August 2001 Issue

Vol. 1 No. 4

Guest Columnist: Idelia Phillips

Article by Lee E. Meadows 

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From the Publisher/Editor 
Wanda Elayne Moorman


Since the debut of LitLine in May of this year, I have received many responses from readers, writers, recording artists and entrepreneurs.

I am blissfully overwhelmed by the responses that I have received,  each offering a positive word of encouragement or a helpful hint to make LitLine better.

I would first like to thank God for allowing me to make LitLine a reality.  It is through God's grace and blessings that LitLine became an on-line publication.  I would like to thank my regular contributors     Reverend Cornelius R. Wheeler, Lee Meadows , Lisa R. Cross and Adam     Wilson.  Without you, LitLine could never be possible.  I want to especially thank Lisa Cross for encouraging me to publish an on-line newsletter.  It was through her words of encouragement and support     that I finally gathered the resources and talent to make it happen. More...

Don’t “Tell” Too Much (DESCRIBE IT!)

Idelia Phillips

Many writers take the easy way – they often “tell” their scenes and character emotions rather than DESCRIBE them. Good writing shows the reader the characters’ inner most thoughts and feelings, depicts scenes and settings so vivid that the reader can “see” it, and involves all of the reader’s senses.

How do you, as a writer, “show” what’s happening in the story as opposed to “telling” the story? Use action verbs and dialogue, weaving the two throughout the story and keeping the narrative at a minimum. Many experienced writers will tell you that a good writer will use both —showing and telling.  But be very careful to balance the two throughout the story.  Showing allows the reader to participate, reflect, ponder and discern along with the main character or characters. If the reader can’t get “involved” in the story, then the novel becomes nothing more than a book report or a book review.   

To describe to the reader what’s happening in a scene, concentrate on the character’s five sense.  Use words that are sensory cues—seeing, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Provide graphic, realistic images that “draw” your reader to the story. Remember to keep a balance between describing and telling. Too much description may send the reader into sensory overload. It’s exhausting to the reader and to the character(s). More...

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Rev. Cornelius R. Wheeler
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Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? (Matthew 9:14)

If ever there were a downfall to the practice of religion on earth, it is exemplified in this little verse from Matthew’s gospel.  The church folk, so to speak, (scripture says these were the disciples of John) came up to Jesus with the question “Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?”

Don’t you love it when church folk play the who is a better Christian game?  John had proclaimed himself as the forerunner of the Christ.  And here were John’s disciples testing Jesus and his disciples because they were taught to fast often and Jesus and his disciples didn’t.  Here is a classic example and a timeless warning to each of us not to let secondary doctrinal issues bog us down and prevent us from magnifying those principles that will get us into heaven or send us to hell.  Fasting is a valuable tool in the alienation of physical desires to amplify spiritual necessities.  Fasting cleanses the body and clears the mind.  Fasting grounds us and puts in perspective the richness of the soul in comparison to the shallowness of the body.   More...

Amateur Sleuth-Unintentional

Lee E. Meadows

Author Pauline Hopkins provides the first person of color as amateur in detective fiction. In Talma Gordon, the reader is given a person for whom social standing is not a barrier and the use of language is not prohibitive. Her ‘mulatto’ blackness is used as a commentary on the times and a backdrop to the mystery. Talma’s role in the actual resolution of the mystery is limited, it is her refined educational background, caste standing, ‘negroless’ features which allow her to move comfortably within established social circles.

The establishment of an educated woman of color with no formal investigative training remained an obscure use of a protagonist in a novel until the 1990’s. The emergence of Investments Counselor Virginia Kelly (Baker, 1991), Professional Maid Blanche White (Neely, 1992), and State Government employee Theresa Galloway (Grimes, 1996) and County Social Worker Candi Staton (DeLoache) visibly changed the landscape.  Authors Neely, Baker, DeLoache and Grimes build on the amateur sleuth, woman of color, educated and professionally trained model that Hopkins established in the first part of the century. Their protagonists share a common sense of social justice and an unavoidable perspective on race relations while relying on their intuition, curiosity and personal and professional network to bring resolution to the mystery. More...


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When you throw away the outside and cook the inside, then you eat the outside and throw away the inside what do you have?

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Answer: an ear of corn

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