Friday, January 28, 2005

Leaving for Tour

Well, this afternoon, around 3:00 pm, I'll be leaving for the airport. My "bug" has turned into little more than a cold/sinus thing so I'm glad about that. No more fever, chills and that sort of thing. Do continue to keep my health in your prayers as well as the tour in general.

I will be picking up my email periodically over the next three weeks but won't be responding to emails until I get back.

If there is any urgent NJCWG business you can contact Clare Cartegena at: She knows how to get in touch with me.

Continue to check the blog, even while I'm away. You never know what sort of goodies will appear!

God bless

Louise Bergmann DuMont
Faith-Dipped Chocolate: Rich Encouragement to Sweeten your Day (Revell, Jan 2005)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Writing Op - YouthWorkerJournal

This was sent to me from YouthWorkerJournal Magazine.
Topic: Community
July/August 2005

From diverse backgrounds--culturally, theologically, and institutionally--youth ministers are all part of a community; how does that happen, and how can we make it better? How do you form community among multiethnic, economically diverse, culturally varied kids? What about creating community among the staff? Among kids' parents? Among volunteers??

If you have article ideas on this theme, write "July/August 2005 proposal" in the e-mail subject field, and send an outline and opening paragraph within the e-mail body by February 15 to You'll receive a reply no later than June 1.

To improve the chances of being published, we encourage you to check out our "writer¹s guidelines" at

We also accept editorial submissions in several non-article ways (especially original art and cartoons), and we particularly encourage submissions related to the upcoming theme. So if you, or any of your peers, or even kids in your youth group are artists, please send us your stuff. For guidelines on non-article submissions, check out

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Urgent Prayer for Louise

I am home from work today and feeling absolutly miserable. Aches, fever, sore throat, etc, etc. My plane leaves Friday afternoon and I MUST go to work tomorrow to get a few more things cleaned up. I feel awful that I even called in sick today, but I've got to get well before I fly out with this schedule. I don't know why God allowed this to happen now but I DO know even this has a purpose and is in His hands. Please pray that this passes quickly and that I'm OK when I leave on Friday. Thanks.

Send all email messages to

The Lord is My Righteousness
Jeremiah 23:1-6

Louise Bergmann DuMont

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Message to Louise

I can blog!! thanks! May the Lord Bless you and keep you during your book tour! Clare

Full Scholarship Opportunity - Ohio Christian Writers' Conference

Are you ready for the next step on your writing journey? Last year our very own Lisa Ramadan received a full scholarship to the Sandy Cove Christian Writers' Conference from CWG. Despite my continued whining and begging (sigh) no one else in our group applied for this scholarship. I wonder how many opportunities were missed because of fear of rejection or simple procrastination?

Well, this year, thanks to the generosity of Cecil “Cec” Murphey, CWG (the Christian Writers’ Group – online writers group of over 800 members) is offering not one but TWO full scholarships to a very specific conference in Ohio – the 2005 CWG Conference. I was on staff at their 2003 conference and they create one special time for their guests.

To apply for this scholarship you need to do four things:
1. You need to be a member of CWG. It is super simple to join. Go to:
2. Indicate you have a financial need (no specific questions will be asked or background checks made. They simply ask you to check a box that says you need financial help to get to a writers conference and that is the end of it.
3. You will be asked to submit a 500 word or less essay explaining why you want to attend a writers’ conference, how you have prepared for this conference, and what (if anything) you intend to submit for critique or possible publication
4. Agree to pay your own travel expenses.

The deadline for scholarship application is March 1, with winners announced on April 4.

The Ohio Christian Writers’ Conference is being held in Aurora, Ohio (October 12 – 15, 2005) at the lovely Bertram Inn. You can check out the accommodations by going to this website:

At this conference you will have the opportunity to meet with fellow authors, greet editors, sit under the instruction of seasoned experts, and pitch your ideas to agents, publishers and editors.

The keynote speaker is Dr. Arnold Fleagle, Director of Church Development for the Central District of the Christian & Missionary Alliance. Dr. Fleagle has co-authored seven books, including PLANTED BY THE WATER, JOURNEY TO BETHLEHEM, DEVELOPING YOUR SECRET CLOSET OF PRAYER, and PSALMS FOR THE SEASONS OF YOUR LIFE.

Continuing Track classes include:
Beginning Writing Track with Cecil Murphey
Advanced Writing Track with Sally Stuart
Writing for Children Track with Cindy Kenney
Fiction Writing Track with Randy Ingermanson

Plus many individual classes with outstanding faculty.

For full class descriptions, schedule and faculty information, registration, and scholarship application, go to:

Writers' Conferenes Feb-Apr 2005

Here is a list of some of the writers' conferences that are coming up early this year. As more come to my attention, I will update and repost this list.

Castro Valley Christian Writers Seminar, February 18-19, 2005.

Oregon Christian Writers Winter 2005 Conference, February 19th, 2005

14th Annual Writer's Weekend at the Beach, February 25-27, 2005. February 25-27, 2005.

The 2005 Florida Christian Writers Conference, March 3-6, 2005.

36th Annual Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Mar 18-22, 2005.

Obadiah Press Christian Writers Conference, April 8-9, 2005.

Central Ohio Writers of Literature for Children, April 23, 2005.

Orange County Christian Writers Fellowship 20th Annual Spring Writers Day Saturday, April 30, 2005.

Quotable Quotes

"Take solace from this: Every good writer writes junk. Every great writer writes junk. The difference between them and you is they recognize what needs to be tossed and what can be salvaged with re-writes. That takes practice; which is where the craft part comes in."
~ Frank Baron

"Expert wordsmithing is when the skillful writer retrieves a white hot idea from the furnace of creativity, and with each carefully directed blow of the literary hammer, shapes the still malleable idea against the anvil of proper language convention to forge a fitting vessel of creative communication."
~ Glen B. Cook

"Tenacity is one of a writer's greatest gifts."
~ Louise Bergmann DuMont

"I tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak"
~The Bible -- Matthew 12:36

Show Vs Tell Lesson

As I mentioned to a few of you, I am posting last night's Show Vs Tell lesson here. Feel free to print this and use it, but if you share it with anyone else -- please be sure to site this blog and the author (me). I ask this not inorder to receive credit for the work but because others may have questions or issues with the material and they should be able to go to the source for clarification. Thanks.

Lesson Taught at the NJCWG Meeting 1/24/05

Why should you SHOW rather than TELL your story?

1. SHOWING creates mental pictures for the reader. Our society is more visual than ever before and readers insist on visual narrative.

2. SHOWING is participatory. It involves readers in the story by evoking feelings and by forcing readers to think for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

3. SHOWING helps to avoid preachy writing. You don’t TELL a reader what to think or how to act. You simply SHOW them the events and let them draw their own conclusion.

4. SHOWING lets the reader know you think they are smart enough to “get the point” of your manuscript. TELLING makes the reader feel dumb because you bang them over the head with every detail.


Example using narrative:
Jane was an old woman.
Her hunched form entered the great hall with small, deliberate steps. Jane’s gnarled hand gripped the rosewood cane that supported her fragile frame. The other liver-spotted hand fugitively clutched a small lace hankie.

Can you see how the first example simply passes the reader information? The writer TELLS the reader that Jane is old. In the second example the author never says that Jane is old. The reader must discover this through observation.


Example using dialog:

Jean had a reputation. Every member of the office staff from the top down knew that Jean was the one who got things done.
The corner of Phil’s eye twitched nervously. “We’re doomed. There is no way we can get this presentation done on time.”
Gary tossed a nearly empty file folder onto the table and let his hands fall to his side. “So I guess that’s it. We fold our hand.”
The sun ducked behind a cloud and the room turned an appropriate shade of dismal gray. Just then the door cracked open, letting in a stream of light from the hall.
Jean Applegate, one of the other managers, stuck her head through the door, “Hey guys. What’s up?”
What sounded like a growl escaped Phil’s throat. ”You know what’s up. We couldn’t get the presentation together on time. We’re dead in the water. We blew it. We’re nothing but dog meat.”
The corners of Jean’s mouth curled upward. “Well, I guess you don’t want this then.” She laid an array of project folders and specs on the table and watched the men’s eyes grow large. Jean laughed. “You know guys, if you’d asked me nice I would have been glad to help. As it is, you can thank Mark for the head’s up that you were in trouble. I had a similar presentation done for another client who bailed. A couple of hours work last night and, viola, here it is.”
Phil stood and clasp Jean’s hand. “If I weren’t married I kiss you, girl. My wife thanks you, my kids thank you, heck even my dog thanks you.”
Jean’s laugh filled the room once again.
Scanning the contents of one of the folders, Gary seemed unable to stop grinning. “You are a miracle worker, Jean! Honest. A miracle worker!”

Dialog makes the reader feel like they are in the room and listening to the characters’ conversation. When your reader becomes a part of the action they enjoy the story more.


So SHOWING means using lots of description, right?

Using description is good, but description is not enough to get you from TELLING to SHOWING. SHOWING is more than a long list of adjectives.

Jim awoke feeling a cold chill over his body and the hair rose on his neck. He heard a slight rustling sound behind his back, with a shifting of air, as if something might be swaying. He knew without a doubt that there was another presence in the bedroom with him and Elizabeth and it was of demonic origin.
From Divine Shout, by Patricia Winters Johnston

A chill swept Jim’s body. As he lay between the world of dreams and a state of conscious decision, the hair on the back of his neck, like so many tiny soldiers, rose to the attention of his fear. Jim’s mind came to full wakefulness as the rustling in the corner of the room grew to an urgent crackle. A waft of cool air once again moved across his bare chest but intuition begged that he not pull the covers around him. The evil presence floated past their bed with the stealth of a jungle creeper and bile collected in his stomach. The urge to purge himself nearly overtook him. For the safety of Elizabeth, who remained in peaceful sleep at his side, Jim forced his trembling form into submission and began to pray for help.

Notice how both paragraphs use description, but the first paragraph only describes what happened to Jim. The second paragraph allows the reader to experience the event as it happens to Jim. It pulls the reader into the room to lay in the bed alongside Jim and Elizabeth.


Would it be fair to say that when a writer SHOWS he allows the reader to draw their own conclusions because they are participants in the event?

Yes. The writer does not intrude on the reader by telling him what to think, how to feel, or what conclusion to draw. The author simply lets the scene unfold and allows the reader to follow the story through to its logical end.


But aren’t there times when a writer is supposed to TELL rather than SHOW? And if so, how do you know when to use these two techniques?

Yes, there are times the writer should TELL rather than SHOW.

1. You should TELL the trivial parts of the story that need to be filled-in but not expounded upon.
2. You may want to TELL some scenes when writing your first draft. This allows you to continue the flow of your story. When you do your rewrite you convert to SHOWING.
3. Typically outlines for proposals should use TELLING rather than showing. You will have sample chapters to illustrate you know how to write. The draft can say “And here there is a huge battle between King George and the Black Knight.”

One of the best ways to know when you need to SHOW is to ask yourself this question. “In this scene, does the reader need to be emotionally involved or can they distance themselves from my story here?” If the reader needs to be involved in the scene, you must SHOW. If it is merely a scene that supplies needed information, you may TELL.

Another way to determine if you should SHOW or TELL is to ask the following:
Does the detail help establish or intensify the mood?
Does it define a character?
Can it clarify an action?”

Some indicators of TELLING are the words clearly, obviously, usually & actually. These let the reader know that the writer hasn’t made their words clear. Strong, assertive writing seldom needs words like these.


So how do I make something SHOW instead of TELL?

Use solid nouns and active verbs.

Instead of Saying old paint
Say the weathered, pealing paint
Instead of Saying shiny coins
Say the coins glinted in the sun
Instead of Saying her pretty new clothes
Say her fashionable silks drew the attention of every woman in the room
Instead of Saying rough cloth
Say the rough fabric tore at her skin
Instead of Saying a cool drink of water
Say that refreshed her parched throat
Instead of Saying she had a beautiful voice
Say her voice rose like that of a lark on a summer’s eve

Show the smoke instead of the fire.

New writers try too hard to describe the snap of the twigs, the intense heat, and the color of the flames. Sometimes it pays to take a more subtle approach. Describe the smoke and let the reader determine that it comes from a raging fire. Remember what it is you want the reader to focus on. When you concentrate on a description of the fire you move the focal point off of the protagonist. Better to describe the protagonist choking on the smoke.

Example - TELLING

All the kids knew that Belinda was the meanest kid in the world. She hated every kid in our school and treated even the best of them like dog meat. I don’t know why, but she hated me even more than everyone else and took great pleasure in torturing me.

Example - SHOWING
I caught more than a glint of pleasure in Belinda’s eyes as I fell to the floor, scattering the contents of my box lunch across the room. The rest of the class scampered out the door, bounding over the paltry offerings my mother had packed – but Belinda held back. I dragged my bruised body out of the fray and cowered against big George’s desk. My fingers recovered my eyeglasses just in time to bear witness to her malicious deed. With an smirk she stepped within inches of my form. Her black eyes bore into mine, daring me to show the slightest sign of weakness. When I could hold her gaze no longer, a slow smile appeared at the corners of her mouth. She licked her lips once, as if savoring the taste of her victory, then she ground the heel of her perfect patent leather shoe into the soft flesh of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

By concentrating on the antagonist and the protagonist the reader is drawn into the episode. Instead of telling us how mean Belinda is and focusing on the meanness, the writer focuses on the characters and SHOWS just what Belinda could do when she hated someone as much as she hated Billy

Sunday, January 23, 2005

NJCWG - Gen Msg - 1/23/05

Monday, January 24, 2005
YES, we are holding a meeting. I believe the roads will be clear and the weather will accomodate us.
(6:15-7:00) - Chat Time & Special Help
(7:00-8:00) - Discussion Time
(8:00-9:00) - Critiques

Ringwood Baptist Church
30 Carletondale Road
Ringwood, NJ 07456
My Cell # 551-427-3794
Always check your email before heading off to a meeting. If for any reason we need to cancel the meeting, you will be notified via email.

The Writer Magazine has generously sent me twenty copies of their January issue for distribution to our writers group. I will pass them out at this meeting.

Sally Stuart assures me that the 2005 Market Guides were mailed (media mail) but I haven't received them yet. If they come tomorrow I'll bring them to the meeting but if not, I will bring them our February 28 meeting.

Please pray for the many publishers, editors, agents and authors who will attend February's CBA. Pray each will be led by God to select the manuscripts best suited for the next season's needs.

Please join me in welcoming our newest member, Margaret Buckley. She will (weather permiting) attend our next meeting.

At this meeting we'll do a quick review of everything we learned and I'll spend a few minutes updating you on what happened on my tour.

No Meeting on FEBRUARY 14 (02/14/05)
I will be on my *Faith-Dipped Chocolate* book-tour.

March 14, 2005
6:30-9:00 We will start promptly.
I have some very interesting things planned for this workshop. You won't want to miss it!

If your budgets will permit, you might want start tucking away a few dollars now. The Glorietta conference takes place in October. I plan to attend and so does Ann LeFevre. It would be nice to have a sizeable contingent from NJ represented. Anyone who feels they are ready for one of the larger conferences can see me before one of our meetings and I'll help you prepare.

Clare Cartegena is now in charge of this project. I've given her access to post on this blog. If you have any interest in contributing to the creative process or to the manuscript itself, please contact Clare at Watch the blog for further updates regarding this project.

Those of you who expressed interest in writing a column, please bear with me as I sort through the many responses I received from other lists. I will get back to you within six weeks.

Send all email messages to

The Lord is My Righteousness
Jeremiah 23:1-6

Louise Bergmann DuMont

Good morning NJCWGers. Hope that you are safe and warm during this blizzard of 2005. Curl up with a good book, a hot cup of coffee and giant chocolate chip cookie and ride it out with me.

Monday, January 24, 2005
(6:15-7:00) - Chat Time & Special Help
(7:00-8:00) - Discussion Time
(8:00-9:00) - Critiques

At our next meeting I will continue my teaching on Narrative & Description by reviewing the principals of Show vs Tell. On Feb 28 we'll do a full review of what we learned and on March 14 we'll have a workshop to put to use the lessons.

Ringwood Baptist Church
30 Carletondale Road
Ringwood, NJ 07456
My Cell # 551-427-3794
Always check your email before heading off to a meeting. If for any reason we need to cancel the meeting, you will be notified via email.

No Meeting on FEBRUARY 14 (02/14/05)
I will be on my *Faith-Dipped Chocolate* book-tour.

On March 14, 2005 I'm going to offer Writer's Workshop to the group. This is where you put to use the skills I've been teaching. As in the past, our workshop will BEGIN PROMPTLY at 6:30 pm and run through until 9:00 pm. Please try not to be late so that the writing of the others are not disturbed. You will be given an assignment, we'll write, we'll critique, we'll rewrite. Then you'll be given an other assignment and we'll run it again.. Bring paper, writing utensils and an active imagination. As always, your writing task will be handed to you when you arrive with no prior warning as to the topic. I will try to chose topics that may make for sale-able manuscripts. Might as well have our work do double-duty.

For those of you thinking about agents, there is great CBA Agent list at:
When you get to the site, click on WRITING TIPS. It is at the top of the page, in the second row of the menu, all the way on the right. There are also a number of EXCELLENT articles on that page. Check out.

My tour schedule is up on my website. Check out ! If you know of anyone who lives in the parts of the country where I will be touring, please do have them stop by one of my signings or speaking engagements. I'd love to meet them.

Clare Cartegena is now in charge of this project. If you have any interest in contributing to the creative process or to the manuscript itself, please contact Clare.


One or two of you have expressed an interest in writing for my website. I will get back to you regarding this matter soon. Right now I'm gearing up for the tour and have put a few things on hold. My appologies for the delay.

Suburban Trends -- Readers are encouraged to send guest columns, approximately 500 words in length. Columns on local topics specifically are sought. Send columns via e-mail to:, or via fax to 973-283-56-23. They can also be mailed to Matt Fagan, Editor, Suburban Trends, 300 Kakeout Rd, Kinnelon, NJ 07405.

Send all email messages to

The Lord is My Righteousness
Jeremiah 23:1-6

Louise Bergmann DuMont