I have a habit of wanting to write follow-up articles. I like doing a series of articles and all that. There’s something fulfilling and purposeful about writing that way. It’s more than a one-off. So, I did a sequel of sorts to “Spiritual hunger”. Here’s that article:Continue reading “More spiritual hunger”
The following article was partly taken from an interview I did in 2001. Essentially, the article, written in 2016, is about the need for more of God, a spiritual hunger in other words. It forms part of my introduction of the church series which begins with a need for more of God (spiritual hunger), reflecting the need in church members and also for anybody who feels this need in the wider community. Here’s the article.Continue reading “Spiritual hunger”
The original title of the following article was “Christmas brings resurgence of faith” (article published The Evening Post, January 1, 2002), I decided to gave the title a movie makeover and “____ (insert word): resurgence” sounds like many a movie title I have seen. I wasn’t expecting anything with this article. I sent it off and forgot about it. Then a few hours later (or was it a day?) there was a reply which shocked me…The inspiration for the article was watching an episode of the old television series Becker and seeing It’s A Wonderful Life, around Christmas time. Here’s the article, kind of a contemplative, reflective commentary on faith today. Observational, perhaps.Continue reading “Faith: resurgence”
It occurred to me as I was posting the film devotional on The Shining, that one of the subtle themes in the article is a spiritual sense in a secular society. Normally, secular has nothing to do with the spiritual. But in my post of that 1980 film The Shining, I write about the film’s angle of the possibility of the supernatural and the spiritual world, despite there being a sense of a rational worldview as well. The following 2004 article is about that sort of issue, of spirituality in a secular society and I have changed the title to reflect that.Continue reading “Spirituality”
When I was writing for Challenge Weekly, a nondenominational Christian newspaper, and church and non-church papers, I went with the story or subject that inspired me at the time and I also went with stories that didn’t take my interest as much. Now that I have had time to reflect on my articles, there are a series of pieces I did about church. I have had time to put those in a cohesive, logical order in a clear file folder, so one theme follows another.
It makes for an interesting, intriguing picture.Continue reading “Introducing the church series”
The following is an example of a good collaboration between writer and editor, the piece I did for Challenge Weekly on the DVD Collector’s Edition of Ben Hur. I like how it all sounds. Ben-Hur is a favourite of quite a few Christians as it has a strong Christian theme and contains nothing offensive., so that’s why I thought my readers would need to know. Of course, the 1959 version that is.Continue reading “A nice one”
The article, review, what have you–that the author forgot, even though he wrote it. He expects the piece won’t be that good — and that’s what I thought about a review I did six-and-a-half years ago, a review I forgot existed, but discovered when I did some digging around in my filing cabinet. Alas, it was better than I thought, and if I may, much better than I thought!
Sometimes, slight sense of irony in a sentence can add color to what would be a pedestrian line of writing and irony can brighten an otherwise flawed expression. It’s simply about the “art of writing” when one observes art in a piece that seems flawed.
Art of writing may be fused throughout the whole, ordinary, unexceptional flawed piece, to give it an air of mystery and aloofness. It is flawed prose in one sense, but how the piece is structured or designed gives an illusion of art through each line. How one does this is tweaking; in sum, making it sound interesting.
Then one sees their editor is actually intelligent … after seeing how they cleverly edited your brilliant work! To make it sound so much better.
There’s the ability of the tongue to say too much in everyday conversation, that one is embarrassed by the end of it. But with an editor, the writer who says too much, is going to have his words cut down markedly, where necessary. There isn’t usually an editor for conversations, though, where one can’t take things back or cut them out. Words can sort of linger in the air…and depending on who’s there and if they don’t like it, the atmosphere can come down like a lead balloon. With an editor, there is a way to cut down on extraneous material and save unnecessary embarrassments. Because readers, like listeners, have ears, too.
It’s with reluctance that I put away some stories. Something about them just won’t go. It’s not the writing quality, but the sense that there was unfinished business. Something was left undone or unhinged. One can’t go back, of course, but the slight pain one feels is regret. It happens once or twice, on the big stories. But this post is saying: I’m putting it to death and down to experience.
Stories have a habit of mushrooming and expanding out, which one article can’t handle. The follow-up article continues the story.Continue reading “Follow-up articles”
It’s always nice to be told you’re doing a good job, even when it could have better.
There is a time and place for a longer article. I reckon it’s the controversial one–the “meaty issue” of the day needs more space as it seems more important.
On having written newspaper articles, the appropriate thing is “journalistic style”: punchy, sharp and to the point which is what newspaper articles should be. But two weeks ago I thought I’d never write that way again.Continue reading “Journalistic style”
What I have learnt from reflecting on an article about a controversial issue, is to find the ‘cog that turns the wheel’ in the issue; investigate the salient point. It will make for a weightier article and get to the bottom of the issue, which the readers deserve.
The surface of my review, written in 2000, looked fine, and sounded good. But then I saw flaws and blemishes and I should have known better. It’s like the coach ironing out any deficiencies in an otherwise acceptable even good performance. On the looks of things, my review appeared good, but looking closer, there were things to improve on. However, I’m forgiven, and can only get better.
When an article is merely interesting. If its my article, I deny it. Because I believe, rightly or wrongly, that articles need to be more than interesting. But there are two types of interesting which sort of makes up for it. A stimulating interesting in that one is always engaged in the article, that while it doesn’t jump off the page or screen, is always stimulating. And a dull interesting, in that the way it’s done isn’t that imaginative, but is always readable.
For me, when it comes to reading a piece, the best effect is when I’m intrigued and stimulated by the writing. From beginning to end, the piece falls into place nicely and sits well. The reader, that’s me, senses the piece is drawing one in, rather than away. How would one do that, as a writer? I think one must make it always interesting, with facts, color and imagination, descriptive prose, and good ideas, producing “the effect” on the reader.
Have you ever had the feeling a piece of writing goes on and on, especially in the middle, when it seems the writer is searching for words to fill in space? Words with empty spaces. Hardly inventive and arousing. Less than simulating. Should be overcome with a dose of ‘color’ and factual information to spice things up.
in 1999, I wrote a short piece that was implicitly about truth but even I, the writer of that article, found myself caught between truth and experience.Continue reading “Truth and experience”
I’ve heard it said that it’s better not to use cliches in one’s writing and it’s better to say it a more imaginative, colorful way. Eschewing that rule, I used two cliches in a 200-word article I wrote some years ago and I didn’t mind.Continue reading “Cliche or inventive?”
Sometimes, articles sign off with the big takeaway point — but if a reader will engage that point depends on how well it’s done.Continue reading “Sign offs”
An article can reveal the state of mind of the writer, if the reader can see through the writer’s lines. States of mind can change — overtime — and the writer may be embarrassed or pleased by what they were thinking in the past. Whatever it was, reflecting on that state of mind can help the writer face it afresh and see whether that philosophy still stands today. It’s an intriguing exercise.
Sometimes, a writer may get bored writing in the same genre. So, taking a break may do wonders for the writing and the outlook. One may turn their writing wares to another genre for a while and come back to the other one later. But the subject stays the same.Continue reading “Is it good to have a break from a genre?”
One may grow out of writing articles for one reason or another, but I hope my published articles inspired, encouraged or made someone think, in terms of what the article was saying to a specific reader, who might have been seeking an answer, or food for thought, on the topic I raised. Some people need answers to a topic – such as how does one go about complaining about a film? And why would one go deeper into analyzing a film? And so on. It just depends on who’s reading the article and if the article is a right fit for a specific person on the day, among the readers the writer is reaching, no matter the “page views”.
The headline, the opening paragraph and the photos all come together to set the tone for the article. In other words, these elements can frame the idea of the article.Continue reading “Framed well”
Some readers know implicitly what a writer is talking about and the writer does not need to explain a thing. I say this in light of an article I wrote, about how many Oscar nominations The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King got in 2004. I didn’t even have to explain what The Return of the King was and what it was about because the readers would already know.Continue reading “No explanation required”
The following article was born out of a desire to publish something that would fill readers in on the previous years film releases, because there was not enough time, room and space to cover those thoroughly myself. Since the newspaper catered to conservative tastes, I went to information that would suit the reader, and sources I was familiar with. Here’s the article, published in 2007, in Challenge Weekly.Continue reading “Filling in the gaps”
Do small touches make the difference to an article? Like a slight tweak, a slight delete, a shortening, a change of word? Emphatically, yes! But it depends. Sometimes, it wouldn’t matter, but other times, it may sort out the clutter and expression, say, into something more readable, exciting, or colorful.
Ever thought an article of your’s that was published sounded uneven? Like some parts could have been better, and other parts were good. But in the end it sort of comes out in the wash and the effect of the article actually says something well. That’s a bit of a strange working, if I may say so. That’s how writing can go, for one reason or another.Continue reading “A little uneven, but saved by the bell”
Time Cinema: this cinema, or theater for showing films, was unique among theaters in the vicinity because it catered to a certain clientele, that of the needs of some people who described themselves as conservative Christians, as well as interesting groups intrigued by nostalgic films or films from the vault. John and Margaret Bell founded the popular film house but have since retired and sold the cinema to someone who is keeping old films playing in their original setting. Here’s my 2004 article about Time Cinema, written for Challenge Weekly, a Christian newspaper, where I interview John Bell, the founder of Time Cinema, who told me about their slice from the past.Continue reading “Old time cinema goes down memory lane”
And editor of mine, a while ago, had the good sense to broaden or widen my paragraphs. In my submitted piece, I sometimes stopped a paragraph quite short, but the editor widened the paragraph out, to add to that paragraph the next one after it, so it became one paragraph. In the end, it worked.
There’s nothing like a good paragraph to start an article, but what if your own one (this one I’m writing excluded) sounded gratingly off-putting?Continue reading “First paragraph blues”
It’s great to read an old article of mine. What somebody said in it are quite simply words of wisdom and even encourage me today. I think that anyone who enjoys reading, will find that the stories and articles that they look back on, can still resonate, years later. It’s like those pleasant surprises one finds in the attic and the basement; a long lost card or report that surprises one and causes a most pleasant feeling to emerge in you.