Saturday, September 25, 2021

WHY DOES THE WORLD NEED STORIES - PART 2


The Hero’s Paradox: Someone Great + Someone Flawed
by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

In my last post, I argued that the world needs stories about heroes now more than ever. Why? Because heroes inspire us to be greater than ourselves, to surpass our own limitations or painful life circumstances to truly exhibit heroic qualities. If we didn't have stories about heroes, we would see fewer acts of courage in real life. We would see fewer acts of self-sacrifice, forgiveness, and even love. Now, maybe you don’t think this discussion applies to you because you don’t see yourself as writing stories about heroes. But what if every story is ultimately a hero’s story? As Edgar Watson Howe says, “A boy doesn’t have to go to war to be a hero; he can say he doesn’t like pie when he sees there isn’t enough to go around.” 

Friday, September 24, 2021

1,061 Reasons Not to Quit Writing


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

One thousand and sixty-one posts. This is how many blog posts I’d written. Ten years of blogging. On a really good day, I get two or three comments on each post. A few loyal readers email me from time to time to share how the Lord used a particular post to speak to their heart.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

For Writers: Finding the Right Word, Part 1


by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

It seems to me the more writing I do, the more I find myself looking for the right word, the perfect word to convey what I want. Maybe it’s the color of a character’s eyes, or the fury in the sky as a thunderstorm scuds across the sky. It might be the clamor of city streets or the stillness of a forest at sundown. I become a perfectionist, seeking the best word to engage the reader in the story at that moment.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Could Binge-Writing be Right for Me?


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Are you a candidate for binge-writing? Does the thought of adding thousands of words to your manuscript thrill you from head to toe? Maybe you have no clue what binge-writing means or how it could help you move forward with your dreams and goals.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

How to Write a Blessing


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

My word for the year 2021 is “blessing” and my focus has been to seek to become a blessing to all I encounter. And, as of the ninth month of this stellar year, of course I have failed at that goal. But I do continue to learn so much about the spiritual practice of blessing others, one that has been around since the beginning of time and eternity. God’s Word is full of blessing and I, for one, believe that this practice is needed today more than ever.

Monday, September 20, 2021

How to Connect Your Marketing to Special Dates


by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Every day is a special day, but the ones that relate to your book or ones that can add pizzazz to your posts and memes provide more marketing possibilities. Calendars available online include today in history, holiday calendars, 100+ social media holidays, inventions today in history, science history on this day, this day in literary history, religious history on this day, and more. That’s a lot to connect with in your marketing, so consider all the ways to use the information to promote your book. 

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Let’s Write to Change the World


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

At the beginning of each year, I write down a question in my planner above the list of writing goals: How will you write this year to change the world?

Saturday, September 18, 2021

What to Do if You're a Perfectionist Writer


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

I don’t know if there exists a Perfectionist Anonymous, but if one did exist, I would slink into one of the meetings, hide in the last row and when I couldn’t put off the inevitable, stand up and confess in a soft shy voice, “My name is Emme and I’m a perfectionist.”   

 

My computer files have more than a few works in progress as well as a completed novel and another one that is taking way too long to complete. Some agents have actually dangled the hope of publishing my novel at me, but then pulled back with the words we all hate to hear, “It’s not quite ready yet.” Instead of hope, those words to a perfectionist tell us, “Why did you ever think you could do this? Just give up and save yourself more embarrassment.” 

Friday, September 17, 2021

How to Be Sensitive to Your Readers


by Crystal Bowman

As a children’s author and former school teacher, being a guest author at elementary schools is something I enjoy, plus it’s a great way to market my books. Whether I’m teaching a poetry lesson in the classroom, or speaking to a large group in the gym, I try to engage the children by asking questions they can relate to. For example, “How many of you have pets?” or “Does your mom make you eat vegetables you don’t like?” I enjoy the back-and-forth interaction, and love watching the children respond.

Be Aware
A few years ago, after I spoke to a group of students, a second-grade teacher came to me. She was very kind and asked if she could make me aware of something. She shared that a boy in her class recently lost his mother to breast cancer and there is no “mom” in the home. She cautioned against using “mom” exclusively and suggested I say parent, grandma, aunt, baby sitter, or grown-up. I thanked her for bringing this to my attention and told her it would make a difference not only in my speaking but also my writing. 

The traditional family unit with a mom, dad, three kids, and a dog, is not as common as it used to be. As writers we need to be sensitive to the ever-changing family profile, which may include stepparents, single parents, half-siblings, and blended families. Some children spend week days with one parent and the weekend with a different parent. Some kids have two sets of parents, some have only one parent, and some live with their grandparents. In one of my recent rhyming manuscripts I wrote: 

A grandma and grandpa can be family too.
Who are the people living with you?

Another realization is that not all kids live in a house, so I often say home which is more inclusive. And some kids live in apartments, which is implied in this verse:

Your neighbor can be the lady next door, 
or the grandpa who lives on another floor.

Sensitivity Readers
Many publishers today have sensitivity readers. These specialty readers are qualified to notice words or phrases that may be offensive. This is beneficial to writers who may not be aware that something they wrote could be interpreted as a racist or offensive comment. 

Since I do not write novels I am wondering if fiction writers have a little more wiggle room when you write in the POV of a flawed character, or someone who is rough around the edges. Perhaps a certain time period or cultural setting makes inappropriate language more permissible? (Help me out here fiction writers). 

The beauty of writing for the Christian market is that God’s Word never changes, and it never goes out of style. However, the way I try to reach my audience with God’s Word may change as the needs of today’s families change. Parents today want to see a greater emphasis on God’s love rather than a list of dos and don’ts. I will never water down the message of the Gospel to please my audience, but there are ways to deliver truth with a less-preachy approach. 

I have been writing for nearly 30 years and as our culture continues to change, my writing needs to reflect those changes. How has your writing evolved through the years? I’d love to know!

TWEETABLE

Crystal Bowman is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 100 books for children and four nonfiction books for women. She also writes lyrics for children’s piano music and is a monthly contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine. She loves going to schools to teach kids about poetry. She also speaks at MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) groups and teaches workshops at writers’ conferences. When she is not writing or speaking, she enjoys going for walks, working out at the gym, and eating ice cream. She and her husband live in Michigan and have seven huggable grandkids. 

Thursday, September 16, 2021

How to Start Speaking and Find Speaking Engagements


Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS @SusanNealYoga

Would you like to expand your platform and reach through speaking? There are many factors to consider when expanding your influence in this manner. How do you get speaking engagements and what should you charge? The following points are a few of the questions you need to answer before you begin speaking.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

The Heartbeat of a Good Writer


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

A heartbeat is precious. The heartbeat of the unborn heard in sonograms. The “beep, beep” of a heart monitor keeping watch over a loved one at the hospital. The “thump, thump” we hear when someone comforts us with a hug. 

God’s heartbeat is heard throughout Scripture. Have you heard it before?

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

How Will Mental Rest Help Me Find Writing Clarity?


by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

I’m a skeptic. When new ideas are presented to me, I smile. Listen intently then walk away rolling my eyes. It’s not something I do to be ugly or snide, rather it’s my way of learning to process information. My first instinct is impulsivity, so I’ve learned to suppress impulse, I need to put the breaks on.

Monday, September 13, 2021

How to Keep Technology from Interfering with Your Writing & Speaking Life


by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1


As writers who speak, our reliance on technology increases. However, we need to use computers and related equipment with wisdom. Let’s look at two areas where our use of technology may require changes.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Knowing the Why


by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

“Why are you here?”

The question penetrated my mind as none other had for quite some time. I could tell by the expressions on the faces of the other teachers that it piqued their interest as well. 

We sat in our first In-Service meeting before the beginning of what we hoped would constitute a normal year after a year of constant change brought by our friend COVID. But this year would prove different than any others—including the one we had just come through. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Find Joy in Your Writing by Remembering to Write in Faith


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1 NIV)

This verse is one of the first verses I learned when I began memorizing scripture. But until today, I had never thought about applying it to my writing. This morning I was texting back and forth with a fellow writer, trying to encourage her to move forward and leave the result up to God.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Write a Powerful Testimony Using These 5 Elements


by Joshua J. Masters @JoshuaJMasters

Writers often bare the depths of their souls in the pages of their work. Every broken character, every tension-filled moment, each non-fiction revelation whispers our life experiences. 

Many authors prefer to keep their own stories hidden beneath the protective veil of another character’s words. But sometimes, the most powerful story is not the one we’ve crafted, but the story of restoration God’s written in our personal lives.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Perseverance For Writers: Finding the Write One When the Others Won’t Work


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

Thomas Edison supposedly once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” Some question whether the statement is based on facts or legend, and the number often waffles between 10,000 and 1000. 

Nevertheless, the inspiring quote motivates the would-be inventor, the wanna-be writer, the aspiring artist. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Collaboration: Tips for Writing with Someone Else—Publishing as a Second Language, Part 1


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

One of the most fun and exciting ways to write a book is to find a like-minded writer and collaborate. Or is it?

At your first thought of co-authoring, you probably immediately make a list of your writing friends. After all, who wouldn’t like to spend hours writing a new book with your best writing buddy. 

Here are several things you may need to take into consideration.

1. Even if you are good friends, friendship is different from co-authorship. Enjoying each other’s company is one thing. But hours editing and picking your words apart is not a party. It is hard work. And sometimes you and your co-author may have different ideas about the importance of specific information or where it should be placed in the book. I’m not saying writing with your best friend can’t work, but you will want to make sure it’s a good fit before you get started on a book project.

2. Do you need an expert as a co-author to give your book credibility? You may have learned something you really wanted to share with others but an important part of your new knowledge is technical, clinical, or medical based. A co-author who is an expert in that field would be a great choice because it would being extra credibility to your words. That is a win-win situation because not only does it bring credibility to your writing, the expert will have a book he or she can share with others.

3. Make sure your personalities will work well together. If you and your co-author have spent a lot of time together, you probably know the positives and negatives of your co-author’s personality. If you are a check list person and your co-author prefers to ponder every word, make sure you both understand that your methods of writing are very different and vow not to get aggravated with the other person’s way of working.

I have had wonderful co-authors and the experience only brought us closer together. But I am sure that is because we knew what each of us would be responsible for before we ever started. We knew each other’s strengths and made plans to capitalize on those strengths. For example, one of us was very strong in organization so she was in charge of making sure the layout of the book made sense. The other had tremendous strength as an editor so much of her job was done once the words were already on paper.

4. Before you start your book, make sure you have everything in writing. Create a contract that covers any questions that may arise. We will talk more about contracts in a later post.

Are you thinking about co-authoring? Choose wisely and ask God to show you the best person to co-author your next book. 

TWEETABLE

Linda Gilden has coauthored 11 books with 5 different coauthors and has #12 and #13 coming out in 2022, adding a new co-author to the list. She loves every one of her coauthors and enjoys collaborating on interesting projects with them. She also has written many books on her own and realizes what a treasure and blessing a good co-author is.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Three Essentials Of Writing Non-Fiction


by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

Though they look slightly different, the same three essentials needed to create a compelling fiction project are the same essentials used to write an excellent non-fiction.

Compelling stories have three key ingredients. 
We identified these essentials in How To Create Characters Your Reader Cares About as
  1. A character the audience cares about
  2. The character’s great and seemingly impossible-to-achieve need
  3. An insurmountable obstacle between the character we care about and the great need the character must achieve
For instance, in the fiction story, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is the curmudgeon the reader becomes invested in. The audience turns pages to learn if Scrooge will continue to respond to Christmas with, “Bah Humbug.”

Scrooge has a great and seemingly impossible-to-achieve need to transform from a cold-hearted miser who hates Christmas. Without redemption, friendless Scrooge will not see next year’s holiday’s festivities.

The insurmountable obstacle between Scrooge and the great need he must achieve is Scrooge’s inability to transform himself. Who or what can be the change catalyst?

The similar but different use of the three essentials in non-fiction is: 
  • A character the audience cares about is the audience. Your reader is the character we care about in a non-fiction project.
  • The character’s great and seemingly impossible-to-achieve need is for the reader to become the person the reader longs to be.
  • An insurmountable obstacle between the character we care about and the great need the character must achieve are the challenges, problems, and road blocks that the non-fiction book addresses. 
For example, when Pam Farrel and I wrote The Ten Best Decisions A Single Mom Can Make, the single mom is the character we care about. In a sense, single moms are the main character of our book.

The single mom’s great and—depending on the day—seemingly impossible-to-achieve need is to thrive as a solo parent, crafting a healthy and successful life for her and her child.

The insurmountable obstacle between the single mom and who she longs to be are the myriad challenges, problems, and roadblocks outlined in the ten chapters of the book. The non-fiction book identifies the problems challenging our main character (the reader), and offers options that can help our reader navigate from where they are to where they want to be.

While fiction recounts a character’s challenges and how the character reacts and responds, non-fiction provides pathways for the reader to react and respond in ways that can bring the reader to their desired destination.

Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, or both, incorporate these three essentials to make your project compelling.

TWEETABLE

Tropical island votary and history buff, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, Wells is the bestselling author of twenty-eight books including The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise. Optimistic dream-driver, PeggySue is named for the Buddy Holly song with the great drumbeat. At school author visits, she teaches students the secrets to writing, and speaks at events and conferences. Connect with her at www.PeggySueWells.com, on Facebook at PeggySue Wells, and Twitter @PeggySueWells.

Monday, September 6, 2021

How Do I Define Writing Success in a Comparison Driven World?


by Kristin Hogrefe Parnell @khogrefeparnell

Are you a writing success? If you’ve ever been asked that question, you know there are dozens of ways to answer it. All of them depend on a definition of success that is a moving target at best and a comparison trap at worst.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

So Many Words


by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words (Matthew 6:7).

Think about it for a moment. In Matthew 6:7, He who is the Word (see John 1:1-3) instructs us about words. 

Just pause and let that sink in.

He who created land, sky, and sea with words, He who spoke a word and silenced the storm pauses to teach you and me how to use words.

Experts at the World Economic Forum say that by 2025, the amount of data generated each day on planet earth will reach 463 exabytes. 

What is an exabyte, you may ask? I’m still trying to remember the difference between megabytes and gigabytes. 

An exabyte is 1000 bytes to the sixth power. To put this in perspective, all the words ever spoken by humans fit into only five exabytes.

What on earth are we all talking so much about? What is the reason for so many words?

According to Matthew 6:7, one big reason is that we want to be heard.

I know this is true of myself. When I sit down to pound out my words on the keyboard, my soul rises with longing to be heard. To be understood. To write or speak words that make the world a better place.

Don’t you?

The heart of Jesus’ message in Matthew is the value of words, beginning with the words we use to talk to God.

Words written should begin with words prayed.

It is here, in the sanctum of prayer, that words find worth. Words weighed before heaven have weight on earth.

In the place of prayer, words are refined, measured, and sifted. Unnecessary words dissipate as the necessary take strong shape and form, stepping forward as agents of change in a broken world.

Pray first, write second.

The words Jesus recommends are first and foremost words spoken in secret to the Father. The phrase in secret is used six times in Matthew 6:1-18. Jesus is urging us to speak our words to the Father in secret before we stand in public. He invites us to kneel first before the One who knows what we need before we ask, to seek the One who sees in secret and rewards us for what we speak when no one is looking.

There is an invitation here. Do you see it?

If it were to arrive in your post today, it might read something like this, dear writer.

You are Invited 
To Speak in Secret 
With the Word Himself

Today
Tomorrow
Every Day

Attire: As You Are

Please note all who accept this invitation to the secret place will be rewarded generously with words that will change the world.

Lord, help me cultivate the habit of coming to You first with my words. Amen.

TWEETABLE

Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Audrey is the author of Covered Glory: The Face of Honor and Shame in the Muslim World (Harvest House Publishers), an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, Covered Glory illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Available at favorite booksellers: BARNES & NOBLE , BOOKS A MILLION, AMAZON.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

What to Do When Writing is Hard—Conquering the Writer's Mountain


by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

It’s funny how writing is so much like going on a hike. We set off with so much enthusiasm and such great intentions. Maybe, we even bought new North Face hiking shoes and a new backpack. We get on the trail, enjoying the smells and sounds of nature as we walk through the woods. Then, as we emerge from a grove of trees, we catch our first sight of the mountain.

Friday, September 3, 2021

How do You Start Writing Your Story in the Right Place?


by A.C. Williams @ACW_Author

By writing heroes who do stuff!

Imagine this: You pick up what promises to be a captivating adventure. True heroes in death-defying circumstances. A gorgeous cover. Even an endorsement by a recognizable name. 

Fantastic, right? 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Why Starting Can Be Hard for Writers


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

Starting is hard—in writing and in other places. 

Let me explain. 

I’ve been a knitter for years, but recently I learned how to crochet. So for the past few months I’ve spent more time with a crochet hook than my knitting needles. But few nights ago, I sat down with my knitting needles to start a small project. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Four Ways to Take Your Characters from Cardboard to Real


by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

We're always looking for ways to make our characters more real. In fact, the manuscripts that cross my desk often get red-lined because the characters are not "strong enough". What constitutes "real"? It comes down to one word—congruity.