Sunday, July 31, 2022

Living Life to its Top—Each Day—Makes Us Better Writers


by Craig von Buseck @CraigVonBuseck

“That the joy of life is living, is to put out all one’s powers as far as they will go. … We have shared the incommunicable experience of war; we have felt, we still feel, the passion of life to its top.”

Saturday, July 30, 2022

To Grow as a Writer We Must Nurture Meaningful Writing Relationships


by Yvonne Ortega @YvonneOrtega1

The importance of building writing relationships is a concept Edie Melson emphasizes. At the Kentucky Christian Writers Virtual Conference June 16-18, 2022, and the SpeakUp Conference July 6-9, 2022, I experienced the value of Edie’s philosophy in three ways.

Friday, July 29, 2022

The Things We Think Have a Powerful Impact on Our Writing Lives


by MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio

Scripture teaches us in Proverbs 23:7 NKJV that "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he." Let's unpack this verse to glean some of its rich treasure and apply it to our writing life.

While in context, the verse refers to having dinner with a hypocritical ruler who is saying one thing but thinking another, it can also be interpreted to mean that the way we think is the way we will be. Consider this closely related verse: "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life" (Proverbs 4:23 NLT). 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Be a Giver


by Henry Mclaughlin @RiverBendSagas

Giving is one of the clearest concepts in the Bible. The Word of God goes so far as to tell us to give cheerfully because the Lord loves a cheerful giver. So, our attitude is important. As Christians, one of our assignments is to help others. The specific form of helping can take very specific aspects. Overall, they fall into three general areas: finances, time, and talent. Sometimes all three are involved at once.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Why Keeping Your Writer Profile Up to Date is Important to Reaching Your Audience


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Writers create worlds out of words, and yet updating our profile can paralyze us. A professional writer creates a profile that demonstrates ingenuity and imagination. It reflects the writer’s voice and genre in fresh uniqueness. Writers long for their profiles to never be forgotten—it’s our brand, an unforgettable silhouette, and our presence in the publishing industry.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Dipping The Quill Deeper—Words and Writings Part II


by Eva Marie Everson

In my last blog post, I took a look at the writing of William Barclay, in particular his work titled Prayers for the Christian Year, which includes a heart-stirring poem/prayer thanking God for “words and writings” and those who speak and write them.

In that blog, we took individual lines from the first part of the prayer and broke them apart, delving deeper into what those words reflected. Now I’d like to do the same with a small portion from the second part of the prayer.

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Magic Paragraph: A Tool that Belongs in Every Writers Toolbox


by Ane Mulligan @AneMulligan

Developed by the late Ron Benrey, the Magic Paragraph has served authors well for many years. I learned about it at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in 2003. I still rely on it. It's one of those Golden Nuggets that belongs in every writer's toolbox. When Ron passed away, his wife, Janet Benrey, gave me permission to carry on its teaching.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Tips to Keep Writing When the World is Falling Apart


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

If world events in the past couple of years has taught us anything, it’s that life can change in an instant. I thought I knew that, but now it’s something I’m hyper-aware of, and it’s affected the way I do life, writing life and all the rest as well. 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Four Crucial Insights to Help Writers Create Better Characters


by Zena Dell Lowe @ZenaDellLowe

As writers, we know that the most important part of any story is character. At the end of the day, our readers won’t care about the plot or about how cleverly your story is executed if they don’t care about who that story is happening to. It’s the characters, the characters, the characters that matter. But what makes an audience fall in love with a character, or what is it about those characters that make us so emotionally invested in them, even though we know they aren’t real? It’s because characters are better than real in several important ways. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

What to do When Your Writing Doesn't Bear Fruit


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

If You Can’t Grow Tomatoes, Plant Zinnias

For years I tried to grow tomatoes. I planted them on the north side of my garden. I planted them on the south side. I planted them in pots. I even planted them along the fence line where my neighbor’s sprinkler would water them, with no success.

I’d begin each season excited and hopeful, and by July I’d be ripping out stunted, diseased, fruitless plants.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Organize Your Writing Life with These 7 Tips


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

I don’t care if you’re a freelance writer, nonfiction writer, novelists or something of a hybrid. The truth is that you have to wear a lot of hats to find publishing success. You have to be able to write on a deadline, plan marketing campaigns, utilize social media, and of course, write.
The increase pressure to do it all has led to frustration and burnout in a lot of writers I come into contact with. But even with the downside, there are those of us to whom writing is like breathing. Without it, we’ll die.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Being Busy Can Become a Toxic Trap for Writers


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

I dreaded Januarys when I was a kid. Gray, cold, and slow. Not much to do. After coming off the thrill of Christmas with its church pageants, parties, Christmas shopping, and seeing family, I wished January would speed by. 

Now that I’m in publishing, I crave January. It’s still the slowest month of the year, but it gives me a breather. A chance to catch up on a project or start a new one. In one particular January, I took a course on building WordPress websites, and this month our new site, LightHouse Bible Studies is done! 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Use These Five Ways to be an Encouragement to Other Writers


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

I just returned from serving as faculty at a favorite conference for writers and speakers. Doing what I love the most.

Encouraging others.

Friend, did you know it takes so little to speak so much into someone else’s life? Today, I’m going to break it down into small, simple steps all of us can take. Because no matter where we are in our own experience as a writer and speaker, there is always someone who could use our encouragement.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Beneficial Author Relationships: Why We Need One Another


by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Getting to know and interact with other authors helps us to grow as writers, share opportunities, and build a support network. At my first large writer’s conference I met another novice writer, and we shared our ideas and hope. He later landed a contract and then connected me to his editor who wanted books for my area, families, and I got a contract. 

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Writers Need to Engage these Three Ways


by Tammy Karasek @TickledPinkTam

Writer, are you engaged? No, I’m not talking about wearing new shiny bling on your left hand. I’m referring to engagement related to your writing. Stick with me, here. I have three questions regarding three R’s of writing, and then I’ll explain what I mean. 

3 Questions to Ensure Writer Engagement

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Writing Characters that Matter to Our Readers


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

It isn’t often that we read a novel where the characters are so three-dimensional that while we inwardly scorn some of them for their impertinence, they have the power to turn back at us and eerily point their finger as if to say, I see in you what you see in me. For me, the late Rosamunde Pilcher’s 1987 split-time fiction, The Shell Seekers, had that affect. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

Dos and Don'ts Every Writer Needs to Know


by Crystal Bowman

Through the course of my writing years, I have kept a list of helpful tips I’ve gleaned from other writers, editors, and mentors. Though some of these tips are pretty basic, they are good reminders and I read through the list every now and then just to brush up. No matter where we are on our writing journey, it’s always good to review the dos and don’ts.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Using the Calendar to Find Writing Ideas, Part 1, 4 Seasons of Writing Success


by Julie Lavender @JLavenderWrites

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV

If you’re looking for something new to write about, look no further than the calendar. Holiday and seasonal writing never runs out of style. Online magazine editors, newspaper editors, bloggers, and websites need fresh content consistently, and celebratory posts can engage and inspire readers with fun and festivity. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Six Things a New Writer Needs to Do


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

Recently I was at a writers conference. Usually when I meet with folks their questions are all over the board. However, this time it seemed as if one question quickly claimed the #1 spot as to what everyone wanted to know.

Over and over I heard, “I am really new at this. Where should a beginning writer start?”

I assured them they had taken a great first step by attending the conference and we discussed what they had learned and what other classes they should take. I also made a few suggestions for other writers who might not know where to start following their dream of being a writer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Writers Advice: How to Tell the Difference between Promotion & Self-Promotion


by Cindy K. Sproles @CindyDevoted

We hear it all the time. “I can’t do social media. It’s uncomfortable for me to promote myself.” OR, “I can’t send out a newsletter or go on a TV show. It’s self-promotion.”

I have two responses: 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Do You Share These 4 Traits with Other Holy-Spirit-Led Speakers and Writers?


by Linda Goldfarb @LindaGoldfarb

Whether you are a veteran speaker or just beginning this incredible journey of vocal proportions, rest assured everything you say becomes supernaturally charged when the Holy Spirit is engaged.

I can't count the number of times I charged to the stage with the full intent of delivering a message that touched hearts, only to discover I had isolated myself from the Holy Spirit. This isolation left me in front of eager audiences equipped with no more than a story that fell flat. As Christian writers, we are all about stories. As Christian speakers, a Spirit-less story can turn potential readers away before they've ever touched our books.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Learning to be the You God Created


by Martin Wiles @LinesFromGod

Forrest Gump asked, “Aren’t I going to be me?”

Forrest Gump may hold the “most favorite movie” title in my heart. Perhaps because watching it resembles reading historical fiction, my favorite genre of literature. 

Forrest loved Jenny, his only friend when he was a young boy. But Jenny came from an abusive home where her drunken father took many liberties with her. She once prayed that God would make her a bird so she could fly far away. Her early experiences hounded her into college and beyond. Not until she became a young woman and mothered a child—Forrest’s child—did she realize what Forrest had tried to get her to admit for a long time: she loved him. Unfortunately, her loose living resulted in an incurable disease that took her life prematurely. 

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Straight Talk: Being a Writer is Stressful


by Beth K. Vogt @BethVogt

Does writing ever stress you out?

I typed that question, sat back, and tried to imagine people’s various responses. 

Does writing ever stress me out? 

Friday, July 8, 2022

God's Strength Keeps Writers Strong


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Have you ever witnessed a marathon? Participated in one?

While I have never run a marathon, two of my sons were long distance runners in high school. 

Recently, I was reading Psalm 119 and a verse captured my attention. I shall run the way of Your commandments, For You will enlarge my heart. Psalm 119:32 (NASB). This verse reminded me of watching our sons run those long races. And it brought to mind the similarities of marathons and the life of a writer. Truly it's God's strength that keeps writers strong as we each run our own writing race.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

A Review of a YouTube Channel for Writers


by Lynn H. Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

When I first started writing for The Write Conversation, I typically shared reviews of various books on writing. And I still enjoy doing that. But today I want to give you a brief review of a YouTube channel.

Hey—It’s 2022! I have to keep up with the times! LOL!

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Deciding Who to Write as the Point of View Character


by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer

Choosing a point of view character is probably one of the first major decisions any writer makes when writing a story. Getting it right is one of the most important.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

How Well Do You Know the Characters You Write?


by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

Do you know your character well enough to discern when they are lying?

The definition of character is the organization and structure of a person’s character or personality. As the author—creator—of your story, the better you know your character the more three-dimensional the personality will be to your reader. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

Listening as a Proofreading Tool for Writers


by Kristen Hogrefe Parnell @KHogrefeParnell

Our mothers told us that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. But have we ever considered the value that listening can offer for proofreading our manuscripts?

That’s right, proofreading. Although we’re not strangers to audio books and immersive reading, I’d like to share a personal story that showed me the benefit of incorporating listening as a proofreading activity.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Freedom Writer


by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…Isaiah 61:1

He was one of their own, a local boy known by everyone. Many an evening he had walked the dusty road, covered in wood shavings, after a long day helping his father in the carpenter shop. He was nothing extraordinary.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Packing for the Writer’s Journey


by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

As I’m writing this, I’m preparing to travel to another writers’ conference. I’m really looking forward to going. I’ve been there before, and I know I’ll enjoy meeting old friends again and making new ones. I’m also excited about the opportunities I might encounter.

Then, when I get out the map and look at the route I have to take, and how long I’ll have to drive, it’s going to demand a lot. And it’s going to be hot. And did I mention that I have to pay for it?

Friday, July 1, 2022

Writing an Un-Put-Downable Character (Part 6 of 10): Language



by A.C. Williams @ACW_Author

We are halfway through our ten steps to writing an awesome character! I hope this series has been useful. I love creating characters, so I’m delighted to be able to share what I’ve learned. 

Last week we talked about how giving your characters interests makes them feel well-rounded and fully realized. Today, we’re going to talk about Language. 

Language is one of the most valuable tools you have to show readers information about your characters without having to tell them. Generally when I talk about a character’s language in a story, I focus on three areas: Dialect, Vocabulary, and Idiom. 

Dialect

Dialect is usually what most people think of when we bring up using language to flesh out a character. Dialect is the intentional misspelling of words to represent a character’s accent, cultural upbringing, or education level.

Some authors have done it well. Notable examples are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), and the Harry Potter books (J.K. Rowling). But writing dialect walks a narrow line between characterization and stereotyping. It’s become a bit of a hot button issue in modern times.

Beyond the potential for offending people, writing in a dialect can be really confusing to readers. If your readers are struggling to understand the misspelled words, it will take them out of the story. 

This is why I normally recommend other ways of expressing accent, culture, or education in storytelling. Sure, there are times when some dialectical writing will add depth to a character, but in my opinion, it should be used sparingly. 

Vocabulary

Have you eaten a bowl of Hoppin’ John? What about Carolina peas and rice? Or what about some tasty black-eyed peas on rice? Yes, they are all the same dish. But depending on where you are within the United States, people call it by different names. (Pop, soda, or coke, anyone?)

One of the best ways you can use language to develop a character is to know how they speak. What words would they use? Take Texas and Georgia for example. Both states are what would generally be called The South, but their cultures are completely different. If you want boiled peanuts, fresh peaches, and access to great Cuban or Jamaican food, Georgia is a better bet. If you want a great steak, Mexican culture, and more cowboy hats than you can shake a stick at, go to Texas.

These are just examples within the U.S. Venture out a bit more to a country like England or Russia or Japan, and you’ll find some spectacular regional dialects that will very easily show a reader where a character is from. You just have to do your research.

Idiom

Has anyone ever pulled the fur over your ears? No? What about the wool over your eyes? 

Do you know what it would mean to watch carrots grow from underneath? Maybe you’re more familiar with pushing up daisies?

In case you aren’t familiar with idiom, it’s metaphorical language we use to communicate a feeling, a thought, or a concept using the terms of something else. 

Kick the bucket. Piece of cake. Raining cats and dogs. Kill two birds with one stone. Letting the cat out of the bag. The list goes on and on and on. 

But here’s the thing about idiom: It changes from culture to culture.

Idiom is awesome. But it is the hardest tool to use when you’re trying to create a character. You probably guessed that both of those examples above are idiom. One is American. The other is German. I worked for a German company for five years, and one of my colleagues grew up in the Black Forest. So we had a lot of conversations about the differences and surprising similarities between American and German idiom. 

If you’re going to use idiom in your characterization, be sure that you are very experienced in the culture you’re writing. Much like dialect, if you just try to wing this, you could end up insulting someone. So be sure you know the culture you’re using, and always make sure you have a sensitivity reader as well. 

But what about speculative fiction?

With speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy), you get to create the world where your characters play. You create their language, their culture, their idiom, etc. Isn’t that easier than writing contemporary or historical fiction?

Not at all.

Whatever world you build in your speculative fiction novel or series, it must be complete, cohesive, and consistent. You can’t just drop random words or sayings into your characters’ conversations without having some reason for them to be there. In this way, writing speculative fiction is actually a bit more challenging than other genres. For historical or contemporary fiction, you can look up a cultural norm, or you can interview someone from that culture to help you understand how to proceed. With speculative fiction, all of that information must come from your own imagination.

If you’re wired that way, go for it. Just be sure you take that into account before you create a world.

Listen to people around you, how they talk, what they say, why they say it. You’re surrounded by examples of linguistic characterization every day. So keep your ears open.

Here’s where we are in our ten-step journey!

Personality 
Conflict 
Contradictions 
History 
Interests 
Language 
Internalization 
Dreams 
Observables 
Growth

TWEETABLE
PART 7 INTERNAL DIALOGUE: WRITING THE UN-PUT-DOWNABLE CHARACTER

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.