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Are You Thinking Straight? Check Your Beliefs.


Are you thinking straight

“Are You Thinking Straight? Check Your Beliefs.” by Joan Y. Edwards

I was searching through papers from my teaching days yesterday, looking for pictures that might need scanning, when I came across a paper I’d saved with hints for clear thinking from Dr. Albert Ellis, a famous pyschologist in the 1950’s.  He designed a therapy called Rational Therapy. Dr. Ellis believed that Rational Therapy was more direct, efficient, and effective than pyschotherapy.  Later they changed the name of his therapy to Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy.

Dr. Ellis said there are 12 false thoughts or beliefs that are prevalent with people that lead to problems in our thinking. If our thinking is faulty, our emotions may be out of whack, too. I’ll bet you’re familiar with at least one of these faulty statements.  Dr. Ellis wrote them as we-statements; I changed them to I-statements. I added what I believe are healthier ways of thinking for each of them.

(Hint for Writers: You can use one or two of these erroneous thinking statements as flaws for your character(s) in your stories.

  1. Faulty way of thinking: I must be loved by everyone and everyone must approve everything I do. Healthier way of thinking: It’s okay if some people don’t love me and don’t approve of everything that I do.
  2. Faulty way of thinking: I must be thoroughly competent, adequate, intelligent, and achieving in all possible respects. Healthier way of thinking: I don’t have to be thoroughly competent, adequate, intelligent, and achieving in all possible respects.
  3. Faulty way of thinking: Certain acts are wrong or wicked or villainous, and people who perform them should be severely punished. Healthier way of thinking: Certain acts are wrong or wicked or villainous and people who perform them will be punished by God. It is not my job to judge them. Judge their actions, not them as a person. The authorities who govern the area where they live are in charge of  judging and punishing them for their actions, if deemed necessary by the law.
  4. Faulty way of thinking: It is a terrible catastrophe when things are not as I would like them to be. Healthier way of thinking: Things can be okay even when things are not as I would like for them to be.
  5. Faulty way of thinking: Unhappiness is the result of external events and happenings that are forced on us and that we have no control over. Healthier way of thinking: Happiness is the result of my internal beliefs and thoughts about external events and happenings. I can control the thoughts and beliefs on which I focus.
  6. Faulty way of thinking: We should be greatly concerned about dangerous and fearful things and must center our thinking on them until the danger is passed. Healthier way of thinking: I should be concerned about dangerous and fearful things, but I should center my thinking on surviving the dangers and facing my fears.
  7. Faulty way of thinking: It is easier to avoid difficulties and responsibilities than to face them. Healthier way of thinking: It is easier to face difficulties and responsibilities than to avoid them.
  8. Faulty way of thinking: We need a person stronger than ourselves to rely on. Healthier way of thinking: I am as strong a person as I need to be to do what I need to do. I don’t need someone stronger than me to rely on. God will help me.
  9. Faulty way of thinking: Because something greatly influenced us in the past, it must determine our present behavior;  the influence of the past cannot be overcome. Healthier way of thinking: Even if something greatly influenced me in the past, it does not have to determine my present behavior. The influence of the past can be overcome.
  10. Faulty way of thinking: What other people do is vitally important to me, and I should make every effort to change them to be the way I think they should be. Healthier way of thinking: Sometimes what other people do is vitally important to me. I should accept them as they are. If their behavior harms you in some way, explain how you would prefer for them to act. Realize that they may or may not do it. Behavior is a choice.
  11. Faulty way of thinking: There is one perfect solution to every problem, and if it is not found, the result will be terrible. Healthier way of thinking: There is more than one solution with good results to every problem.
  12. Faulty way of thinking: I have virtually no control over my emotions; I am their victim and cannot help how I feel. Healthier way of thinking: If I change my beliefs and thoughts, I can change my emotions. I am a victor; not a victim.

Resources

  1. Ann Jorn. Psychcentral.com. “Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy:”
    https://psychcentral.com/lib/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy/
  2. Famous Psychologists. “Albert Ellis:” http://www.psychologistanywhereanytime.com/famous_psychologist_and_psychologists/psychologist_famous_albert_ellis.htm
  3. Smart Recovery.org. “Basics of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy:” http://www.smartrecovery.org/resources/library/For_Family_Volunteers_Professionals/basics-of-rebt.pdf
  4. Good Therapy.org. “Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT):” http://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/rational-emotive-behavioral-therapy

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post. To leave me a note, please click on comment below and scroll to the bottom of the page. I’d love to hear which of these faulty thoughts you’ve had and how you changed it. Or just tell me a change, you’re glad you made.

COMMENT

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards

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Believe in You: Submit Your Manuscript or Illustration


Believe in You Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

Believe in You Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“Believe in You: Submit Your Manuscript or Illustration”

Believe in you.

I know. Sometimes it’s more difficult to believe in yourself than it is at other times. What are some simple things you can do to show you believe in you and your writing or illustrating? Let’s look at a few examples that show either a positive belief or a negative belief.

Actions/Reactions show your beliefs.

  1. Do you hide your work in a drawer?
  2. When someone says that your work’s good, do you reply, “I try, but I’m not very good at it.”
  3. If your work gets rejected, do you throw your manuscript in the trash?
  4. Do you bang your head against the table?
  5. Do you tear up your drawings?
  6. Do you punish yourself for not being good enough?
  7. Do you think other writers/illustrators are keeping you from achieving your goal?

Revamp the way you act and react.

  • Submit your manuscripts/illustrations to editors/agents/contests/critique partners.
  • Study the works of best-selling authors/illustrators.
  • Study the works of authors/illustrators you admire.
  • Study your work again, make possible revisions and try again.
  • Take writing/illustrating workshops in person or online.
  • Act like successful writers/illustrators do.
  • God has a plan for you. No one is keeping you from achieving your goal. Help other writers/illustrators on your path. In helping them, you’ll learn something that helps you.
  • Revise your manuscript after a critique.
  • Study publishers/agents to find one that publishes the kind of story you want published.
  • Study methods of publication (self-publishing and traditional publishing) to see which one you really want deep down in your soul.

Emotions show your beliefs

  1. Do you stay tense until you receive a response?
  2. Do you stay tense until the time has passed the three months or six months that indicates you haven’t passed the publisher’s or agent’s test for being noticed?
  3. Do you go into a fit of depression when you receive a “no” response.
  4. Are you afraid of what others might say about your work?

Can you reprogram your emotions so that the rejection doesn’t have such a negative influence over your goals? If you can’t accept a yes or no answer, figure out why? What myth are you believing as truth. This is a control thing. You think if they say, “NO, that you won’t get published. This isn’t true. It just means “no” for that publisher or agent. Make sure you’re not saying this to yourself if you receive a “no.” You are the only one that can say “NO” that stops you in your tracks.

  • I relax knowing that I have put my best writing/illustrating forward. If they reject me, it’s because it’s not the right place for it. It doesn’t mean it’s not good.
  • I relax knowing that I am a good writer/illustrator even if no one agrees with me. I know that God is helping me find the right publisher and to get the work in the right format.

Words show your beliefs. Do you say any of these negative belief statements?

  1. I can’t write.
  2. I can’t draw.
  3. I’ll never get published. It’s too hard.
  4. I’m not good enough to be a best-selling author.
  5. I don’t have the marketing skills to be a best-selling author.
  6. Not many people will buy my books because they don’t know me.

Rephrase your words to show you do believe in you and your writing/illustration.

  • I can write. I can draw.
  • My work is good. I’ll get published. I’ll find a way.
  • Every day I take a step closer to the publication of my work.
  • I have the writing and marketing skills to be a best-selling author.
  • People who read my work tell everyone they know about my books and that they are good and give more value than its cost.
  • People who see/read my work know that they get wonderful value for their money. They get helpful information. They get a powerful story. They get heart-felt illustrations.
  • People who read my work or see my illustrations see my gift of humor and laugh.

 

Amazing Articles (Please read one. I promise you that you’ll be glad you did.)

  1. Amandah Tayler Blackwell. “10 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills—Quickly:” http://www.ragan.com/Main/Articles/10_ways_to_improve_your_writing_skillsquickly_46142.aspx
  2. Dan Shewan. “16 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills:” http://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2014/08/07/improve-writing-skills
  3. Jerod Morris.  “A Sobering Lesson on the Value of Compromising Your Creative Ideas:” http://www.copyblogger.com/creative-compromise/
  4. Miss Literati. “Author Quotes That Prove You’re a Real Writer:” http://www.missliterati.com/blog/author-quotes-prove-you-are-a-real-writer
  5. Jacquelyn Smith. “16 Business Books That Will Change Your Life Forever According to My Coworkers:” http://www.businessinsider.com/business-books-that-will-change-your-life-forever-2016-4/
  6. Elana Goldberg. “10 Life-Changing Books that Will Stay With You Forever:” http://www.goodnet.org/articles/10-lifechanging-books-that-will-stay-you-forever
  7. Linds Redding. “An Overdue Lesson in Perspective:” http://www.lindsredding.com/2012/03/11/a-overdue-lesson-in-perspective/

    My blog posts to get your work ready to submit:

    Pub Subbers
    Week 1
    Week 2
    Week 3
    Week 4

    I love hearing from you. Tell me what you’d like for me to write about. Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

    COMMENT

    Never Give Up
    Live with Enthusiasm
    Celebrate Each Step You Take

    Joan Y. Edwards
    Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

    ***************************************************

    Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join over 370 Valued Subscribers and receive entertaining, encouraging posts PLUS 3 free gifts:

    1. Never Give Up image
    2. 20 Affirmations for Writers
    3. Ten Time Savers for Writers and Illustrators

Watch the Hands of People When They Talk


Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

“Watch the Hands of People When They Talk” by Joan Y. Edwards

Have you ever watched how people use their hands when they talk?

When people talk, many of them move their hands in rhythm to what they are saying. Mother used to do that. When she walked with her cane, we had to stay our distance or be hit with the cane.

Italians are noted for talking with their hands. Their hands move to emphasize their words. Watch the woman on the right in the following video saying English words uses her hands to make a point:

Motivational speakers and preachers use their hands for emphasis. The movement of the hands can show different emotions. Perhaps you can make your own list of descriptions for the emotions shown in the manuscript you are writing at present.

Most of the pictures in the Westside Toastmasters link shows a use of the fingers or hands and hidden meanings of this body language:

When people get angry, what do they do with their hands? They clinch their fists. They raise their arms and hands up high and slam them down on something. Visualize in your mind what you or others you’ve witnessed do with their hands when they get angry. Use these descriptions in your manuscripts to show one of your character’s displaying anger. It works better than telling.

Many of these pictures show meanings of body language. There’s one section about hand signals.

Here’s a collection of Body Language Gestures with their meanings:

There is a whole language using hands. A universal sign language. Here’s a video with  Melissa from Expert Village teaching you to say words: TV, ball, candy, play, yes, no, and jacket in sign language .

Here are 100 common words in sign language from Lifeprint.com on You-Tube by Dr, Bill Vicars:

Fascinating! Speaking and understanding sign language is a gift.

Good luck with your writing.

Here’s another blogpost in my Watch series: “Watch How People Talk:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/watch-how-people-talk/

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I thank all of you who have subscribed to my blog. If you haven’t signed up, I invite you to sign up for an email subscription from the left-hand column. You’ll receive a free Never Give Up logo image.

When I reach 200 subscribers, I’ll give a free MP3 recording of positive affirmation statements to all who subscribe to my blog.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Other Resources:

Charlie Moritz. “Read Body Language:”http://readbodylanguage.wordpress.com/

CCCOE.Net. “Teaching Social Skills in Language Arts, Body Language:” http://www.cccoe.net/social/bodylang.htm

My Top 20 Blog Posts from October 9, 2009-August 8, 2012


“Top 20 Blog Posts” by Joan Y. Edwards

Here is a list of the Top 20 blog posts for this blog from October 9, 2009 until today, August 8, 2012:

Total Number of Readers is in parenthesis after each title.

  1. Family Sewing Projects – Jedi Robes and Princess Leia Ponchos (1596)
  2. How Many Words Should Your Sentences Contain? (1591)
  3. 17 Days to Repaint a Wooden French Provincial Bed (1546)
  4. Wonderfully Funny Analogies and Metaphors (1251)
  5. Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story (1246)
  6. Eight Character Archetypes to Emphasize the Conflict in Your Story (840)
  7. What Is Your Story’s Premise? Editors Want to Know  (837)
  8. What I Learned about the Adams Literary Agency (550)
  9. God Will Show You How by Mary L. Kupferle public domain  (366)
  10. Components of a Good Query Letter  (363)
  11. About Me (347)
  12. Story Essential: Plot (325)
  13. How to Create Your Writer’s Platform with Websites and Blogs (320)
  14. Start a Good Mood: Watch a Funny Movie (273)
  15. What Are Middle Grade Novels? (269)
  16. How to Entice an Editor/Agent with a Pitch (Logline) (260)
  17. Pull Readers into Your Story with Emotions (251)
  18. How to Deliver a Short Gutsy Pitch to Entice Editors, Agents, and Readers (250)
  19. What Are Easy Readers? (247)
  20. Week 1 (244)

Thank you for reading my blog. You fill my heart with joy. Do you have a favorite blog post? Let me know in a comment.

Join in the Subscriber Celebration –  Subscribe to my blog.

83 people have subscribed to my blog. Thank you. If you haven’t subscribed, click on the Subscribe Now in the left hand column. We only have 17 more people to go before I have 100 people subscribed to my blog. Then we are going to have a big Subscriber Celebration. Ten free pitch and 1000 word manuscript critiques to 10 lucky winners and 1 free pitch and 5000 word manuscript critique to the overall winner.  Thank you for sharing my blog posts with your friends.

Join in the Submission Blitz: Submit your work during August

If you submit your work to an editor or agent during August, leave a comment on the following blog post: Submit to an Editor or Agent in August (Pub Sub).
I’ll put your name in the hat for a prize of a free pitch and 1000 word manuscript critique by me.  One person has accepted the challenge so far. Let’s see if at least 5 people submit. Take a chance on you. Submit your work.  Come on, join in the Submission Blitz for August.

Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Put a Positive Spin on Your Writing Life
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright 2012 © Joan Y. Edwards

Show the Inner and Outer Conflicts of Your Characters


Show the Inner and Outer Conflicts of Your Characters by Joan Y. Edwards

To make your writing come alive, show the inner and outer conflicts of your characters. To write a best-selling book for children or adults, show the inner and outer conflicts of your characters. To make writing more fun, show the inner and outer conflicts of your characters.

To help you do this, invite your main character to visit you today.Your main character’s name is Dave. I took the liberty of inviting him for a visit with me. Your name is Best-Selling Author – (insert your name here). I believe your main character will help you find his inner and outer conflicts if you do this.

Best-Selling Author: Hello, Dave. Thanks for coming..

Dave: To tell you the truth, I didn’t want to come.

Best-Selling Author: Why not, Dave? What’s the problem?

Dave: I’ve got too much on my mind.

Best-Selling Author: I’m sorry to hear that. Tell me what’s wrong?

Dave: I want to spend the weekend fishing at the lake with my son.

Best-Selling Author: Why can’t you do that?

Dave: It’s his mother’s turn to have him this weekend.

Best-Selling Author: Have you asked her to switch weekends with you?

Dave: I’m afraid to ask her. She gets really upset when I suggest a change in schedule. Then she might not let me see him at all. I haven’t seen him in six weeks. I’ve had to work every weekend.

Best-Selling Author: Wow! That’s too bad.

Dave: There’s another problem, too.

Best-Selling Author: What’s that?

Dave: I was supposed to be off this weekend. My boss says I need to be at the open house on Saturday and Sunday. We’ve got to sell that house. If I don’t sell that house, I’m going to be out of a job at Sell Fast Realty.

Best-Selling Author: You’re afraid your boss will fire you if you don’t show up for the open house. You’re afraid you ex-wife won’t let you switch weekends so you can have your son. How do you feel about all this, Dave.

Dave: I feel threatened on all sides. I’ve got to have the money from the job. I also need to be with my son. I want to be dependable.  I need to be respectful of my ex-wife’s feelings. I need to be respectful of my own feelings. I don’t see how I can win.

As you can see from this dialogue, Dave has to solve his inner conflicts before he can tackle the outer conflicts in his life to get his goal of going fishing with his son.  In his mind he’s having to choose between his job and getting what he wants is to spend time with his son. He is going to have to visualize himself succeeding before he will be able to solve his problems. He’s got to change his current belief system, learn new facts, learn new skills, get a different attitude to win in spite of the odds against him.

Look at your characters. What is their big outer conflict? What are the other conflicts? What are the underlying inner conflicts? Figure it out.

To gain more readership, show conflicts on every side of your main character so he is forced to make a change.  He must be able to win inspite of his flaws. His flaws and the consequences of his actions takes him down to the very deepest and darkest of situations, however he figures out a way to win.

Does your main character have a body feature that helps or hinders him? A huge nose, a big bahonkus, small ears.

Does your character own a pet or a person as a sidekick that is both a pain and a blessing, intermittently. For instance, sometimes the pet helps and other times it blocks the main character from achieving his goal.  One day the sidekick gets him two steps ahead of the problem, but the next day he makes a colossal mistake that puts the main character behind the eight ball. The sidekick can also be used to add humor when the tension is tight.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidekick

Choose meaningful blocks, walls, and full blockades so that your character sinks to the worst situation possible during the framework of your story before they have the epiphany-the aha moment that leads them to defeat the enemy. This aha moment enables them to dissolve blocks, walls, and blockades no matter how strong they are.

What does the main character want more than anything in the whole world?
Give three physical, close environment, world environment  (outer conflict) reasons why he can’t get it?
Give three psychological (inner conflict) reasons why he can’t get it or why he can’t have it?

Conflict adds excitement and suspense to the story. Actually the conflict is what keeps the reader turning the page. They want to find out how things turn out for your characters. They want to find out what your main character does and what the consequences are. They want to find out what the villain (opposing force) does each time to stop the main character from getting what he wants.

Show what disturbed him beyond belief.
Show the causes of distress for the main character.
Show the people, things in the environment, the experience(s) that disrupt the regular, normal, ordinary day of the main character.
Show what happens that the main character may try to ignore but cannot.
Show how he reacts on the inside with thoughts, ideas, emotions.
Show his actions and reactions to the conflicts.
Show how he deals with this problem, internally and externally.

The internal conflict comes when the main character has to choose between two unwanted solutions to the problem. For example:

one moral, one immoral
one where he loses money, one where he loses love
one against his family rules, one against club’s rules
one that might hurt his friend, one that might hurt himself
one that might win the trust of his friends, one that would make him untrustworthy
one that makes him lie, one that makes him tell the truth

These mixed emotions from the conflicts add the tension to the story and make people want to read it to find out what the main character decided to do and what the consequences were for his actions….did it bring him closer to the goal, or bring him to his last breath.

I hope you enjoyed my blog post. Please leave a comment. If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, I would be honored if you would.

Keep writing in spite of all the conflicts that try to keep you from writing your dream story. Never Give Up. Put a picture of you as a paid published author in your mind. You are a paid published author in your mind before you get that way on paper.  You are a New York Best-Selling Author in your mind, before you are in reality. You can do it. Yes, you can. Go for it.

Do something to celebrate being you!
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
http://www.joanyedwards.com/FlipFlapFloodle.htm

Copyright 2011 Joan Y. Edwards. All rights reserved.

You Are a Butterfly


“You Are a Butterfly” by Joan Y. Edwards

Stages of a Person’s Life Mimic the Life Cycle of a Butterfly. A Writer’s Life imitates the Life Cycle of a Butterfly, too. You are a butterfly of beauty.

Eggs

As a Person, you don’t know what you’re going to be, but you’re in an egg. Protected from outside influences.

As a Writer, you don’t know what you’re going to write. You only know that you feel good when you’re doing it.

YouTube Video of Caterpillar breaking through its egg. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t0ANXNSBoI uploaded by finhawg

Larvae – Caterpillars

Shutterfly – My Slides of Painted Lady Caterpillars. I ordered two containers of caterpillars. Five in each container from Insect Lore. I got them to release for our Bruffey/Meyer Reunion, however, butterflies, like writing ideas, have a time slot all their own. Two emerged the day after the reunion. They were still beautiful. Sometimes you can’t rush your life, your writing and ideas. They need time.

As a Person: You hatch into a caterpillar. You eat certain foods. Then in 7-10 days you get this brilliant idea to hang upside down. You get an understanding deep in your soul, that if you’re patient and hang around for 24 hours, you’ll change.

As a Writer: You crawl around looking for ideas to write about. You gather them and eat them up. You get so excited about all these ideas in your head at once.  You hang upside down to get a different view of what you’re seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting. You get all of your emotions inside to get a better idea of how to express them.

Chrysalises

I used to call them cocoons when I was a child. However, I’ve learned that the right word for a butterfly is chrysalis.  You can sit and watch the caterpillar hang.  I wish I had a time- lapse camera, but one day I kept checking after a caterpillar hung upside down. It seemed like it was only about 4 hours before it changed. It may have been 24 hours.  God will perform great things within you and you will be perceived as different, more beautiful, wiser and able to reach more places than you’ve ever been able to achieve.

Shutterfly – My slides of Painted Lady Chrysalises.

You Tube Caterpillar Shedding Skin Its  Chrysalis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EigVmZUjYe8&feature=player_embedded uploaded by fiuhawg.

As a Person: Then after you hang around for 7-10 days you learn a lot of skills about adding color to your life and realize that you are only one part of a big universe of people, animals, and plants.  You decide that you can indeed make a difference in this world, if you apply the skills and knowledge that God has shown you the last 7-10 days of your life. God will perform great things within you and you will be perceived as different, more beautiful, wiser and able to reach more places than you’ve ever been able to achieve. You emerge free-er than you’ve ever been before. You go from place to place cheering people. They smile whenever they see you. They plant flowers to feed you. They look out for you. You cross-pollinate plants to help the universe.

As a Writer: While you are hanging around in the chrysalis form, you figure out a way to put spotlights of color to tell your viewpoint of this world: to explain, to teach, to delight, to inspire, to free from bondage.

Butterflies

Shutterfly – My slides of Painted Lady Butterflies, their release, and sometimes I caught them in the sky. Sometimes they flew so fast, that I only got a picture of the sky. I had ten altogether. Some went east, some went north, some went south, some went west.  I got at least three pictures of them in the sky.  The last time I did it, I only snapped a picture of one in the air. So I did better.

1. BioEdOnline YouTube Video of a Painted Lady Butterfly Emerging from Its Chrysalis http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYQbqHOSd4I&feature=related

2. JC Megabyte YouTube Video Painted Lady Butterfly Emerges http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkiU9uFwqmw&playnext=1&list=PL5A120C53E5C75559

3. BioEdOnline YouTube Video Close-up of a Painted Lady Butterfly http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChFw4puzWfc&feature=related

As a Person: You emerge free-er than you’ve ever been before. You go from place to place cheering people. They smile whenever they see you.

As a Writer: You emerge knowing the best way to share your writing. You find others who share your vision. Your writing helps people understand. They share what you wrote with others. Little by little, your word gets around the universe in all the right places.

Mating and Laying Eggs

YouTube Video of Painted Lady Butterflies Mating http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-92ayCKHDQ uploaded by eb427.

As a Person: You find a lovely mate. Someone who shares your beliefs, your interests, who loves you. You build your life together.  You may have children. Every day you say to yourself, “I’ve done the best anyone could do with the knowledge, skills, and wisdom I have at this moment. Thank you, God for this life you have given me.”

As a Writer: You find a way to share what you’ve written with others. Sharing your ideas by writing is one of the highest means of communicating with others:  Note,  Letter, newspaper, magazine, book, skit, play, movie, DVD, class, workshop, class, luncheons, meetings, organizations, websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Each time before you share, you say to yourself, “I’ve done a good job. I’ve done all I could possibly do with the knowledge, skills, and wisdom I have at this moment in time. This is the best writing I can do on this subject right now. Thank you, God for this opportunity to share my writing.”

Good luck to you with your writing. May you find the courage to write what inspires you. May you find the knowledge to explain what intrigues you. May you find the love from realizing that God has given you a purpose in living. May you find the joy of being you. There is no other you. You are the one that God chose for this honor. Enjoy and celebrate each stage of your life.

Thank you for being on my path. Look around you for the beauty within and around you. I’d be honored if you would sign up for an email subscription from the column on the  left.

Never Give Up!
Joan Y. Edwards

Please check out my website: www.joanyedwards.com

Copyright © 2011 Joan Y. Edwards and her licensors.

Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story


“Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story” by Joan Y. Edwards

Editors ask: What is the universal theme of your story? information book? article? poem?

What do you answer? Are you clueless? Perhaps I can help.

I went to the Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop in Oceanside, Oregon from July 12-16, 2010. I was sharing a poem I wrote. The editor wanted to know what was my poem’s universal theme. What I had thought was a universal theme was really not universal. It was regional or subjective. Therefore, I did research to find out more about the subject of universal theme.

But first you have to know what your conflict is. To gain more readership, make your conflict one of the universal conflicts listed below.
What does the main character want that he cannot get or have?
Conflicts:
Conflict adds excitement and suspense to the story.
What disturbed him beyond belief? What is the cause of distress for the main character?
What disrupts the business as usual of the main character?
What happens that the main character may try to ignore but cannot? He has to deal with this problem, internally and externally.

The internal conflict comes when the main character has to choose between two solutions to the problem: one moral, one immoral; one against his family rules; one against club’s rules; one that might hurt his friend, one that might hurt himself; one that might win the trust of his friends, one that would make him untrustworthy, one that makes him a liar, one that makes him tell the truth; mixed emotions add the tension to the story and make people want to read it to find out what the main character decided to do and what the consequences were for his actions….did it bring him closer to the goal, or bring him to his last breath.

Universal Conflicts
In a story you have one of the following universal conflicts played out:
Archetypes
Man against Man
Man against Self
Man against Nature
Man against Society
Man against Family
Man against the Universe
Man against Machines
Man against Institutions
Man against God
Man against Time
Man against Destiny

Never fear: Your story will probably fit into one of the universal conflicts listed above.

Goals Main Characters Struggle for, Search for, Need, Want
Acceptance, Admiration, Ambition, Approval, Attention, Authority, Awareness, Beauty. Belief, Belonging, Choices, Commitment, Community, Compassion, Cooperation, Courage, Dedication, Dream, Education, Equality, Experience, Faith, Family, Friendship, Godly love, Good, Gratitude, Heroes /Heroic Figures and Actions, Honesty, Honor, Hope, Human Relationships, Humor, Identity, Independence, Individuality, Innocence, Justice, Laughter, Law and Order, Live forever, Love, Loyalty, Marriage, Money, Morality,
Nature, Nonviolence, Passion, Peace, Perseverance, Possibilities, Power, Principles, Rebirth, Redemption, Religion, Respect, Responsibility, Romance, Sex, Spiritual enlightenment, Success, Taxes, Time, Trust, Truth, Understanding.

Forces Opposing Main Character, Keep Him from Reaching His Goal, Struggle Against, Has to Triumph Over, Doesn’t Want, Opposite of Goal, Perils of, What the Main Character Doesn’t want:
Accusation, Alienation, Ambition, Authority, Beliefs, Betrayal, Blame, Challenge, church, Coming of Age, Competition, Corruption, Country, County, Court, Crime, Death, Deception, Despair, Destruction, Disallusionment of adulthood, Disapproval, Distrust, Envy, Etiquette, Evil, Faith, Family, Fate, Fear, Forbidden, Freedom, Future, Government, Greed, Grief, Guilt, Handicap, Hatred, Hospital, Initiation, Injustice, Institutions, Jail, Jealousy, Justice, Lack of compassion, Lies, Loss, Materialism, Nation, Nature, Nature as dangerous, Oppression, Past, Power, Persecution, Poverty, Prejudice, Pride, Prison, Problems, Punishment, Rebelling, Rejection, Religion, Responsibility, Revenge, Rules, Sacrifice, Schools, Self-Doubt, Shame, Society, Taxes, Time, Town, Tragedy, Vengeance, Village, Vulnerability, War.

After you finish writing your story or when you’ve finished your outline, what has your main character learned from his conflict? What did the main character learn in his battle against one of the conflicts listed above? This is the theme. Make it a universal theme shared by all mankind, so that all of mankind will want to read your book.

The Universal Theme
The universal theme is the story’s (author’s) view about life and how people behave. It is the statement the story makes about society, human nature, or the human condition that the author wants to convey to readers. It’s an observation about life that can apply to any and everyone representing the conflicts, dreams, hopes, and fears across cultures and continents, and from generation to generation. It could be the moral to the story, a teaching, or an observation. It transcends race, gender, sexual preference, and creed. Some examples are love, peace, friendship, and other concepts about life.

Universal themes exist because people worldwide go through the common human experiences of being born, experiencing anguish and joy, and dying come from emotions and that touch and can apply to any and all cultures, genders, ages, sexual preference, creeds, geography, historical periods, and genres.

The universal theme is the story’s (author’s) view about life and how people behave in a particular situation. It is a statement the story makes about society, human nature, or the human condition through the author’s words and characters. The theme is universal when it transcends race, gender, sexual preference, creed. cultures, continents, and generations representing the conflicts, dreams, hopes, and fears such as: love, peace, friendship, and other concepts about life that can apply to any and everyone.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Conflict of Nature against death
You do not have to worry about dying and death. It’s a natural thing.

Law and Order Television Series by Dick Wolf
Conflict of Good over Evil – Dick Wolf presents both sides of the issues
Even with the latest technology and evidence, police and district attorneys do not always win their cases against evil.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Love against society, family, death
Love can be so passionate that one would prefer death to living without the loved one.

Here are links I went to find information about universal themes:
http://www.orangeusd.k12.ca.us/yorba/literary_elements.htm
http://www.life123.com/parenting/education/children-reading/12-most-common-themes-in-literature.shtml
http://www.dcmp.org/guides/9467.pdf

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081022125536AAzRGHD
http://www.episcopalacademy.org/FileBank/Eax_FileBank_FileName_9697_K051J82.pdf
http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/tccampa-65525-literary-themes-literature-education-ppt-powerpoint/
www.joyet.biz/downloads/Genres_vs_Themes.ppt

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_conclude_the_sentence_that_begins_’Universal_themes_in_literature_exist_because_people_worldwide’&alreadyAsked=1&rtitle=Universal_themes_in_literature_exist_because_people_worldwide

Universal Emotions

Emotions Are Universal.

Put emotions in your story. It makes your characters come alive. One way to make your story have universal appeal is to add the tension of opposing emotions. We all feel mixed emotions every day. Should we do this? We shouldn’t do that. It’s smart to do this. How could I be so stupid? How could he be so naive? What’s the wisest choice? What are my choices? Do I get a choice? When a character has two or three choices and none of them are very good, it’s tension time for reading and living, and it makes the reader want to turn the page.

All people experience emotions. Putting believable emotions into your story will help it reach more readers.

Here are Paul Ekman’s Big Six Emotions
Anger
Disgust
Fear
Happiness
Sadness
Surprise

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emotions
Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions Robert Plutchik used the above six emotions and added two others below:
Acceptance
Anticipation

Ekman’s Eleven Other Basic Emotions
Amusement
Contempt
Contentment
Embarrassment
Excitement
Guilt
Pride in achievement
Relief
Satisfaction
Sensory pleasure
Shame

The Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin gives nine emotions
Nine Emotions
Acceptance
Anger
Apathy
Courageousness
Fear
Grief
Lust
Peace
Pride

Nine States of Emotional Empowerment by Swati Chopra
http://www.lifepositive.com/Mind/Emotions/Nine_states_of_Emotional_empowerment92004.asp

Swati Chopra from New Delhi, India says the nine rasas are:
Distress (hunger, discomfort)
Happiness
Satisfaction

Love
Compassion
Awe
Peace
Laughter
Valour
Fear
Disgust
Anger

Here are websites with information about emotions:

http://library.thinkquest.org/25500/index2.htm Great gives text descriptions of body when feeling 6 basic emotions
http://www.clipartguide.com/_search_terms/feelings.html Great! Pictures matched with emotions
http://www.feelingfacescards.com/
http://www.face-and-emotion.com/dataface/emotion/expression.jsp
http://www.eqi.org/fw.htm
http://www.eqi.org/cnfs.htm
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_emotions

I hope you enjoyed my blog post. I hope I enlightened you, rather than confused you. Please let me know if I helped you make your writing appeal to more people, to make it more universally appealing. Capture this universal appeal and you’ll capture an editor’s heart!

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, I would be honored if you would. The sixth person to subscribe to my blog after May 12, 2010 from the left hand column where it says, “Sign Me Up Here,” will receive a free paperback copy of my book, Flip Flap Floodle, a little duck who never gives up on his song. Don’t give up on your writing. Never Give Up on winning and resolving conflicts that come your way.

You are a published author in your mind, before you get that way on paper.  You can do it. Yes, you can.

Please write a comment below. Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

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Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2010-2016 Joan Y. Edwards

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