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MORE SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES AT THIS YEAR’S

MONTROSE CHRISTIAN WRITERS CONFERENCE

 

Not sure you have the money to pay for the conference?

Do you know there are…

SCHOLARSHIPS!

  1. The Shirley Brinkerhoff Memorial Scholarship – $100 grant for tuition: awarded to a writer actively striving to hone the craft of writing who has not yet secured a publishing contract. Applications are available at montrosebible.org/writers.htm.
  2. The General Scholarship – help is available according to need. Please inquire when registering.

 

Do you love to buy used books at a ridiculously reduced rate OR have you written a book and would like to sell a few copies “somewhere?”

Do you know there are …

BOOK SALES!

The Faculty and Conferee Book Table – features books by faculty and conferees. Faculty members often reduce the price of their books with special deals.

It’s Time for the Budget Book Sale Again This Year! Too many books on your shelves? Bring them with you and donate them to our Budget Book Sale. Looking for some good books at budget prices? Check out this special sale. All proceeds go to the General Scholarship Fund.

 

Do you feel you’ll be frustrated because so many classes you’d like to take are offered at the same time?

Do you know there are …

RECORDINGS!

Almost every workshop is recorded and available for purchase at a very reasonable rate! Listen to the sessions you missed or those you want to hear again. (Recordings are on a MP3, easily loaded into your computer.)

IT’S TIME TOR REGISTER! DON’T DELAY!

I look forward to meeting you on July 16th!

Marsha, Director

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REGISTER NOW TO GET YOUR MANUSCRIPT READY FOR PUBLICATION!

Writers, have you written a short story? A column for a newspaper? How about a pretty good poem? A novel? Do you think your work is good enough for a publisher or agent to look at it?

If you’ve never attended a writers’ conference, you have no idea what you’re missing. It’s one of the first and most important steps you can take to become a published writer.  There’s so much to know … and learn about the writing/publishing business.

This July 16th to the 21st at the 28th Montrose Christian Writers Conference, we have an excellent line-up of faculty members who will help you with writing skills, promotion, poetry, picture books, editing, agenting, finding a publisher, and a host of other essential information. Besides three WIPs and four Major Morning Seminars, we also are offering 43 afternoon classes to help you hone your manuscript or find that publisher:

AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS

 

Indie Publishing vs. Royalty Publishing. What’s New?

(Faculty Panel Discussion)

Why Drama?

Formatting before Beginning

Fiction: Character Building (Part One)

21 Ways to Overcome Writers Block

Get the Most out of the Conference

 The Art of Collaborative Writing

Fiction: Character Building (Part Two)

Conducting High Profile Interviews 

Blogging 101

Creating a Viable Stage Production

Shock the Clock: Time Management

Marketing for Writers Who Don’t Like to  Market

Seeing Through the Eyes of a Child

Powerful Sentence Structures

Fiction: Setting and Description

Write for your Life

Prayer in the Life of a Writer

Creative Blockbusters

Making your Fiction Matter

Writing for Parenting Magazines

Blogging 102

Format and Performance Know-how

Writing Compelling Devotions

No Market for your Book? What to Do

Putting Characters in Place

PUGS Specifics for Christian Writers

Writing for Guideposts and the Guideposts Contest

Graduation Time; What’s Next?

Bible Studies that Sell

Real “Artist-Ship”

Aspects of the Editing Process

Breaking into Anthologies

Social Media 101

Sharing the Fun of Drama

Column Writer as a Platform Builder

Peace in the Literary Storm

Writing for Picture: Magazine or Picture Book for Children?

Understanding the Business of Writing for Publication

Selling Personal Experience Short Stories

What’s an Edit?

Irresistible Queries and Proposals

Proofread with Excellence

Writing the Profile Piece

To check out the weekly schedule and the faculty members offering these classes, please go to http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

I hope to see you at Montrose in July!

Marsha, Director

 

 

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On Writing: Let’s Talk Grammar and Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Six)

The Punctual Period

Kissy.Smiley.Face

Are you kidding me? We’re going to talk about periods? That little miniscule dot at the end of a declarative sentence that everyone knows belongs there to complete the thought? “Why waste the time?” you’re probably asking. “Let’s move on. I know everything there is to know about periods.”

Well, let’s see if you do. I’m going to list some of the most frequent uses (besides its obvious use at the end of every declarative sentence) and some of its misuses. You’ll either yawn your way through this blog post or you’ll raise your eyebrows in wow-I-didn’t-know-that surprise.

Let’s play “Which one is correct?” Below are samples of different uses of periods. In each set, one use is correct; the other is not. Choose one from each set that you think is the right one. The correct answers are listed at the end of the blog. If you’re a period genius, and you get 100%, let me know, and we’ll brag about you on Facebook. (Today you’re getting a taste of what it’s like to be an editor):

Sample One:

A.) When John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1), he was referring to Jesus Christ.

B.)   When John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1), he was referring to Jesus Christ.

Sample Two:

A.)   When God asked Adam where he was after the fall, Adam said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10 KJV)

B.)     When God asked Adam where he was after the fall, Adam said, “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:10 KJV).

Sample Three: (A block quotation)

A.)     Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

B.)     Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Sample Four – a postscript after the salutation in a letter:

A.)   P.S. Tell Susie I’ll be at the game on Friday.

B.)     PS  Tell Susie I’ll be at the game on Friday. (No periods after the “P” and “S.”

Sample Five – abbreviation of the state of North Carolina:

A.)   N.C.

B.)   NC

Sample Six:

A.)     The Smithsonian Institute is in Washington, D.C., for many years.

B.)     The Smithsonian Institute is in Washington, DC, for many years.

Sample Seven:

A.)   Brian’s new third grade teacher is Ms Batdorf. (No period after Ms)

B.)   Brian’s new third grade teacher is Ms. Batdorf.

Sample Eight:

A.)   Margie just moved to 678 N.W. Lane Street in Albany.

B.)     Margie just moved to 678 NW Lane Street in Albany. (No periods with the abbreviation for North West)

Sample Nine:

A.)     The time period “Before Christ” is represented with the letters B.C. on legal documents.

B.)     The time period “Before Christ” is represented with the letters BC on legal documents. ( No periods with BC)

Sample Ten:

A.)   Herbie’s appointment at the dentist was for 11:00 am, but he forgot all about it. (No periods with the abbreviation for ante meridiem)

B.)   Herbie’s appointment at the dentist was for 11:00 a.m., but he forgot all about it.

Answers:

Letter B is correct for all samples except for samples five and six; both answers are correct for samples five and six.

So, do we have any period geniuses in the crowd? If you think any of my answers are wrong, then you’ll have to argue with 15th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, over which I labored for over an hour, studying these period options. There are many other period issues addressed in the CMOS, of which I have not the time nor the space to mention. So if you’re into mastering the Period Technique, get your CMOS out of the closet and start studying!

Hopefully, this little bit of information I’ve shared will help you handle the little speck of ink we call a “period” more skillfully the next time you tackle one of your writing projects. If you’re brave enough, go to the Writers of Any Genre group on Facebook, and let us know how you did.

Next time, we’re going to look at the flippant ellipsis.

Happy writing!

Marsha

Watch for updates concerning next July’s Montrose Christian Writers Conference. We have a dynamite faculty lined up, including film actor Torry Martin, Jim Hart from Hartline, four editors/authors from publishing companies plus eleven other best-selling authors and the music specialists, Donna and Conrad Krieger.

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 newsletter 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:

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Skye finally finds out what happened

to her real parents.

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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.

 

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Fiction: That Pesky Point of View

Over my twenty-year writing career, I have met many newbies to the fiction writing world who have struggled with one particular component, the mastery of which is essential to cranking out a “good” piece of fiction, whether it be a short story or novel.

I remember in my early writing days that I also struggled for a short period of time with P.O.V. as I developed my characters and gave them their proper place in my fiction works. Then the light bulb went on, and I figured out how to use the P.O.V. correctly.

Now don’t get me wrong. Even to this day I still slip up once in a while. However, my excellent critique group zeros in on my P.O.V. boo boos and helps me get it right. Slipping in and out of different P.O.V.s is extremely easy to do whether you’re a newbie or an experienced writer. Thus, mostly because of a request from a writer friend, I’m reviewing the proper use of P.O.V. today.

Learning to use P.O.V. effectively involves two gold nuggets of information. The first one is that, as the writer, you must put yourself in your character’s head and see everything through that character’s eyes. If you can remember that one rule of engagement, you’ll never have trouble with P.O.V. again. Jump into your story and become that character!

The second most important rule is that a writer should have only one character’s P.O.V. in a short story or per scene in a book manuscript. With kiddie lit and juvenile fiction, the story is best presented from one character’s P.O.V. through the entire book. Of course, there are always exceptions, but children want to enjoy a good story and usually “become” the main character in a short story or children’s book, so staying with one P.O.V. in children’s works, especially for younger children, is essential. With adult fiction, some best-selling authors often skillfully present up to 10 or 15 different P.O.V.s, but rarely are two P.O.V.s presented more than one in the same scene.

I’m going to give you an example of a short scene with three different main characters. The first scene uses P.O.V. incorrectly. The second example is the same scene rewritten with the proper use of P.O.V. Analyze each example and determine how the P.O.V. is used, then check out your own fiction work. Revise, revise, revise and keep working on that P.O.V.

Example One:

Sitting directly across from John, two young ladies reached for a tray of butter rolls in the center of the table. While John forked his mashed potatoes, he studied the girls in their white prayer kapps and Sunday-best dresses and the “awkward” situation that had developed. He bit his lip to suppress the urge to burst out laughing. For a moment, the gals held on to the tray as though it were glued to their hands.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Sweet, kind Katrina Shoffler was the first to pull away. But I made those rolls, just for you, John! Oh, how I wish you knew how I felt about you. John smiled at Katrina as their eyes met, and she slid back into her chair. Her face with drab brown eyes and granny glasses, framed by mousy brown hair, turned bright red. She looked away from John, gave her glasses a quick poke, and nervously sipped her drink. But her kind heart and baked goods sure do make up for her plain looks, John mused as he took a bite of ham.

“I’ve got the tray,” Mandie Kauffman said as she tried to discreetly pull it from the other girl’s hand and move it toward John. I’m going to win you yet, John, if the other girls around here would just back off! Long black eyelashes fluttering, she gazed longingly at John while she brushed back a strand of loose jet-black hair and wrapped it around her ear.

 Ambitious Mandie, John thought. With her most attractive looks and urge to succeed, she just might be able to start that business she has got her eye on. And maybe she will get the husband she is after, to boot!

Crash! Right behind John, Sadie Hunsinger dropped a cup of coffee, and it shattered all over the floor.

Example Two:

Sitting directly across from John, two young ladies reached for a tray of butter rolls in the center of the table. While John forked his mashed potatoes, he studied the girls in their white prayer kapps and Sunday-best dresses and the “awkward” situation that had developed. He bit his lip to suppress the urge to burst out laughing.  For a moment, the gals held on to the tray as though it were glued to their hands.

“Oh, I’m sorry.” Sweet, kind Katrina Shoffler was the first to pull away. Although she had probably made the rolls, Katrina had the gentle spirit of a newborn fawn. She would never deliberately hurt another soul on God’s green earth. John knew that all too well from the time they were sweethearts in first grade at Maple Grove Mennonite School. John smiled at Katrina as their eyes met, and she slid back into her chair. Her face with drab brown eyes and granny glasses, framed by mousy brown hair, turned bright red. She looked away from John, gave her glasses a quick poke, and nervously sipped her drink. But her kind heart and baked goods sure do make up for her plain looks, John mused as he took a bite of ham.

“I’ve got the tray,” Mandie Kauffman said as she tried to discreetly pull it from the other girl’s hand and move it toward John. Long black eyelashes fluttering, she gazed longingly at John while she brushed back a strand of loose jet-black hair and wrapped it around her ear.

Ambitious Mandie, John thought. With her most attractive looks and urge to succeed, she just might be able to start that business she has got her eye on. And maybe she will get the husband she is after, to boot!

Crash! The sound of shattering glass right behind John startled him, and he turned quickly to see red-faced Sadie Hunsinger already bending down to clean up the mess she had made when she dropped her cup of coffee.

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

If you compare both examples, you’ll see that in the first sample, we have three different P.O.V.s, not only in the same scene but sometimes in the same paragraph! Also, when the coffee cup shatters, John’s P.O.V. is incorrect. How does he know it’s Sadie who dropped her coffee cup until he turns to look at who, or what, caused the commotion? This type of dysfunctional writing only leads to reader confusion and a rejection slip from the editor to whom you’ve submitted. Nothing written this poorly would ever be published by a traditional company.

In the second sample, you see we are inside the head of John, and only John, the entire time. No one else’s thoughts should be included because we are seeing all the action through John’s eyes. When he hears the shattering glass and turns toward the sound, it is at that point that he knows that Sadie dropped her coffee cup because he is seeing what happened for the first time.

So, there you have a quickie analysis of P.O.V. I hope this helps clarify this pesky problem that many of us writers face as we work on our fiction masterpieces.

Next time, we’ll discuss character development and how to give that character of yours some “zap.”

Happy writing!

Marsha

http://www.montrosebible.org

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

http://www.marshahubler.com\

(More shameless promotion)

 

SOUTHERN BELLE’S SPECIAL GIFT

(KEYSTONE STABLES BOOK 3)

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trying to help Tanya Bell, a wild foster kid, handle the loss

of a mare giving birth.

Keystone Stables Book 3

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