It takes a lot of patience to write a book but it’s not a big deal if you are a passionate writer. That is the big lesson the 17 children from the Scottish Mission, along with a child from a Czech Republic church, learned on Sunday, 26th June 2022. Aged between 7 and 18, they all came to learn the secret of writing books and stories inspired by the Bible. The project called ‘Miracle in The Pen’ was at its first edition and it took place in Dundee Church including online presentations (via Zoom). Each child participating was asked to write at least one story inspired by the Bible and bring this to the workshop. The event was led by three authors: Karen Holford, Calvin Ndlovu and Divinia Reynolds (online); and supervised by the Scottish Mission Children’s Ministry leaders Ifeoma Victor-Igwe and Cedrene Botha.
As an introduction, Karen Holford shared her journey in writing. It is such an interesting and inspiring journey and from that, we understood that passion, patience, determination, and God’s help are the keys. Break-out sessions followed where each group learned how to get ideas for writing, how to write, edit and publish a book or get a story published. Most of all, we learned how to direct our writing to share the Gospel and God’s love.
“It is important to know the five essential elements to writing a story: Characters, setting, plot, conflict and solution” Devinia Reynolds explained as well as “the 11 key attitudes toward writing such as prayerfulness, confession, carefulness, and mindfulness”. New ways of introducing stories to make them livelier and more realistic alongside the importance to describe emotions, places, people, and time was highlighted.
After lunch, there was an opportunity for us to read our stories, which had been edited by the respective presenters, to the group. It felt encouraging to receive positive feedback and to be motivated to write.
So, how to start a story? “The first thing is to know exactly what you want to say at the end of the story and work on the structure,” explained Elisabeth Sangüesa as she was wrapping up the event with a questions-answers session. From this exercise, we learned that not all the writing we submit to an editing press can be published. However, even if our work is not published, instead of giving up, the good attitude is to keep working hard, keep writing and one day, our writing can be published, and we can be successful in writing. Elisabeth also advised not to judge people in our writing but to always show God’s loves to then. “Salvation should be the main message,” she emphasised. From her answers to our multiple questions, she taught us that: "the secret to writing a good story is to make people care… a book should not leave you the same when you start and when you finish…and before you write, ask yourself good questions: what do I want people to remember? What’s the main resolution? What’s the main moral of the story?”
And the icing on the cake, the general manager of Stanborough Press (Elisabeth Sangüesa) commissioned a book to all the children who attended the ‘miracle in the Pen‘ training and the Scottish Mission! Each one has been encouraged to write a sermon or a story and send over. The compilation of 52 sermons /stories written by children for children will then be published by Stanborough Press.
By Jared (Age 9) and Joakim(Age 7) Nietcho
What better way to share their experience than to hear it first-hand.
My experience from the writing workshop
“Hi, my name is Nathan Ndlovu, and I am 9 years old. This my experience from the Children’s Ministries ‘Miracle in the Pen’ writing workshop.
We buckled up in our car and went to pick up my friend Eyrelynn at her house. Along the way to the event, Eyrelynn and I talked about our writing projects, and she read my story I had written in preparation for the workshop. I was intrigued to learn how she had spent a lot of time researching and planning as part of her preparation because she intends to write a book! The trip from Dunfermline to Dundee took a bit of time but the chatting made the trip exciting.
When we eventually got to the venue we had to register and go into the main hall. We all received cool pens with the message ‘The Gospel Pen’. We sat down and waited for the meeting to start. We were introduced to Karen Holford, well-known author within our Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Karen shared her journey into writing. Shortly after that, we split into age groups.
The thing that stood out for me from Karen’s journey into writing, was that she started writing for her local magazine at only 6 years old. One of the activities that Karen did with us was to come up with adjectives describing God from A-Z! She also told us to think of adjectives describing ourselves that started with the first letters of our names. We then continued working on our own stories. My story is that of Joseph, from his perspective. I was excited when Karen said that she wanted to read my story. When she had finished reading it, she gave me some pretty good feedback. We stopped our morning session for lunch where we enjoyed vegetarian hotdogs and salad. Delicious!
After lunch where we had the opportunity to finish off our stories followed by a chance to read our stories to the group. Joining up with the older group, Elisabeth (General Manager) at Stanborough Press shared with us via ZOOM how they publish books. How exciting….she gave the Scottish Mission a goal to write 52 stories or children’s sermons that will be published by them! I hope my story of Joseph will be one of them.
In conclusion, I want to say thank you to Karen for helping me and giving me good and encouraging feedback. It was an enjoyable experience and I am already looking forward to the next time we meet again.”