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Saturday, August 19, 2017

7 Character Non-Negotiables

by Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

What's more important . . . plot or character? Yeah, that's a loaded question. The answer is they're both important. But today let’s focus on character.

To make a really great character—meaning one that sticks in a reader's mind for a long time after they shut the book—you need to have a few essential elements. Okay, I lied. It’s more like seven.

Friday, August 18, 2017

10 Tips to Being a Co-Author

by Leslie Gould, @lesliejeangould
(with input from her co-author Mindy Starns Clark)

1. Find someone with a similar writing style and voice.
Thankfully our agent, Chip MacGregor, recognized that Mindy and I have a similar writing style and voice, and he suggested that we work together. That has been a big boost to our process. We can seamlessly edit each other’s writing and keep the continuity of the story going without any big hiccups.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

10 Tips for a 1st-Time Conferee

by Ane Mulligan, @AneMulligan

Someone recently said they were about to go to their first ACFW conference and they asked for advice. As a conference veteran—I've attended close to two dozen—I offer the following:

1. Don't be terrified. I promise you'll love it. Look for names you recognize. Don't be embarrassed to look at name tags. ACFW gives you Zone (regional) stickers to add to your name tag to help recognize other zone members. If you've been active on their e-loop, you'll likely recognize names. Look for your favorite authors.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Don’t Be Afraid of The Story

by Rachel Hauck, @RachelHauck

A couple years ago as I fast drafted a novel, I realized I had this tension in my gut.

What was going on?

Yea, it’s tough to hammer out a first draft on a tight deadline but I was pleased with my progress. I wasn’t behind schedule. Though the story wasn’t really popping.

Hmm… the tension? I concluded I was actually afraid of my story.

We talk about being afraid of the blank page, but it’s really being afraid of the story.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

You Might Need to Wake Up

by James L. Rubart, @jameslrubart

After I won the Christy Award Book of the Year, a Carol Award for speculative fiction, and the ACFW Mentor of the Year last year, my son Taylor came to me and said, “Uh, Dad, do you think maybe it’s time you do more than teach workshops at conferences?”

“What do you mean?”

“You got published, hit the bestseller list, and started winning awards in four years. It takes most novelists ten on average, right?”

Monday, August 14, 2017

How Many Books Are Too Many?

by Michelle Griep, @MichelleGriep

Which would you rather have your favorite author do . . .

Pump out three books a year, maybe a little lighter in content, the characters not quite as complex, and the plot is a bit predictable.

-- or --
Write one book in a year with multi-faceted characters, a twisty-turny plot, and a theme that makes you wonder about life's big meanings.

Your choice? And no, you can't have it both ways, not consistently. So pick one. Go ahead. I won't judge you . . . leastwise not on this issue. Shoes are an altogether different topic.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

3 Steps to Overcome Idea Hoarding

by Cathy Elliott, @CathyElliott10

When I wrote my first cozy mystery, A Vase of Mistaken Identity, ideas flooded my brain, vying for attention and fighting to be first on the page. I typed at a crazed pace, anxious to release all this creativity. I was on-a-roll, to use an overused cliché, until some wayward questions shoved their way into my mental space and began to bellyache.

What if I run out of ideas? How do I find more when these are all used up? Since I hoped to have a second Thea James adventure after this one, I worried nothing interesting would remain for the next book. No clever puns, no sparkling dialogue, no captivating scenes. Where do they come from if I put all I have into my first tome?