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2020 MCWC FACULTY SPOTLIGHT   

 PRAISE AND WORSHIP LEADER ALISON EVERILL

     One of our 2020 Montrose Christian Writers Conference faculty members will be the Praise and Worship Leader, Alison Everill.
Alison 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 she 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 2 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 lead our Praise and Worship time during every joint session from Sunday evening to Friday morning. She will also coordinate a Singspiration on Wednesday evening, highlighting the history of some of our most popular hymns that were sometimes written over a hundred years ago. She will also conduct a work-in-progress for two afternoons for those who are writing their own music:

Alison will be teaching:

SONGWRITING
WORK-IN-PROGRESS

 6 Sessions:   1:30 – 4:15
Tues -Wed.

      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 will 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!  

    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.                                     

I hope to see you in July!
Marsha, Director

To contact me for a brochure: marshahubler@outlook.com

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AGENT SALLY APOKEDAK ON THE 2020 MCWC FACULTY!

 

Writers, don’t miss the 31st annual Montrose Christian Writers Conference July 12th to the 17th! One of our faculty members will be literary agent Sally Apokedak.

Sally  owns the Apokedak Literary Agency, a boutique agency specializing in Christian-worldview children’s books aimed at the general market. She currently has two agents on board, a few hardworking interns, and a select group of wonderful clients.

She’s been working in children’s publishing for 20-plus years. As the manager of the Kidz Book Buzz blog tour, she was privileged to work with bestselling authors such as Jeanne DuPrau, Ingrid Law, and Shannon Hale. Now she represents her own list of bestselling and award-winning authors, and she teaches online courses to thousands of students in over 90 countries.

Sally will present a Major Morning series, Monday through Thursday from 10:40 until 12:10 entitled

CHILDREN’S FICTION: FIRST CHAPTER ESSENTIALS

If you want to write “kid lit,” your goal is to pull readers into your story world on page one and keep them there to the last page. To do that you need a story world that feels real; characters who are conflicted, active, and growing; a plot that pushes back against your characters so they can learn to be heroes; a voice that is attractive; and a theme that’s woven in so readers feel rewarded with a conclusion that was earned, rather than feeling like the author shoved her agenda down his throat. Please bring your first chapters—we will be working on them in class. 

So plan to join us for an exciting week filled with invaluable information about writing, editing, and marketing for numerous genres. Online details about all the classes and a registration form will soon be available at http://www.montrosebible.org and in a hard copy brochure. If you need a hard copy brochure, please let me know, and I’ll have one mailed to you. 

I hope to see you in July!

For more info about Sally : sally-apokedak.com

To contact me for a brochure: marshahubler@outlook.com

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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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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 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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Writers’ Tips for Newbies: After the Conference

Today’s tips are for all you beginning writers out there who have a great idea and don’t know where to start.

If you attended the last Montrose Christian Writers Conference in July, I trust you learned all kinds of things to help you become a published author. Let’s rehearse a few tips you probably learned to get you writing the next best seller!

If you’ve never attended any writers’ conference, it might be a consideration if you’ve got some ideas about becoming an author.

1. Start writing. Don’t just talk about it. Do you have an idea? Many good ideas? Don’t let those great creative ideas die in your brain cells! Get that computer out and start pecking away.

2. Join a local critique group. This has helped me become a better writer more than any other training, reading, or writing I’ve done. You must have a thick skin and be willing to accept criticism, but in the long run, your writing will improve drastically. Our group in the Susquehanna Valley (PA) meets once a month when everyone brings copies of about four pages of their latest work to have critiqued.

3. Attend writers conferences. Second only to the critique group, writers conferences have molded me into the author I am today. Writers conferences offer numerous workshops on different genres. You also meet other writers who have the passion to write as you do. They UNDERSTAND YOU! And … try to attend conferences where editors and agents are on faculty. Many writers have acquired contracts by meeting “the in-crowd” at conferences. Three of my four book contracts and several purchased articles resulted from contacts at writers’ conferences. Conferences are an essential part of your training.

4. Read, read, read! If you want to write juvenile fiction, read all the published juvenile fiction you can get your hands on. Likewise, if you’re into Amish romance, don’t spend time reading science fiction or fantasy. If you want to learn how to handle your genre, then study your genre. I have pages and pages of “good writing” excerpts that I’ve copied from published books. Once in a while, I open that file and read through the segments that show me excellent dialogue, good narration, and well-done character description.

So, there you have it. If you have the burning desire deep down in your soul to write, then get going! But consider yourself a work-in-progress just as your manuscript is. The more you learn, the better your writing will be!

 

 

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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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