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Archive for the ‘Editors’ Category

Writers! Join us for one of the few writers’ conferences being held during these uncertain times. The Montrose Christian Writers Conference is being held next week from Sunday, July 12th to Friday, July 17th in Montrose, PA. Following is information about a few of our faculty members. Go to  https://bit.ly/2TmCDDf for more details. 

2020 MCWC Faculty Spotlight

Dave Weiss, Annette Whipple, Karen Whiting, and Faculty Changes

ARTIST/AUTHOR/PASTOR DAVE WEISS

   Dave Weiss’ life was transformed by two events, someone introducing him to Jesus and someone showing how his art could be used to the glorify God. Today Dave is a pastor/speaker and the author/illustrator of 18 books, ranging from children’s books to non-fiction books on creative ministry.

DAVE’S KEYNOTE ADDRESS
SUNDAY EVENING

The Crimson Thread

Often we look at the Bible as a collection of books or stories, but what we sometimes fail to see is how the stories are a part of a larger narrative—God’s plan of redemption. In this session, Dave Weiss using art and storytelling will connect the dots with a crimson thread.

PASTOR DAVE’S TWO AFTERNOON CLASSES
              Mon. 2:30 – 3:15            

The Illustrated Book. Part 1: Pick the Pix

One of the great challenges of creating illustrated books is selecting what to illustrate, i.e. which pictures will give the story the greatest impact. Author/Illustrator Dave Weiss working from the manuscript from his children’s book, David’s Farm, will share his creative process in picking just the right illustrations. Authors may also bring their own manuscripts to discuss illustration possibilities.

                                              
Mon. 3:30 – 4:15
The Illustrated Book. Part 2: Prepping the Pix

In this workshop, Dave Weiss will show more of the illustration process, including planning the illustrations, thumbnails/story boarding, as well as illustration techniques, character design, placing the text, and formatting the finished page.

AUTHOR ANNETTE WHIPPLE

Annette Whipple celebrates curiosity and inspires a sense of wonder in readers and writers. She’s the author of five nonfiction children’s books, and this year The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press) and Whooo Knew? The Truth about Owls  (Reycraft Books) will be published. Annette also has experience writing magazine articles & Sunday school materials. She learned to love science & history during her years as an environmental educator & classroom teacher. Annette lives in Oxford, PA, with her husband & three children. 

ANNETTE’S CLASSES
 Mon. Thurs. 10:40 – 12:10

MAJOR MORNING CHILDREN’S NONFICTION

Want to share your knowledge and passion with children? This class dives deep into the nonfiction market for children—both in the Christian and general markets. Participants will explore the nonfiction writing process along with strategies, methods, and tools to improve writing and get published. We’ll study children’s informational texts to see how they’re similar and different. Hands-on activities will be included. This major morning class will equip you to write and inspire children’s curiosity.

AUTHOR KAREN WHITING

 Karen Whiting (www.karenwhiting.com) is an international speaker, former television host, and award-winning author of eighteen books. She has written more than six hundred articles for more than sixty publications. Currently. Karen writes for Leading Hearts Magazine and Molly Green Magazine. She writes for women, families, children, and the military. Best sellers include God’s Girls and My Princess Devotions.
Awards Karen has won:

Christian Retailing Best 2014, children’s nonfiction
AWSA Nonfiction Book of the Year
Awards: Military Writer Society of America Gold Medal, faith category

KAREN’S CLASSES

MAJOR MORNING: MARKETING YOUR BOOK

Whether you already have a book or are just beginning as a writer, learn the tools to develop your name. It’s never too early to start! Workshop will cover developing a portfolio, business card, brochure, store events, press kit, bio, web site, and products.

FACULTY CHANGES

Due to various reasons, several faculty members have had to bow out this year. However, our other fantastic faculty members have graciously volunteered to cover most of the classes vacated by those who had to withdraw.

TWO OF DEB HAGGERTY’S CLASSES are now filled by:
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR MICHELE CHYNOWETH 

Monday 2:30 – 3:15:
Getting Started (Fiction)
Tuesday 3:30 – 4:15:
It Takes One to Know One-Character Development

ONE OF DEB HAGGERTY’S CLASSES is now filled by:
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR ZOE MCCARTHY

Tuesday 2:30 – 3:15:
Writing in a Deep Point of View

SALLY APOKEDAK’S MAJOR MORNING CHILDREN’S FICTION CLASSES are now filled by:
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR JOYCE MAGNIN

Monday – Thursday 10:40 to 12:10:
First Chapter Essentials

VIE HERLOCKER’S MAJOR MORNING BEGINNERS’ CLASSES are now filled by:
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR MARSHA HUBLER

Monday – Thursday 10:40 to 12:10
: From Novice to Noticed

TWO OF MICHELLE LAZUREK’S CLASSES are now filled by:
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR DIANE STARK

Wednesday 1:30 – 2:15:
Writing for “Guideposts” and “All Creatures”
Thursday 1:30 to 2:15:
Writing the Profile Piece: Someone Else’s Story”

TWO OF MICHELLE LAZUREK’S CLASSES are now filled by:
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR JEANETTE LEVELLIE

Wednesday 2:30 – 3:15:
How to Start a Speaking Career
Thursday 2:30 – 3:15:
Humor Sells

PRAISE AND WORSHIP LEADER ALISON EVERILL’S RESPONSIBILITIES have been filled by:
GIFTED MUSICIAN KATHY BRITTAIN

Sunday’s Opening Session and Monday -Friday’s Morning Sessions: –
A short Praise and Worship Time

Wednesday 1:30 – 4:15
Music Writing Seminar (Sign-up required; still room in this class; call 800-598-5030 for more information)

The Montrose Conference Center staff and I are doing all humanly possible to keep everyone safe as we gather together next week. I look forward to seeing many of you at this writers’ conference. I believe God will richly bless and protect us all as we strive to serve Him by learning how to write better and for His glory.
Marsha
Director

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MCWC Faculty Spotlight – Editor/Author Cindy K. Sproles


Cindy K. Sproles is an author, teacher, and speaker. She is the managing editor for Straight Street Books and Son Rise Devotionals (imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), and the executive editor of ChristianDevotions.us and InspireaFire.com.  Cindy travels nationwide teaching at writers conferences and women’s conferences. She is a best-selling author and serves as a writing mentor.  She is the author of nine non-fiction and three fiction books, and her devotions are widely published over the eastern seaboard. Visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com.

Cindy’s afternoon classes
Mon. – Thurs.
2:30 to 3:15 

Writing Devotions that Strike the Soul

In this class, we’ll utilize the hook, book, look, and took method of writing devotions. We’ll discuss aspects that stop the reader from reading and offer tips that draw readers in, providing them the ah-h-h moment that strikes the soul. There is no one specific right or wrong way to write a devotion, but there are elements that are a must for a devotion to make an impact.

  Make Diamonds from Coal – Polishing your Manuscript

We’ll discuss polishing a manuscript. We’ll address where the story begins, the importance of the opening paragraph and page, what is your hook, and what is your overall goal of the book. We’ll look at how to develop characters who impact your readers so when the book is done, they want to know more about them. This class also addresses chapter lengths and overall word count, as well as the synopsis and how to submit to an agent or publisher.
                

 Writing Cliff Hangers: Keep ’Em Hangin’

What makes your reader continue to flip the pages? What does it mean when a reader says, “It’s a fast read?” These are questions every writer needs to answer and understand.  We’ll discuss what a cliffhanger is, the types of cliffhangers—Every cliffhanger is not a devastating thing—and how to add them at the end of every chapter. Learn about twists and how they pull the reader into the next page and how they may even surprise you. If you are writing a novel, this class is a must.

I Can Self Publish Just Because I Can

Self-publishing is readily available this day, but jumping the gun to publish before your manuscript is ready will become your Achilles heel as your career progresses. This class covers the business decision of self-publishing and its financial impact, and it discusses the importance of never skipping the steps to publication, i.e. editing, professional cover, and platform. Rejections and the purpose of them is addressed as well as understanding trends, the market, and if now is the right time to publish.    

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Writers, please continue to pray that Susquehanna County soon goes green. We’ll abide by all state regs to keep everyone safe at our conference.

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2020 FACULTY SPOTLIGHT
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR
JOYCE MAGNIN

   Joyce Magnin is the author of more than a dozen books, including the acclaimed Bright’s Pond series, the Harriet Beamer novels, Maybelle in Stitches (Quilts of Love Series) and four middle grade novels, Boxing Emily (spring 2020), Jelly Bean Summer, Carrying Mason and Cake-Love, Chickens and Taste of Peculiar which was awarded a Kirkus starred review.
Her debut novel, The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow (Bright’s Pond) was named one of the top five titles of 2009 by Library Journal and was a Carol Award finalist.
She loves to visit schools and talk about the magical world of books and writing. Joyce is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
“Writing and story have always been a part of my life. I love to share my passion, my joy and my personal adventure.” ~ Joyce Magnin

JOYCE’S AFTERNOON CLASSES

Formatting: One Inch Margins All Around
In this class we will take a look at what it means to properly format your manuscripts for submission. We will discuss fonts, margins, line spacing, proper punctuation of dialog etc. Appearance matters when it comes to publishing. And believe it or not, knowing the right way will make the writing easier. But you can still wear your jammies to write.

Kidlit Boot Camp
From conception to finished product in forty minutes. A comprehensive look at everything it takes to write a successful book for children, tweens, and teens.

Sassy Gets the Job Done
How to write compelling characters for your tween, midgrade, or teen novel. We’ll get to the heart of character development.

The Hero’s Journey in Kidlit
The Hero’s Journey is the most elegant of all plot structure formulas. We’ll look at how to apply the 12 steps of the hero’s journey to your story.

Revising Your Kidlit for Fun and Hopefully Profit
Congratulations! You have a first draft. Now what? Learn about revision—a checklist of elements to look for as you revise your story. It’ll be no problem if you’re not quite finished a draft.
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Attention Writers, please continue to pray with us that the COVID-19 situation will not cause us to cancel our 2020 MCWC conference. The good news is that Montrose’s county, Susquehanna County,  has gone “YELLOW” and should be going “GREEN” very soon as the number of positive COVID cases continue to decline. Right now the only factor that might cause us to cancel is low conferee enrollment. All our faculty members are anxious and excited to come.

PLEASE let me know if you plan to come to the conference but have not registered yet. We want to have the conference following all the guidelines to make the event safe for everyone. Our enrollment, or lack of it, will determine 2020 MCWC’s destiny.

 I hope to see you in July!
Marsha, Director

 

To contact me for a brochure: marshahubler@outlook.com  or go to https://bit.ly/2TmCDDf to see the conference details AND register online.

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2020 MCWC Faculty Spotlight – PA Magazine Editor Matt Holliday

One of our 2020 MCWC faculty members will be Chief Editor of the PA Magazine, Matthew K. Holliday.  Matt has been with that magazine since 1992. Although his title is “Editor,” his job includes all aspects of the publication process: working with contributors through coordinating production and marketing the magazine to potential subscribers. He enjoys working with regular and new contributors to obtain engaging material. He lives with his wife, teen son, and two golden retrievers in Mechanicsburg. Hobbies include traveling, wooden spoon carving, blacksmithing, kayaking, and camping.

MATT’S CLASSES

 Monday Afternoon Classes

                                Anatomy of a Suitable Article                           

Every magazine has needs and a style for its articles. We’ll dissect one or two articles that have appeared in Pennsylvania Magazine and discover the elements (subject/approach/writer/  photographer/process/submission/treatment that makes each article a winner. You can easily transfer this process to other publications too.

Photography 101

Make yourself more marketable by taking adequate photos. Have you wanted to sell stories locally, but they require you to submit photos with your text? Bring your camera or smart phone and learn the basics of taking images that are “good enough” for use in newspapers and small circulation magazines where the pay might be low, but the publication prospects are high. 

 Tuesday Afternoon Classes

                               From a Query to the Finished Article

An editor’s viewpoint on the process for sending a query, what to do with rejections, and the process from a go-ahead to a finished and published manuscript. This session will include hints and processes that can help every writer submit materials that can avoid rejection or extensive revision.        

                            How to Pitch & Contribute to a Magazine                                                             

Magazines require new material, every issue. Some are wide open for freelance work; many are not but pretend that they are. Learn how to analyze a magazine’s back issues, website, or how to make targeted phone calls or emails. Discover who receives queries, how to pitch the publication, what subjects to send, how to angle your story, when to send materials, etc. (Some publications are not worth your time; others can be goldmines.) Learn how to analyze which is which and go about the work of submitting materials for publication. 

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Writers, please continue to pray with us that the COVID-19 situation will not cause us to cancel our 2020 MCWC conference.
I hope to see you in July!
Marsha, Director

To contact me for a brochure: marshahubler@outlook.com  or go to https://bit.ly/2pdcYQC to see the conference details AND register online.

  

 

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  The 2020 MCWC Faculty Spotlight: EDITOR VIE HERLOCKER

ATTENTION, WRITERS!

      One of our 2020 MCWC faculty members will be editor Vie Herlocker.
Vie is associate editor for Surry Living Magazine, Mt. Airy, NC. Her experience includes editing for a small publisher and reviewing for Blue Ink Reviews. She is a member of Christian Editor Connection, Christian PEN, ACFW, ACW, and WordWeavers. Vie received a nonfiction Excellence in Editing award in 2017, and a novel she edited won a 2018 Selah award.

VIE’S CLASSES

Major Morning
From Novice to Noticed (For Beginners and Those Needing a Do-Over)

     Welcome to the world of writing!  Join the Book Mama (and her alter ego, Miz Moe) on a behind the scenes look at the language of publishing, the tools of the trade, formatting, writing techniques for fiction and nonfiction, editing your work, submitting your manuscript, and more. We’ll discover the sneaky mistakes that may mark you as a novice—and discuss how to find and fix them so that you have a better chance of being noticed! (And noticed for the right, rather than the wrong things.)

 Wednesday Afternoon Class

What Can I Expect from a Professional Edit?   

     Editing covers a continuum of services and skills. The terms used to describe the different types—developmental, substantive, line, and copyedit—can be confusing. And then there is proofreading. You may have asked: Do I need an edit? Where do I find an editor? How much does editing cost? This session will demystify the world of working with an editor.

Monday Evening Session

MS WORD:
The Masked Superhero of the Writing World 

     Lurking on your computer—ready to jump in and come to the writer’s rescue—is the often-overlooked superhero, MS WORD! Come to this evening session with Book Mama and Miz Moe and learn to unleash the power of Find and Replace, Find and Highlight, Comment Balloons, and the mastermind, Track Changes. 

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Writers, please continue to pray with us that the COVID-19 situation will not cause us to cancel our 2020 MCWC conference.
I hope to see you in July!
Marsha, Director

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

or go to https://bit.ly/2KCOWql

for the full details and to register online.

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The 2020 MCWC Faculty Spotlight

ELK LAKE PUBLISHING
CHIEF EDITOR

DEB HAGGERTY

One of our 2020 MCWC faculty members will be the chief editor and owner of Elk Lake Publishing, Plymouth, MA.
Deb Haggerty has been involved in Christian speaking and writing since 1995. She’s well known in the industry for her teaching at Christian writers’ conferences such as Glorieta, Blue Ridge Mountains, Greater Philadelphia, and Florida. She has been on staff for CLASSeminars and Florence Littauer’s Personality Training Seminars. Her seminars on communication, networking, and grace are popular with conferences and church groups alike. She also teaches writers “Tips and Tricks on Working with Editors and Publishers.”

 Since purchasing Elk Lake Publishing and incorporating, the company has gained a reputation for publishing positive books, encouraging new and experienced authors alike, and participating in the education of upcoming writers. Deb’s mission is to come alongside the authors God brings to her to ensure their work is produced in a positive and professional fashion.
Prior to her speaking and writing endeavors, Deb worked in corporate America for almost twenty-five years in a variety of assignments from sales, support staff, marketing, consulting, recruiting, and management. She even taught piano lessons for five years! All of these experiences have prepared her for running Elk Lake Publishing Inc.
Elk Lake Publishing is a traditional, royalty-paying publisher that acquires a variety of books in all genres of fiction and from children’s to adult. They also publish nonfiction “with a twist.” At this time, they’re looking for primarily fiction—especially mystery/suspense and contemporary women’s—and selected nonfiction, but no Amish, cowboy, memoirs, devotionals, Bible studies, or poetry.

DEB’S CLASSES

MONDAY 2:30 – 3:15
HOW TO GROW A TOPIC

What should we write about, where do we find topics, and how do we construct them?
When we decide to write or to speak, we first must decide what we want to say. We need to understand the parts of the book or speech and how to construct them. We need to understand research and know what makes us credible on the topic we’ve chosen.

TUESDAY 2:30 – 3:15
PUBLISHING 101:
FROM QUERY TO THE BOOK CONTRACT

We’ll review the publishing process from query to the finished book and everything in between.
Presenting yourself and your work successfully to an editor/publisher requires certain skills and documents. Ways to ensure you make that very important great first impression will be discussed along with tips and techniques to aid in the creative process. This is an interactive seminar with questions and discussion actively encouraged.

TUESDAY 3:30 – 4:15
PREPARING A PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION

Speaking to groups is one of the best ways to sell books.Several studies have shown one of the best ways to sell books is back-of-the-room at a speech to a group. Many of us are terrified of the prospect of talking in front of people. This workshop will teach the steps to a professional presentation for even the faint of heart.

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Deb Haggerty had met several authors at last year’s MCWC whose work she loved and has contracted with those authors for a book deal. Don’t miss this year’s conference and plan to meet with her if you are writing the genres her company publishes. You might get that contract you’ve been working for.                    
I hope to see you in July!
Marsha, Director

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

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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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