Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Frustrated Actress

I'm a frustrated actress. I act all these characters. If I don't cry about them, if I don't laugh at their jokes, if I don't lose my temper and if I don't swear, it doesn't seem I am writing them; someone else is. I act all these characters, I live these characters.

And I never use four-letter words either, just all the 'damns' and 'blasts', and nor will I go into the dockyard atrocities of sex. I imply it and let the reader take it from there.
~Catherine Cookson, DBE, OBE. Author of Kate Hannigan, The Fifteen Streets, and over ninety futher titles. Worldwide sales over 90 million copies.

Quoted in: Richard Joseph's Bestsellers. Top Writers Tell How.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Life Story

Some people think we're made of flesh and blood and bones. Scientists say we're made of atoms. But I think we're made of stories. When we die, that's what people remember, the stories of our lives and the stories that we told.

~Ruth Stotter, quoted in The Power of Personal Storytelling

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Churchill's famous "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" has been widely misquoted as "blood, sweat, and tears." Although I would never presume to edit the writing of Churchill, I must admit that the misquoters have a point in their favor. There's something almost mystical about the number three. It's as if two are not enough and four are too many. Writers, especially speech writers, have long recognized this phenomenon and often use a rhetorical device called a triad. Or, as some prefer to express it, "the rule of three."

"The Rule of Three" is something of a misnomer because there's no rule involved, just a principle. That principle is that the human ear has a particular affinity for triplets. Writers with a good ear for cadence use triads routinely . . .

Here are some well-known triads:

From the Bible: And now abideth faith, hope, and charity, but the greatest of these is charity.

From the Declaration of Independence: . . . [W]e mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

. . . And here's one of my own that's not yet famous but a triad can give force to our ideas, eloquence to our words, and rhythm to our sentences.

~Richard Dowis, The Lost Art of the Great Speech

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


"If what we create, write, dance or sing can open up such a space in time through which God may speak, imagine the possibilities! Painting might become a window through which a confused world looks and sees the sane order of God's creation. Music could become an orchestrated echo of the Voice the tired ears of humankind have longed for ages to hear. This is art through which God is seen and heard, in which he is incarnate, is "fleshed out" in paint and ink, in stone, in creative movement. From the flat, gray point of view of the fallen world they are only scratches and scribbles in the sand, but in the light of eternity they become the occasion for divine revelation. What more could we ever hope for, and once we've seen this new possibility, how could we ever settle for less?"

Michael Card, Scribbling in the Sand