Saturday, April 30, 2022

A Review for Writers Who Speak of Soul Care When You’re Grieving


by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1 

I bought a paperback copy of Soul Care When You’re Grieving. I read it almost non-stop and saw how it could apply to us not only as writers and speakers but also as human beings going through life in difficult times.

Friday, April 29, 2022

14 Basic Tips for a Successful Book Signing


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Book signings . . .

For every want-to-be author they sound like a dream come true. 

For those of us who have more than one book published . . . well . . . not always.

Whether you’re a seasoned author or just releasing your first book, there are certain things that can make you book signing successful and much less terror-inspiring. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Common Writing Obstacles (Part 4): World Building


by Henry McLaughlin @RiverBendSagas

I think our story world is one of the more subtle areas of writing and one we frequently pay less attention to. We focus on our plot and building our characters but don’t approach the time and place of the story as fervently.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Characteristics of a Determined Writer


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Determination is the foundation of a writer’s success. Without the courage, purpose, and willpower to learn the craft, a writer merely dreams about a goal they will never achieve. Writing success isn’t measured by mastering a few skills but by continuously learning about every area of the publishing world. Every writer needs to develop characteristics of a determined writer.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Dipping the Quill Deeper: A Question of Provision for Writers


by Eva Marie Everson

First, A Look at the Old

In the days of Moses, when the Hebrew slaves in Egypt were about to become a freed Jewish nation of people, God instructed them to prepare for what would later be called Pesach, or the Passover (see Exodus 12). This preparation included a perfect lamb’s blood on the doorposts of their homes and bread prepared without yeast. 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Best Places to Find Readers for the Books You Write


by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

In today’s publishing world, we have to do more promotion for our books. But whom should we be trying to reach? Readers, of course. Okay, you knew that. But exactly who are these readers?


Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Science of Story for Writers


by Craig von Buseck @CraigVonBuseck

From the time our children can talk they ask us to “tell them a story.” We collectively spend millions of dollars buying children’s books and taking our kids and grandkids to the movies. Why? Because human beings are created for story.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

How to Make Your Characters Real in the Stories You Write—4 Essential Truths


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

A client called me recently because she couldn't figure out how to reveal to her audience who her character really was at heart. This is one of the most important things we must do as storytellers. We have to find a way to show, and not tell, the essential nature of our main character. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Three Must-Have Tools for Writers


By Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

When I took a Computer Basics class, I learned a computer has two parts: software and hardware. Software is the brain. Hardware is the body. Writers also have two parts. Our software (brain) consists of intangibles like creativity, inspiration, and passion. Our hardware is tangible, everything from fingers to tap out our manuscripts, to the computer that translates our thoughts into words.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Amazon Opens up Advertising to Traditionally Published Authors


by Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS @SusanNealYoga

An integral part of selling books is marketing. I’ve found Amazon ads to be a vital part of my high book sale volume. I took a couple of courses to learn how to run Amazon ads. It took seven months to get the hang of it before my ads became profitable. But since then, for every hundred dollars I’ve spent on ads, I’ve made almost $200 in profit. Amazon wants their cut of your profits. If your book sells well and you are willing to split the profit, Amazon will display your book ad before potential buyers, which results in more sales. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

How to Write to Inspire, Not Condemn – Part 3


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

At the end of last year, I read the comments for a politically-charged Facebook post. Cringe.

I saw that some comments had Christian wording, but the tone was condemning. (And “condemning” is an understatement.) Super cringe.

I know better than to address American politics on social media, but the comments on others’ posts usually lure me in. I want to see what people say. Often, I wish I hadn’t stopped to look.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

How to Connect with Your Readers using the Power of Emotion!


by MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio

Emotion! Emotion! Emotion!

Most of us are familiar with the expression "Location! Location! Location!" when it comes to the value of real estate. Regardless of other important features in determining the worth of a home, location is the key factor.

When it comes to writing fiction, the key factor is "Emotion! Emotion! Emotion!" It is emotion—not plot or characterization or dialogue—that ultimately determines the worth of a story to a reader. This is not to say that plot, characterization, and dialogue are not important. But, ultimately, emotion is what carries the story—and the reader. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Accessorize Your Writing to Increase Marketing Potential


by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Adding the right tie to a man’s suit, or jewelry or scarf to a woman’s outfit can transform the piece to a fashion statement. Ties offer pops of color while other accessories complete a look. The same is true in writing. Adding the right accessories to your writing makes it pop and adds details that create a style and provide content that attracts attention. Like a scarf that can be added in multiple ways and used with other outfits, the right accessory becomes a marketing accessory from which you can get more mileage in promoting a book or a series of books. 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

The Story of Our Savior's Hands


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

On this Resurrection Sunday, my thoughts and imaginings have turned to hands. Of course you know what started me down that path. The image of Jesus’ nail-scarred palms are everywhere. But as I reflect on those precious hands, I realize the story of our Savior’s hands begin much earlier. 

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Why We Write


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

Tomorrow is the glorious celebration of Easter, the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus. We will gather and remember Jesus’ holy act of love and sacrifice. For God so loved us that He sent His only Son to suffer and die for our sins so that we who believe can have eternal life. That life of eternal living begins when we believe. That means that even when our bodies leave this earth, the part of us that thinks and feels emotion lives on—alive with Him and all those who have gone before us.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Addressing Tough Topics when Writing Children’s Books


by Crystal Bowman

As our society becomes more aware of social, physical, and ethnic diversity, book for children need to reflect that reality. Books about children with special needs is a needed topic in today’s market. Publishers, however, are reluctant to accept these stories because they believe the market is too narrow. Stories that feature a child with Down Syndrome, autism, or a physical disability can be a great resource to help kids understand that all children desire and deserve to be included and treated with respect. But these are not your typical bedtime storybooks that children want to hear. 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Is Social Media a Good Investment for Writers?


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

The short answer? 

It depends.

Social media. Often just the mention of this subject conjures up hours of time. First there’s the time it takes to hang out online, then the time it takes to figure out what to say, who to LIKE and which updates to comment on, share and even retweet.

Is there a chance that someone out there in cyberspace might actually—either now or sometime in the future—buy a book?

Writers, How Does Your Garden Grow?


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

Every evening recently, my nature-loving hubby, a biologist by trade, spends hours in the backyard turning soil, mulching leaves, spreading seeds, potting plants, and weeding. David carefully chose plants and packets designed to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. 

For the sake of our favorite surname, David picked three varieties of lavender and gingerly placed them in the soil. He chose butterfly weed in shades of amber, tangerine, and marmalade, which according to the package will display a “fiery floral sunset” in my yard. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

5 Tips to Build Your Writing Platform Through Writing Articles


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

I continually am amazed when I mention writing articles I get so many blank stares. It is like nobody ever thought about writing articles.

But I would love to “plant a few seeds” and encourage you to write more articles. Why would you want to do that? Any number of reasons but today we are just going to concentrate on one. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Value of Having Numerous Writing Projects


by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

I hear it every conference. It’s not uncommon for conferees to ask, “How many projects do you work on at once?” The number varies, but I continually have numerous writing projects that keep me busy.

Monday, April 11, 2022

Four Elements Writers Can Use to Speak With Confidence

Edie here. Today I want to introduce our newest TWC columnist, LInda Goldfarb. If you've been to the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, you know her as our MC. But she's a dear friend, amazing writer & speaker, and a true wealth of information. I'm so excited she's agreed to sign on and share her knowledge. Please give her a warm TWC welcome!


Four Elements Writers Can Use to Speak with Confidence
by Linda Goldfarb @LindaGoldfarb

If you write, you will eventually speak. Whether speaking on a podcast about your latest book, sharing details of your upcoming novel to adoring fans via social media, or presenting in front of a large group of fellow writers, your opportunity to speak is coming. Are you ready to speak with confidence?

Saturday, April 9, 2022

One Key to Writing Success: Not Quitting


by Beth K. Vogt on @BethVogt

I was chatting with author Edie Melson the other day, one of those spontaneous phone calls that leaves you smiling hours later. We talked about real life and our writing lives—specifically her involvement with Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference (BRMCWC). Not just her involvement, but how her leadership has helped BRMCWC grow into one of the premier writing conferences in the country.

Friday, April 8, 2022

The Lord’s Prayer for Writers (Part 2)


by Joshua J. Masters @JoshuaJMasters

It is the depth of their connection to God, not the depth of their words, that measures the life of a Christian writer. And we build that relationship in sincere, continual moments of conversational prayer. Yet, we often allow the tasks of our writing to take priority over the One who’s called us to that career. 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Managing Writing Deadlines: How to Get Them Right and How to Get Them Wrong!


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

Deadlines are a painful reality for authors. If you do an internet search for how to handle a writing deadline, you’ll find lots of fabulous advice. While the specifics vary, they will inevitably include some common suggestions

How to Manage Writing Deadlines

1. Don’t panic. Stay positive. 

2. Stay focused. No social media. No Netflix. No reading. Keep your mind on the story you’re writing. 

3. Leave the laundry for later. Or get someone else to do it. Same with housework. Those dust bunnies aren’t hurting anybody. Feed your family takeout and pizza. They can have healthy meals next month.

4. Take plenty of breaks and be sure you’re getting enough sleep. You can’t create if you’re exhausted. 

5. Say no to everything you can possibly say no to. You don’t have time for anything extra in your life.

6. Set word count goals and stick to them. 

7. BICHOK - Butt in Chair; Hands on Keyboard. This your life until you’re done.

8. Go for a walk or take a shower when you get stuck. You may get some of your best ideas this way.

9. Make time to do other things that will fuel your creativity. Spend time with family and friends, bake a cake, knit, plant a garden, photograph some birds. You have a life other than writing. You’ll be a better writer if you don’t forget that.

10. Drink plenty of water. Hydrated writers are happy writers. 

Now, friends, there’s nothing wrong with any of that advice. It’s solid. 

But as someone who survived not one but three deadlines in March, I’m afraid that’s just not how it works. At least not for me. So today, I give you some of the ways I handle a deadline.

*** Please note that this list is descriptive not prescriptive. I’m not recommending any of this. In fact, I would say don’t do it. Just. Don’t.***

Lynn’s approach to deadlines:

1. Panic. Just go ahead and freak out. Cry. Pray. Moan. Rock back and forth in your chair as you stare at the blank pages of your manuscript. Trying to avoid this step is futile. 

2. Scroll through FB and Instagram every 10-15 minutes. When you finish, google ways to handle writing deadlines. Who knows? This article might show up. If that’s what brought you here, um, yeah, I’m sorry about that. 

3. Sleep is for people who’ve turned in their books on time. Until then, get by on the bare minimum to keep you functional. When you do sleep, don’t be surprised when you have alarmingly detailed dreams. Your subconscious is doing the best it can. You’ve stressed your brain to the max. When you finally sleep, it’s processing everything from the meaning of peach roses to the use of strychnine as a modern poison option. Accept the bizarre and move on.

4. Don’t bother cleaning your office/writing space. If you get to the end of your manuscript with a clean desk, you did it wrong. But do give in to the compulsion to clean everything else in your house. This includes closets and drawers that haven’t been touched since your last deadline. And go ahead and do all the laundry. You know you want to.

5. Allow mom/friend guilt to convince you that you do have time to bake a bazillion cookies or throw a party. You can write when you’re done…right?

6. Set word counts goals which would require you to write eight hours a day. Be shocked when you aren’t successful. Adjust goals daily. Never meet them.

7. Sit down to write, but then spend several hours brainstorming your next book. This could include searching out cool names, professions, hobbies, and the tropes you want to use or avoid. Be sure to leave the notes you make all over your desk so they’ll taunt you every time you sit down to finish the book that is due, but which you no longer want to write. 

8. Pause several times a day to send pitiful text/voxer/direct messages to your writing friends. Pro tip: Do not send these types of messages to non-writers. They won’t get it. They will try to help, but their suggestions will just tick you off because they’re ridiculous or because they imply that perhaps you didn’t use your time wisely in October and that’s why you’re in this mess. Your writer friends will understand and may even send you Starbucks gift cards via text message. At the very least they’ll send encouraging memes.

9. Send a group text to your friends and family telling them that you love them, you miss them, and you’ll see them after you turn in your book. Sigh as you walk past the stack of new releases you want to read. Forget how to knit. Order cake online—you don’t have time to bake one. (But you definitely have time to eat one). 

10. Coffee is life. If tea’s your thing, that’s fine too. I hear there are these unicorn writers who do not consume caffeine of any kind. If that’s you, then I have no idea how to help you power through. You’re on your own. 

Again, I can’t recommend the above methods. But even with this ridiculous approach, I survived. It’s been a week since I turned in my book. My family still loves me, my dreams are still bonkers, my office is still trashed, my body is still sleep deprived, and I’m still panicked because now my editor has my novel. 

But I no longer feel compelled to do laundry. 

Grace and peace,




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Lynn H. Blackburn loves writing romantic suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy, but her grown-up reality is that she's a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations while she's sitting at home safe and sound in her pajamas! 

Unknown Threat, the first book in her Defend and Protect series, was a 2021 Christy Award finalist and her previous titles have won the Carol Award, the Selah Award, and the Faith, Hope, and Love Reader’s Choice Award. Malicious Intent, the second book in the series, released March 2022.

She is a frequent conference speaker and has taught writers all over the country. Lynn lives in South Carolina with her true love and their three children. You can follow her real life happily ever after by signing up for her newsletter at LynnHBlackburn.com and @LynnHBlackburn on Bookbub, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Featured Image: Photo by Fábio Lucas on Unsplash

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Advice When We Can't Write—Take a Breath


by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

One thing I hear most from my students and clients is that they don’t have time to write. Or that they don’t have anything to say. Or that they stare at a blank page until, finally, they force words onto it. But is that really the prose we want to share with the world? Or is it something we can only hope resonates with our readers?

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Best Side of Sidekicks in the Stories You Write


by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

In story, the author places personalities into specific settings and the reader follows as the collection of characters reacts and responds. Generally, the principle players in a story consist of 
  • Main character
  • Sidekick
  • Antagonist
  • Mentor

Monday, April 4, 2022

How Writers Can Create a Free Lead Magnet Using Draft2Digital

Edie here, I want to wish Kristen HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Today is her birthday, so join me in helping her celebrate 


by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @KHogrefeParnell

Welcome back to our conversation about creating a lead magnet to offer your readers! Remember, a lead magnet is simply a download or product, available for free when someone subscribes to your newsletter. Today, we’re going to look at the service called Draft2Digital, which many indie writers use to publish and sell their books. This same service allows you to create free downloads without the requirement to sell them, which makes it ideal for formatting your lead magnet. 

Sunday, April 3, 2022

When Your Writing Is Stuck, P.R.A.Y.


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

When you find yourself at a loss for words to write, do you whine, slam your fist on the desk or quit and get up and walk away? I have to admit I’ve done all of these at some point (or maybe all three at one time). But I’m still writing, so what made a change for me?

Saturday, April 2, 2022

How Can A Writer Follow God?


by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

Writers are constantly being bombarded with messages about what they should write, who they should read, or who to follow. It seems a new product or website springs up every week to give a better way to get published or increase your platform.

Friday, April 1, 2022

Writing an Un-Put-Downable Character Part 3: Contradictions


by A.C. Williams @ACW_Author

Generally speaking, I don’t like television commercials. They interrupt me. They’re usually vulgar, profane, or idiotic. But then, there are Geico commercials. I like the gecko okay, but the cavemen are hysterical.

Want to know why? 

Last month in our series about creating un-put-downable characters, we talked about Conflict. Now we’re going to talk CONTRADICTIONS.

One of the biggest keys to creating an engaging character is including contradictions in who they are, where they came from, and why they behave the way they do.

Take the Geico Cavemen for example. They’re cavemen, but they live and work and dress like modern-day business people. It’s a contradiction. A silly one, but judging by how long that campaign ran, it was an effective one.

Other examples from fiction include characters like Jean Valjean from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Valjean is an honest thief. Normally, when you design and create a thief character, they’re villainous or at least untruthful. Not Jean Valjean. He steals and tells the truth about it.

What about the Monster in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley? This poor creature was hideous, built from the pieces of dead bodies and reanimated with lightning. Horrific. And sweet tempered. And kind. A nice monster? Really? 

Of course, who can forget the Beverly Hillbillies. That’s another great example. I didn’t grow up with the television show, but I did love the movie. These old-fashioned country folk strike it rich and move to Beverly Hills, and even though they have all the money in the world, they keep living like they’re in the backwoods. It’s funny stuff.

But that’s just a gimmick, right? A ploy to get people interested. It’s not something that’s true in real life. 

Or is it?

What about the late actor Robin Williams? Mostly, he is known as a really funny comedian. But apparently if you got to know him, you found out that he was really deep, and that he lived a really sad life. He had two sides to his personality. He was a walking contradiction.

Let me tell you about a good friend of mine. He works construction, mostly as a carpenter. This guy can build shelves and hang sheet rock and do all sorts of stuff like that. He also hunts and fishes and does rustic camping. All manner of uber-masculine things. Know what he also does? Ballet. Not even joking. This guy is one of the manliest men I know, and he also wears a leotard and does pirouettes. 

Real people are full of contradictions. If you want to take it from a biblical perspective, even Paul recognized that he was two people (Romans 7:15-20). Every person has a contradictory nature. By including or highlighting the contradictions in your characters, you bring them depth and make them more interesting. 

So how do you do it?

Let’s say you’ve got a character who works as a butcher. Maybe it’s the family business. Maybe it was a life-long dream. Who knows? This character knows everything about meat. He knows how to cut it, how to store it, how to preserve it. Everything. What would be a fantastic contradiction to add depth, humor, and a bit more interest? 

Make him a vegan.

You heard me. A vegan butcher. Why not? If it’s the family business, it’s what he knows how to do. If it was a lifelong dream, maybe he had to become a vegan because of a health condition. Either way, it makes him fascinating!

What if you’re writing a book with Amish characters? I think that’s probably still popular. How can you add contradictions to an Amish character? Make them a car mechanic. Or, here’s an example from my life, make them a nurse. 

Our nearest neighbors for years were Amish, and the father of the family was a conscientious objector in Vietnam. So he went to war as a medic and saw how technology could be used to save lives. And when he came back, he kept working in medicine. With their particular variation of Amish culture, it was allowed because the machines he worked with didn’t belong to him.

Regardless, he was an Amish man who worked as a nurse in a modern hospital. That’s interesting!

What if you’re writing speculative fiction? How can you use this in a fantasy novel? 

Hey, create a dragon rider who’s afraid of heights. A contradiction like that indicates that your character has a depth to him that isn’t obvious. Why on earth would someone who is afraid of heights choose to keep putting themselves in a situation where they are constantly hundreds of feet above ground? I’d read that. Wouldn’t you?

Put some thought into it. It’s likely that your favorite characters are loaded with contradictions. You might even have some contradictions lurking in your own personality. 

Giving a character something contradictory about their nature will make them feel well-rounded and realistic. Plus, it’ll make them much more interesting—not just to read about but to write about.

Trust me. Nobody has the time to write (or read) about a boring character.

In case you were wondering, here’s our road map for the ten steps toward character development: 

Personality 
Conflict 
Contradictions 
History 
Interests 
Language 
Internalization 
Dreams 
Observables 
Growth

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Don't Miss the Other Posts in This Series

Award-winning author, A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks won’t match. She has authored eight novels, two novellas, three devotional books, and more flash fiction than you can shake a stick at. A senior partner at the award-winning Uncommon Universes Press, she is passionate about stories and the authors who write them. Learn more about her book coaching and follow her adventures online at https://www.amycwilliams.com.