Morecraft.
Other prize-winners will receive one of the following: autographed copies of Mrs. Morecraft's poetry book, autographed copies of Verses of Virtue, Vision Forum's calligraphy box and pens and journals or similar prizes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Game Night Fun!!

Game night ideas! We play Scrabble or 'Speed Scrabble' -- do you know how that works?
My daughter-in-law, Kim, taught me how to play this several years ago. Don't play with Kim.
You will never win. Or if you do, you will live to regret it! (Just kidding!)

Speed Scrabble 'rules'
Place the tiles face down on the table, as usual.
Every player takes seven tiles.
Immediately start making words with your tiles all by yourself. You are essentially creating your own crossword puzzle.
When your tiles are all used, you say, "Take one," and you and each player may choose one more tile. This continues until all the tiles are used up. A minute or so is allowed to give each player time to try to use up all their tiles. Add up your score by counting the number value on each tile, just like with real Scrabble. Subtract the number value of any of your unused tiles from your total score. The highest score is the winning player.

Pretty obviously, if you get a high value letter and can use it twice, in two words that cross, you almost certainly will win. But if you can't use the high-scoring letters, subtracting them from your final score means you almost certainly lose. Sound fun? It is...

Eats Shoots & Leaves ... hmmm ... where should the comma go? A fun book all about punctuation.
Who says writing has to be boring!!

Here's a link to a book for young writers. I just received my copy from Amazon and it looks very helpful -- no fluff, just good instruction with lots of examples of 13 categories clearly explained "to help students correct composition problems."
A paperback book, only 67 pages long, plus the index, this is a gem.
Learning Grammar Through Writing

And here are a couple more -- let me know what you think after you purchase yours. In fact, if you will send me a review or critique, I'll post it here on my blog.
(Subject to my editing, of course!)

Mrs. Morecraft's Writing Contest Rules (and more)

We want to glorify God in the study of writing and all else we do. We're excited about what we have coming up next week, the first of two sessions on writing poetry and journaling, along with additional input for our Grammar Sidebar. We're working on having a special guest who will read one of his and our favorite poems during the class! Be sure to tune in for this very special event.

Please do call Vision Forum's costumer service department if you are registered for the webinar and haven't received your link to hear this week's -- or last week's -- recorded session.
 I highly recommend a few books to help you with important areas of writing, such as style, grammar, imagery, word choice and much more. They are listed here on my site. All you have to do is click on the link and you'll be directed to the page on Amazon where you can order the book. I'll be putting a few more up from time to time, so check back.
Mrs. Morecraft's Writing Contest
 submit entries to 
you MUST write 'Contest Entry for Oct. 14' 
in the subject line of the e-mail with your submission attached
in order for your entry to be accepted.

Rules and guidelines:
  1. You may submit an original short story, a poem, an article, or song.
  2. Word limit, 1,000 words, (use your computer's word count feature).
  3. The topic may be fictional or based on reality. (Remember to write with a Christian mindset, so guard your heart and words accordingly. Listen to Week I of the webinar for guidelines in this regard).
  4. Please indicate your name and age on your entry.
  5. Prizes will be awarded to the top three writers in each category and age group.
  6.  Entry deadline is October 14th. No late entries will be accepted.
  7. One entry per person.
  8. Please send your entry to   
  9. No reply will be sent to acknowledge your entry, due to the number of people who may submit entries -- sorry.
  10. Winners will be chosen by a panel of judges. If in attendance at the SAICFF (San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival), the prizes will be awarded during the festival by Bertha Jean herself! If not in attendance, you will receive your prize in the mail. Winning entries will be featured on one of the last two sessions of the webinar.
  11. Judging will be unbiased as each entry will be given a number so that the identity of each entrant will be unknown until judging is complete.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Words are all I have to steal your heart away..." Elvis

Here I sit, all alone, on the brown leather couch that faces a cathedral window in my living room, as thoughts of you fill my mind. Outside my window hardwood trees stretch to their full height, brushing low-hanging clouds in this late summer Georgia sky. As I think expectantly of your visit with me tomorrow, I anticipate, a little breathlessly, what I want to say to you. All I have are words -- will they be the right ones? Will they answer questions you've wanted to ask all week? Will they confuse or delight? All I have are words...I pray they come close enough to quenching a little of your thirst for glorious writing but that they will leave you wanting more. And herein lies the mystery of good writing -- we plunge ahead, breathlessly reading the page and turning hurriedly to the next one, anxious to know how it all turns out, but disappointed, even with a happy ending, when it's all over. We lay the book aside and run out to buy the next one. What a disappointment to discover that there are no more! Well, then...we'll just have to write the next one ourselves, only with better characters, a more complex plot and a surprise ending maybe...still working on those thoughts.

Oh, here's the link (above) to the book I mentioned to you last week. It's one of the best, written originally by E.B. White, author of Charlotte's Web.

Thanks for coming to my house on Thursday evenings! I know there were and maybe still are some technical difficulties, but, bear with us! We're working on all of it. Your comments and suggestions have been so helpful. I'm excited about 'seeing' you tomorrow at 8 p.m. Plan on staying a bit later tomorrow so we can enjoy's Mercy's Apple pie tartlets with fresh cream on top! Yummm! (Recipe to follow).

Another book I highly recommend is Writing to God's Glory, by Jill Bond. Jill's approach is fresh and highly biblical. You will find the exercises and suggestions helpful and invigorating.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Greetings, my webinar friends!

I had a wonderful time with our class last evening, although, I apologize that the room did get a bit stuffy with all of you lovely people sitting around on the couches, floor and extra chairs pulled in from the dining room! ;-)

What a delight to share our love for language as it relates to developing our skills as writers and speakers! I'm working on pulling together the power-point slides for you, as well as occasionally recommending a book that I think will help you hone your skills or help your children develop theirs. We had a few technical difficulties with our first session -- thanks for your patience and understanding. We hope to improve in these areas every week.

A few of you have sent suggestions, questions, and even some of the poems and stories you wrote tonight about Jane and her little black lamb! Great response! We'll get to as many as possible and try to get back with you. If you had technical difficulties, I'd advise sending your questions to Vision Forum's customer service department since our tech skills are limited here at home, as you could probably tell from a couple of issues we had during the first session. If you have trouble getting through to Vision Forum, let us know and we'll field the question as best we can. One suggestion we have heard is that if the sound was low on your computer, you may need either head-sets or speakers that will connect to your computer.
Here are my suggested assignments for the week:

1.) If you don't already have one, set up a regular Bible reading program for yourself and /or your family. As a part of this program, keep a Bible dictionary, Strong's exhaustive concordance or another good concordance, and notebook nearby so that you can write down favorite verses, suggestions for further study, interesting new facts and words or whatever the Lord brings to mind. Also, write down any questions you have and ask your pastor, husband, elder, or you dad -- whoever is in authority over you -- to help you find answers. As you read the Bible, ask the Lord to show you ways you can take the truth of His word and improve your skills as a writer to bring Him glory.

In connection with this suggestion, remember my recommendation to find a copy of the Westminster Confession of Faith and its Larger and Shorter Catechisms. We memorized the Shorter Catechism when I was growing up and all of my children did as well. It's a wonderful practice for everyone in the family to work on one catechism question a week, look up the Scripture references and discuss it at breakfast or dinner. As you read it, notice the very concise way the men who wrote these documents phrased their sentences. There is no 'fluff' in their writing. Instead, they wrote to encourage Christians to rely on Scripture alone for their beliefs, not the opinions of men.

2.) Review basic grammar -- parts of speech, sentence structure, punctuation -- if you're older, all those things you learned and do by rote now, but may have become a little rusty applying on occasion. If you're young, now's the time to drill these into your head. I'll be recommending some of my favorite books that will help you learn the basics using interesting methodologies in a few days, Lord willing.

3.) Journal! Write as much as possible, in complete sentences, and with expanded vocabulary. Try to think of new ways to say the same old things that bring new life to your thoughts. Check out famous diaries from the past and learn from them. Create a blog, even if it's just for yourself or a few friends, but make it worthwhile, not just idle chat. Write about recipes, the weather, your hobbies. If you're married with a family, write about your children, your pets, your interests -- whatever the Lord has given you to do. Then expand your interest a bit into other areas -- test out a few new hobbies, things your parents or children enjoy that you've never really tried -- see how this will awaken new areas of your brain and make your writing more interesting. Also, consider keeping a separate prayer journal. As you pour out your heart to the Lord, write honestly, but carefully :0, remembering that you don't want to embarrass either yourself or future generations who may read your writings! As you read back over your prayer journal, you will be amazed to see many times how God answered your prayers, not by granting what you thought you needed at the time, but by giving you something better -- a sense of His presence and love through times of trial.

4.) Write real letters! Instead of an e-mail, send a friend or relative a real hand-written letter. Use beautiful paper, a nice pen and language that is real but lovely, with thoughtfully chosen vocabulary. More on this in another class. Check out Vision Forum's offerings in these areas -- I know they have a beautiful box with calligraphy pens and other related items for sale.

5.)Check back tomorrow for a possible new link to my blog. I'm having a little difficulty with this site. When I get it set up, I'll list recommended books with a link for easy purchase which will give you a head-start on the next few weeks of classes.
Until then, God's blessings on you. I'm praying for the Lord to make Himself real to you in all you do this week, for His glory.

Becky Morecraft

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Give her the fruit of her hands..."

Praise for my mother for her steadfast devotion to the Lord, her husband, her mountain heritage and land, her family and her church cannot be exaggerated. She is my prime example of godly womanhood in all its facets of beauty, wisdom and grace. She has passed her passion for life, for literature, for learning down to her children. We but follow feebly in her firm footsteps that always lead us to the foot of the Throne where our strong and kind Savior sits to chide, forgive and bless. Every nuance of every gift and grace I possess, I account to my mother's nurturing. This little poem is but a poor tribute to her blessings in my life and the lives of thousands of others with whom she has come in contact during the past 81 years. May God continue to bless you, dearest Mama.

The Fruit of Her Hands
"Give her the fruit of her hands and let her works
praise her in the gates." Prov. 31:31
My mother's roots wrap mine
in pithy strength,
fending off
the August drought
and creeping blight,
the canker worms
who fear her light and
crawl back to their hollow darkness,
Her blue eyes see
clear down
through all my muddiness
to clumps that
clog my springs of joy;
and on her knees,
with both hand tugging,
she sees it right again.
With both hands open,
scattering seeds,
she feeds us full
to overflowing.
No friend nor stranger
passes from her door
with needs denied.
Her briars kept clipped,
she harms no beast nor bird,
but, ever abiding,
props the weaker limbs
with grace,
healing dew
at pruning time.
Rebecca Belcher Morecraft
from, Roots & Vines