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Posts Tagged ‘how to write well’

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: 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 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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PLOTS #19 and #20

ASCENSION AND DESCENSION

The Godfather

The Elephant Man

Elmer Gantry

Citizen Cane

Poster showing two women in the bottom left of the picture looking up towards a man in a white suit in the top right of the picture. "Everybody's talking about it. It's terrific!" appears in the top right of the picture. "Orson Welles" appears in block letters between the women and the man in the white suit. "Citizen Kane" appears in red and yellow block letters tipped 60° to the right. The remaining credits are listed in fine print in the bottom right.

Poster photo compliments of Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizen_Kane)

We’ve finally gotten to the last two of twenty fiction plots from which writers may choose. If you’re interested in writing about a main character who either

  1. The focus of your story should be about a single character.
  2. That character should be strong-willed, charismatic, and seemingly unique. All of your other characters will revolve around this one.
  3. At the heart of your story should be a moral dilemma. This dilemma tests the character of your protagonist/ antagonist, and it is the foundation for the catalyst of change in her character.
  4. Character and event are closely related to each other. Anything that happens should happen because of the main character. He/she is the force that affects events, not the reverse. (This isn’t to say that events can’t affect your main character; however, we are more interested in how he/she acts upon the world than how the world acts upon him/her.)
  5. Try to show your character as he/she was before the major change that altered his/her life so we have a basis of comparison.
  6. Show your character progressing through successive changes as a result of events. If it is a story about a character who overcomes horrible circumstances, show the nature of that character while he/she still suffers under those circumstances. Then show us how events change his/her nature during the course of the story. Don’t “jump” from one character state to another; that is, show how your character moves from one state to another by giving us his/her motivation and intent.
  7. If your story is about the fall of a character, make certain the reasons for the fall are a result of character and not gratuitous circumstances. The reason for a rise may be gratuitous (the character wins $ 27 million in LottoAmerica) but not the reasons for his/her fall. The reasons for a character’s ability to overcome adversity should also be the result of his/her character, not some contrivance.
  8. Try to avoid a straight dramatic rise or fall. Vary the circumstances in the character’s life: Create rises and falls along the way. Don’t just put your character on a rocket to the top and then crash. Vary intensity of the events, too. It may seem for a moment that your character has conquered his/her flaw, when in fact, it doesn’t last long. And vice versa. After several setbacks, the character finally breaks through (as a result of her tenacity, courage, belief, etc.).
  9. Always focus on your main character. Relate all events and characters to your main character. Show us the character before, during, and after the change.

A FINAL CHECKLIST Give yourself a little quiz to see if you’re ready to write your best-selling novel:

As you develop your plot, consider the following questions. If you can answer all of them, you have a grasp of what your story is about. But if you can’t answer any of them, you still don’t know what your story is and what you want to do with it.

1. In fifty words, what is the basic idea for your story?

2. What is the central aim of the story? State your answer as a question. For example, “Will Othello believe Iago about his wife?”

3. What is your protagonist’s intent? (What does she want?)

4. What is your protagonist’s motivation? (Why does she want what she is seeking?)

5. Who and/ or what stands in the way of your protagonist?

6. What is your protagonist’s plan of action to accomplish her intent?

7. What is the story’s main conflict? Internal? External?

8. What is the nature of your protagonist’s change during the course of the story?

9. Is your plot character-driven or action-driven?

10. What is the point of attack of the story? Where will you begin?

11. How do you plan to maintain tension throughout the story?

12. How does your protagonist complete the climax of the story?

So, there you have it. The wrap-up of about 16 of my blogs over the last year, blogs dedicated to writing good fiction. I want to again remind you that all the information has been taken from:

Tobias, Ronald B (2011-12-15). 20 Master Plots (p. 273). F+W Media, Inc. Kindle Edition.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in writing good fiction.

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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.

*****

Looking for a devotional for a horse crazy tween? Please check out my latest release.

https://amzn.to/2BxEg7k

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