Thursday, 23 November 2017

Book Review: The Emotional Wound Thesaurus

Review by Carolyn Miller

Book ReviewsI was pretty excited when first alerted to the release of this new book by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. The Emotion Thesaurus by the same authors is a fabulous resource for writers wanting to explore emotional responses beyond the simple and the known. But The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma is another thing entirely. As Story Genius author Lisa Cron says “What good is ‘writing well’ if you haven’t zeroed in on the essence of the story you are telling? This book peels back the layers to reveal not only where the beating heart of your story lies, but how to get it onto the page.”

So why have the likes of Lisa Cron and James Scott Bell endorsed this book? Because it is so practical, giving information on various reasons for motivation through exploring backstory, which is where he essence of all good stories lies. 

TEWT begins with a warning (!) that some of the issues raised may touch on an author’s own past, and to be wise when and where exploring such issues takes place. As it goes on to say “People are products of their pasts, and if we want our characters to come across as authentic and believable to readers, we need to understand their backstories, too.” The beginning section looks at how experiencing a traumatic event – whether it be bullying, divorce, car accident, witnessing a shooting, or even ongoing challenging situations, such as living with poverty or a disability – can impact how people see the world, and result in disempowering beliefs about themselves and the world they live in, which affects relationships, their moral code, and their ability to communicate. It then touches on the trigger for change, with a brief look at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs, and how unmet needs tend to motivate characters to particular goals – a helpful tool for authors needing some help with Goal, Motivation, Conflict.

TEWT explores over 100 different scenarios, examining possible examples of this issue, the basic needs often compromised by this wound, false beliefs that may be embraced, what characters may fear, possible responses and results, personality traits that may form, triggers that may aggravate the wound, and opportunities to overcome the wound. It even gives case studies, and tools to help your character arcs, and backstory profiling.

I think this is a fabulous resource that I cannot recommend highly enough. Want your characters to be believable? Get this resource. Now.

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. Together with her husband she has pastored a church for ten years, and worked part-time as a public high school English and Learning and Support teacher.
A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include The Elusive Miss Ellison, The Captivating Lady Charlotte, and The Dishonourable Miss DeLancey, available at Amazon, Koorong, etc

Connect with her:

Wednesday, 22 November 2017


By Leila Halawe

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

Have you ever found yourself frantically rushing around trying to get yourself organised when your ears prick up and you think you can hear someone calling you? You slow your movements down, eventually coming to a complete stop and try to listen as hard as you can. I was in this very situation last night as I went to meet a friend of mine for dinner. She told me to park my car in the parking garage under her unit block and told me she would meet me downstairs at the elevator and walk me up. After parking my car, as I started making my way to the lift, I thought I could hear my name being called. I kept walking, but again, I heard this little voice calling my name, so I eventually stopped walking and just stood where I was, looking around to work out if there really was someone calling me. As I stood there for a few seconds, the voice got louder and I realised that it was my friend walking through the garage, calling out my name trying to work out where I was. As it turned out, she was waiting for me at the lift and when I didn't get there as soon as I should have, she realised that I was heading towards the wrong lift and went looking for me. 

My walk with God feels like that sometimes. When I find myself a little disconnected from God, or find myself feeling a little independent, I start making my own plans and walking them out. And without fail, I start to hear my name being called in some way, shape or form. It generally isn't an audible voice, more of a stirring, or a restlessness within that something isn't right that makes me slow down a little to work out what it is and where it's coming from. It eventually brings me to a complete standstill and when I finally stop, I start to hear the gentle whisper of God. 

We read in Proverbs 16:9 that a 'man's heart makes his way, but the Lord directs his steps.' Isn't that typical of us? I don't know about you, but there have been many times, too many to count, where God has had to step in and redirect my steps to align with His plans and purposes. There has been many a time when I haven't stopped long enough to listen to God's gentle whisper telling me which way I should go, instead barrelling on ahead and hitting multiple roadblocks along the way. We can often think that we know what's best, or what we need, but the truth is that we don't know best. 

Because only God knows best. 

God knows what we need. 

God knows when we need it.

God knows how He will provide it.

We can often forget that God created us and already knows the future. He has the victory already, which means that we have the victory through Jesus, so following His lead is the wisest thing to do. We just need to stop and be still. 

Seek His face.

Seek His heart. 

Seek His voice. 

When we put our faith and trust in Him, we won't be let down. In fact, when we put our trust in Him, we can be sure that we will be guided down the right road. That doesn't mean that the path He leads us on will be painless, or trouble free, or full of constant joy and happiness. No, we will all face those things, sometimes more than once and sometimes for long seasons, but when we walk the path He sets us for us, we can be guaranteed that He will go before us and sustain us. We can go the extra mile knowing that He will be there to lift us up. Knowing he will provide for us. Knowing he will be our comfort when the road is too hard to walk.

We just need to be still and know that He is God. Not was, not will be, IS. No matter what, He is God. 

As we go about our day today, can I challenge us to stop and be still before Him, if only for 5 minutes. Sit at His feet and exalt Him. Praise Him. Worship Him. And let Him be everything He promised you he will be. 

Leila (Lays) Halawe is a Sydney based coffee loving nonfiction writer and blogger. She has published a short devotional, Love By Devotion, and shares her views on life and faith via her blog page Looking In . You can connect with her via Facebook at Leila Halawe Author  and via Twitter at Leila Halawe.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Best of the ACW Archives ~ Creative Nonfiction Part 2

By Nola Passmore

It's Okay to Make a Scene

Novels and movies are typically made up of scenes: little stories or vignettes that progress the plot in some way. Perhaps it’s a glimpse into the protagonist’s character, the foreshadowing of a tricky situation, a skinny latté between friends or a phone call that sets off a rippling chain of events. The point is that something happens. However, scenes are more than the playthings of fiction writers; they’re “the building blocks of creative nonfiction” (Gutkind, 2012, p. 107).

Anna Elkins’ award-winning essay about her travels in Israel includes visits to thermal pools, a kibbutz and Roman ruins, but never reads like a travelogue. There’s peril, interpersonal encounters and deeper questions of life and meaning. She writes beautifully (e.g. “two contrails met in a calligraphy of white”), but another reason the story is so engaging is that it’s told almost entirely in scenes. If you have ten minutes to spare, it’s well worth reading Of Danger and Beauty. I count five major scenes. The first takes place in Tel Aviv where a missile is intercepted. The second involves Anna and her friend Tsach having a dip in the Dead Sea. Can you identify the other three?

Read more at the following link:

Friday, 17 November 2017

Researching & Writing Radio Programs

John Hills - Producer, George & Rita - Co-speakers

F18 fighter jets have a voice in the cockpit warning them of trouble. At times that voice will command, "Pull up!" Pull up!" or "Altitude! Altitude!" And they know to obey. Many a pilot says with gratitude that this voice had saved their lives.

As a co-presenter on FM Australia-wide program, Vantage Point, perhaps I speak with a different viewpoint from most writers. And the above is an example of one way we begin a program to catch listeners' attention.

I freely admit ACW, CWDU and ICFW blogs have been a great help in obtaining great material. Of course I have always asked permission from the original sources, AKA blog members. Happily they have all been willing for me to use their work which is credited. Rose Dee is a case in point. When I read her marvellous blog, 'Never Smile at a Crocodile' with her analogy equating the croc's habits with the devil, I wanted to use it. And we sent her an MP3 to listen to it.

Recently I also asked Deidre Blackmore for her material about honey bees and they way they work together to produce something so beautiful. It's amazing what writers write about that can be used so well in a program people listen to. Vantage Point is a Christian program but we always begin with the secular. The Lord Jesus Christ spoke this way to His listeners using familiar experiences then relating it to the spiritual.

I am hoping as you read this, my fellow writers, that you might see how you could be a part of this outreach to our unknown audience right across Australia. If you have ideas of anything that could be used as an analogy with Christian teaching then use your talent! We'd love to hear from you.

Unusual ideas? Send via email to (without spaces)  ritagal  @  optusnet  dot  com dot  au

BIO:    Indie Publisher, Rita Galieh has written a trilogy of historical  novels & also contributed to several US anthologies. She is now completing a third historical romance series. Besides her weekly blog, she can be found on Facebook and  

Rita studied art at the National Art School. After their marriage, she and her husband attended Emmaus Bible College, and were also involved with Christian Television on Sydney’s Channel Nine. She enjoys giving her fun-filled presentations of Etiquette of the Victorian Era in costume.