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Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Storycrafting Checklist

by Susan May Warren

Do you have all the pieces of a brilliant novel? Before we dive into our storycrafting checklist, let’s talk about the debate between character driven and plot driven novels.

Character Driven versus Plot Driven Novel

Think of the last story you read, the last great movie you watched. Even your favorite television series. Were you more interested in the plot or the person? I would bet that the element that drew you into the story were the characters.

Let’s think about this. Plot is interesting, but not unless it is about someone we care about.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

5 Tips to Brand Your Writing Style

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Developing a writer’s brand can sound like scaling a cliff unless the writer has sound footing. Unfortunately, if a writer fails to take distinct steps to establish a brand, the publishing industry will do the job themselves, and you might not like their choice.

A professional writer seizes control of her career and develops a brand that is an asset, not a liability. This begins by assessing what a writer knows about herself and her readers.

Friday, February 24, 2017

If You Don’t Know What To Do, Make ‘Em Sad


by Rachel Hauck

Riding my bike the other day, musing over my work-in-progress while also contemplating the book “The Nightingale” which I’d just finished, I realized that there is a certain sadness to the protagonist in books I love. In books the world loves.

Not morbid sadness. Not depressed. But a certain longing if you will.

Save for Elizabeth Bennett who covered her longing for true love with “snark” and piety.

In The Nightingale, the sister protagonists had a sad upbringing. Left with a minder by their father after their mother died.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

More Complicated Than Icebergs—But More Fun

By Peter Leavell @peterleavell

She spills on the fancy tablecloth again.

With practiced efficiency, my family finishes the dishes, whisks off the fine linen, and tosses it into washer.

My kids are good at cleaning up messes.

You’ve heard writing teachers compare character development to icebergs. Icebergs? Engines full reverse! Writing fascinating characters is so much more than a floating chunk of ice.

When the laundry is done, we put the cloth back on the table. The color across the center of the squared tablecloth is a cheerful yellow and blue. The bright patterns reflect our love and joy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Broken Blog

By Yvonne Lehman

BROKE… at Christmastime!

On December 12, I became literally broken – physically. Then I discovered the truth in 1 Corinthians 12: 12, 26 (NLT): “The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body… If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it…”

There I was, 20 minutes before 14 Sunday school class members were to arrive for a Christmas party at my beautifully decorated home, the flocked Christmas tree beside the fireplace, two tables set with lovely china, crystal glasses, cloth napkins, aromas of meat concoctions in the crock pot and oven, candles glowing and emitting their holiday scents. Dirty Santa gifts festively wrapped. My Let It Snow novel ready to be given to each. Perfect!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How To Brainstorm An Epic Series Without Killing Your Partners


by James L. Rubart

In May of 2011, right after the Blue Ridge Christians Writers Conference, Susie Warren and I shared a flight from Asheville, NC to Atlanta. During the forty minute plane ride, we brainstormed a time travel novel.


I always thought we’d write it someday. 

It’s not going to happen. Why?

Because it grew into something far grander.

What Our Seed of an Idea Grew Into

Over the past year, Susie, her brilliant son David, and I, developed the framework for a six-part book series (which will be closer to a TV series in style) about a time traveling detective named Rembrandt Stone.

The challenge?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Making it Real -- Research Before You Write!

By Pamela S. Meyers

Although the Internet has made it easier to research settings for our stories, I love traveling to the settings of my stories for research. I get a feel for the area far more than a street-view picture on the computer can never do.

Several years ago, I wrote Love Finds You in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, which is set in my hometown. Since the story takes place in 1933, the best place to gather information about the town back then was to review microfilms of the weekly newspaper from that time. Fortunately I only live about an hour's drive away because I spent a lot of time in front of a microfilm machine at the town library.