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Archive for the ‘Juvenile Fiction’ Category

ARE CRITIQUE GROUPS VALUABLE?

Some members of the Susquehanna Valley Writers Group, Selinsgrove, PA

 

Absolutely, undeniably yes. My local critique group has helped make me the writer I am.

One of the most valuable tools you’ll ever have in your writing career is a local critique group comprised of other writers.

Some groups meet once a week; others meet once a month. The choice is for the group to make. Some groups meet in the members’ homes; others meet at libraries, bookstores, or cafes with quiet corners. Again, the choice is the group’s.

If you don’t belong to a local critique group, make it a priority to join one. If you aren’t sure there even is one, then determine to start one yourself.

So, how do you get the word out that you are interested in a critique group, either joining or starting?
1. Ask for information at your library or bookstore. If they know of no critique group, prepare an 8 1/2 x 11 poster and ask if you can post it. Put your name, phone number, and email address on the poster.
2. Mount posters in your local grocery stores and mini-marts.
3. Place a free ad in your local “service” newspaper, the one that allows you to buy and sell without paying for an ad.
4. Call other local authors you know and ask about a critique group. If they aren’t members of any, encourage them to help you start one. You really only need three or four other writers to start, and not all need to represent the same genre. Six to eight members are ideal if you plan to meet for two or three hours at a time.

So, there you have it. Get busy with that critique group. If you become accountable to someone for your writing on a regular basis, you will write more often, and you’ll write better!

(Next time: The Guidelines for a Successful Critique Group)

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THE MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE

Writers, the 2019 Montrose Christian Writers Conference is history for a month already. With over 100 writers, agents, and editors gathered together in mid-July, we had a wonderful week of fellowship and learning how to write better for God’s glory.

Believe it or not, I’m already working on the 2020 MCWC and already have verbal commitments from about 10 authors, editors, and agents. Lord willing, our next conference will be held from Sunday, July 12th to Friday, July 17th, 2020. A few folks who’ve already said yes to coming on faculty are freelance editor Vie Herlocker, literary agents Sally Apokedak and Michelle Lazurek, authors Annette Whipple, Joyce Magnin, and Tiffany Amber Stockton, social media expert Don Catlett, and marketing guru Karen Whiting. There are still about five or six more potential faculty members, so check in often to see the final line-up, hopefully before the holidays are upon us.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned writer and whether you write fiction or nonfiction, there will be over 40 classes presenting all facets of the writing/publishing world. We also have interesting and fun events Monday through Thursday evenings, often allowing conferees interaction with faculty members.

Then there’s Frank and Bucky, who always liven up the week’s boring moments (if there is such a thing.)

So mark your calendar and start sprucing up your manuscripts. Next July you just might find yourself with a contract in your hands.

 

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The Dynamite 2019 Montrose Christian Writers Conference Faculty

Writers, if you’ve never attended a writers conference, this is the year to do it. We have a tremendous faculty coming who will be glad to sit down with you and review your work in private. Also, plan to attend over 45 classes that will teach you about fiction, nonfiction, poetry, songwriting, marketing, working with editors, finding an agent, and much more.

One of our editors is Roseanna White, (also an author), whose company WhiteFire is looking for juvenile fiction and adult fiction.

Another faculty member is Lora Zill. Lora teaches writing and critical analysis at Gannon University and creative writing for Allegheny College’s arts programs for gifted middle and high school students. She is also a teaching artist with the PA Council on the Arts, conducting artist residencies in public schools and training teachers in arts infused curriculum. Lora edits and publishes a poetry journal, Time Of Singing, and speaks at writing, education, and arts conferences. She has co-authored a chapter on creativity in an academic textbook and her award-winning poetry and nonfiction have been published widely. She is completing a book about feeling God’s pleasure through creative expression and blogs at www.thebluecollarartist.com.

The rest of our faculty include:

Dan Brownell – editor with Today’s Christian Living

Rebecca Irwin Diehl – editor  with The Secret Place

Alison Everill – Praise and Worship Leader

Deb Haggerty – publisher and editor-in-chief of Elk Lake Publishing

Pam Halter – award-winning children’s book author

Jim Hart – agent with Hartline Literary Agency

Gloria Penwell-Holtzlander – acquis. editor with Bold Vision Books

Jeanette Levellie – award-winning author

Elaine W. Miller – international speaker and best-selling author

Linda Rondeau – editor with Elk Lake Publishing

Gayle Roper – award-winning author

Donna Smith – editor of the blog “Almost An Author”

Shawn Smucker – award-winning author

Kim Sponaugle – award-winning illustrator

Diane Stark – award-winning author

Jim Watkins – award-winning author

Please check more details about this faculty at https://www.facebook.com/MontroseChristianWriters/ For more details about the conference and registration forms, please go to http://www.montrosebible.org

Register now, gather your tote bag full of your work, and get ready for July 14th. I’ll look for you then at Montrose!

Marsha, Director

 

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ALISON EVERILL – MCWC’S NEW PRAISE AND WORSHIP LEADER

I know many former MCWC conferees and faculty members, who plan to return this July, have been wondering if we’ll have a daily Praise and Worship time at Montrose this year since Donna and Conrad Kreiger retired last year.

We’ve been praying that God would lead us to the right person(s) to continue the tradition of our God-honoring praise sessions that have been so greatly appreciated.

The Montrose Bible Conference director, Jim Fahringer, recommended a gal from Georgia, whom he said he’s had at the conference grounds for several other events and highly recommends her. Let’s get to meet ALISON EVERILL:

Alison Everill:  began her music ministry as a childhood church musician. From then until now, she has chronicled her faith journey through her beautiful music. From the moment Alison sits at the piano to express her worship for Jesus through one of her original worship songs, listeners are drawn in to hear the passion in her voice and sense her devotion to the Lord through her

powerful lyrics that speak volumes not only about her music but also her life. She composes her own music and powerfully delivers each Christ-centered message. She has co-written and published two songs on Dove Award-winning artist Babbie Mason’s latest record project and has had several songs signed with the Gaither Publishing Company.

 

Alison will also teach four workshops for music lovers who have written their own music or would like to know how:

SONGWRITING
Alison Everill    4 Sessions:   2:30 – 4:15    Wed. – Thurs.

Where do I begin? Finding good song ideas, coming up with your “hook,” starting

strong. What are the Nuts and Bolts of crafting a good song? Rhyme scheme, matching

syllables, word choice, song structure. How do I construct a professional lyric sheet and get my song publish-ready? You’ll also have an opportunity to share a song you have written with the group and receive feedback. Bring a demo if you have one and/or lyric multiple lyric sheets. We’ll work on any songs you have in progress using the tools we have learned and possibly write some originals! We’ll be writing during this time together!

 So come with a notebook, ready to create!  

Songwriters and everyone else planning to come, all the information and registration forms are on the website, https://bit.ly/2GvaC6s . Although the online registration is not ready, you can scroll down to the REGISTRATION FORM option and click on it. Then print the registration form to complete and snail mail it to the Montrose Conference Center office. The hard copy brochures will also be ready any day, which, if you are on our mailing list, you should receive in the mail very soon.

MEET DEB HAGGERTY -PUBLISHER AND CHIEF EDITOR OF ELK LAKE PUBLISHING

Deb Haggerty has been involved in Christian speaking and writing since 1995. She is 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.”

Deb took a hiatus from speaking when she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2000. Led to stay home and care for her family, she soldiered through the death of her mother-in-law, her stepson, and her mother. In 2014, she began a freelance editing business and also began editing for Elk Lake. In 2015, the owner asked her to come on board as Vice President of Acquisitions and Management. When he could no longer run the company due to health issues, Deb and her husband bought the assets of the company in 2016.

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.

Register for MCWC by June 15th and request guidelines for emailing your manuscript.

 $40.00 per critique

DEB HAGGERTY (Publisher/Editor Elk Lake) – juvenile & adult fiction (LIMIT: 5)

 

DEB’S WORKSHOPS

TUESDAY AFTERNOON

Networking: Necessity or Nuisance

Networking is an attitude. We must always keep in mind those to whom we can refer others. In order to receive the benefits of networking, we must first give. Effective networking techniques are a necessity in successfully marketing ourselves and our work, and when implemented, reduce the nuisance factor of making new contacts. Effective networking aids us in finding new associates, as well as in maintaining our professional relationships.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON

Tips & Tricks for Working with Editors and Publishers

Working with editors and publishers can be foreboding. This workshop will give you tips on how to work with us effectively. (Chocolate always is helpful.) We’ll discuss the how-to’s of proposals and style sheets along with lots of tips on self-editing and formatting our work. This is an interactive session with questions and comments welcome. (And did I mention chocolate?) You’ll come away from this session realizing editors and publishers are people just like you—ready, willing, and able to help you on this publication process.

July is just a short TWO months away. Register now and make plans to join us for a writers’ conference that will give you all the information you need to get your work published! 😊 I hope to meet you there on July 14th!    

Marsha, Director                   

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PLOT # 18

WRETCHED EXCESS

Mildred Pierce

The Lost Weekend

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent

Picture compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_of_Eden

The holidays are over, and if you’re like me, you want to “get back in the groove of life” and face the new year head on. However, with sugar plum fairies possibly still dancing in your head, you might be struggling to get back into the writing mode. Maybe these tips about writing fiction will help.

If you want to tackle this difficult fiction subgenre, do your homework and study best sellers before you start. A “wretched excess” plot involves all kinds of drama and some difficult scenes. But there are some issues you need to address with much care as you write. It’s definitely a character-driven piece of work:

  1. Wretched excess is generally about the psychological decline of a character.
  2. Base the decline of your character on a character flaw.
  3. Present the decline of your character in three phases: how he/she is before events start to change him/her; how he/she is as he/she successively deteriorates; and what happens after events reach a crisis point, which forces him/her either to give in completely to his/her flaw (tragedy) or to recover from it.
  4. Develop your character so that his/her decline evokes sympathy. Don’t present him/her as a raving lunatic.
  5. Take particular care in the development of your character, because the plot depends on your ability to convince the audience that he/she is both real and worthy of their feelings for him/her.
  6. Avoid melodrama. Don’t try to force emotion beyond what the scene can carry.
  7. Be straightforward with information that allows the reader to understand your main character. Don’t hide anything that will keep your reader from being empathetic.
  8. Most writers want the audience to feel for the main character, so don’t make your character commit crimes out of proportion of our understanding of who and what he/she is. It’s hard to be sympathetic with a person who’s a rapist or a serial murderer.
  9. At the crisis point of your story, move your character either toward complete destruction or redemption. Don’t leave him/her swinging in the wind because your reader will definitely not be satisfied.
  10. Action in your plot should always relate to character. Things happen because your main character does (or does not) do certain things. The cause and effects of your plot should always relate either directly or indirectly to your main character.
  11. Don’t lose your character in his/her madness. Nothing beats personal experience when it comes to this plot. If you don’t understand the nature of the excess yourself (having experienced it), be careful about having your character do things that aren’t realistic for the circumstances.
  12. As I said before, do your homework, and fully understand the nature of the excess you want to write about.

Wow! That’s a head full of ideas and information, isn’t it? If you’re brave enough to tackle this “wretched excess,” God bless you as you work on your best seller!

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

Tobias, Ronald B.  20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them (Kindle Locations 1185-1207). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing fiction of any kind.

*****

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PLOT # 17

DISCOVERY

Death of a Traveling Salesman

Ghosts

Oedipus Rex

(Painting compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus_Rex )

If you’re interested in writing fiction, take a good look at what it takes to write a best seller with the theme of “discovery.” But what are the elements involved in writing that masterpiece? Let’s take a look:

  1. Remember that the discovery plot is more about the character making the discovery than the discovery itself. This isn’t a search for the secrets of the lost tombs of some Incan king; it’s a search for understanding about human nature.
  2. Focus the story on the character, not on what the character does.
  3. Start your plot with an understanding of who the main character is before circumstances change and force the character into new situations.
  4. Don’t linger on your main character’s “former” life; integrate past with present and future. Place the character on the exciting edge of change. Start the action as late as possible, but also give the reader a strong impression of the main character’s personality as it was before events started to change her character.
  5. Make sure the catalyst that forces the change (from a state of equilibrium to disequilibrium) is significant and interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention. Don’t be trivial. Don’t dwell on insignificant detail.
  6. Move your main character into the crisis (the clash between the present and the past) as quickly as possible but maintain the tension of past and present as a fundamental part of your story’s tension.

So, there you have it…all the elements you need to write your best seller. And read, read, read those fiction works that have mastered the technique. You just might be the next author with a best-selling discovery fiction plot!

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

Tobias, Ronald B.  20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them (Kindle Locations 1185-1207). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing fiction of any kind.

 

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PLOT # 13

MATURATION

Flight (J. Steinbeck)

Nick Adams’ Stories (E. Hemingway)

Huckleberry Finn

Hansel and Gretel

What does it take to write a page-turning maturation fiction plot? Whether for adults or children, there are certain steps to take. Let’s see:

  1. Create a protagonist who is on the cusp of adulthood, whose goals are either confused or not yet clarified.
  2. Make sure the audience understands who the character is and how she feels and thinks that begins the process of change.
  3. Contrast the protagonist’s naive childhood against the reality of an unprotected life (adulthood).
  4. Focus your story on your protagonist’s moral and psychological growth.
  5. Once you’ve established your protagonist as he/she was before the change, create an incident that challenges her beliefs and her understanding of how the world works.
  6. Does your character reject or accept change? Perhaps both? Does he/she resist the lesson? How does he/she act?
  7. Show your protagonist undergoing the process of gradual change.
  8. Make sure your young protagonist is convincing; don’t give him/her adult values and perceptions until he/she is ready to portray them.
  9. Don’t have that protagonist accomplish adulthood all at once. Small lessons often represent major upheavals in the process of growing up.
  10. Decide at what psychological price this lesson comes, and establish how your protagonist copes with it.

ALL INFORMATION COMPLIMENTS OF

Tobias, Ronald B. 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them (Kindle Locations 1185-1207). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in writing fiction of any kind.

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