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Six Tips for Beginners

So, you’ve got your blank screen before you, you’ve got a tremendous idea for the “next great American novel,” you’ve got your dictionary, thesaurus, Elements of Style, and your Chicago Manual of Style ready. You rub your hands together, blow on your fingernails, and say, “Look out, world. Here comes brilliance!”

If you’ve never tried writing anything but eight-line poems or a letter to the newspaper’s editor once in a while, there are a few tips I’d like to share with you to help you not only write well but also get published. You might not be ready for a novel; perhaps, a 1200-word fiction story or article would be the best way to start.

Whether you’re determined to write a novel or start with shorter stuff, the tips I want to share will help. They’ll also be brief and to the point. In other words, I will not expound with long, convoluted sentences, which is one of the tips I have for you.

Tips to Help You Write Well:

1. Don’t write long, convoluted sentences. Write short, poignant sentences with very few flowery words and long descriptive paragraphs. Today’s readers won’t stand for your showing off for pages of narration that will bore them to death and cause them to set a match to your work.

2. Avoid the exclamation mark! One per page is often too many. Use clever words to emphasize emotion and action. Stay away from the exclamation mark!

3. Even if you’re writing fiction, be accurate. Do your homework. If you’re describing a fire scene, make sure you visit your local fire company and get all the details of what fire fighting is all about.

4. Stay away from fancy words. Go for simple active verbs, not descriptive adverbs and impressive adjectives. Instead of “She walked limply and lazily” try “She hobbled.”

5. Avoid figures of speech. They often distract your readers from the real core meaning of your sentence or paragraph. It just makes your reader think you were too lazy to put your own words together to write a clever line.

6. Try to stay in the background, like, invisible. A skillful writer will have his/her readers engrossed in the story, identifying with the character or theme and will not give the author a second thought. Not until the last page. Then the readers are free to exclaim, “Wow! What a story!” (And with the exclamation marks!)

Marsha Hubler
www.marshahubler.com
www.marshahubler.wordpress.com
Author of the Keystone Stables Series

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Start saving and make plans to join us next July 12th to the 17th at the 31st Montrose Christian Writers Conference in Montrose, PA. We have editors, agents, and best-selling authors on faculty to help you with any facet of your writing. :) 

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THE 2020 MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE FACULTY

JULY 12TH-17TH

WHO HAS SAID THEY WANT TO COME?


AGENTS
SALLY APOKEDAK – APOKEDAK LIT. AGENCY
JIM HART – HARTLINE
MICHELLE LAZUREK – WORDWISE

EDITORS
MATT HOLLIDAY – PA MAGAZINE
JEFF MCDONALD – WAR CRY (SALV. ARMY)
CINDY SPOLES – LIGHTHOUSE PUBL. OF THE CAROLINAS
VIE HERLOCKER – FREELANCE

MARKETING/PROMOTION EXPERT
KAREN WHITING

SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT
DON CATLETT

PRAISE & WORSHIP LEADER AND W-I-P
ALISON EVERILL

ART & CREATIVITY
DAVE WEISS

AUTHORS
ANNETTE WHIPPLE – KIDS’ NONFICTION
JOYCE MAGNIN – KIDS’ FICTION
ZOE MCCARTHY – ADULT FICTION (W-I-P)
MICHELE CHYNOWETH – FICTION
SUE FAIRCHILD – DEVOTIONS/CHICKEN SOUP PIECES
TIFFANY STOCKTON – FICTION 

Writers, mark your calendar now for July 12th to the 17th!
The 31st Montrose Christian Writers Conference promises to be one you won’t want to miss!
Marsha, Director

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THE NECESSITY OF WRITERS’ CONFERENCES

The best training you’ll ever receive is that which you’ll get by attending writers conferences. Next to your local critique group, writers workshops and conferences will give you the knowledge you need to become a better writer. The various workshops offered usually take you from A to Z concerning the writing/publishing business with fresh ideas for you to try.

You also make new long-lasting writer friends, kindred spirits who think just like you do. (They don’t call us “Odd Ducks” for nothing.)

Writers conferences also offer you the opportunity to present your work face to face to agents and editors of publishing companies. I’ve acquired four of my five book contracts by meeting editors at the Montrose Christian Writers Conference held in Montrose, PA, every July.

Speaking of conferences, why don’t you check out the details of our last Montrose Christian Writers Conference at https://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx. Plan to come to our next one from July 12th to July 17th, 2020. We plan to have three agents, three editors of publishing companies, and award-winning authors on our faculty.

If you’ve never been to a writers’ conference, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Director of MCWC Marsha Hubler
www.marshahubler.com
www.marshahubler.wordpress.com
Author of the Keystone Stables Series

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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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FACULTY MEMBER REBECCA IRWIN DIEHL

Editorial director of Judson Press & ordained to the publishing ministries in 2009, she loves working with authors to bring their words to the printed page. She’s worked in publishing since earning her undergrad. degree in English-writing in 1995. Completing a master’s in theological studies, she “found an ideal niche in Christian publishing, where her love of words meets her passion for God’s Word.”

REBECCA’S WORKSHOPS

(Rebecca will be at Montrose Monday and Tuesday, July 15th and 16th only)

 

MONDAY AFTERNOON

Writing Dramatic Dialogue

Learn some tips that are as useful in fiction as they are on stage! This class will feature some excerpts from the classics, the contemporary, and even from the class. Dissect the dialog and discover what works and why. Great for script writers, fiction writers, screenwriters, and even writers of memoir or biography.

The Art of Self-Editing

Getting your ideas on paper (or hard drive) is half the battle—but it’s only the first half. Learn the art of rewriting and self-editing to ensure that your manuscript is as strong as it can possibly be—without bogging down in the quicksand of overwriting. Covers a range of editorial issues, including organization, concept development, syntax, style, voice, and audience.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON

From Query to the 1st Royalty Check

A thorough behind-the-scenes overview of the publishing process from the time a concept is proposed through the first year of sales, including manuscript review and development, production and design, and front list marketing and promotions.

Publishing your Passion 

It’s not enough to have something to say; you have to say something people need to hear—and then say it in such a way that they will listen! How to develop a unique and compelling “package” for your passion as a Christian writer. Learn how to do a market analysis and identify both an audience and a need that you are able to meet, not just with God’s Word but with your own words.

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Writers, 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.

July is just a short three 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!                                   

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THE 2019 MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE IS ONLY THREE MONTHS AWAY!

Authors! Make your plans to attend the 2019 Montrose Christian Writers Conference from July 14th to the 19th, or just come for a day or two. (Per diem rates are available.) Watch for online registration coming soon at www.montrosebible.org.

From now until July, look for posts featuring one faculty member in each post. Then set your sights on the faculty members with whom you’d like to meet and show your writing skills at the conference. Who knows? You might go home with a promised contract for some of your work.

FACULTY MEMBER DAN BROWNELL

Dan Brownell, editor of Today’s Christian Living, Today’s Pastor, and Smart Retailer, is a graduate of Liberty University with a bachelor’s degree in English. He taught junior high and high school English at an international Christian school in Uijongbu, South Korea, before entering the publishing field. Besides editing magazines, he has worked as an educational test writer and editor, copywriter, proposal writer, book editor, and book acquisitions editor. He is married to his sweetheart, Cathy, whom he met in college. They have two children — Elizabeth and Josh — a dog, and according to Dan — way too many cats.

DAN’S WORKSHOPS

(Dan will be at Montrose Wednesday and Thursday, July 17th and 18th only)

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON

 Nonfiction Book Proposals Part 1 – The Publisher’s Proposal Process

Find out how book publishers decide what gets published and what doesn’t. Understanding what goes on behind the scenes can give you great insight and a big advantage. You’ll learn not only what publishers are looking for, but why. Although Dan is currently a magazine editor, he spent nearly five years as a book acquisitions editor for a major book publisher.

Nonfiction Book Proposals Part 2 – Researching and Writing a Book Proposal

Detailed research and concise, persuasive writing are crucial to submitting an effective book proposal. Discover how to do the background research necessary to attract an acquisition editor’s attention and interest. Also learn how to present a polished proposal with the right information.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON 

Five Tips on Selling a Magazine Article

Editors receive far more articles than they have room or budget to print, which can make it hard for even an excellent article to stand out among the competition. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do — that no one does — to move your article to the top of the pile. Learn the secrets of winning over an editor with your article.

Print and Digital Publishing Photo Requirements

Publishing is placing more and more emphasis on the visual impact of stories. Your ability to provide usable photos can make the difference in selling an article. This class provides some basic information you need to know about photo specs and expectations for both digital and print applications. Dan has worked with approximately 100,000 photos and images in his 20-year career as a book and magazine editor.

 

FACULTY MEMBER REBECCA IRWIN DIEHL

Editorial director of Judson Press & ordained to the publishing ministries in 2009, she loves working with authors to bring their words to the printed page. She’s worked in publishing since earning her undergrad. degree in English-writing in 1995. Completing a master’s in theological studies, she “found an ideal niche in Christian publishing, where her love of words meets her passion for God’s Word.”

REBECCA’S WORKSHOPS

(Rebecca will be at Montrose Monday and Tuesday, July 15th and 16th only) 

MONDAY AFTERNOON

Writing Dramatic Dialogue

Learn some tips that are as useful in fiction as they are on stage! This class will feature some excerpts from the classics, the contemporary, and even from the class. Dissect the dialog and discover what works and why. Great for script writers, fiction writers, screenwriters, and even writers of memoir or biography.

The Art of Self-Editing

Getting your ideas on paper (or hard drive) is half the battle—but it’s only the first half. Learn the art of rewriting and self-editing to ensure that your manuscript is as strong as it can possibly be—without bogging down in the quicksand of overwriting. Covers a range of editorial issues, including organization, concept development, syntax, style, voice, and audience.

TUESDAY AFTERNOON

From Query to the 1st Royalty Check

A thorough behind-the-scenes overview of the publishing process from the time a concept is proposed through the first year of sales, including manuscript review and development, production and design, and front list marketing and promotions.

Publishing your Passion

It’s not enough to have something to say; you have to say something people need to hear—and then say it in such a way that they will listen! How to develop a unique and compelling “package” for your passion as a Christian writer. Learn how to do a market analysis and identify both an audience and a need that you are able to meet, not just with God’s Word but with your own words.

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Watch for the online registration to be ready any day now. We’ll also soon have hard copy brochures. Let me know if you would like one snailmailed to you.

Marsha

Director MCWC

 

 

 

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