Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Christian writers conferences’

Montrose Christian Writers Conference

July 16th – 21st

FACULTY SPOTLIGHT

PATTI SOUDER

JOIN PATTI FOR HER AFTERNOON SERIES:

DRAMA THAT MATTERS

Drama offers special opportunities for collaboration and camaraderie. Join us for fun and feedback in these interactive sessions in which we’ll create and share short drama pieces.

1          WHY DRAMA?

What’s unique about drama? Why choose drama to tell your story? How does drama differ from other genres? What’s important in creating works for performance? How dodrama sketches, monologues, plays, productions, and performances differ?

2          CREATING A VIABLE STAGE PRODUCTION

Discover how to create characters, story lines, and settings that jump to life on stage. Learn about the special considerations of language, plot, venue, costumes, set design, and lighting required for different forms of drama.

3          FORMAT and PERFORMANCE KNOW-HOW

Drama offers incredible opportunities for creativity, but it’s also a collaborative craft that requires specific formatting so that directors, producers, actors, set designers, and sound and lighting engineers can work together to produce the show. Handouts on various formats.

4          SHARING THE FUN OF DRAMA

An opportunity to ask questions and to share an original short drama with classmates for fun and feedback.

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

Patti Souder, former MCWC director, has written numerous articles, short stories, poems, and dramas which have appeared in The War Cry, Guideposts, Pockets and many other publications. She has also written or contributed to 14 published books and has written and directed numerous plays and musicals. Many of her drama sketches can be found at www.AlphaStarDrama.com.

Patti, an RN who earned an MA in Creative Writing, is married to Larry Souder, President of the Montrose Broadcasting Corporation, with whom she co-hosts a daily radio program. Larry and Patti have three children and six grandchildren, all of whom are joy-bringers.

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

Make plans to come and get your manuscript ready for publication!

Marsha

Director

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Let’s Talk Grammar for a While

(Post Number Four)

Mr. Em—Dash and Nanny En-Dash

 

 Although many folks use these little dashes interchangeably, there is a correct use for each one. I dare say that some beginning writers might not even know there is an em dash and an en dash. They might think they’re one in the same. So let’s go to the Grammar Dashboard and discuss these two punctuation marks’ appearance and use.

“The Em Dash—”

This “long” hyphen denotes a sudden break in thought that causes a sharp change in the structure of the sentence. It can be used anywhere in a simple sentence with the insertion of a shorter sentence or phrase to change the thought or it can be used to complement a certain part of speech (usually a noun). When the em dash appears at the end of a line of dialogue, it represents an interruption by another person’s following remark or an abrupt end to the line of dialogue. Let’s look at some examples:

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

Example  One:

With Mayor Combs’ health problems, will he—should he—run for office again?

Barry gave away all the puppies but one—the brown one with the pink nose.

Three gorgeous horse breeds—the Arabian, Tennessee Walker, and Quarter Horse—are my favorites.

George W. Bush—a past governor and U.S. president—now lives in Texas.

*NOTE: there should be NO spaces before or after the em dash in the previous examples.

A word to the wise writer: don’t go overboard with em dashes. They should be used sparingly. Never use more than one em dash—or a pair of them—in one sentence. Also, if you think a comma, parenthesis, or a colon would work, then by all means use one of them instead of the em dash.

Example Two:

Mable yelled at her brother, “Stop that or I’ll—”

“Or you’ll what?” her brother yelled back.

“What is that bright light in the sky?” Susie asked her friend. “Is it a—” Susie was so frightened, she could no longer speak.

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

Now, you might be asking, “Where in the world do I find the em dash on my keyboard? Can I just plug in two hyphens? Some word processors automatically convert hyphens to en dashes and em dashes. For instance, if I type two hyphens simultaneously after the last word without any space then hit “Enter,” the computer converts that to an em dash. But if that doesn’t work, do this to insert an em dash: hold down the CTRL key and ALT key simultaneously and hit the hyphen on the numeric keypad.

“The En Dash –”

I’ll be the first one to confess that I don’t use the en dash the way I should. I usually use a hyphen instead because it’s just easier to insert.

Anyway, an en dash has three distinct uses. They connect inclusive numbers as in dates, pages, and Bible verses. They are used in compound adjectives with open compounds or when two or more elements are open compounds or hyphenated compounds. And they are used to link a city to the name of a university that has multiple campuses. Here are the examples:

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

Example One: The date 1934-35; the pages 190 -191; Genesis 3:2 – 4 (My computer chose not to convert my hyphens to en dashes. It is acceptable to use hyphens in this way)

Example Two: the post – Vietnam era;   a brother – sister relationship

Example Three: Penn State University – State College, PA

 

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

 

“And, pray tell,” you might ask, “where does one find this little rascal on the keyboard?”

Well, now that you asked, here’s the answer: (If your computer feels like cooperating) – type your word, insert a space, then type a hyphen and the next letter or word immediately without a space, and the computer should convert the hyphen to an en dash. Try it and see what happens. Sometimes my PC does it; sometimes it doesn’t. Go figure.

So have some fun with em dashes and en dashes; learn to use them sparingly and spruce up your writing style with a little extra flavor. You just might catch the eye of an editor—or an agent—as you write the best you know how!

Next time, we’ll look at colons, the little double periods stacked on top of each other.

Keep on writing and have a successful new year!

Marsha

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

www.marshahubler.com

P.S. If you haven’t been receiving my periodic Montrose Christian Writers Conference newsletters about the exciting 2017 conference and you’d like to be on the mailing list, please contact me. A tremendous faculty has committed and promises to present dynamite classes for all aspects of writing.

More shameless promotion:

KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK 4

SUMMER CAMP ADVENTURE

Keystone.Stables.Composite

Junior counselor Skye learns a good lesson about patience and jumping to conclusions.

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

Read Full Post »

Verbs That Sabotage Your Writing

Blue.Sad.Smiley.Face

“Jim and I were going to the store,” Mary said as she was talking on the phone with Susie. “Then we were stopping off to play miniature golf. I am thinking that we should have been at the theater in time to see the last movie, but Jim was not thinking the same way I was thinking. I was totally confused by him.”

Oh, my stars in heaven! What kind of writing is that?

In plain words, it’s “stupid” writing, littered with passive verbs that we call “being” verbs. If you want to murder your story before it ever gets off the ground, use these verbs frequently. Your reader will fall asleep before he gets to the second page.

For some reason, newbie writers and passive verbs go together like bread and butter. I’ve never been able to figure out why so many beginning writers, including myself years ago, have/had the uncanny habit of using these verbs so frequently. When you analyze what’s happening, you can actually see that it takes more forethought AND more words to write in the passive “being verb” voice. And the writing is just plain boring, is it not? And it’s a hard habit to break. After 20 years of writing, I still catch myself drifting into the passive voice world.

 What are Being Verbs?

So, what are the being verbs that turn your “wow” story into a “ho hum” nightmare?

When I taught junior and senior high English, every student memorized the list of being verbs. I constantly reminded the teens to be on the lookout for the little rascals that needed to be ditched and replaced with active verbs. So here’s the list:

Am, are, is, was, were, be, been, will be, shall be, has been, had been

Now, I’m not saying that you need to purge your entire manuscript of every being verb, but use them sparingly. Look for verbs that are in the passive voice and change them to active. Reword your sentences that the direct object or the object of the preposition becomes the subject. That will immediately change your sentences to “active” ones.

Let’s look at how we can change the opening paragraph to a more exciting visit with Mary:

“Jim and I went to the store,” Mary said as she talked on the phone with Susie. “Then we stopped to play miniature golf. I think we could have gotten to the theater in time to see the last movie, but Jim thinks completely different from me. He totally confused me.”

There you see how we eliminated almost all the being verbs. In the very last sentence, the object of the preposition, him, became the subject, he, in the rewrite.

Now, let’s look at three more bad examples that we’ll rewrite into good sentences:

Bad Examples of the “Passive Voice:” Sad.Smiley.Face

Last night Billy was bitten by Larry’s dog Bowser.

Did you see how Cathy was wrapping that wet towel around her arm?

The beautiful maple leaves were turning a bright red in the fall.

Smiley.Face.SmilingThe Better “Active Voice” Method:

Last night, Larry’s dog Bowser bit Billy.

Did you see how Cathy wrapped that wet towel around her arm?

The beautiful maple leaves turned a bright red in the fall.

There you have the “quickie” ins and outs of the misuse of the passive voice. Take a good look at your writings, hunt for the little “being” verbs, and send them on a hike. Your writing will spruce up like you’ve never seen before. Check out this website for a more in-depth study of the passive voice: http://www.dailywritingtips.com/7-examples-of-passive-voice/

Until then, happy “active voice” writing!

Marsha

P.S. Time to register for the 2016 Montrose Christian Writers Conference. Please check out all the workshops available from an award-winning faculty and print out the registration form at http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Please let me know if you’d like a hard copy of the brochure. I’ll mail one to you.

 

Read Full Post »

February 9, 2015

Getting the Most Out of a Writers Conference

But I Already Know All That!

 Cec.Murphy.MM.Class.7.22.14

Cec Murphey Teaching a Class

This is the fourth post in a short series about writers conferences and why it’s so important for writers, both newbies and experienced, to attend. This time we’ll discuss why it’s absolutely necessary for you as a conferee to choose the correct workshops and learn the essentials of becoming a better writer, no matter what genre interests you.

The best conferences will offer a variety of excellent workshops covering numerous topics to whet any writer’s appetite. But which ones should you choose? How do you decide?

Using a past brochure from the Montrose Christian Writers Conference, I’ve listed just a few of the 50+ workshops the conference had offered from Monday morning until late Thursday afternoon:

STEPS TO SUCCESS

THE POWER OF STORY

NONFICTION BOOK PROPOSAL

CREATING A PAGE TURNER

WRITING FOR THE YOUTH MARKET

MINISTERING THROUGH BLOG WRITING

TOUCHING HEARTS WITH WORDS

WHY YOU NEED AN AGENT

SO THERE’S A POET INSIDE

CATCH THAT EDITOR’S ATTENTION

UNDERSTANDING RETAILERS

10 MISTAKES SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS MAKE

WHO NEEDS A CRITIQUE GROUP ANYWAY?

PUTTING CHARACTERS IN PLACE

As you can see, this conference, as most others, offered classes and sessions from fiction to nonfiction to marketing to poetry to social media, and much more. The key to getting the most out of any conference is analyzing your strengths and weaknesses, your knowledge of the writing/publishing world or lack thereof, and the genres of writing you’ve attempted. Then, a wise conferee will plan ahead to attend classes all day long and take notes. Also, most conferences offer CDs of the workshops presented, so any conferee can go home with a wealth of information packed in his/her suitcase.

With 60+ conferences under my belt, the only words of warning I have to offer is mainly to the newbie or the writer who’s not sure he/she really wants to write at all, so here goes.

Chapel.gathering.7.20.14My Advice to Newbies: If you plan to spend hundreds of dollars on conference registrations and room/board or, at least, your valuable time and the expense of traveling to and from a conference, then go with the goal of learning. If you’re just starting, you need to evaluate what workshops will be most valuable to you. I can’t emphasize enough the value of attending any beginners’ workshops offered.

“But I’ve been writing for two years, and I want to know how to write fiction better!” you might say. Or maybe you’d say, “I know all that stuff about margins and fonts and what kind of paper to use for submissions. I want to know how to get my poetry published.”

My best advice to any newbie or anyone who’s not yet decided what to write is to go to the beginners’ class. There, the instructor will share information essential for the conferee to become a better writer, no matter what genre you write. It will involve much more than margins and letter fonts.

I’ve been constantly surprised with submissions I’ve received, some from folks whom I assume have attended writers conferences for years, but their quality of writing has much to be desired. I’ve received some manuscripts that had the wrong size font and the spacing was single spaced. Others had no contact information included at the top of the first page, and the writing was so immature, it couldn’t have passed a high school sophomore’s term paper test. I can only scratch my head and wonder if these folks EVER attended any conferences, and, if they did, if they went to the right classes to help them improve their writing.Marshas.Class.Wk.in.Progress.2013

If you’re just starting to write, please don’t be embarrassed to admit your newbie status, and get to those beginners’ classes to learn the vital facts so important to improve. After you have a few of those classes under your belt, then launch out into specific genre workshops and commit to having your work critiqued by a faculty member.

All these opportunities are there to help you become that best-selling author you dream to be. So, decide to attend writers conferences as often as you can, and when you get there, go to those classes that are designed just for you. You’ll come home with a wealth of new information that you can find no place else. Apply what you’ve learned, and that publishing contract will be right around the corner.

Don't.Stop.Believing

Next time, we’ll look at the different ways you can have your work critiqued at writers conferences.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: