Thoughts on Submitting Good World Falun Dafa Day Articles
(Minghui.org) Minghui editors have called for submissions to commemorate World Falun Dafa Day 2014 . The notice states: “These submissions should clarify the facts about the persecution and/or display the beauty of Falun Dafa. They may be articles, reports, fine arts, literature, including but not limited to poems, lyrics, calligraphy, carvings, paintings, sculptures, photographs, music and/or traditional artistic crafts.”
I would like to share some personal understandings regarding writing articles, one way of participating in celebrating May 13, 2014. Please kindly point out anything inappropriate.
The Wish Comes First
We all know that Shen Yun Performing Arts' world tour has been very successful. This is because of the power of the Fa, as well as the professional skill level of the Shen Yun artists. When we write article submissions, we should take into account whether readers can follow them and the effectiveness of our truth-clarification.
Both the standpoint and professional level of the articles are important. The articles are supposed to share our personal experiences, eyewitness accounts and the wisdom bestowed by the Fa to validate Master's compassion and the beauty of Dafa. The purpose is to clarify the truth, validate the Fa, save sentient beings, and pay tribute to Master's eminent grace.
The articles should be manifestations of righteous thoughts and righteous actions of Fa-Rectification Dafa Disciples.
How to Write Articles Well
A lot of articles at Falun Dafa Experience Sharing Conferences tell stories from cultivation perspectives. Therefore they emphasize sharing Fa principles and sometimes omit many details.
If we can add the details back into the article, and state when, where, who, what and why clearly, we can help non-practitioner readers see the magic of Dafa through these true stories.
Compelling topics for non-practitioners include health benefits, harmonious families, academic improvement of children, positive changes in the work environment, how relatives and friends of a practitioner also benefit from the Fa, and so on.
Master said in “Teaching the Fa at the 2004 International Fa Conference in New York:”
“Today's people are really hard to save. [It seems as though] they'll listen only if what you tell them is in line with their ideas, and they'll listen only if you talk to them in a way that they like. In other words, if you want to save them, they have conditions for you to do so.”
Why do so many people still not know the basic facts? Aside from the blockage from the old evil forces, the level of our truth-clarification still lags behind the Fa's requirements. Therefore, our work cannot effectively remove the hurdles established by the old forces.
How can we then write interesting articles after we pick the topic?
Title and Opening Are Very Important
Some practitioners think that it's enough to write clear details and sentences without grammatical errors. Such thoughts have capped their writing skills. As a result, the readability of our articles has a lot of room for improvement.
The most important element of readability is the title and opening of an article. The opening of a TV drama or movie is usually crafted very carefully to attract the audience in as little as time possible. The story then unfolds. If the article has good content but the title is not appealing, many people won't even read it.
We should try to be as objective as possible and stay away from the tone of self-righteousness. If we allow readers to have room to think and come up with their own conclusions, the impact may be better.
It's similar to how we start a conversation with a stranger.
How do we get the other person's attention right away? Let's look at the following opening examples:
* Opening with Numbers
Fifteen years of rheumatic diseases that cost over 100,000 yuan at more than 20 major hospitals without success disappeared within a month after doing some exercises and reading a book. This was truly a miracle.
Comment: Highlight the magic of Dafa with contrasts in numbers. The text reflects joy with an upbeat pace to build instant rapport with readers.
* Opening with a Scene
My husband looked at me happily as I opened my eyes in the morning and said, “I didn't want to wake you up.” I responded, “I haven't had such a good sleep for the past 13 years! I have been suffering every night and painfully waiting for the dawn. What's going on?”
My story started in 1993...
Comment: The opening presents a dramatic moment to entice readers to read the rest of the story.
* Opening with a Result
After being paralyzed for over 10 years, I was able to stand up! I even walked over 20 steps! Everyone was excited for me and applauded.
Comment: An article's credibility comes from facts. Therefore, we should state the facts first.
Caveats When Writing the Body of the Article
The body of the article follows the opening. It's not that hard to write a good article that validates the Fa. We don't have to use fancy words and sentences. We just need to tell a clear story with simple words.
The most important part is the evidence. It needs to be comprehensive with a lot of detail, so that it is convincing for the readers. Therefore, we need to clearly state the time, location and people in the story – these are the basics. Don't use fancy sentences or difficult vocabulary. Don't talk in circles. Just make the story easy to follow for all readers with different levels of literacy and different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
We should pay attention to the following aspects:
1. The title should be appealing. 2. The theme of the article should be clear: Use accurate raw information to compose a convincing and rational story. The details can be illustrated in different ways, but they should all add to the key message instead of distracting from it. 3. Language: The tone should be peaceful and calm. If it is too emotional or imposing, the impact may not be good. 4. Basic writing skills: Choose the appropriate style and approach. 5. The conclusion should correspond to the opening and highlight the theme again. 6. Revision: Revise the articles to delete redundancy, add subheadings, improve paragraph layouts, reduce colloquial expressions, cross all the “t”s and dot all the “i”s. 7. We can use aliases in articles for the safety of the author and the practitioner, but we should denote this clearly.
It is our responsibility to compose eyewitness accounts of the magic of Dafa. Let's act soon and not leave regrets in our cultivation. The deadline for submission is April 18.