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

Universal Story Themes – Take It From The Kids
Writing & Speaking

Universal Story Themes – Take It From The Kids

by Ellen Buikema I was privileged to work in a co-operative preschool for six years that allowed for teacher autonomy. (Bless them.) This was the stage of my career where I learned the “And then what happened?” method of storytelling. These kids were phenomenal writing teachers! Let me explain… My classroom consisted of several centers Read more

The Road To Writing: Why Do YOU Do It?
Writing & Speaking

The Road To Writing: Why Do YOU Do It?

By Ellen Buikema The road to writing is rocky. What motivates people to write their stories and endure the long journey required to send those book-babies out into the world? Many people have a book in them to write. Thoughts traverse the mind, nudging to get written. Sometimes those words find their way to paper Read more

Using Weather in Fiction
Writing & Speaking

Using Weather in Fiction

By Ellen Buikema Weather in fiction is a powerful factor. When weather is included in a scene it adds depth and realism, pulling the reader further into the story. Every description whether in scene, tagline, or dialogue, including weather, must move the story forward. Since childhood I’ve enjoyed storms and changes in weather so much Read more

The Roles of Secondary Characters
Writing & Speaking

The Roles of Secondary Characters

By Ellen Buikema Secondary characters add depth and interest to the world your main character inhabits, helping to make the tale more memorable. They play a significant role in your story, but aren’t necessarily integral to the plot. These characters may be protagonists or antagonists of their own subplots. Strong secondary characters reveal more about Read more

10 Ideas For Inspiring Your Writing with Music
Writing & Speaking

10 Ideas For Inspiring Your Writing with Music

by Ellen Buikema “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” – Plato Music, the art of sound through the use of rhythm, harmonies, and melodies, is food for the soul—divine, effective, mathematical – the science of sound. Its language is universal. A tuneful Read more

The Value of Writing Young Adult Literature
Writing & Speaking

The Value of Writing Young Adult Literature

by Ellen Buikema One of the most valuable qualities of writing YA Literature is how it addresses the needs of its readers. Young adulthood is a tumultuous time of evolving, searching for self and identity, growing and changing, transforming from the world of childhood to that of adulthood. This rite of passage is a distinct Read more