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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:

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Create an Awesome Marketing Plan—Part 2: Media and Speaking

by Melissa Tagg

Last month we began a series on 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.

If you missed last month’s intro post, you can check it out here.

Today, we’re going to talk about the first two ingredients to an awesome marketing plan recipe: Media & Speaking Engagements

Monday, April 03, 2017

On Deadline And Your Characters Aren't Talking

by Patricia Bradley

I said I'd never be here again...You know, behind on my deadline. I turned in my last book in July last year and here it is the middle of March and I’m only half finished with the first draft of a book due May 1. Six weeks to write forty thousand words, and then edit all ninety thousand. Oh, and the manuscript has to shine, as well.

I’ll get it done. I have no choice. Well, I could ask for an extension, but I realllllly don’t want to do that. So, I’ll suck it up and do whatever it takes to make the deadline.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Lesson on a Cruise Ship

by Marcia Lee Laycock

My husband and I recently returned from a cruise. It was a great trip, for the most part, but there were some things I found irritating. I often felt we were made to feel that we weren’t quite worthy of being on that ship.

One day we decided to go to an art auction. If you attended, you were automatically entered into a draw. I was a little excited when I won a gift bag. There was a watch in it that had a rather large price tag on it. That was nice. But then I realized there was also a $100.00 gift certificate included. I’d spotted something I liked in one of the boutiques. With the gift certificate I could easily afford it. So yes, I got a little excited.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Stealing History

by Ron Estrada

As I write this, I'm watching Vikings via the magic of Hulu, the binge watching hub of the modern world. I've watched a few of these historical fiction TV series, and while I cannot vouch for their historical accuracy, I can vouch for their entertainment value.

The writers of these shows have done what any good writer would do, historical or otherwise. Take a piece of what is fact and insert a bit of fiction into it. This is how we can "steal" a great segment of our story, all that bothersome background and setting. The writers of these TV shows did just that. We can, therefore, justify borrowing our settings from the TV show writers who have done all the hard work already.