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THE 2020 MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: BEST-SELLING AUTHOR MICHELE CHYNOWETH

       Writers, don’t miss the 31st annual Montrose Christian Writers Conference July 12th to the 17th! Please join us in prayer that the Corona virus crisis will be well past by that time and that we can hold our conference.
One of our faculty members will be best-selling author Michele Chynoweth.
Michele Chynoweth is the best-selling and award-winning author of The Faithful One, The Peace Maker, The Runaway Prophet and The Jealous Son, contemporary suspense novels that re-imagine Bible stories. Michele is also an inspirational speaker who has addressed a variety of writers’ conferences and other organizations across the country, a book coach/editor and a college writing instructor, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and lives with her husband in North East, Maryland.


Michele has won several awards including:
New Apple Book Award for Best Cross Genre Fiction (2018)
Book Excellence Award for Best Religious Fiction (2018)
Top Shelf Magazine Indie Award for Best Inspirational Fiction
Selah Award for Best Suspense (Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference (2018)
Readers Favorite International Book Awards for Inspirational Fiction (2014 & 2016)
Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference Writer of the Year (2012)

Through her “Book Coach Michele” services, Michele has helped several writers become successful authors of several published books including Lawrence Scanlan, Business Practices, Biblical Promises, Gigi Williams, God’s Hand in My One, Norman Gaither, Cecilia’s Satchel, and Vincent Taylor, Sassafras Neck: A Special Place in Time.

MICHELE’S AFTERNOON CLASSES

  1.    Getting Started

Do you have a great idea for a novel but are just not sure how to get started writing it?  College instructor and best-selling Christian fiction author Michele Chynoweth will show you how through simple, solid steps she uses in the classroom to guide you in coming up with a great story (plot) by starting with a good synopsis and chapter outline, then help you in making critical decisions so you can develop your setting, timeline, characters, voice, point of view, title and more and “hit the ground running” when you begin to actually write your novel!

  1. A Good Sense of Style
    You’ve probably heard of “show not tell” and various other terms editors use to help you learn the craft—but do you actually know how to use your words to weave good scenes together so that your novel flows seamlessly? Award-winning author and college writing instructor Michele Chynoweth will share tips on good writing style, including sentence structure, description, word choices, chapter hooks, weaving together plot, character and setting and more so that you can craft a great novel that keeps readers keep turning the pages!
  1. It Takes One to Know One (Character Development)
    Over the past 25 years author Michele Chynoweth has developed a tried and true process for developing characters that’s fun, flexible and really works—from coming up with names to creating profiles that portray your characters physically, emotionally and spiritually. She will help you develop believable, compelling characters that readers can really connect with, who make you laugh, cry and care. This entails writing dialog that isn’t contrived but natural, isn’t boring but memorable. A former news reporter and screenplay writer as well, she’ll even teach you how thinking like an investigative journalist and movie director can help!

I hope to see you in July!
Marsha, Director

To contact me for a brochure: marshahubler@outlook.com

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Writers! Join us for the

Annual Susquehanna Valley Writers Luncheon

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Registration 10:45 AM

CARRIAGE CORNER RESTAURANT

257 E. Chestnut Street, Mifflinburg, PA 17844 (Along Route 45)

 

WHITE.ROSEANNA.FUN.PHOTO.CROPPED.2019

Guest Speaker:  Roseanna White,  Acquisitions Editor

When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, serving as the senior acquisitions editor for WhiteFire Publishing’s award-winning books, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com and about WhiteFire at www.WhiteFire-Publishing.com

Editor’s Pet (Fiction or Non-Fiction) – Session One

From query to your umpteenth project, this workshop shares how to get an editor’s attention and keep it (in the right way) until you’ve made yourself a house favorite.

Spirit-Led Marketing (Fiction or Non-Fiction) – Session Two

This workshop focuses not simply on marketing techniques, which are always changing, but on the mental, emotional, and spiritual mindset an author should maintain while marketing.


Session One:  11:00-11:45 AM          

Lunch:  11:45-12:45 PM           

Session Two:  12:45-1:30 PM

Cost: $25

Includes: Soup and Salad Bar, Beverage, Gratuity, and Speaker Honorarium

Authors’ Books Table: If you are an author, feel free to bring your books to sell on the Authors’ Books Table

Registration Deadline: Saturday, March 7, 2020

To register please send the following:

1) Your check for $25 made out to the SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY WRITERS GROUP

2) Your contact information: full name, address, email address, and phone number to:

Jill Thomas

229 South Second Street

Lewisburg,  PA  17837

Directions to the Carriage Corner Restaurant

http://www.carriagecornerrestaurant.com/

Located on Route 45 just east of downtown Mifflinburg (257 E. Chestnut St.)

Map and Directions to the Carriage Corner Restaurant

Carriage.Corner.Rest.

Open 7 days a week, Carriage Corner Restaurant is located on Route 45 just east of downtown Mifflinburg (257 E. Chestnut St. )

Group.Before.Lunch

http://www.carriagecornerrestaurant.com/ Bks.Freebies.Tables

FROM THE NORTH: Take Route 15 south to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Turn right on Route 45, traveling approximately 8 miles to Mifflinburg. Carriage Corner Restaurant is located on the left at the first red light in town.

FROM THE SOUTH: Take Routes 11-15 north toward Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania. Turn left onto PA Route 104. Travel approximately 25 miles to Mifflinburg. Turn right onto Route 45/Chestnut Street, traveling approximately 1.5 miles. Carriage Corner Restaurant is located on the right, just past the red light at Sheetz.

FROM THE EAST: Take I-80 west toward Bloomsburg. Take Route 15 south to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Turn right on Route 45, traveling approximately 8 miles to Mifflinburg. Carriage Corner Restaurant is located on the left at the first red light in town.

FROM THE WEST: Take Route 45 east to Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania. Route 45 becomes Chestnut Street – travel approximately 1.5 miles to the end of town. Carriage Corner Restaurant is located on the right, just past the red light at Sheetz.

Come for a wonderful time of good food, fellowship with other writers, and gleaning knowledge from Roseanna and other published authors.

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On Writing: Excellent Character Development

Here we go! Here are 10 ways to make your characters come alive in that next great American novel you’re writing:

1. Make each character uniquely different with different names. A few years ago, I had another writer friend critique my first four chapters of the Amish fiction I wrote, and she caught a “biggie.” I had two characters named “Joe.” DUH!

2. Give each character his own distinctive voice. After a few chapters, your reader should be able to tell who’s speaking without even looking at the tag.

3. Have your characters working jobs or going to school or doing “something” relevant to the plot. If you’re writing a murder mystery, your main character probably shouldn’t be babysitting puppies for a living.

4. When you name your characters, give them names that fit their personality, body type, nationality, etc. Now picture this: your character is a 220-pound Italian hunk, built like Superman and he’s a policeman, then you give him the name “Wilbur.”

5. If you’re writing fiction with different viewpoints, only get inside the head of your main characters. I’ve read books by one of the leading writers of Amish fiction in the country, but I have trouble following her because of the multiple P.O.V.s. In one book, there were 16 P.O.V.s. I was so confused, I had to start over and write down everyone’s name, who they were, and what they did in the book. The author has a big name, but I don’t care for trying to unscramble all those P.O.V.s.

6. Build your characters a little at a time as you write the novel. The plot should “thicken” at the same time you start to describe your characters more vividly and get them totally involved in the action.

7. Even though you’re writing fiction, be authentic. Interview policeman, veterinarians, computer geeks, or whomever so you have a thorough understanding of their job descriptions. In book seven of my Keystone Stables horse series, I wrote about a barn fire. Before doing so, I went to the local firemen and interviewed them to get the details of how the fire company would handle a barn fire in a countryside setting. I asked what kind of equipment they needed, what certain names of the trucks were, and how they’d tackle the task. The account in my book is accurate and detailed, even though the book is fiction.

8. Start each characters’ names with different letters. How confusing would this be? Sam told Susie that Stella was going to be with Savannah the night of the social. Sheesh! Who’s who in that quandary?

9. For at least your main characters, give them some depth by including some history about them. They didn’t just hatch from eggs the day you started writing about them. (Or did they?) Build character sketches for each of them. I’ve heard of some writers giving their characters full families, birthdays, college degrees, bank accounts in Sweden, and so on to “flesh them out.” Details DO matter when you’re writing about people. Write so that your reader thinks he/she can almost hear your characters breathe.

10. Have your characters less than perfect. Develop flaws in their appearances or personalities, which they must overcome or accept as the plot unfolds. No one likes to read about a character who seems too good to be true. In the long run, that character will be too good to be true, and he/she will turn your reader right off.

P.S. I hope you’re making plans to attend the 2020 Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference. More details coming soon, but we have agents, editors, and best-selling authors for fiction, kid lit, devotions, magazine articles, adult fiction, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and more! Don’t miss it: July 12th to the 17th!

Marsha

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 What Does It Mean to Write Tight?

How often have you heard conference speakers, i.e. authors, agents, and editors, say that, to be a successful, published author, you need to write “tight”? The term kind of reminds me of squeezing something big into something tiny or speaking poignantly.

So in pen laymen’s terms, what in the world does writing “tight” mean?

Here are eight qualities that will define a piece of literature as “tight” or stripped to its cleanest components:

1. Use specific nouns:
Not: The bird flew over.
Rather: The raven flew over the barn.

2. Pitch out as many adverbs as you can:
Not: He spoke loudly and angrily.
Rather: He yelled!

3. Be positive in sentence inflection:
Not: He didn’t show any respect.
Rather: He showed no respect.

4. Use active not passive voice with your verbs:
Not: Bowser, the dog, was walked by Joe.
Rather: Joe walked his dog, Bowser.

5. Get rid of sentences that start with “There” or “There were:”
Not: There was a lot of snow last month.
Rather: Last month’s snow total broke records.

6. Show, don’t tell; in other words, describe your action clearly:
Not: Billy was really angry.
Rather: Billy pounded his fist on the table.

7. Watch for redundant phrases:
Not: Millie blushed with embarrassment.
Rather: Millie’s face turned bright red.

8. Use down-to-earth language and throw out eloquent pedantic phrases and euphemisms that no one will know what the heck you’re talking about:
Not: Rickie’s face showed lines of agony and remorse while streams of tears flooded her poor anguished soul.
Rather: Rickie cried as though her heart was broken.

So, there you have it. Embrace these tidbits on how to become a best-selling author, and your readers will be begging for more.

Me Know Everything!

Marsha Hubler
(Website) www.marshahubler.com
(Blog) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com
Best-selling Author of the Keystone Stables books

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PESKY POSSESSIVES

I few years ago, I helped the ladies of our church compile a cookbook. One of the questionable terms that came up in a few of the recipes was “confectioner’s sugar.” Did it have an apostrophe or not?

I checked out a bag of the little white powder at the grocery store, and the manufacturing company had it spelled “confectioners sugar” on the label.

One of the gals in the church took the time to look up possessives in an English book and found that, at least, in her resource, confectioner DOES use an apostrophe in this phrase: confectioner’s sugar.

Publisher’s choice? This is often the case with punctuation, and, unfortunately, the rules always seem to be changing.

So, FYI, I’ve included just a few of those pesky possessive rules for you to ponder. But don’t bet your life on any of these; in a year or two, some could be different, or the editor with whom you work might have her own idea.

Just try to understand the pesky possessive’s point of view.

Possessives

Generally, a possessive is formed by adding an apostrophe and an s to a word that does not end in s, and only an apostrophe to a word that does end in s. An apostrophe is not added to plurals. 
Singular   

Mr. Brooks
child
lunch
sheep
lady
man

Singular Possessive

child’s
lunch’s
sheep’s
lady’s
man’s
passerby’s

Plural
The Brookses (no apostrophe)
children
lunches
sheep
ladies
men

Plural Possessive

children’s
lunches’
sheep’s
ladies’
men’s
passersbys’

Add an apostrophe to a word that ends in an s sound.
for old times’ sake
for conscience’ sake
for appearance’ sake:
Add an apostrophe and an s to a foreign name ending in a silent sibilant.
Descartes’s invention
Des Moines’s schools


faux pas’s
Add an apostrophe and an s to the last word of a singular compound noun.
the Governor of Maine’s
the attorney general’s

Indicate common possession by making only the last item in a series possessive.
Teddy, Peggy, and Nancy’s home

Indicate individual possession by making each item in a series possessive.
Teddy’s, Peggy’s, and Nancy’s homes

The following types of possessives should be written as singulars.
artist’s paintbrush
baker’s yeast
farmer’s market
confectioner’s sugar
florist’s wire
printer’s ink
writer’s cramp
painter’s tape

So there you have a few tips about using possessives. They’re tricky, so be careful, and your writing will improve as you learn these possessive rules.

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Tips to Help you Finish your  Manuscript

 

Of course, it’s the dream of every writer to have a best-selling novel on the shelves of every book store in the country sometime in their writing career. And most writers have great ideas that would make super novels. But the reality is that most of us don’t have three to six months to lock ourselves up in a bedroom with our computer and get that brilliant idea down on paper in a form of the English language that can be read without an interpreter.

Here are a few suggestions for you would-be novelists to help get you motivated to start and finish a manuscript that just might land you a contract with a publishing company. These simple steps worked for me not once, but 10 times, enabling me to publish just as many juvenile fiction novels at an average of three-months writing time a piece:

1. Analyze your time and budget it. Prioritize so that you have time to write every day.Yes, I know it’s impossible to write every day, but if you have this at the top of your priority list, you’ll get it done more often than if you just haphazardly decide, “Oh, it’s Monday. I have two extra hours today. I think I’ll write.” Your novel will never happen this way.

2. Write a short outline or description of where you’re going with your story and characters. I know many authors who have written their same novel over and over, and to this day they still haven’t finished it because they never resolved the ending. Their characters seem to be lost forever in some kind of word time warp, never to “live happily ever after.” This often happens if you’re a “pantser.”

3. Don’t worry about perfect English the first time you write. Just get your brilliant idea down on paper. Worry about the PUGS (punctuation, usage, grammar, spelling) later.

4. Let your finished manuscript sit a few weeks then get back to it. You’ll read parts of it and wonder Who in the world wrote that junk? This is a great time to start revising. Go through each scene with a fine-toothed comb, making sure your characters move the plot and/or subplot forward.

5. When you finish revising your manuscript,  read it aloud, and get it into the hands of a critique group or other writers who will tell you the truth. Aunt Susie or Brother Bill will only tell you how wonderful you are, but that won’t get your manuscript ready for a trip to the editor’s desk at the publishing house.

6. While you’re revising again and perfecting your work, send out your queries, at least five at a time. It might take up to three or four months, if at all, to get a response from the editors of “big” traditional companies. The newer little publishers popping up everywhere will probably let you know within a week or two. In that framework of time, you can hone your manuscript and shape it into something that any editor would want.

So, get the computer turned on, get your brain tuned in, and get typing. You just might be the next great American novelist!

Marsha :)

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On Writing: Working with an Editor

When it finally happens, you know, the phone call or e-mail that says, “Congratulations! You’ve got a contract with our company!”, prepare yourself for the exciting adventure of seeing your name in print. There’s nothing quite like it after you’ve been trying for years to do so. Have a party or go to Dunkin for a latte or buy your dog a big box of treats. Celebrate somehow. Then prepare yourself for the next step in your writing life.

As you enter this new phase of writing/publishing, determine in your heart to do the best job you can with the editor to whom you are assigned. The editor is your friend, not your arch enemy who is set on destroying every clever phrase you ever penned.

Here are a few tips that I learned along the way that might help you in your “strange encounter of the first kind” with the person who has been hired to make you look real good:

1. Before you ever submit your first draft to your editor, revise, revise, revise your manuscript. Have a critique group edit it; have another writer friend or two critique it, and send the best possible manuscript to the editor after you’ve rewritten it at least seven or eight times. Your editor is NOT your high school English teacher. He/she expects you to know how to use commas, quotation marks, and colons.
2. Be on time with assignments – editors are on a very tight schedule. Don’t give them deadline headaches. If you have excuses for not meeting those deadlines, you won’t be invited back for another contract.
3. Divorce yourself from your manuscript and analyze it objectively. Your editor is going to suggest changes you won’t like. The words you wrote are not written in stone, and, as much as you think your manuscript is your newborn baby, it is not. Accept with a learning spirit the changes the editor wants.
4. If you are set on keeping your words, discuss the matter with your editor. Explain your reasoning but be willing to listen to his/her explanation. Your editor is a hired professional who knows the ins and outs of publishing. He/she KNOWS what will work 99% of the time.
5. Thank your editor often. When the project is done, send him/her a card of gratitude, at least. (A small gift as a token of your appreciation would be well received.) He/she just might remember you the next time the company is looking for an author in your genre specialty.

So, there you have the basics of working with that editor who wants you to succeed as much as you do. Remember, you’re on the same team. Just let the editor be the quarterback.

Marsha

*****

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