By Katy Kauffman
“Wonderful” sticks to the heart as much as it does to the mind. Memories of fun-filled travels, time with family and friends, and special moments make a home within us forever. Books can do that too.Wonderful happens when a book speaks to us about a heartfelt need, when it answers a plaguing question or solves a challenging problem, when it refreshes ours spirits and reminds us that hope is alive and God is with us.
Use this acronym as a checklist to make your writing even more wonderful.
W – Write from the heart.
Let the words flow from within. Bring out the life experiences that have shaped you, and share in your nonfiction book or novel the lessons that have influenced who you are and how you live. Write from a passion for your subject and a compassion for your readers.
O – Organize your thoughts into a straight line.
A meandering walk in the woods is inviting on a bright, sunny day. But a book that meanders through unrelated or semi-related thoughts will bring gloomy clouds and send a reader packing. Don’t make it hard on your reader to follow your flow of thought.
N – Never save the best for last.
Give your reader a reason to read every chapter. Even the preface. I put brownies in the lead-in of my preface, and my friends haven’t forgotten it. While most books may put their best principles or scenes at the end, spread your best material throughout the book, so that every page is turned and every line is read.
D – Develop an encouraging voice.
Some of the most captivating books I’ve read had the conversational voice of a friend. As the authors shared insights and stories from their lives, I felt like I was getting to know them, and that developed trust. Talk to the reader as to an encouraging friend, not a nagging one.
E – Edit distractions and detours.
The oomph factor dramatically increases in any book when the author whittles away distracting paragraphs and unnecessary detours. Editors and agents will love a book that stays on track, and so will readers.
R – Read your writing aloud before submitting it.
I wish I had done this for two of my books, but fortunately I could edit the book after I read the proof. If you’re shy about reading your work in front of others, cozy up in a chair in an isolated room, and read your book aloud. You’re more likely to catch missing words or typos than if you only read the book silently.
F – Fill your reader’s heart with takeaway.
This puts the wonder in wonderful. What can the reader take away from your book that will stay with them long after they’ve read it? If you’re writing Christian living books or Bible studies, make sure each of your chapters is filled with a takeaway that helps readers walk closer to God. If you’re writing devotions, use the main point of your story or illustration in your ending paragraphs. If you’re crafting a work of fiction, create characters and struggles that readers can relate to and learn from. Perhaps the story will reveal a missing piece of life’s puzzle and bring them wisdom, hope, or freedom.
U – Use words that deliver punch, zip, and wow.
Don’t just look at a word, but “listen” to it. When you say it to yourself, do you hear blah or hurrah? Choose words that grab the reader’s attention—vivid nouns and verbs that describe an idea, a scene, or an action you want the reader to take.
How do your words sound to your inner reader’s ear? Do they stir you to action or put you to sleep? Polish your wonderful factor by infusing your writing with picturesque words and the best phrasing. Choose wording that evokes an emotional response from your reader.
L – Launch the reader’s interest with an intriguing title.
Create an attention-grabbing title that makes potential readers stop and investigate. Launch their interest by using a slant from your book in your title. Can you build on a word picture from your book, like gardening, running, or painting? Is there some call to action that is a common thread in every chapter? Using your book’s slant in your title will help it to stand out from others like it and more readily grab readers’ attention.
What makes a book absolutely wonderful to you? Tell us about those wonder-working qualities in the comments below, and keep your writing wonderful!
(Photo courtesy of photos-public-domain.com.)
Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh
Bible Study Magazine,
and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. She loves connecting with writers and
working alongside them in compilations, such as Feed Your Soul with the Word of God, Collection 1 which is a 2020
Selah Awards finalist. She recently started The Lighthouse Connection, a monthly writers’ newsletter
including writing tips, inspiration to write, and news of submission
In addition to online magazines, Katy’s writing can be found at CBN.com, thoughts-about-God.com, and three blogs on writing. She loves to spend time with family and friends, take acrylic painting classes online, and do yard work in the morning sun. Connect with her at her blog, Winning the Victory, and on Facebook and Twitter.