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The 2020 Montrose Christian Writers Conference is History!

 Conference center director, Jim Fahringer, and former writers’ conference director, Patti Souder

WE MADE IT!

    The 2020 Montrose Christian Writers Conference began Sunday evening, July 12th and ended Friday, July 17th on the campus of the beautiful restored home and conference center of world-renowned evangelist, missionary, and author R.A. Torrey.
   We had 12 on faculty including award-winning and best-selling authors, and we had about 60 conferees attend. With over 50 classes teaching anything from the basics of editing and writing well to marketing and promoting your book, the conferees went home with their heads stuffed full of knowledge they can apply to their own writing career.
Our wonderful faculty shared invaluable information to help beginners as well as those who’ve been published. We also had a Praise and Worship time every day with gifted pianist Kathy Brittain. That time is always a highlight for mostly everyone.

 With the ongoing COVID -19 threat, the conference center director, Jim Fahringer, and his staff did everything humanly possible to keep everyone safe, including taking our temperatures every morning, everyone wearing masks, having hand sanitizer available all over the place, and practicing social distancing. The kitchen and dining room crew went, what I consider, way beyond “playing it safe,” handling food meticulously with no salad bar and using paper/Styrofoam products. We even practiced social distancing at the dining room tables.
For you who attended,  you know God richly blessed the week. We made new friends and renewed old acquaintances. Some folks were in tears on Friday when we dismissed because their week had been so blessed. One faculty member said, “I don’t want to leave.” Another one told me, “I’d love to move here!”
 For you who missed because of a number of reasons, I pray that next year we’ll be able to resume “normalcy” and once again have another writers’ conference to encourage and uplift every faculty member and conferee who will attend.  In a few weeks, I’ll begin planning for the 32nd MCWC!
Thank you all for your prayers. God did bless in a marvelous way!
Marsha
Director

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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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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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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.

************************************************

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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AGENT SALLY APOKEDAK ON THE 2020 MCWC FACULTY!

 

Writers, don’t miss the 31st annual Montrose Christian Writers Conference July 12th to the 17th! One of our faculty members will be literary agent Sally Apokedak.

Sally  owns the Apokedak Literary Agency, a boutique agency specializing in Christian-worldview children’s books aimed at the general market. She currently has two agents on board, a few hardworking interns, and a select group of wonderful clients.

She’s been working in children’s publishing for 20-plus years. As the manager of the Kidz Book Buzz blog tour, she was privileged to work with bestselling authors such as Jeanne DuPrau, Ingrid Law, and Shannon Hale. Now she represents her own list of bestselling and award-winning authors, and she teaches online courses to thousands of students in over 90 countries.

Sally will present a Major Morning series, Monday through Thursday from 10:40 until 12:10 entitled

CHILDREN’S FICTION: FIRST CHAPTER ESSENTIALS

If you want to write “kid lit,” your goal is to pull readers into your story world on page one and keep them there to the last page. To do that you need a story world that feels real; characters who are conflicted, active, and growing; a plot that pushes back against your characters so they can learn to be heroes; a voice that is attractive; and a theme that’s woven in so readers feel rewarded with a conclusion that was earned, rather than feeling like the author shoved her agenda down his throat. Please bring your first chapters—we will be working on them in class. 

So plan to join us for an exciting week filled with invaluable information about writing, editing, and marketing for numerous genres. Online details about all the classes and a registration form will soon be available at http://www.montrosebible.org and in a hard copy brochure. If you need a hard copy brochure, please let me know, and I’ll have one mailed to you. 

I hope to see you in July!

For more info about Sally : sally-apokedak.com

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

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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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How to Turn Off your Reader

You’re writing that great American novel. You’ve read tons of “how to write” books, studied your high school English books to the last dangling participle, and now you’re ready to start pecking away at the keyboard.

There are a few basic principles of writing good fiction to keep your reader engaged that must be remembered or your book will go flying out your reader’s window. Worse yet, while it’s being reviewed at the publishing company, the editor will send your manuscript back so fast, you’re characters’ heads will be spinning.

So, if you want to turn off your reader, or your editor, here’s what you do:

1. Start your book by waxing eloquent. Describe beautiful settings, introduce action, and throw in a few pages of dialogue of minor characters. But don’t introduce your main protagonist until page 10.

2. Write 20 pages of backstory with vivid descriptions and details of your protagonist’s past life. Tell every nitty, gritty little detail about him that doesn’t mean beans to the main story line.

3. Have your plot direction a mystery. “What the heck is going on here?” will run through your reader’s mind every time he turns the page and starts a new chapter.

4. Develop a main protagonist that is offensive and says really outrageous or stupid things that aren’t justified. For example, women readers are very sensitive to male attitudes toward them. (The author’s attitudes will come shining through in the protagonist’s actions and words.)

5. If you’re writing Christian fiction, preach it, brother! Fill your pages with scripture verses. Have your protagonist a “holier than thou” saint who does no wrong and walks the straight and narrow. No reader in his right mind would want to embrace a character who is so heavenly minded, he’s no earthly good.

So, if you’ve decided you don’t want to ever be published, that’s what you do. Master these five steps, and you’ll definitely turn off any reader who’s brave enough to attempt to tackle your “eloquence.”

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

OVER 250,000 IN PRINT!

THE 8-BOOK KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES

http://amzn.to/2nPbZ5q

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On Writing: Five Elements of a Strong YA Book

You’re ready to start pounding the keyboard with a great idea for a novel to catch the attention of tweens or young adult readers. But where do you begin? What makes that story irresistible to the reader? What makes your manuscript a page turner?

Let’s discuss five elements, each which could take an hour’s seminar to explain in detail, that will help you write a winner. If you incorporate these five elements into your writing, you’ll have a finished product that will catch the eye of an editor and hook your reader until the last page:

1. Develop memorable characters – Joe Schmo should not be a brown-haired, brown-eyed stereotype with no quirks or anything different about him; rather, he should have strong personality traits, perhaps be very courageous or very cowardice to gain your sympathy; he should, nonetheless, conquer his fears and frustrations and go after what he wants.

2. Pace your action and intersperse it with periods of quiet. Kids love action, but if every page has Joe Schmo jumping out of a hot air balloon, swimming the English channel, or saving Mary Schmarey from a bomb that’s going off in three seconds, your reader will just get bored or he might need some nerve pills! Conflicting emotions and inward struggles are just as exciting to the reader as a jet plane flying under the San Francisco Bay Bridge!

3. Develop witty, clever dialogue, but make sure it doesn’t all sound like kids’ talk. Brand your characters with certain styles of dialogue for variety’s sake, and for tween novels especially, “have dialogue on every page,” one of my wise editors once told me.

4. Have your main character face challenges and problems that are very difficult to overcome. You need antagonistic characters to make life difficult for Joe Schmo, or you need to develop a plot that has Joe running in circles or, sometimes, running away before he gets the wisdom or courage to defeat his foe.

5. Develop an “instant-recall factor” in your story line. Winning stories always have a plot or parts of a plot that stay with the reader long after he’s put the book down. What favorite books do you remember? What is it about their story line that is so memorable? Write incidents that excite the reader’s mind or play on his emotions. When I have book signings and my tween fans come to the table, I like to ask them, “Do you like to laugh or cry when you read? I have books in my Keystone Stables Series that will satisfy any emotion, and, hopefully, the characters and story line will stay with my readers long after they’ve read the last page.

So, there you have it. Take these five tips that have helped me become a YA novel best-selling author, and  you’re on your way to writing a winning novel as well.

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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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