Writing a Compelling First Line
Writing & Speaking

Writing a Compelling First Line

by Ellen Buikema Character, voice, conflict, and some of the setting is a lot to get in upfront, but this is where to hook your readers with a compelling first line. Recently, I attended a webinar where writers submitted their first lines for review by an editor. The editor was straightforward and no-nonsense. She gave Read more

Writing Memorable Character Flaws
Writing & Speaking

Writing Memorable Character Flaws

by Ellen Buikema A character flaw is an undesirable trait that negatively affects the writer’s character. The degree of this effect will depend on the type and magnitude of the defect. Fortunately, the struggles caused by these imperfections often forge great strength of character. Life is messy. A perfect character has nothing to learn. The Read more

The Power of Vision in Writing
Writing & Speaking

The Power of Vision in Writing

By Ellen Buikema Muck And Fuss Restaurant and Bar, New Braunfels, Texas When I began this series on sensory writing, I hadn’t planned to include the power of vision in writing. Everyone uses the sense of sight, right? People are unique in that most use sight as their dominant sense, which may be why the Read more

Using the Sixth Sense in Writing
Writing & Speaking

Using the Sixth Sense in Writing

by Ellen Buikema We experience the sixth sense every day. Driving down the highway, you feel a persistent need to get off the road to take the long way home. Later in the day, you discover that you narrowly missed a horrific accident. A parent working at home has a sudden feeling that something is Read more

Using The Power of Taste in Writing
Writing & Speaking

Using The Power of Taste in Writing

by Ellen Buikema Using the power of taste in writing evokes emotions that may send readers all over the emotional map, from disgust to delight. It’s the combined experience of what we see with our eyes, taste with our tongue, and smell with our nose. Why is it important to have our characters experience taste Read more

How To Use Touch In Writing
Writing & Speaking

How To Use Touch In Writing

by Ellen Buikema Touch is a basic human need. It’s the first sense we develop and our first social interaction at birth. The Power of Touch. Imagine walking barefoot through a forest. The softness of moss between your toes, the cool slime of mud, the pokes and scratches of pine needles, sticks, and stones. Think Read more

How To Use Sound To Make Your Writing Memorable
Writing & Speaking

How To Use Sound To Make Your Writing Memorable

by Ellen Buikema Capturing the senses lures us into the story, allowing us to experience what the characters hear, see, smell, taste, and touch. The power of sound. Sounds conjure strong memories. Deep vibrations from a bass guitar floating through the air from a neighbor’s garage band practice might bring a smile of great memories Read more

How to Write the Sense of Smell
Writing & Speaking

How to Write the Sense of Smell

by Ellen Buikema Great writers make their stories authentic by allowing us to experience what their characters hear, see, smell, taste, and touch—capturing the senses so we are fully involved. Adding sensory details about smell into your writing creates a stronger story bond for your reader. Scent memory is potent. Memories fade as time passes, Read more

The Benefits of Writing SMART Goals
Writing & Speaking

The Benefits of Writing SMART Goals

by Ellen Buikema For many of my teaching years I used SMART goals for my learning disabled (LD) students as a part of their Individualized Educational Plans (IEP). These students needed to learn how to use their academic strengths to find a way around their learning impediments. These objectives provided many benefits, including helping them Read more

5 Things Kids Taught Me About Writing
Writing & Speaking

5 Things Kids Taught Me About Writing

by Ellen Buikema Much of my career was spent working with young children and they gave me a different way of viewing and understanding the world. Life lessons from children serve as invaluable resources for writing and life. Top 5 Lessons 1. Have Patience When dictating stories for me to transcribe, children either spoke at Read more