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Archive for the ‘Editors’ Category

The Nametag

Diane Stark

When I was eight years old, my mom “caught” me sitting on the floor in my closet with a purple pen and a spiral bound notebook. When she asked me what I was doing, I sighed and admitted, “Mom, I’ve been writing.”

When I was in fifth grade, I won the Young Author’s Fair at school. My story was terrible and slightly plagiarized, I think. At the end of the story, the villain melted because of the rain, and as his body became a glob of ooze on the ground, he groaned, “I melted because I’m so sweet.”  I stole this.  My mother used to say that to my siblings and me when we fussed about carrying in groceries while it was raining. “You’re not going to melt,” she’d say. “Only sugar cubes are that sweet.”

Plagiarizing a story from your own mother isn’t sweet at all.

Clearly, my roots as a writer are iffy at best. My childhood included lots of closet hiding, spiral-bound notebooks, and, apparently, theft of my mother’s intellectual property.

As a high school senior, I won college scholarships because of essays I’d written. But never for a second did I consider journalism as a major. Writing for a career? That was way too risky.

I majored in education and taught elementary school for a decade. I loved it, and I’d like to think I was good at it, but it didn’t feed my soul. Not like writing did.

I wrote late at night when my husband and children were sleeping. I even sent some of my stories to editors, and a few of them got published.

But I never told anyone.

I loved writing, and I didn’t want anyone to steal the joy I felt at doing it. So I kept it a secret.

Until I wanted to attend my first writers’ conference. I was nervous to tell my husband about it, but he encouraged me to go. So I did.

At the conference, they gave me a lanyard to wear. The tag read, “My name is Diane, and I am a writer.”

I gasped. What am I doing there? I’m not a writer, I thought. Not a real writer, anyway.

I put the lanyard around my neck, feeling like a liar.

That afternoon, I met with the editor of a small Christian publication. I sat across from him, my hands shaking. I handed him the stack of stories I’d brought and prepared to be embarrassed.

But instead of him saying, “These aren’t good enough,” he smiled and said, “These are terrific. Exactly what I’ve been looking for.”

“Really?” I said. “Because I’m not a real writer, you know. I’m just a mom.  I write at night when I think no one knows, but I’m pretty sure my husband has known all along.”

He chuckled. “A lot of us feel that way. We feel that struggle to be a ‘real’ writer. But have you seen your name tag?”

That editor, who is now my friend, gave me such a gift that day. He let me in on a little secret:  Becoming a writer isn’t about getting published.  It’s about writing.  It’s about doing the thing that God has called you to do.

I’m a writer, not because an editor likes my work, but because God created me to write.

Published or not, if you pick up a pen for the Kingdom, you are a writer.

Diane’s Topics for her Classes at

the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference

July 16th – 21st

Breaking into Anthologies

Diane has been published in more than 35 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She knows what types of stories sell to anthologies and can help others tell their personal stories in an effective, emotional way—exactly what the anthologies are looking for.

Writing for Parenting Magazines

Diane has five children and she regularly writes about her “expertise” as a parent in magazines like Focus on the Family.While she doesn’t claim to be a parenting expert, she does know that what works for her kids might work for other kids too.  She also knows that magazines will pay for these parenting tips.  Diane will teach participants how to use their own parenting “expertise” to break into parenting magazines.

Conducting High Profile Interviews

Christian magazines are always on the lookout for profile pieces about Christian celebrities. But how do writers get these interviews, and what do you ask in the interview? Diane has interviewed Christian musicians, NFL and NBA stars, as well as Christian actors and actresses. She will teach participants how to acquire high-profile interviews, what to ask during these coveted interviews, and even how to control your nerves.

Writing the Profile Piece

Profile pieces are among the most salable stories a freelancer can write. Diane will teach participants how to write this type of story after conducting an interview. Information will include choosing the best quotes from your notes, researching background information, and grabbing the readers’ attention from the start.

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Diane Stark has been a freelance writer for the last ten years. She has written for dozens of Christian magazines, including Focus on the Family, The Brink, Seek, War Cry, Teachers of Vision, Faith and Friends, and 35 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She taught kindergarten for a decade before resigning to pursue a writing career. Diane is a bubbly, enthusiastic encourager who teaches other writers from a “Here’s What I Did” standpoint. She will motivate and equip conferees to succeed at their own writing dreams.

 

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Plan to attend MCWC this July and get your manuscript ready for publication!

Registration forms will be out within the next few weeks.

Marsha

Director

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An Author’s Guide to Editing, Part One

Loving Tips From Love2edit

Darlene Catlett, Copy Editor

 

Fifteen years ago, while working for a small Christian ministry, I stumbled into editing. Someone handed me a newsletter and asked me to proofread it for typos. I must have pointed out some things of value, because I found myself being assigned to proofread ads and other marketing materials, and finally I was asked to proofread a book. As I gained experience over time, my knowledge and skills grew, and I came to realize that I love to edit.

Is it true that writers consider writing to be the fun part and editing to be the boring part? I’ve heard that editing is the way to turn bland content into a work of art, or milk into ice cream!

As an editor, my perspective is different than yours. In order to sweeten the idea of editing, I put together a few editing tips for you. One of them may be just what you’re looking for!

  1. Let it be. Allow time in your schedule to write one day and edit the next. Or perhaps you can write in the morning and edit at night. If your deadline is too close to do either of those, at least get up out of your chair, walk away, and do something that will take your mind off your writing for a few minutes.
  2. Pretend someone else wrote it. If you have the luxury of setting your writing aside for several days, it may seem like someone else actually did write it!
  3. Round two. For larger works, edit in more than one sitting.
  4. Use highlights as you edit. Start out by highlighting everything. When a section is good to go, eliminate the highlight.
  5. Slash and save. When you edit out a thought, phrase, or illustration, save it somewhere to be used later. Create one document of slashed ideas and call it your Parking Lot.
  6. Read it out loud. Read it very quickly to see if there’s anything you stumble over. Read it slowly with slightly exaggerated expression as though you are reading it to a group of children. Read it to someone else and ask them to give you an honest critique.
  7. Don’t rely on spell check. So many mistakes slip through if you trust too much in technology to find your errors, i.e: though ≠ through ≠ thorough, my ≠ may, the ≠ they, must ≠ most.

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Please join me in one of the following workshops this July at the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference to look at your writing from an editor’s perspective:

Aspects of the Editing Process

Let’s talk about what seems like top-secret information! Learn the difference between proofreading and copy editing and gain insight into the typical processes of a freelance editor and a publishing house. We’ll discover what it means to be “serious about editing… but not too serious to enjoy a good laugh over it!

Proofread with Excellence (Proofreaders’ Lingo)

In this lighthearted, hands-on workshop, we’ll have fun mastering all those puzzling proofreaders’ marks. As writers, you may see these marks during the pre-publication proofing stage, in style manuals, or from an editor prior to submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher. Let’s decode some of the most useful ones together, and I’ll give you a tool that will save you time, should you have a need to use these markings in the future.

Darlene shares her joy of copy editing through various speaking events where attendees learn about her five C’s of copy-editing: to make the copy Clear, Correct, Concise, Comprehensible, and Consistent. Darlene lives by this motto: “I’m serious about editing… but not too serious to enjoy a good laugh over it!”

Learn more at http://www.love2edit.com

I hope to see you at Montrose this July!

Marsha, Director

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Montrose Christian Writers Conference Faculty Spotlight

Lora Zill

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Award-winning Poet

“If you want to become a better writer, write poetry because it teaches you to find just the right word.”

I heard that at my first writing conference 25 years ago from the keynote speaker. Since I’m a published poet and writer, and I edit and publish the Christian literary poetry journal “Time Of Singing,” I say, “AMEN!”

Writing poetry makes me a wordsmith. I come to think of words as individual markers of creativity that, when combined in a certain order, creates a work of art called a poem. Poetry teaches me to use language in all of its magic—its sensory imagery, sound, rhythm, the music of the line, and the paragraph, even white space, and yes, grammar and punctuation.

I carry the art and craft of poetry into my nonfiction. Great Christian writers such as Annie Dillard and Catherine Marshall wrote poetry, and you can see it in the sound and imagery in their prose. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. understood the power of poetry when he used images to drive home the great truths of the civil rights movement in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” Abraham Lincoln used the cadences and sounds of language in his Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address to create hope in the hearts of his people during and after the terrible cost of the Civil War.

So during my poetry classes at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference this summer, we’ll discuss the art and craft of poetry. We’ll play with words and generate ideas using everyday objects like paint chips, seed catalogs, stained glass, magazines, and word tiles. We’ll talk about what works, what doesn’t, and why, and how to achieve our writing goals. We’ll explore our creative pen and quillprocesses and discover new insights as we write and share.

Even if you write fiction or nonfiction, you’ll learn how to enhance and strengthen your work. Most of all, we’ll honor and affirm our creative lives in these classes. We will honor Jesus as the Root and Source of all our creativity.

I look forward to working with poets with all levels of the publishing experience.

Lora

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Lora will be teaching both a Major Morning series about poetry and will conduct a three-session afternoon poetry work-in-progress seminar this July at Montrose. Poets, plan to sign up for either or both of her classes. If you’re interested in working on your own poetry in the WIP seminar, sign up ASAP when the registration opens soon. That seminar is limited to six conferees.

Marsha

Director MCWC

 

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Should You Write a Bible Study?
By Gloria Penwell

Many authors and speakers eventually come to the decision that they could, or should, write a Bible study. For various reasons they believe the market needs what they have to offer. Sometimes the thought is I can write a Bible study better than anything out there, or I can’t find exactly what I’m looking for. My particular favorite reason that I hear is I’m much more spiritually mature than most of those other authors.

But what should be the motivation for writing a Bible study?

I believe that writing Bible studies must come out of a pressing sense that God wants an author to share his/her perspective on a particular subject or passage of scripture. Many times in our personal studies, we revert to one passage or concept that God keeps impressing on our hearts and minds. We study it. We do research it. We can’t let it go. That’s a good sign that maybe God wants us to write a certain Bible study.
Before we make that decision, though, it’s vital we spend time before the Father, asking him what he wants us to do. This very special subgenre needs to be verified by much prayer and the reading of God’s Word.

Who really needs another Bible study?

Another thing I suggest authors do is to ask other people if a certain topic or theme would be helpful to them. It might even be a good idea to teach it and see how it’s received. Sometimes the promptings we get from God are for our growth and don’t particularly apply to others. Will your Bible study help others in their Christian walk?
Writing Bible studies should be a deeply spiritual undertaking. Don’t ever approach it lightly.

Gloria Penwell
Acquisitions Editor
Bold Vision Books
http://www.Boldvisionbooks.com

Gloria will be presenting the following workshops this July at MCWC:

BIBLE STUDIES THAT SELL

GET THE MOST OUT OF THE CONFERENCE

PRAYER IN THE LIFE OF A WRITER

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2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference

Faculty Spotlight

Cathy Mayfield

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Teen Track Moderator

Legacies Let Loose

What does receiving a legacy mean to you? Do you dream of mansions, jewels, coins, savings bonds, cars? Or, like me, do you long for the stories?
When my grandmother passed to glory, I regretted not writing out the stories she told about my grandfather’s days on the railroad in the 1940s. Some I remembered; others left with her. I would love to have those stories memorialized to read to our grandson one day so he could live his great-great-grandfather’s adventures:

  1. He would laugh about the live rooster Pop brought home in his lunchbox, forgetting to tell his wife before she opened the lid, and mayhem broke out.
  2. He’d giggle over Pop’s exploits trying to cram a several-hundred-pound hog back into a crate from which it had escaped
  3. He’d wonder over the mystery of where Pop went or what he did when he’d leave on secretive trips during the war.                                                                      But those three stories aren’t enough.
    Enter my passion for helping people to leave legacies by writing their stories for their families and friends. I began simply by writing my own in a journal with the aid of passwords (an idea from the book Passwords to Your Past by Max Kelly and Dorothy Breslin), which started an onslaught of writing ideas – devotionals, Bible studies, columns, and more. And my passion grew.
    I began volunteering at senior care facilities, listening to the residents relate their cherished stories, pure joy to this writer. My goal remains to one day help them leave legacies by writing those stories and publishing them into booklet form for their loved ones to read someday.
    A plaque my daughter bought me hangs on our wall: “Home is where your story begins.” Write it down before you forget! Help others write theirs! Let the legacies loose!
    Teen Track Workshop Description                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
    Ready, Set, Write…and Finish! 2017 Montrose Teen/Young Writers WIP Class:
    • Get Ready! – Pick one of the hundreds of story ideas swimming in your head.
    • Get Set! – Do some brainstorming or free writing until you have some storyline ideas, a setting, and some characters.
    • Get Writing! – Start the writing process! Make sure you have a beginning which will hook your readers. Work on twists and turns as the middle proceeds.
    • Get It Finished! – And that’s where we come in! Bring your manuscript. We’ll help you keep going…and going. Editing…and editing. Rewriting…and rewriting. Prepare to “Get it finished!”
    Spread the word! Teens are always welcome at the Montrose Christian  Writers Conference!       Marsha Hubler, director

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The Montrose Christian Writers Conference

Faculty Spotlight

HAS GOD CALLED ME TO WRITE?

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Barbara Scott

 

Are writers made or born with their gift? What is a Christian writer? Is it too late for me to start writing? I’ve asked and pondered every one of those questions at some point in my life.

Viewpoints differ as to whether a writer is made or born. Not that I’m in any way holding up Jack Kerouac, a twentieth-century novelist and poet, as someone to emulate. Quite the contrary. But he did answer the first question above rather succinctly in an essay published in 1962 in Writer’s Digest. He wrote, “Writers are made, for anybody who isn’t illiterate can write; but geniuses of the writing art like Melville, Whitman or Thoreau are born.”

You may sigh and take your hands off the keyboard at this point. Your internal dialogue might go something like this: “I’m not illiterate, but I’m certainly no genius. Who do I think I am? Maybe I should quit right now if that’s what it takes. Maybe I just thought God called me to write. I don’t even know where to start.”

Well, as Julie Andrews once sang to her young charges in The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start.”

Most of the people God called in Scripture were quite ordinary. God’s Holy Spirit wrote the Scriptures by using the minds, the hands, the writing implements of ordinary, obedient people. God still works the same way today. Some writers are young. Some are old. Some are educated. Some can barely spell.

That’s why Marsha Hubler asked me to teach a series of workshops for novice writers in July at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. No writing experience necessary. Following are descriptions of the major morning workshops I plan to teach beginners who believe God has called them to write:

Lingo Lessons

In a comfortable, non-judgmental session, I’ll explain the basics and answer any questions about the language of writing, editing, and publishing to help you navigate these new waters. If you bring the first paragraph of any project, I’ll critique your work during the third major morning session on editing.

The Write Stuff

Think of this session as Writing 101. Learn about proper formatting, margins, and fonts; how to write a synopsis, proposal, and query letter; and how to use more than the spell-check feature on your computer. Bring a pen and paper or your laptop to class.

What’s an Edit?

Not every word you write is golden. That’s why every writer needs an editor. Editing is more than proofreading for spelling mistakes. This session will explain the various types of edits and when, why, and how each is used.

Graduation Time

We’ll tackle issues such as how to build a network of writing friends, finding a critique group, attending conferences, pitching your ideas, and how to know when you’re ready for the next step. Do you want to remain a hobbyist or take a leap of faith and seek publication?

I’ll also teach a few short afternoon classes:

The Power of Storytelling

In an interactive session, I’ll discuss the role and importance of writers—fiction and nonfiction—in God’s plan, from your calling to how to change lives with stories that touch the heart. Learn the elements of a great story, even if you write nonfiction.

Pick a Genre

Is God calling you to write? Don’t know what to write? In this workshop, learn the characteristics of each genre (type of writing) and how to discover your “sweet spot.”

Please join me in July and let’s start at the very beginning.

Barbara’s Bio:

An inspirational book editor for more almost twenty years, Barbara Scott has recently returned to her first love—writing. In the fall of 2016, Gilead Publishing released her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in an inspirational collection titled Sleigh Bells Ring. Barbara is the coauthor of two bestselling novels and wrote numerous gift books and devotionals before her long stint as a senior acquisitions editor for several Christian publishers.

 

Today’s Book Feature:

Keystone Stables Book Five

LEADING THE WAY

Can Skye help Katie Thomas, a blind foster girl, learn to barrel race a horse?

http://www.amazon.com/Leading-Way-Keystone-Stables-Book-ebook/dp/B003SE75ZI/ref=pd_sim_351_6?ie=UTF8&dpID=511o8hwVNXL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_OU01_AC_UL320_SR206%2C320_&refRID=0WD7GM9G0BRSCZKCKZFM

 

Keystone Stables Book 5

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Come to the Montrose Christian Writers Conference!

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One of the most meaningful experiences you’ll ever have as a writer is attending writers’ conferences. The knowledge gained, the friendships made, and the encouragement received are all well worth the time, effort, and money invested in any writers conference you attend.

My attending the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, literally, changed my writing life forever.

In 2001, I met Barbara Scott, the acquisitions editor of Zonderkidz, and my Keystone Stables Series was launched, eventually becoming a best seller with over scott-barbara-photo-2017150,000 in print. After all these years, the books are still in print and selling fairly well. Thanks to the wisdom of Barbara Scott, who said, “I want this series to have a long shelf life,” that’s exactly what’s happened.

The Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA, is one of the best conferences, in my opinion, that you’ll ever attend. Of course, I’m partial since I assumed the directorship in January of 2015, attempting to continue the excellence of faculty and workshops started 27 years ago and directed by Patti Souder for 20 years.

This year’s conference from July 16th to the 21st is entitled

EQUIPPING WRITERS FOR ETERNAL SIGNIFICANCE

“Oh that my words were now written! Oh that they were printed in a book!”

(Job 19:23)

It will feature four continuing morning classes:

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA (ADVANCED FICTION) – FILM ACTOR TORRY MARTIN

WHERE DO I BEGIN?  – EDITOR BARBARA SCOTT

NONFICTION: THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT  –  AUTHOR B.J. TAYLOR

THE ART AND CRAFT OF POETRY  –  POET LORA ZILL

 as well as 45 other afternoon and evening classes or workshops. If you leave this five-day conference without learning anything, I’d say you’re not cut out to be a writer.

This year we’re also offering three work-in-progress classes (limited to 8 participants):

PICTURE BOOKS – AUTHOR CAROL WEDEVEN

POETRY BOOT CAMP – POET LORA ZILL

TEEN TRACK –  AUTHOR CATHY MAYFIELD

(Registration fees and housing rates are reduced for teens)

Do you need your manuscript privately critiqued to see if you should continue or give it up and take up crocheting? We’re able to help you with that as well, offering professional private critiques by five faculty members (for a small fee) OR freebie peer critique groups moderated by seven faculty members. So get that manuscript ready!

If you’re considering attending this conference, I recommend you register as soon as possible when registration opens in March. I expect it to fill up very quickly. Watch for all the details coming soon at www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

If you want to take a peek at what the conference looked like last year, go visit now.

Happy writing!

SUMMER CAMP ADVENTURE

Keystone Stables Book 4

KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK 4

Skye has her hands full trying to help Jonathan, a stubborn deaf boy, learn to ride western when he just wants to ride English style. Then he takes off on his horse in the middle of the night and gets lost in the woods.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003TFE5VI/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

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