A knee jerk reaction – do you ever have them?

It keeps happening and I have no idea why. It happened again today.

Jerry Jenkins, author of dozens of books, loves to encourage writers to become the best they can be. He often puts out free mini courses and today I was gong to read the newest one. It’s called Breaking down the 7 main story elements. To write a story you have to be a writer.

That thought right there, being a writer, was the trigger to an intense, visceral, emotional, knee jerk, negative reaction. I know, it seems like that’s overkill on the descriptive words but that’s about how it is, Fight or flight. Just short of a melt down. This happens to me fairly often with this writer idea and I have no idea why. It makes no sense that I can see. I’m sure there must be a mental health professional out there somewhere, though, who could tell me why.

It’s funny because I have this denial thing going on and yet I’ve spent years working on my communication skills. More recently I’ve joined a writers group, started this blog, read whatever catches my eye teaching me how to be a better writer, and even started a little fiction story. Go figure.

So, after some settling down time, I read through the tutorial and took notes on Jerry’s material about 7 main story elements.

The presentation was encouraging to me in several ways.

First; I’m stalled out on the story I’m writing, have been for awhile now. As I read what Jerry had to say, some things began to come together in my mind. I know where I need to go next with my characters.

Second and more importantly; it helped in regard to Book Reviews. I love books, some more than others. I love in different ways, for different reasons. The challenge is to put words to emotional responses. The struggle to express myself has caused me to dislike and avoid book reviews.

I’m discovering that instructions on the how and why of writing is helping me understand both what makes a story relatable and what is happening in the writing of the story for it to draw me in so completely.

A discussion of the story elements and the words used to describe them has also helped tremendously. It’s getting easier to move past simply I love this book and on to compiling a list for the reasons why I love this book.

I’m still feeling inadequate to understand and express my thoughts about books, but it’s getting better. I’m excited about that. The attempt with this post is probably helping me more than you.


The most enjoyable part in the learning to write process, for me anyway, is the reading of excellent books. They say to be a great writer we must read extensively. I am all over that.

My most recently read & enjoyed book is The Maid of Fairbourne Hall 

Jerry Jenkins talked about the importance of describing the setting in layers throughout the story as opposed to a full description prior to stepping into the story itself.

Layers is the operative word here and this book did that.

The other thing this book did was make the story real, transporting me to a different time and place.

It’s a good thing this was Saturday and I could stick with it to the end.


Currently, I’ve selected a series that’s been on my TBR list since the middle of July. After a few pages I’m hooked and since Terri Blackstock is a long time favorite I’m looking forward to this.

The If I Run Series: If I Run, If I’m Found, If I Live 

If I Run … book 1

Casey knows the truth. But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.


Writing this post has been helpful in working things out in my mind. I’m hoping it’s managed to make a little sense for you in reading it.

Check out JerryJenkins.com if you are interested in hearing more from him.

In the meantime…

Happy Reading!

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