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MCWC’S FACULTY SPOTLIGHT

 AUTHOR ZOE MCCARTHY


A full-time writer and speaker, Zoe M. McCarthy, is the author of six contemporary Christian romances containing humor and tenderness. Her nonfiction book, Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days, is designed to shape a not-yet-submitted, a rejected, or a self-published manuscript with low ratings into a book that shines. The book can also be a guiding resource for writers starting a manuscript. Zoe is a member of Word Weavers and American Christian Fiction Writers (treasurer for the Virginia chapter). She lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

ZOE’S CLASSES

 

MORNING

WORK-IN-PROGRESS

ADULT FICTION

(LIMIT: 8 CONFEREES)

MONDAY -THURSDAY

10:35 – 12:10

 

AFTERNOON CLASSES

WEDNESDAY

3:30 – 4:15

“Make a Scene of Your Scene:

4 Improvements to Make Your Scene Stand Out”

Based on topics from Zoe M. McCarthy’s book

Tailor Your Fiction Manuscript in 30 Days (Sonfire Media, 2019)

Participants will learn through instruction, examples, and short exercises:

  1. How to include a zinger in their scene’s dialogue
  2. How to add suspense to their scene in any genre
  3. How to use an imaginary video camera to make their scene’s setting come alive
  4. How to round out flat characters introduced in their scene

THURSDAY

3:30 – 4:15

“Share your Writing Journey as Part of your Marketing Plan”

Participants will learn through instruction and examples:

  1. What elements to include in their writing journey presentation
  2. How to write their writing journey
  3. Venues to share their writing Journey

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Writers, stay in touch concerning our 2020 MCWC conference. Things look promising, but we encourage you to register as soon as you can, so we can evaluate the financial ramifications of going forward with the conference. I look forward to seeing many of you in Montrose next month. Keep on praying.

Marsha, Director

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                     The 2020 MCWC Faculty Spotlight:
LITERARY AGENT FOR WORDWISE MEDIA SERVICES

                          MICHELLE LAZUREK 
                       
                      ATTENTION, WRITERS!
  One of our 2020 MCWC faculty members will be Wordwise Media Services agent Michelle S. Lazurek. Michelle is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor’s wife and associate literary agent for Wordwise Media Services. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children’s Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal and the Maxwell award for best non-fiction, she is a member of the Christian Author’s Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She and her husband live in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania, with their two children, Caleb and Leah. 
                  MICHELLE’S CLASSES
             Wednesday Afternoon Classes               Do You Have a Platform? 
The word “platform” is used in writing, but few know what that means. Think of platform like a stage. It’s the place where you get your message out to the masses. But how does one do that in the midst of an overly-packed schedule?

In this workshop you will:
1. Understand the planks you need to build your platform
2. Identify which planks are right for you
3. Identify one way you can build your platform today

                 Writing for Early Readers

Many people want to write for children. But how do you write engaging content that not only tells a story but also keeps a young audience engaged despite the instant gratification world in which we live? In this workshop, Michelle will address the following aspects of children’s writing:

  • Why is writing children’s book so important?
  • Five tips to help you if you have a desire to write but don’t know where to start
  • Four ways to keep children engaged in the story
  • How to structure your book

                 Thursday Afternoon Classes

               From Conference to Contract:

     Turning Your One Sheet into a Stellar Proposal
You’ve gone to the workshops. You’ve met with publishers. They’ve shown interest in your book. So now what? In this workshop, Michelle shows you the five essential elements to flesh out your book idea and turn it into a proposal that captures a publisher’s attention. This workshop addresses:
An editor’s viewpoint on the process for sending a query, what to do with rejections, and the process from a go-ahead to a finished and published manuscript. This session will include hints and processes that can help every writer submit materials that can avoid rejection or extensive revision.

             
       The Twelve Essential Elements for Creative                                   Character Development

Purpose

To help writers create and fully develop characters for their next writing project; a fun and exciting way to develop characters through mind mapping.

Premise

Have a great character in mind for your next children’s book, short story, or YA novel, but don’t know how to start creating one? In this interactive workshop, Michelle helps you create a dynamic main character that will help jump start your next writing project. This workshop includes:

  • 12 Questions to ask when creating character profiles
  • Four rules on creating page turning main characters
  • Exercise in creating an actual character from start to finish

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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/2XUGg4Z 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 MCWC Faculty Spotlight: Hartline Literary Agent Jim Hart

One of our 2020 MCWC faculty members will be Jim Hart.

Jim is a literary agent with the Hartline Literary Agency. His clients include both veteran and debut authors, and represent a mix of non-fiction and fiction. He serves both the Christian and general markets. Jim is also a singer/songwriter and worship leader and has been involved in youth and music ministry as well as social outreach for several decades.

Currently Jim is most interested in non-fiction on the topics of Christian living, church growth, social issues, parenting, biographies, and some self-help.

Jim is also looking at select fiction in these categories: suspense/thrillers, romance (contemporary, historical, Amish, and suspense), women’s fiction, speculative and sci-fi.

He is not looking at children’s or middle-grade fiction at this time.

JIM’S CLASSES
Wednesday

Are You Ready to Work with an Agent?

This class will help you evaluate where you are in your writing journey and help you to determine if you are properly prepared to look for a literary agent. We will address specific steps that ultimately lead you to begin your search for an agent. This will include understanding the role of a literary agent and what they do; researching agents; preparing the necessary materials such a query letter and a proposal; recognizing the role of author platform.

2020 Small Town Marketing

Marketing and platform building can be daunting. We often don’t know where to start. There are so many options and a multiple of people shouting to us “You need to do this” or “you should be doing that”. It’s like being lost in an unfamiliar big city. We have a destination, but don’t know where to turn next.  For some of us the big city is overwhelming. It’s crowded, and it’s too fast paced. We prefer a nice small town. It’s easier to get to know people, the pace is more relaxed, and it feels more like community.
Small Town Marketing will present simple ideas to help you in your efforts to market and promote your work and build your author platform along the way. We’ll talk about creating or tapping into a community of writers, creative people and readers.

Thursday

Marketing for Writers Who Don’t Like to Market

This class will look at marketing and promoting your book in a different light, starting with Jesus’ Parable of the Talents. We will define marketing simply as engaging with others. These are the questions that will be presented:

Why to engage? Who to engage? When to engage? Where to engage?

 

2020 Proposals that Pop

Your book proposal is often the first thing a prospective literary agent and editor will review as part of their decision-making process. Good proposals are noted and followed up on. Bad proposals are deleted and forgotten.

“Proposals that Pop” will give you valuable information on what exactly should be, and what should not be, included in your proposal. Some of the themes discussed will include: Basic Structure Guidelines, Compelling Cover Letters, and Knowing When to Stop.

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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 scheduled for Sunday, July 12th to Friday, July 17th.
I hope to see you there!
Marsha, Director

To contact me for a brochure: marshahubler@outlook.com or register online at https://bit.ly/3avK1SA

 

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The 2020 MCWC Faculty Spotlight

ELK LAKE PUBLISHING
CHIEF EDITOR

DEB HAGGERTY

One of our 2020 MCWC faculty members will be the chief editor and owner of Elk Lake Publishing, Plymouth, MA.
Deb Haggerty has been involved in Christian speaking and writing since 1995. She’s 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.”

 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.

DEB’S CLASSES

MONDAY 2:30 – 3:15
HOW TO GROW A TOPIC

What should we write about, where do we find topics, and how do we construct them?
When we decide to write or to speak, we first must decide what we want to say. We need to understand the parts of the book or speech and how to construct them. We need to understand research and know what makes us credible on the topic we’ve chosen.

TUESDAY 2:30 – 3:15
PUBLISHING 101:
FROM QUERY TO THE BOOK CONTRACT

We’ll review the publishing process from query to the finished book and everything in between.
Presenting yourself and your work successfully to an editor/publisher requires certain skills and documents. Ways to ensure you make that very important great first impression will be discussed along with tips and techniques to aid in the creative process. This is an interactive seminar with questions and discussion actively encouraged.

TUESDAY 3:30 – 4:15
PREPARING A PROFESSIONAL PRESENTATION

Speaking to groups is one of the best ways to sell books.Several studies have shown one of the best ways to sell books is back-of-the-room at a speech to a group. Many of us are terrified of the prospect of talking in front of people. This workshop will teach the steps to a professional presentation for even the faint of heart.

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Deb Haggerty had met several authors at last year’s MCWC whose work she loved and has contracted with those authors for a book deal. Don’t miss this year’s conference and plan to meet with her if you are writing the genres her company publishes. You might get that contract you’ve been working for.                    
I hope to see you in July!
Marsha, Director

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

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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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