Thursday, December 22, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Join us in writing about whatever the photo prompts you to write. We would love to read your story. Please share it with us by providing a link to your blog in the comments section.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
1st Mentions . . .
Pam's Favorite: Check out The Ways of the Ant at De's blog Carpe Vas! We all desire wisdom. I agree with De who says we can become wiser by studying the life and behavior of godly examples, including those shown in nature. Read what God can teach us via the ant.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
"But how can they call to him for help if they have not believed? And how can they believe if they have not heard the message? And how can they hear if the message is not proclaimed? And how can the message be proclaimed if the messengers are not sent out? As the scripture says, 'How wonderful is the coming of messengers who bring good news!' But not all have accepted the Good News. Isaiah himself said, 'Lord, who believed our message?' So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ.” Romans 10:14-17
- Offer faith-based opinion pieces on local hot topics and submit it to the editorial page or religious section of your newspaper.
- Reference the Bible if a quote is needed for a piece you are writing. (Chicken Soup for the Soul often requests a quote for stories that are submitted.)
- In letters or emails, again without preaching, share how faith has made a difference—carrying you through a tough time, offering hope in a hopeless situation, providing guidance in a specific circumstance, etc.
- On your blog, post a meditation based on a Scripture that God has brought to life for you. You could also email it to one of the publishers of devotional booklets.
- Portray characters upholding Christian principles—refusing to cheat or lie, showing love, remaining faithful in marriage
- Allow characters to exhibit Christian behavior in response to conflict—serving others above self, praying for enemies, seeking guidance from clergy, etc.
- Place scenes in Christian settings—a church, a fellowship group, a praise team practice, etc.
- Discuss faith-based issues in dialogues between characters.
- If we know Christ, we are qualified to evangelize, for we have firsthand experience.
- Be faithful in delivering God's message when called to do so, but trust God with the results.
- We don't have to convince people to come to Christ. God does that.
- Evangelism is a team effort. We may not see results from our writing alone.
©2011 Pamela D. Williams
Monday, November 14, 2011
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Book #2: The Lost Children, a MG fantasy, by Carolyn Cohagan.
- Do write a great first line that catches a reader’s attention.
- Don’t create a silly, unbelievable story.
Examples of silliness:
Josephine’s father, Mr. Russing had a law passed in their town that every person must wear gloves in public, even seamstresses in his sewing factory must sew while wearing gloves. Can you imagine sewing while wearing gloves?
Mr. Russing’s factory makes the gloves. His factories are in the shape of ducks. Ducks? Really?
Then, there is back story about a little boy. His dad, a light house keeper, allowed his light to go out, then called the son to get the coal, and then shoveled like mad to get the light going again. Meanwhile, a ship wrecks and the boy is basically blamed for it. His family was then taken away when they could not pay for the replacement of the ship and crew. How is this the boy’s fault? And why is this important?
- Don’t create cookie-cutter bad guys.
I forced myself to read to page 55, but then I had to stop. The reading was that painful. Maybe I shouldn’t do a review on this one since I didn’t read it all, but I did learn what not to do, so I’m sharing it. Having said all that, the reviews on Amazon were pretty good, so that leaves me wondering if the book got better. 55 pages was enough for me.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
“What’s the point of writing a book if it’s just going to sit in your desk drawer?” Mary Sue Seymour asked us several times during the Susquehanna Valley Writer’s Workshop. I didn’t volunteer an answer at the time because it’s a complicated issue with arguments for both sides.
For instance, Dean Koontz writes in On Popular Fiction that a professional writer writes for the market. There was a point in his career when the ‘SciFi’ market took a down turn. Although Koontz “simply did not like Gothic novels” he wrote one successfully. His point was that a professional writer writes what sells. It’s a valid point; however, I personally think that ‘Gothic’ is not too far from the style of Koontz’s regular work, and therefore, I’m not completely convinced that a good writer can or should write in any genre.
First of all, I believe a good book is written with passion and if the writer is not passionate about her work, the book is going to reflect it. I also believe that the market is constantly in flux. Trying to write for the market is like a dog chasing its tail. If I research today what publishers are desperately seeking and set out to write that book, by the time it’s finished, there’s a good chance the publishers have changed their minds.
Die-hard fans of mysteries and thrillers aren’t going to suddenly stop reading them. Like I said in my post last week, love of mystery and suspense is deep in my bones. I’ve not been swayed by the current popularity of the fantasy genre and I have to believe there are other suspense lovers like me out there who crave edge-of-your-seat thrills and mysteries.
I’m not saying I’ll never write a Christian Romance. Actually, during a run last week I was hit with a promising premise for an Amish Romance and I may see where it takes me, but only after I finish the book of my heart - a supernatural suspense.
What side of the fence are you on? Do you write what sells or do you write what you love?
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
- Seek God first and pray as you write.
- Open up to God as a friend.
- Be transparent.
- Be honest.
- Be descriptive.
- Be concise.
- Evoke feelings.
- Specify your goal. Is it to praise? To draw closer? To ask for help?
- Write to God as you envision Him—loving Father, sovereign King, mighty Savior, embracing Comforter, or gifted Teacher, etc.
- Write from life’s experiences.
- Write from your passion.
- Write from the heart. If God has answered a prayer or blessed a loved one greatly, we will naturally want to praise Him. However, it would be phony to try to write a beautiful love song to God when we are angry or hurt.
- Stay focused. Ignore the urge to get sidetracked by cadence, spelling or grammar.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
1st Mentions . . .
Pam's Favorite: At Inspirations from Phather Phil, you will find words to uplift and encourage you in your Christian walk posted in a refreshingly different format. Do you desire to hear God's voice and feel His presence guide you? Check out Phil's post, My Traveling Companion for a beautiful example of Phil's unique writing style.
Friday, November 4, 2011
9. Pray that your devotion can be used by God to help someone else.
Here are some publishers of devotions that I've looked into:
Weavings (by Upper Room)
Alive Now (by Upper Room)
Pockets (Devotions for Children by Upper Room)
Devozine (Devotions for Teens by Upper Room)
Wesleyan Publishing House (Vista)
Granola Bar Devotions (on-line)
For more on writing devotions, read Help! I Want To Be A Christian Devotion Writer by Donna Shepherd
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
‘Write a Christian Romance’ was the last session I had planned to attend at the Susquehanna Valley Writer’s Workshop held in Lewisburg, PA October 7-8, 2011. I don’t have anything against the genre, but I haven’t read a romance in at least five years. However, I did attend the session and it proved to be the most rewarding and thought-provoking of the other sessions I attended.
Before I go any further, I want to tell you that this session was lead by Mary Sue Seymour (The Seymour Agency), a writing agent listed as a top deal-maker for inspirational fiction on Publisher’s Marketplace. Everything I share with you is courtesy of her workshop on writing ‘Christian Romance’. She struck me as someone who knows her business. If you write Christian or Inspirational Romance, Mary Sue is the agent for you!
Although I originally didn't plan to attend the session, due to last minute schedule changes and a tiny nudge, I found myself listening to Mary Sue explain the secret formula for writing a romance novel revealed by Stephanie Mittman:
Take a wonderful, loveable, sympathetic heroine and a wonderful, loveable, sympathetic hero, throw them together in a dangerous, or difficult situation with insurmountable obstacles for them to overcome; break them apart so it seems they can never be together; add a complicating twist, and finally bring them together to live happily ever after.
Unlike in the other sessions that day, we did writing exercises in ‘Christian Romance’. And as is often the case with writing exercises, I learned something valuable about my writing (actually I already knew it, but the writing exercise confirmed it) –deep down I’m truly a mystery writer. Mystery is in my bones.
For the first exercise we were to create a hero and a heroine; then describe them in three sentences each. Here’s my first sentence:
Hunter Cayden moves to a small lakeside town after his wife is murdered and the police fail to find any suspects.
My mind immediately conjured up a troubled character with a mystery to solve. I didn’t consider Hunter’s appearance, and I struggled to create a female character to pair him with. At this point, although I wasn’t demonstrating the skills of a romance writer, I wasn’t bothered because I felt more confident in my mystery and suspense writing skills.
Throughout the session, Mary Sue stressed that if you read romance novels, you can write romance novels.
“Why not write a romance novel?” she asked.
I thought, “Because they’re predictable and it’s apparently not in my skill set.”
Mary Sue went on to tell us about a client who got a contract for a three book deal based on just 50 pages. Christian romances are selling. In fact, the ‘Market’ is clamoring for more Amish romance novels.*
This was a startling revelation to me. First, I wondered, “Why Amish romance?” Second, I thought, “Um, she's right! I could try to write a romance.”
The prospect of almost certain publication, a contract with a publisher, and an advance in the thousands of dollars is, needless to say, enticing to an aspiring author. But my sudden change in perspective raised the question: Should I write the book of my heart or a book for the market?
Join me next week as I consider the issue in more detail!
*Specifically, Mary Sue is looking for Amish or historical (1800s) romances around 85,000 words. Plan on making the book a trilogy –pulling main characters from supporting characters in the first book.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
1st Mentions . . .
For a quick spiritual snack, check this site out!
Pam's Favorite: At 1st Writes this week we talked about submitting stories for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books. Anyone interested in writing for one of these books can visit their website at www.chickensoup.com. On the links at the left click on Submit Your Story. In the drop-down menu you will find Story Guidelines, Possible Book Topics, and the Submit Your Story submission form. Chicken Soup for the Soul credits their success to writers like you and me, who contribute wonderful stories of "inspiration, hope, overcoming life's challenges and realized dreams."
Brianna's Favorite: This week my favorite blog post comes from Tasha Seegmiller: Killer Characters: Better to Reign than Serve.
Friday, October 28, 2011
- Scripture that relates
- Body of Devotion: Personal reflection on God/scripture/prayer. Share an experience or moment that drew you closer to God.
- Prayer that relates
- Thought for the Day
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
- CNF is a true story, well told.
- Although it expresses opinions, perspective and feelings through the author’s views of life, it must be anchored in real experience
- May require research to verify facts and give accurate pictures
- Literary Elements of Fiction Used in CNF
- Theme: A central idea is woven throughout the work and reveals a universal truth.
- Point of View: Personal presence is a hallmark of CNF and usually requires 1st person.
- Setting: Time and place influences the action, character, or theme.
- Characters: Well-chosen details bring the characters to life.
- Plot: Conflict (struggle involving the protagonist and an opposing person or force) and the order in which things move or happen, combine to create plot.
- Style: How the author says something—the choice of words and the use of language, sentence construction, and imagery—adds significance and impact to the writing.
- Creative nonfiction contrasts with other nonfiction, such as technical writing or journalism. Forms within the CNF genre include:
- personal essays
- travel writing
- food writing
- Chicken-Soup-for-the-Soul type stories
- other hybridized essays