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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Picture Your Story

by Yvonne Lehman

There’s a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.

However, with a thousand words you can write The Lord’s Prayer, The Preamble to the Constitution, the Twenty-third Psalm, the Gettysburg Address, and the Boy Scout Oath.

Much depends upon the picture, the words, and personal opinion. Pictures are worth thousands of words when I make a storyboard, an effective tool for me. There is more than one definition of storyboard and varying ways writers make or use them. My way is to cut out pictures that represent my characters and story.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Help! I've Fallen Out of Love With My Story!

by Lisa Jordan, @lisajordan

As I wrote out my synopsis, I came to a heart-sinking realization—I wasn't in love with my story anymore. When I brainstormed the initial story, I was so excited and on fire to dive into character development and plotting. And yes, I still like certain elements of my work-in-progress, but the crux of the story left me feeling a bit...meh. If I didn't love it, how could I champion it to my agent, my editor, or most of all, my readers? So I asked a group of writing friends for some advice. I’ve compiled their responses to help other writers who may be struggling with story love as I have been. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Writer’s Math: How to Prep a Scene with 5+5+1

by Beth K. Vogt @bethvogt

I thought I'd escaped all things numerical by becoming a novelist. Fine with me, as the mention of numbers cues white noise in my brain.

Through the years, I've learned that even wordsmiths enjoy devising equations to help with the writing process. Author Susan May Warren has developed writers equations benefiting thousands of writers as they plot their stories. One day I surprised myself and formulated my own writers equation.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Of Fish and Crushed Dreams

by Marcia Lee Laycock

Writers are dreamers. We dream of accolades and awards, of lives changed, perhaps even saved. Sometimes it feels like our dreams are close to coming true. But sometimes our dreams are crushed. Our career looks like nothing but a pile of pointless efforts. Sometimes all the sacrifices seem to have been for nothing and we come close to giving up on all the dreams.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Writers Are Magicians

by Michelle Griep

Every writer has a little Houdini in them because a great story is a slight-of-hand magic trick. Here's how it works . . .

The writer grabs the reader's hand and takes them into a story world. Think of this as the pulling out of the black top hat. Exposing the reader to how things are, turning the hat one way and another beneath the spotlight, showing there are no strings attached.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Cynthia Ruchti: Up Close and Personal

Interview by Kelly Klepfer

Tell us a bit about your current project.

The book that just released is A Fragile Hope. In some ways, one might say it was a risky project. How does a woman write an emotion-packed contemporary novel with a male protagonist, a marriage in trouble—his own—and his wife’s point of view is “heard” only in mere snippets…for the whole book? And how can hope weave its way onto the pages of a novel with betrayal center stage?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Building a Fictional Town

by +AneMulligan @AneMulligan

Building a fictional town in a historical novel isn't the easiest of tasks I've taken on, but it is fun. I prefer fictional towns to real ones, because nobody can tell me there was never a grocery store at the corner of Main and Peachtree. In face I've only written one novella set in a real town (a favor to the mayor of Sugar Hill).

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

An In Depth Look at the Noble Quest

by Rachel Hauck

While talking with my Mentee the other day, we were trying to flesh out her heroine’s Noble Quest. What does she want? What is this story about? What journey does she embark upon?

This is an essential part of the Hero/Heroine’s journey that is key to the story.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Six of the Worst Things About Being a Writer

by James L. Rubart

This is far from a comprehensive list, but don't you think six is enough for one serving?

1. Comparing Yourself to Others/Doubt/Insecurity- I combined these three into one since they’re brothers, or at least close cousins. We compare because we doubt which comes out of our insecurity.

“Why did I think I should do this?”

“I’ll never make it.”

“How can I call myself a writer when everyone else is so much better?”

Monday, May 15, 2017

Using The Five Senses Makes Good Sense

by Pamela S. Meyers

Every year around this time the air around my midwestern region becomes fragrant with the scent of lilacs. This lasts for about a week—maybe two—before the blooms fade and we have to wait another year to enjoy the sweet scent.

Whenever I take in a deep breath and smell that scent I am taken back to my fourth grade classroom on an unusually humid and warm spring day. All the windows were open and the heady scent of lilacs filled the classroom. I remember breathing in that wonderful fragrance and loving it more every time. There was nothing like it back then, and to me, there isn't anything like it today.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

3 Reasons to Try Dictating Your Book

by Becky Wade

In the past, whenever I heard authors touting the benefits of dictation, I'd nod politely while inwardly thinking, That is NOT for me. I couldn't do it. My writing process includes sitting in front of my computer while blanketed with quiet.

Then I read an article in RWA's Romance Writer's Report about how much faster an author can write her rough draft if she speaks it aloud and lets voice recognition software do the typing. It gave me pause, that article. I'm a slow writer and penning the rough draft isn't my favorite part of the process. Just how much more quickly and easily could I write the rough draft through dictation? Was my computer really an integral part of my writing process?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Only Thing Writers have to Fear. . .Is Fear Itself!

by Patty Smith Hall
“So first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”  

~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Well, Mr. Roosevelt, easier said than done!

Most writers I’ve met over my twenty-year writing journey have experienced fear about their work at some time or another.

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Story’s Sacred Circle

by Allen Arnold

We all long for our stories to make an eternal impact. Yet so few books seem to shine for more than a moment.

I believe what’s missing is an eternal spark. And that only comes from the glow of those writers who have spent time with the Creator. Only what is co-created with God has that brilliance.

I call that process entering into a Story’s Sacred Circle. Let me explain. Picture a bulls-eye with concentric color rings that grow outward from the center. It’s the kind you’ve thrown darts at as a kid or maybe shot arrows at when you were older. Everyone aims for the small red circle in the middle. Sure, it’s easier to hit the wider circles. But you don’t get many points when you’re far from the center.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wordpainting for Emotional Effect

by Susan May Warren

Two weeks ago we took a look at 4 Tips to writing ACTIVE description.

This week, let’s take a look at incorporating those 4 Tips and Wordsmithing your description.

Once you have all the elements of FOCUS, or your metaphorical word pool, you want to start putting it together.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hitting Pause Button While We Take A Deep Breath

by Normandie Fischer

This month, I'm hitting the pause button and taking a deep breath. Maybe you're in need of the same thing.

Since the re-release of my 2013 novel, Sailing out of Darkness, readers have begun chatting with me about the book's issues, specifically, depression. Which brought this essay to mind, because I don't think depression only exists for my characters or my readers.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Brainstorming Etiquette

by Lynette Eason

Writing can be an incredibly isolating venture. For those of us who are introverts, it’s not a big deal. We actually like the “aloneness”. However, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, there are times during the writing process where we need to come together with others and brainstorm.

Brainstorming is an amazing process. For example, I was having a hard time figuring out where I needed to go next in my story. I had a situation where I needed a teen to leave the hospital and disappear. But I didn’t know why I needed her to do that. At least not completely. I had a vague idea. 

Monday, May 08, 2017

One Author's Journey

by Jacob Airey

This the story behind my writing journey. I hope it will give you inspiration as you try to find someone who will publish your novel.

When I was nine years old, I was given a copy of “The Hound of the Baskersvilles,” a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It made me love reading, but more importantly, it made me want to write. I experimented with short stories and poems, even as young as ten. A few years later, I started the process of writing my first novel.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Finding The Voice

by Marcia Lee Laycock

The voice coming out of the recorder did not sound like me. I wrinkled my nose. I wasn’t sure I liked the sound of it. But the interviewer laughed. “Everyone I interview says the same thing. Keep in mind, this is an electronic version of your voice. It’s not the real thing.”

That got me thinking. What is the “real thing” in terms of my “voice” as a writer? Everyone tells us we have to have one, and that it must be strong and distinctive. But how do you know if you even have one? It’s one of those rather illusive things that is difficult to describe and it’s almost impossible to teach someone how to find it.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Remembering Your First Love

by Ron Estrada

When my son began his baseball career back when I was a long way from fifty, he played, like most kids these days, on a t-ball league. I, being a foolish young father who wanted to participate in all of my son’s activities (and my wife told me I had to) helped coach.

Ever been to a t-ball game? Any resemblance to actual baseball is purely coincidental.

Friday, May 05, 2017

Getting to the P.O.I.N.T. of Being a Writer

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Many of us came to the world of writing in a roundabout way. A lot of us don’t have degrees that qualify us. Because of that, we often struggle with insecurity.

We strive for validation through publication.

But no matter how many awards we win, things we publish, followers we have, the only validation that lasts is confidence.

And confidence is a decision, not a designation.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

I Make Stuff Up for a Living

By Dan Walsh

I should start off my post today (in an effort at full disclosure) by saying my inspiration came from reading my friend Rachel Hauck’s Novel Rocket blog post a couple of weeks ago on April 19th, called, It All Boils down to This… I'm a Writer.

I've been writing novels full-time now since 2010, part-time 2 years before that. I'm just about to release Novel #18 on May 15th. I'm not sure, but I think Rachel's been writing quite a bit longer than me and has more novels published. Still, as I read her blog, I was nodding constantly in agreement.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Should I Give a Webinar? Part III

by Linore Rose Burkard

In Parts One and Two, I discussed fears about giving webinars, and how to put such hindrances to rest. But are there real drawbacks to the medium that offline events don't have? Let's take a look.


Is this a PRO or a CON?
For people who get nervous in front of an audience, this aspect of webinars may be helpful. All one need do is speak in front of a safe, little camera. ;)

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Create an Awesome Marketing Plan—Part 3: Internet Presence

by Melissa Tagg

Over the last two month, I have been talking about creating an awesome marketing plan for your novel’s proposal. The goal is not only to wow agents and editors with your stellar marketing expertise, but also once published to be able to take this plan and put it into action.

Earlier posts include:

Part 1: Intro

Part 2: Media and Speaking Engagements

Today, we’re going to talk about the biggie: Internet Presence

Monday, May 01, 2017

Rule of Three

by Patricia Bradley

What is the rule of three? It’s a principle that says concepts and ideas presented in threes are more interesting, enjoyable, and memorable. In art the rule of thirds help you visualize the canvas or piece of pottery better.

Why is that? It’s the way we process information. The human mind thinks in patterns and the number three is the lowest figure that can be used to form a pattern.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Let the Gorillas Come

by Marcia Lee Laycock

It’s somewhere in Africa. A young woman sits cross-legged on the ground, surrounded by tall grass. She has been told to sit very still. She can hear snuffling noises and now and then a grunt. When the massive head of a gorilla pokes out between the grasses, she is tempted to leap up and run. But she sits quietly. The gorilla approaches, moves around her, touches her hair, sniffs her shoulder. She remembers the instructions she was given: “No sudden movements. Keep your eyes on the ground.” 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Jiggly Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake and You

by Jennifer AlLee

Like many of my friends, I'm a fan of do-it-yourself videos. You know the ones. They pop up on Facebook, Pinterest, and various other social media sites, and show us how to make something. It might be how to transform an old tire into a patio seat. Or how to make a fairy tale village out of three terra cotta pots, some succulents, and plastic miniatures. My personal favorites, however, are the cooking videos. Beef Wellington for beginners! The only deviled egg recipe you'll ever need! Super-simple gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan brownies! The options are endless.

Friday, April 28, 2017

4 Tips to writing ACTIVE description

by Susan May Warren


In my past couple posts, I have used this acronym to in to enhance our static description (Here for Part 1) and (Here for Part 2)

Today, we’re going to use this acronym, and apply it as we move our character throughout the scene, experiencing the storyworld as we interact with the actions of the scene

What is ACTIVE Description?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

First Page: Level—Expert

by Peter Leavell @peterleavell

The novel’s first page is a sacred contract with the reader. The fine print is written between the lines. This is my best writingcontinue if you want more.
I’ve read 25 books already this year, and frankly, the self-published novels are getting this wrong.

Take great pains to craft the first words carefully, because the reader will fling the book aside if she can’t figure out what the book’s about.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Easter Reflection - The Word and Words

by Yvonne Lehman

We celebrate Easter on a certain day that’s on the calendar. But we Christians celebrate it in our hearts all year long. I went to a Maundy Thursday supper at church where we were reminded of the events taking place before Jesus’ crucifixion. I remembered my visit to Israel.

I walked down into the same prison where Jesus was taken like a criminal. I saw the area where Jesus was beaten, the games etched in the floor where Roman soldiers passed their time and laughed while prisoners suffered in the dark, cold, stone, stagnant cells.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

6 Tips for Productive Brainstorming

by Lisa Jordan, @lisajordan

My good friend Jeanne Takenaka, who writes beautiful, encouraging blog posts, and I have been working together for nearly a year, helping each other to strengthen our stories and digging deeper into learning the different craft elements.

Our partnership works well because we are able to balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I’ve been thinking about what makes our partnership work, and I’ve decided to share some tips to help others who are pursuing craft partnerships.

Monday, April 24, 2017

5 Tips for Sparking Creativity

By Beth K. Vogt @bethvogt

My husband brought me roses the other day. A lovely bouquet of blush flowers, which he put in a vase on the kitchen island. But then he put one single rose in a vase and set it on the table beside my chair while I worked on rewrites. I looked up and said, “Because you remembered that women are more creative when there are flowers around, right?”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Called to Story

by Kristy Cambron
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story… —Psalm 107:2 (NIV)
“Isn’t your hand going to get tired after signing that in each book?”

I was standing at a podium, signing a stack of books at a large library conference. I’d prayed about it, and felt led to write a specific phrase and Bible verse in the front cover of each book. And yes– with a Sharpie in hand, it amounted to a small paragraph for each person, all the way down a signing line.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

7 Mistakes Authors Make

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Every writer wants to be viewed as professional, intelligent, and bestselling. Nothing wrong with those goals, and they are worthy and attainable. But when a writer consistently makes dumb mistakes, her credibility takes a nose dive as well as her career.

Take a look at the following mistakes. Are there changes on your horizon?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Writing Cinematically: 10 Movie Techniques to Apply to Your Novel

by Deborah Raney

If I’d known my first novel—a story about a family dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease—would be made into a movie, I would have written it very differently. But when I got my first glimpse of the script, I understood immediately why the screenwriters had changed so many elements from my novel. Too many of my scenes took place in a character’s head—in his memories or her internal dialogue. I’m so grateful it was my first novel that made it to the silver screen because the experience of seeing my story turned into a script changed the way I wrote my next thirty novels.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Nearly Everything I Need to Write a Book I Learned in Elementary School

by Kelly Klepfer

1) Learn. 

Not even kidding about this. You need to invest your time, energy, heart and soul in learning what to do and what not to do. This involves conferences, books, magazines and blog reading. If you are new, you may have already poised to click out of this because you are tired of hearing this advice. But, there is no way around this step if you want to succeed. In order to be published and/or sell books, you have to give the impression that you are worth investing in. And the advice that hundreds of thousands of people give is that you learn to write according to the rules. When you get those down, you can calculate how to creatively twist those in your story.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

It Boils Down To This… I’m A Writer

by Rachel Hauck

I had an epiphany in recent days. I’m a writer! A novelist. I write books for a living. That’s what I do!

And it’s awesome.

So what’s the epiphany, you may ask? I realized there was no joy in looking around at other things, people, opportunities, surrendering my soul to envy and jealousy, fretting and regular “hand wringing.”

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

What To Do When You Don’t Think You’ll Ever Get Published

by James L. Rubart

For you non golf fans, nine days ago, Sergio Garcia won The Masters—one of the most longed for titles in all of professional sports. It was his first golf “major” after 18 years and seventy one tries.

That’s a long time coming. No other golfer has played in more majors without winning one than Sergio.

Monday, April 17, 2017

There Really Is Nothing New Under the Sun

by Pamela S. Meyers

I’ve always wondered if there was a good reason for including a section in a novel proposal where a list of currently available novels similar to yours is provided along with explanations as to how they are similar and dissimilar to yours.

Just recently I submitted a proposal to a publisher for a novel I’d written a couple years ago. A few days later, the editor advised she couldn’t take the story because it was very similar to one that was published last fall by another publisher. She then listed at least seven or eight plot points in the other novel that were an exact match to my story. I expected to hear the theme song from the old TV show The Twilight Zone tuning up in the background. It was that similar!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

When Writing is Like Riding a Horse

by Marcia Lee Laycock

I’ve always been horse crazy. It took many years of begging before my mother let me learn how to ride a horse and many more after that before I owned one. I remember the day I woke up and looked out my bedroom window and saw Cheyenne grazing in the field. I almost pinched myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

3 Elements of a Good book

by Michelle Griep

As I was just about dozing off to sleep last night, hubby elbows me and asks, "Hey, how do you write a good book? What are the top 3 elements?"

I replied with a snore, hoping he'd think I was sleeping.

He nudged me again. Gah! So, rather than discussing the building blocks of a great story at midnight, I told him I'd do a blog post on it.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Write to Discover

by Allen Arnold

Does your writing reflect a journey of discovery?

Before you can take readers to new places, you must first travel roads you’ve never been on. Doing so will force you out of your comfort zone to wrestle with the unknown, face your fears, and discover God in fresh ways. You become the traveler rather than the master guide. The process is risky and messy, but it’s the only way to see, hear, and experience the new.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Using Symbolism in Your Description!

by Susan May Warren

A Quick and Easy Tool for Writing Description (part 2)

This month we’ve been talking about Extreme Scene Makeover and diving into description. I introduced the acronym FOCUS, a tool I use to help me write description. We covered F-O-CU on a post two weeks ago (here).

First step in writing great description is to put it through the POV of your character. It’s all about how they feel about being there. We layer in their attitude while they describe the scene.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Deepening Characterization

by Normandie Fischer

We've all been there, haven't we? Curled up with a book that has become a favorite, even though our unread stack threatens to topple. 

Here's my question for today. Why do we read some books more than once while setting others aside with barely another thought?

Last month, I had the pleasure of spending a few hours with an out-of-town reader who’d been so affected by one of my books that she’d had to pick it up and dig through it again. Something about that book's characters resonated with what she'd experienced, and she wanted more. I was charmed, of course, but that’s what we want, isn’t it? For our characters to touch hearts and change lives.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

What makes for Successful Booksigning Event? It's all in the Perspective...

by Lynette Eason

Successful or not successful: It’s all in the perspective.

Hi everyone, Lynette Eason here. I just wanted to take a moment to talk booksignings with you. Let me be honest. I like MOST booksignings about as much as I like the pollen that makes me sneeze and lunge for my inhale. Okay, okay, that might be a slight exaggeration—slight. But I just wanted to give you a heads up that if you’re eagerly planning your first—or fiftieth—signing, some are going to go well and others are not.

Monday, April 10, 2017

5 Reasons to Tell Instead of Show

by Michelle Griep

You've all heard it, usually at a volume ratcheted up enough to shred your eardrums to tiny little ribbons . . .

Yeah, yeah. Whatever. For the most part, I heartily agree with this rule. Showing is hands-down better than telling because, hey, who likes to be told anything? That's about as comfortable as having your mom wag her finger in your face.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

3 Tips to Write a Novel Experience

By Jessica R. Patch

As a writer, you may hear “write what you know” often. If I took that advice, I wouldn’t have a single book published. But I do believe that we should balance writing what we know with what we don’t. Here are three tips you can use to help create an experience for a reader rather than simply giving them a good story.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zone

by Patty Smith-Hall
I have a confession to make.

I absolutely dread writing blog posts. I’m not exactly sure why. Writing has always been an outlet for me, and I find the time I’m working on a new proposal or putting the finishing touches on a completed novel extremely satisfying. Writing devotions for Journey magazine gives me a platform to share my faith with young women who seek to fulfill their spiritual needs while juggling family and career responsibilities.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Streamline Your Social Media Life With These 9 Tips

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Social media can be a time suck if we’re not careful. 

We can spend hours and hours without seeing results that justify the effort—unless we pay attention. It’s time to work smarter, not harder. 

Today, I think I can give you some ideas of how to multiply the benefits without cutting in to valuable writing—and family—time.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Getting Rid of the Parts Readers Skip

by Dan Walsh

We’ve all done it. You’re reading a novel that’s captured your interest and, before long, you find yourself skipping several paragraphs to find “where the story picks up again.” The writer writes well. That’s not the problem. The problem is they write too much. Sprinkled throughout the interesting, exciting parts you find a lot of blah-blah-blah.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Should I Give a Webinar? Part II

by Linore Rose Burkard

In last month's post, "Giving a Webinar: Should You, Would You, Could You?" I discussed some obstacles that gave me pause before doing my first webinar. Chief for me was a fundamental reluctance to appear on camera. I said we'd talk about the pros and cons of webinars in order to help you decide if you ought to be doing them. But first, I'd like to check out other reasons that may be holding you back from moving into this new technology. Such as: