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WRITERS, DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE YOUR WRITING?

 

DO YOU WANT THE ENCOURAGEMENT OF OTHER WRITERS?

 

  MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

 

2019 Susquehanna Valley Writers Annual Luncheon

SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2019

 

NOTHING HELPS A WRITER GET OUT OF THE WINTER DOLDRUMS LIKE

 

FELLOWSHIPPING WITH OTHER WRITERS.

ATTENTION: Writers in Central PA

join us for the

SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY WRITERS LUNCHEON

Saturday, March 16, 2019

10:45 a.m. (registration)
11:00 to 1:30 p.m.

CARRIAGE CORNER RESTAURANT

257 E. Chestnut Street, Mifflinburg, PA 17844

(Along Route 45)

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Guest Speaker: Annette Whipple, highly recommended by best-selling author Jeanette Windle,  is an author living in Oxford, PA, with her husband and three children. She strives to inspire a sense of wonder in people while exciting them about the world around them. When she’s not writing or visiting schools, Annette enjoys reading a good book and snacking on warm chocolate chip cookies. Connect on Facebook and Instagram at @AnnetteWhippleBooks and Twitter @AnnetteWhipple. Learn more about Annette, her books, and her presentations at http://www.AnnetteWhipple.com.

On March 16th, she’ll be presenting:

The Creative Calling – Session One

Who are you? You are a writer and so much more. Some of us care for children and aging parents. Some of us work additional jobs and volunteer in our communities. We have ideas to write but haven’t had time to write them. Or maybe we feel guilty when we take time away from our other priorities to write. Learn practical tips as we consider our personal calling without neglecting our commitments.

Skip the Pitch: Work-for-Hire Writing Assignments – Session Two

Want to be traditionally published? Stop pitching publishers and get paid to write informational books and other materials for children (grades K-12). If you enjoy learning and writing about new topics, break into the publishing world or bring in more income by writing for the educational market. This workshop explores a variety of writing opportunities with the educational market.

Session One: 11:00-11:45 AM
Lunch: 11:45-12:45 PM
Session Two: 12:45-1:30

Cost: $25

Includes: Soup and Salad Bar, Beverage, Gratuity, and Speaker Honorarium

If you are an author, feel free to bring your books to sell on the

Authors’ Books Table

Registration Deadline: Saturday, March 9, 2019

For the details to register go to: https://susquehannavalleywritersworkshop.wordpress.com/

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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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MY WRITERS’ TIPS BLOG POSTS ARE COMING AGAIN!

Friends, with my husband’s heart attacks, ICU stay in three different hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic, for over two months, and his homegoing on November 6th, I’ve not been able to post my weekly Writers’ Tip Blog since August 21st. Richard had two heart attacks that same week, and our lives changed forever.

That was six months ago already to the day when he entered the first ICU. You who’ve experienced the death of a close one know how much “paperwork” is involved in getting your new life in order. I’m finally getting some kind of “normalcy” in my daily routine. Thus, I’m going to try to return to entering a Writers’ Tip Blog post every Monday. Again, I want to thank you all for your continued prayers.

Today we’re going to continue with the different plots that fiction novels can present. I’ve used a wonderful book by Ronald Tobias called MASTER PLOTS AND HOW TO BUILD THEM as my primary resource. This work by Tobias is packed with useful information for any writer of fiction desiring to improve his skills for writing an I-can’t-put-the-book-down manuscript.

In August, I had posted PLOT # 1, THE QUEST. You might want to scroll down and refresh your memory concerning that plot’s specifics. Today we’re going to look at PLOT # 2, ADVENTURE. If you’re a fiction writer, I believe you’ll thoroughly enjoy these posts and glean much information from them to help you become a better writer:

PLOT 2

ADVENTURE

Indiana Jones

Luke Skywalker

James Bond

Robinson Crusoe

The adventure plot resembles the quest plot, but they differ in some profound ways:

  1. The quest plot is a character plot, getting into the mind of that main character. The adventure plot, on the other hand, is an action plot—a plot of the hero in action.
  2. The difference between the two is the focus. In the quest plot, the focus from beginning to end is on the person making the journey. In the adventure plot, the focus is on the journey.
  3. In the adventure plot, the hero searches for fortune somewhere over the rainbow. The purpose of the adventure is the journey, so the hero doesn’t need to change in any special way.
  4. The reader doesn’t get “into the head” of the main character like the quest plot. The protagonist is perfectly fitted for the adventure: He/she is swept up in the event because the event is always larger than the character.
  5. The worlds the main characters live in are anything but “normal.” Readers enjoy the adventures not only for the action but also for the places where the character goes.
  6. If you the reader liked fairy tales as a child, you’ll love adventure plots in an exciting novel. The adventure story is nothing more than a fairy tale for grown-ups.

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.

Next time, we’ll look at PLOT # 3: PURSUIT

 

BEST-SELLING BOOKS FOR KIDS 10 TO 14

THE KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES:

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Writers, Have You Ever Asked Yourself These Questions?

Writing for publication can sometimes be a lonely and discouraging career path to take. For the last 27 years, dozens of Montrose Christian Writers Conference faculty members have attempted to encourage writers to keep plugging on and to share with them how to become the writers God wants them to be. Too often folks with talent for writing give up too soon on their publishing dreams and quit right before they would have landed that contract.

If you’re a discouraged writer, the 2017 MCWC is just for you. If you’ve ever felt as if there was no hope for what you’ve written, you probably asked yourself some of the following questions. But there’s an answer (a title of a workshop) for every one of your concerns with the classes offered this year:

  1. How do I prepare my manuscript to submit to a publisher?   Formatting before Beginning
  2. How do I get rid of this annoying writers’ block? Three years is long enough!  21 Ways to Overcome Writers Block
  3. How can I change my short story into a drama?  Creating a Viable Stage Production
  4. Would I have a chance at winning a writing contest?  Writing for Guideposts Contests
  5. Will social media, especially a blog, help me sell books?  Blogging 101
  6. Why should I bother writing poetry? No one reads it anyhow.  The Art and Craft of Poetry
  7. Someone told me my characters are “flat” in my kids’ story. How can I fix them?   Putting Characters in Place
  8. Do I need to apply for a tax number to write? To sell my books at book signings?  Understanding the Business of Writing for Publication
  9. What questions should I ask the person for whom I’m writing a profile piece?  Writing the Profile Piece
  10. Is my devotional book different from the tons of devotionals out there already?   Writing Compelling Devotions
  11. Will anyone be interested in buying the book I’m writing?  Marketing for Writers Who Don’t Like to Market
  12. Do folks ever read Bible studies anymore?  Bible Studies That Sell

We could go on and on, telling you about the 40+ workshops offered at this year’s conference, but I think you get the idea. We’ll have practically all genres and pertinent issues about writing/publishing addressed at the conference.

The opening exercise is Sunday evening at 7:30 at the Montrose Bible Conference Center, Montrose, PA. And … as long as there are rooms available for lodging, it’s not too late to register! Even better, if all the rooms  are taken and you are close enough to commute, you can register anytime, even after the conference is underway!

Please check out all the of the classes and special perks available at http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

and register today! You’ll never be sorry!

Marsha, Director

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The Evening Sessions and Perks at this Year’s MCWC

Learning to write well and how to get that manuscript published is just the start of the terrific week planned for the 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference from Sunday, July 16th to Friday, July 21st. Besides a keynote address by Torry Martin on Sunday evening, four morning challenges, and over 40 workshops, there are numerous evening activities and perks to keep every writer’s mind churning with new ideas:

EVENING EVENTS

MONDAY: TORRY’S POTPOURRI – an organic event that will leave you talking. Whether that’s good or bad is yet to be determined.

TUESDAY: MASTER-piece PAINT NIGHT or TORRY’S MOVIE or FREE TIME –

Painting: a fun activity simplified so anyone can do it. Cost for the event is $20. (Dave Weiss) or A Night at the Movies: view one of Torry Martin’s latest films, “Heaven Bound.”

WEDNESDAY: PICTURES OF JESUS – Dave Weiss will present “Pictures of Jesus,” a program including storytelling, video, and five live paintings each painted in six minutes or less.

THURSDAY: WRITERS’ THEATER: another opportunity for you to shine! Bring your own work, an excerpt from a short story, memoir, novel, or a poem and trimmed to three minutes and read it to the conferees at the Writers’ Theater, a delightful program that celebrates your creativity.

SPECIAL OPPORTUNITIES

EDITORIAL APPOINTMENTS: Private 15-minute appointments with editors and agents to show them material which may be suitable for their publications and/or to discuss ideas for stories. Sign-up sheets available at the conference. Bring professionally prepared manuscripts. Be sure to bring copies! No charge.

PROFESSIONAL CRITIQUES: a great opportunity to have your work evaluated by a published professional. You’ll receive a written evaluation of your manuscript plus a 30-minute private appointment to discuss ways to improve and/or market your piece.

Register for MCWC by June 27 and request guidelines for emailing your manuscript. $40.00 per critique.

  • Vie Herlocker–Christian living, devotionals, memoirs, fiction – any except romance (max. 6 )
  • Gloria Penwell – Bible studies (max. 4)
  • Patti Souder – Drama sketches, monologues, 10-minute plays. (Max. 6)
  • Mike Dellosso – suspense/mystery, spec fic., contemporary, and memoir. No romance, historical, or Amish. (max. 6)
  • B.J. Taylor – Inspirational short stories for Guideposts/Angels on Earth/Mysterious Ways/Chicken Soup for the Soul; Memoirs (max. 6)
  • Diane Stark – Creative nonfiction, essays, parenting articles, 1st person pieces for anthologies (max. 5)

MORNING WORK-IN-PROGRESS: Picture books with Carol Wedeven: $40 (4 sessions) OR a Teen Track with Cathy Mayfield: $25 (4 sessions)

AFTERNOON WORK-IN-PROGRESS: Poetry with Lora Zill: $25 (3 sessions)

CRITIQUE GROUPS and GENRES of INTEREST GROUPS: Opportunity for feedback from other writers. No charge. Held from Monday to Thursday at 4:30

BOOK TABLE: Features books by faculty and conferees. When registering, please indicate books you’ve written which you would like to sell.

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.

FREEBIES: Complimentary publishers’ guidelines and sample copies to save you time and postage.

RECORDINGS: Listen to the sessions you missed or those you want to hear again (Easily loaded into your computer). 

SCHOLARSHIPS:

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.

General Scholarship help is available according to need. Please inquire when registering.

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

Don’t wait any longer to register. The classes are filling up fast! (Check out all the details at http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx )

Marsha, Director

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Let’s Talk Punctuation for a While

(Post Number Eleven)

MANGER08

Perky Parentheses and Bold Brackets

If you’re like me with your writing, you sometimes might be confused concerning when to use parentheses. Should you use em dashes instead? Or how about commas?

Let’s first define “parentheses” so we understand what in the world these little smiley face lines are used for.

Definition One: “Parentheses usually set off material that is less closely related to the rest of the sentence than that enclosed in em dashes or commas.” (The CMOS, 15th edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2003, p. 265)

Instead of going in to detailed descriptions of how to use the parentheses, I’m going to list some examples for you:

Example One: The judge decided that all the dogs (collies, etc.) in that division were worthy of a blue ribbon.

Example Two: The championship soccer game the Stallions won (under difficult conditions of freezing rain) was a thriller.

Example Three: The Book of John (see chapter 3) mentions Jesus as God’s Son and Savior who came to save us from our sin.

 Definition Two: “Parentheses are used to enclose glosses of unfamiliar terms or translations of foreign terms—or, if the term is given in English, to enclose the original word.” (The CMOS, 15th edition, The University of Chicago Press, 2003, p 266)

Example One: Downloading “Dropbox” (a free program on the web that allows you to transfer files from one computer to the other instantly without a flash drive) is a godsend for writers.

Example Two: In my Amish fiction book, I used the word “boppli” (baby) many times.

Example Three: The word for mother (mamm) in my Amish books occurs dozens of times.

In the CMOS, a few more examples of complicated uses for parentheses are listed, which most of us writers would not need to know. So for simplicity’s sake, we’ll stop with the perky parentheses plug here and move on to the bold brackets.

Bold Brackets

 To use brackets, or “square brackets,” properly, all you need to remember is that they are used to enclose words that are inserted by a second author inside a first author’s original work.

What? Say again?

You would use brackets if you inserted your own words in material from the following types of already printed material: quoted matter, reprints, anthologies, editorial interpolations, explanations, translations of foreign words, or corrections. Allow me give you some examples cited in the CMOS, 15th edition:

Example One: “They [the free-silver Democrats] asserted that the ratio could be maintained.”

Example Two: “Many CF [cystic fibrosis] patients have been helped by the new therapy.”

Example Three: Satire, Jebb tells us, “is the only [form] that has a continuous development.”

Example Four: “The differences between society [Gesellschaft] and community [Gemeinde] will now be analyzed.”

I believe the only other use of brackets that we might need to know is when they are used within a set of parentheses. Here is an example; take notice where the period is at the end:

Example: (For further explanation see Strunk and White’s Element of Style [1979] and Webster’s Dictionary [1984].)

I hope I haven’t totally confused you with this parentheses/bracket blog. These two little punctuation tips might not be of use to us every day, but once in a while, we do need to know how to use them effectively, so perhaps these tidbits today will refine your writing style a little more as you write your way to that next published piece.

Happy writing!

Marsha

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SOUTHERN BELLE’S SPECIAL GIFT

Keystone Stables Book 3

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Character Development

cartoon-worker-flexing-his-muscles-isolated-37246000

 

He’s a Nice Man? She’s a Nice Lady? Really?

 

Anyone who has tried to write fiction for any length of time realizes that character development is quite important to help your story move along and not be “flat.”

A writer who works diligently at his craft will spend much time developing his primary and secondary characters so that they jump out on the page and practically hug the reader, inviting him to join the party!

So, how is a character developed cleverly so that his description, life’s ambitions, demeanor, habits, quirks, and personal appearance are shown not told?

I guess the best way to demonstrate the proper technique is to “show” and not “tell,” so what we’ll do is look at some bad examples and then turn them into good examples.

Before studying the examples, please remember one important rule when working on character development. Listing all of the character’s traits in one paragraph is about the most boring technique a writer could ever use. A writer who develops his characters properly will embed all of the traits into the narration and/or dialogue so that the reader hardly notices what’s been done, yet will enjoy getting to know the characters on a personal level.

Now, let’s look at some bad examples and then compare them with some good examples:

Bad Example Number One: (Description)

“It’s me, Tanya!” She was so nervous, her voice quivered. Tanya was a tall African American teenager who had a nice shape. She wore a ponytail with long ringlets hanging down in front of her ears. Even though it was cold, all she had on were a thin jacket and jeans. She was really cold.

Good Example Number One:

“It’s me, Tanya!” a quivering voice answered. A tall African-American teenager stepped into the doorway, now in full view of the overhead lights. The girl folded her arms in a futile attempt to keep warm, her shapely frame covered with just a thin denim jacket and jeans. Her short ponytail and long strands of ringlets in front of her ears quivered as she tried to keep warm. (From Keystone Stables Book 3: Southern Belle’s Special Gift, p. 11, by Marsha Hubler)

Bad Example Number Two: (Demeanor or Personality)

Skye Nicholson was a thirteen-year-old brat who had been in trouble with the law for years. Now she found herself sitting in a courtroom, which didn’t seem to bother her one bit. She had a terrible temper, which her lawyer tried to control while they sat before the judge for Skye’s hearing. Skye slumped in her seat and yawned. She was really ignorant.

Good Example Number Two:

Skye Nicholson looked cold as an ice cube as she slumped in the wooden chair and stared back at Judge Mitchell. Most ordinary thirteen-year-olds would have been scared to death as a hearing with an angry judge yelling at the top of his lungs. But Skye was no ordinary thirteen-year-old. Her anger matched the judge’s. Only Wilma Jones, her court-appointed lawyer, prevented Skye from exploding. (From Keystone Stables Book 1: A Horse to Love, p.9, by Marsha Hubler)

Bad Example Number Three – (Description of a horse):

The horse was a beauty. He was a reddish-brown color, and he had a stripe down the middle of his face. His ears were real pointy. His mane and tail were silky and his coat was real smooth. He didn’t smell horsey at all. He smelled kind of like fresh-cut hay.

Good Example Number Three – (Description of the same horse):

The horse’s sharp ears pricked forward as if it could read her mind. A white stripe ran down the middle of its face, and its soft mane and tail blew in the breeze like corn silk. Its reddish-brown coat, sleek and smooth, sparkled in the sun. And the smell? Like sweet, fresh-mown hay. (From Keystone Stables Book 1: A Horse to Love, p.26, by Marsha Hubler)

Are you getting the idea? Embed all that information about the character right into the story. Let’s do one more, just for fun:

Bad Example Number Four: (Description and Feelings)

Louellen was totally embarrassed when she fell into her employer’s arms. It wasn’t only because she thought herself clumsy, but she loved this man because he was so handsome with wavy blonde hair and nice brown eyes. He always had wonderful-smelling cologne on too. Louellen was an Amish woman and dressed in Nineteenth Century clothes. She had green eyes and auburn hair with a white kapp on and a navy cape choring dress, which she always wore when she cleaned. When she tripped and fell into the man’s arms, she scared the family dog out of his wits too.

Good Example Number Four:

Louellen gasped for breath as she regained her balance and pulled away from her employer’s arms. His touch, first ever and accompanied by the sweet smell of his expensive Canoe after shave, stirred something deep inside Louellen’s heart that she didn’t expect. For a moment, she focused on his gorgeous wavy, blonde hair and handsome face and then quickly lowered her gaze. Never before had she allowed herself to look into this man’s gentle brown eyes, although she had studied him from a distance. Hands shaking, she adjusted the white mesh kapp covering her auburn hair and ran her hands down the sides of her navy cape choring dress. She shifted her green eyes to the dog sitting nearby with a puzzled look on his face as if to say, “What happened?” (From Love Song for Louellen book manuscript, p.1, by Marsha Hubler)

Well, there you have some character development examples for you to analyze.

What doesn’t work in the bad examples? What does work in the good examples? You decide; then look at some of your own character descriptions and see what you can do to improve them. Get those characters out of that boring descriptive box and turn them loose with their surroundings, some action, and some backdrop. Your editor and your reader will enjoy your writings much more!

Next time, we’ll discuss verbs that can kill your manuscript.

Happy writing!

Marsha

http://www.montrosebible.org

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

http://www.marshahubler.com

 

(More shameless promotion)

A HORSE TO LOVE

 

Keystone Stables Book 1

Foster kid Skye Nicholson hates everyone and everything until she meets Champ,

a gorgeous show horse.

 

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