#TellHisStory Guest Writer: Journalist Ken Fuson

February 26, 2013 | 3 comments

During 2013, dozens of talented writers are joining me to cheer you on in your storytelling. These guest-writers will share a few helpful words with you right here every Tuesday night, to encourage you as you #TellHisStory. (Come back after midnight Wednesday to link up your God Story by clicking here. From now through Easter, we’re considering “The Lenten Journey,” though you are free to share ANY story that God lays on your heart.)

And now, I’m delighted to introduce you to the amazing Ken Fuson. He’s been one of my all-time favorite writers since I was in my early 20s. And now he’s here! On the blog!

(Pinch me.)

Meet Ken.

When I was young, I thought great action verbs were the secret to great writing. So I went through the sports pages of the newspaper and underlined the verbs. You didn’t just hit a baseball, I discovered, you smacked it, swatted it, stroked it, slapped it, spanked it, smoked it – and those are just the “S” verbs.

Later, I thought the secret was original, creative descriptions. In that world, something was never “as red as a fire engine.” It was “as red as a jilted lover’s face.” Or “as red as a Nebraska football crowd.” (I never learned the lesson about not over-reaching.)

But it wasn’t until I read a book, “Writing for Story” by Jon Franklin, when I learned the true secret to great writing is to focus on the structure of a story. The best stories follow the complication-plot-resolution form that English students learn in junior high.

Somebody wants something. Will he or she get it? You’d be surprised by how often that simple question drives the best newspaper stories, books or movies.

Will the Joads reach California? Will Dorothy find her way home from Oz? Will Rudy play football for Notre Dame?

Good action verbs and original descriptions are important, but the structure will most determine whether your story soars or collapses into dust.

ABOUT KEN: My minister recently asked us how we would answer the question, “Who Am I?” So I’ll begin at the beginning: I am a child of God. The rest doesn’t really matter,

does it?

But here we go: I grew up in Granger, Iowa, and started my newspaper career as a sophomore in high school, writing sports for the Woodward Enterprise. After attending the University of Missouri, I began work at The Des Moines Register in 1981. In 1996, I left to work at The Sun in Baltimore, where I remained for three years before returning to the Register. I left the Register (again) in 2008 to write a book, Heading for Home, with Kent Stock, and I have spent the past year in the marketing department at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa. I won several national writing awards for my newspaper work and have spoken at writing conferences throughout the country.

{And a video, “The Power of Words.”}

Be sure to come back and link up your #TellHisStory . Linky opens at midnight Wednesday.

by | February 26, 2013 | 3 comments


  1. Michele {A Life Surrendered}

    This post encouraged me to do what this teacher already knew. This video stirred deep and moved me to tears with desire to live it. Does that make sense?

    Thank you. Thank you, friend.

  2. Jessica

    Fantastic. Thank you. (And that video? WOW.)


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