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Posts Tagged ‘writing good fiction’

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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Torry Martin

Author/Film Actor

Do you have a fiction manuscript and you’re wondering how to change it into a screenplay? Then the Major Morning Seminar entitled “What’s the Big Idea?” at the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference from July 16th to the 21st is for you.

Author and film actor Torry Martin will teach four consecutive morning classes, presenting the following information:

What’s the Big Idea?

Two areas in which writers tend to stumble when putting together a story are “the big idea” and pacing.

For “the big idea,” this means “Does this story need to be told as a book or a movie, and will it keep audiences engaged for 300 pages or 90-120 minutes?” Engaging the audience, however, starts on the page. You need a reader to keep turning pages of your book or screenplay in rapid succession because the story propels them forward with energy and purpose. Readers need to see the movie as they turn pages, and if the script drags, the movie certainly will.

How do you determine if your idea is “big” enough to carry a movie? And how do you make sure your script has strong pacing?

In this seminar, we’ll be delving into details about the importance of the big idea and solid pacing. I’ll be using some of my own stories as examples.

Torry will also teach two afternoon classes to help writers with their projects:

The Art of Collaborative Writing

Whether you plan on sharing the fame or sharing the blame, this class will help equip you to navigate the sometimes choppy waters of writing as a team. We’ll be discussing the benefits and pitfalls of collaborative writing, how to find the right partner, how to pitch a project to a potential partner, how to make decision as a team, exploring work time and work space, choosing a project, co-drafting the script or story, and how to make a creative relationship work.

Write for Your Life

A visual and participatory teaching on how to research story material from your own life and turn it into something marketable by adding humor and spiritual applications. You’ll discover how to research your life, edit your stories, incorporate comedy into your writing, and, most importantly, how to have fun while sharing God’s truths.

If you still want more of Torry, he’ll also be involved with two evening events:

MONDAY: TORRY’S POTPOURRI 

an organic event that will leave you talking. Torry says, “Whether that’s good or bad is yet to be determined.”

TUESDAY: TORRY’S MOVIE 

A Night at the Movies: view one of Torry Martin’s latest films, “Heaven Bound.”

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

Don’t miss this year’s Montrose Christian Writers Conference! Lots of food, fun, and Christian fellowship await you!

Marsha Hubler, Director

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The 2017 Montrose Christian Writers Conference Faculty Spotlight

AUTHOR MIKE DELLOSSO

 

Writers, are you working on a fiction project and you need help with your character development? How about your setting descriptions? Too wordy? Not enough detail? Have you decided exactly why you’re writing this project?

Fiction author Mike Dellosso will offer four fiction workshops at this year’s MCWC on July 17th and 18th. If you want to learn from one of the pros in the business, you won’t be disappointed if you hear Mike. He plans to present the following workshops to help you spruce up that manuscript.

MIKE’S WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS

Character Building, part 1

In this workshop we’ll look at the basics of character building. I’ll help you choose the right characters for the right role, name the characters, and show you how to describe them to give them personality. We’ll discuss who gets to be the main characters, secondary characters, and tertiary characters. We’ll also look at point-of-view and dialogue.

Character Building, part 2

In this workshop we’ll dive deeper into character development and discuss motivation and back story. We’ll also talk about getting into character to make your characters come alive and jump off the page.

Setting and Description

In this workshop we’ll discuss how to create a world for your characters to populate, how to blend real locations with fictitious ones, and how to accurately describe those locations so your readers feel like they are there experiencing the same world as your characters are experiencing.

Making Your Fiction Matter

This is where it all gets real. This workshop will focus on writing fiction that really matters. Should we? Why? How much power does fiction really have? We’ll talk about the reasons for writing with purpose and best ways to make your fiction count and get the most emotional and spiritual bang for your buck.

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

If you’d like a sample of your fiction work critiqued by Mike, he has offered to review conferees’ work in the following categories: suspense/mystery, speculative fiction, contemporary fiction, and memoirs. Check out the details at the website: http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Mike Dellosso is the author of a dozen novels and several non-fiction titles. In addition to his writing he’s also a writing teacher, adjunct professor, and healthcare worker. He lives in PA with his wife, five daughters, and their border collie, Kylo.

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

Writers, register online at the above URL or call 800-598-5030 for a brochure and registration form to be mailed to your home. I’d love to see you at Montrose this July!

Marsha, MCWC director

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April 11, 2016

 

The Essential Details of Research for your Fiction

 Detective.w.Spy.Glass.Cartoon

What? Research for fiction when I’m making it all up in my brilliant head?

Yes, you need to do research even though your story is “make-believe.”

The editors with whom I worked to publish three different juvenile fiction books or series all demanded accuracy when it came to “the facts.”

In my Keystone Stables book number seven, WHISPERING HOPE, a small barn fire causes the local fire company to come to the Chambers’ ranch to, of course, put out the fire. So, what, or who, would show up to put out a potentially dangerous flame that could destroy acres of property and farmland?

To be absolutely correct in my manuscript, I interviewed a local fireman and got all the details of who, what, where, when, and why. Following is that scene with all “the facts” included accurately:

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

Skye followed Mrs. Chambers outside just as two screaming fire engines, a tanker, and an ambulance, all with flashing lights, barreled down the driveway and pulled a short distance from the barn. The trucks and their commotion lit up the place like a firemen’s carnival. As far as Skye could tell, about ten firemen scrambled from the trucks and started their assigned tasks.

Moving to the far side of the barn, Mr. Chambers continued to spray water on the fire. “I think it just started!” he yelled to anyone who would listen.

“Is there anyone in the barn?” one fireman yelled.

“No!” Mr. Chambers yelled. “We just got all the horses out!”

Another fireman asked, “Do you have a pond on your property?”

“Yes,” Mr. Chambers answered, “at the bottom of the fenced-in pasture.”

“Freeburg’s trucks should be here any sec,” the fireman said. “Open your gate, so their tanker can fill up.”

Mr. Chambers dropped his garden hose and raced toward the gate.

Skye stared at the scene while two men quickly slid a large plastic holding tank off the truck and started pumping water from the tanker into it. One fireman grabbed some kind of line or hose from another truck and pulled it to the plastic tank where he plugged it in. Two other men shoulder-loaded a hose from the first truck and stretched it the length of the barn. A pair of men from another truck donned breathing apparatus, grabbed fire extinguishers and hatchets, and started toward the barn.

The men with the outstretched hose started spraying water on the flames in the loft while two men from the second truck prepped their hose.

Still coughing, Skye watched the firemen perform their duties with the precision that only drill after drill had produced. Every man knew exactly what to do to put out the fire and save the barn from total destruction.

Out of the ambulance hopped two EMTs. Carrying small cases, they rushed toward Mrs. Chambers and Skye. “Are you all right?” asked a chubby female in a navy blue uniform.

Mrs. Chambers gestured toward Skye and spoke through a series of coughs. “We … got our lungs full of smoke, but we’re okay. Just let us… catch our breath.”

“Do you need any oxygen?” a tall thin EMT with a beard asked.

“I think… we’re okay,” Skye managed to say. “We were in the barn… just long enough to get the horses out.”

Gasping, Mr. Chambers joined the group while his glare never left the barn.

“Sir,” the male EMT asked Mr. Chambers, “are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Mr. Chambers said. “I didn’t breathe in any smoke… I’m just winded.”

With blasting sirens and flashing lights, three more fire trucks and another ambulance barreled down the driveway. They clattered to the far side of the barn and pulled to a screeching halt. One busy fireman in front of the barn ran to the tanker and shouted something to the driver. As the firemen hopped off the engines, the tanker backed up, maneuvered around the other trucks, and headed toward the pond.

Mrs. Chambers grabbed Skye by both shoulders and glared into her face. “Skye … where’s Wanda?”

Skye’s eyes grew as round as saucers. “Mom… I completely forgot to tell you… she wasn’t in her bed.” She then pointed at the barn. “She might be in there!”

“Wan-da!” Mrs. Chambers screamed and started running toward the barn, but Mr. Chambers grabbed her arm and stopped her. “You stay here!” he yelled. “I’ll go in.”

“You can’t go in there!” an EMT yelled.

“I have to,” he said. “One of our girls is in there!”

Mr. Chambers ran to a firemen gearing up and told him about Wanda.

“Mike!” the fireman yelled back to the hosemen. “There might be a kid in there. We’re going in.”

“Okay,” one said. Turning his water on, he and his partner streamed a second powerful surge of water into the barn’s loft.

(From WHISPERING HOPE by Marsha Hubler, pp. 60-62)

 

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

 

There you have an example of the detail required to make a scene come alive with truth in action. I trust that you felt like you were standing right next to Skye, watching everything that was going on.

In another one of my fiction books, THE SECRET OF WOLF CANYON, the plot centers around Civil War gold coins hidden in a canyon that the main characters, three teen girl junior detectives, have to find. I make several referrals to the Battle of Gettysburg, including a map or two in the manuscript; so, of course, much research went into being accurate with the details about the coins and the battlefield. I used encyclopedias and the Internet for my research.

Oh, by the way, one of the publishing companies’ editors’ main jobs is to make sure their authors get their stories straight. The editors, in turn, must do their own research to verify the words we authors have written.

So, my point is this: when writing fiction, make sure you get “the facts” straight. I suppose the only subgenre in which you wouldn’t need much research is if you’re writing fantasy that takes place in a brand new world. You can make up your own laws, rules, details, and creatures which need to follow no standard. However, if you’re writing about anything or anyone here on planet earth, do your homework, and make your story as true to life as you can, even if it’s all a big lie. ☺

Marsha

P.S. Don’t wait to sign up for a work-in-progress class at the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference this July. Those seminars fill up fast.MCWC.Duck.Welcome.Sign.on.Porch.7.22.14

http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

http://www.marshahubler.com

http://www.montrosebible.org

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

 

(More shameless promotion)

SOUTHERN BELLE’S SPECIAL GIFT

(KEYSTONE STABLES BOOK 3)

Foster kid Skye and her horse Champ have their hooves full

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

of a mare giving birth.

 Keystone Stables Book 3

 

http://www.amazon.com/Southern-Belles-Special-Keystone-Stables-ebook/dp/B003SE765M/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1455548107&sr=1-1&keywords=Southern+Belle%27s+Special+Gift

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Writing an Eye-catching Proposal (Part 3)

 Character Sketches and the Backdrop

So far in our review of what makes an eye-catching proposal, we’ve looked at the Title Page, the Table of Contents, the Synopsis, and the Author Bio. Today, we’ll review Character Sketches and the Backdrop.

As previously mentioned, editors and agents might offer different guidelines for their proposal’s components or they might have the components listed in a different order. Always ask for their guidelines before you spend much time writing your proposal for a specific request. However, I think it’s a very good idea to get a proposal ready with the basic components as soon as you start working on a new fiction manuscript. It’s much easier to tweak a 60 plus-page proposal than start from scratch, especially if the editor or agent wants the proposal ASAP.

Below I’ve included samples of some character sketches and backdrop. The character sketches are “sketchy,” which might be adequate for some editors, but for others, might not be. Perhaps they’ll request a full-page sketch of the main character or a few of the secondary characters, as well. So be prepared and give the editors what they want.

LOVE SONG FOR LOUELLEN 

CHARACTER SKETCHES

Louellen Bidleman Friesen – twenty-five-year-old Amish woman unhappily married to Eli Friesen, a mid-twenties Amish man. Louellen feels trapped in her life for two reasons: she craves love from her husband, which she is not receiving because she can’t give him children, and she is questioning her Amish roots and belief system, which leaves her empty and with no assurance of God’s love or her eternal destiny. Louellen is a beautiful woman, slender with long wavy auburn hair, green eyes, and a rosy complexion.

Eli Friesen – mid-twenties six-foot-tall Amish farmer with thick, brown wavy hair, dark brown eyes and curly eyelashes. Eli is a troubled soul, who publicly fits into the Amish mold but in his heart questions his Amish beliefs and longs to know God more intimately. Eli also guards another secret well that only he and his medical doctor know – Eli is the reason he and Louellen have no children, but his pride and bitterness cause him to resent Louellen and ignore her longings to have an intimate emotional relationship with him.

Dr. David McAndrew – 40 years old; gentle brown eyes, wavy blonde hair, tall, and handsome; doctor of obstetrics; not a Christian; bitter at God for taking his wife; performs abortions; finds himself romantically attracted to Louellen Friesen.

Andrea McAndrew– 18 years old; blonde hair, brown eyes; slender; interested in spiritual matters but doesn’t tell her father because of his bitterness toward God; would love to see Louellen and her father get together; a freshman in college.

Jenna McAndrew – 16 years old; blonde hair, brown eyes; slender; interested in spiritual matters but doesn’t mention it to her father; would love to see Louellen and her father get together; a junior in high school.

Cheryl Whentfield – 32 years old; RN who works in obstetrics with David; divorced with two boys, Brent, 15, and Conrad, 13, and would like to connect with David; deep blue eyes, long styled black hair (bottled because of premature gray); shapely and very attractive; wears make-up fashionably; not a Christian.

Louellen’s family :

Dad Bidleman – thin mid-forties Amish farmer; graying beard; brown eyes; leathery skin

Mom Bidleman – plump mid-forties Amish housewife and mother; graying auburn hair in bun and kapp; green eyes and rosy cheeks

Zeb Clouser – brother-in-law; blonde hair, blue eyes; thin farmer with weathered skin; 28 years old; farmer

Esther Bidleman Clouser – 27 yrs. old; same features as Louellen; often mistaken for her twin

Rebecca Clouser – seven years old; looks like father; blonde hair; blue eyes

Sarah Clouser – six years old; same features

Joseph Clouser – four-year-old nephew of Eli and Louellen; the boy Eli idolizes

Samuel Bidleman – Louellen’s brother; typical Amish man; auburn hair and brown eyes; 29 years old; farmer; kind

Marie Zook Bidleman – Samuel’s wife; 28 years old; plump; dark hair; brown eyes; pregnant with third child

Samuel Bidleman – eight years old; looks like his father, Samuel. All boy

Adam Bidleman – five years old; rosy cheeks; brown hair and brown eyes; plump

BACKDROP

Mapletown – fictitious small town in central Pennsylvania where the story takes place

Presbyterian Community Hospital– where Dr. David McAndrew works

Washington High School– where Jenna McAndrew attends

Wellington State University– where Andrea McAndrew attends

Bald Eagle Valley– where Friesens and other Amish families live; west of Mapletown

*****

In an Amish/Mennonite fiction novel, in which family is so vitally important to the storyline, it is expected that you would include the family members of the main character. However, in most other subgenres, the editors would probably not ask for such detail.

Next time, we’ll discuss the last components of a good proposal: the Sample Chapters (or the entire manuscript), Marketing Information, and the Date of Completion.

Happy writing!

Marsha

http://www.montrosebible.org

http://www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

http://www.marshahubler.com

 

(More shameless promotion)

A HORSE TO LOVE

BOOK ONE IN THE KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES

Keystone Stables Book 1

Foster kid Skye Nicholson hates everyone and everything until she meets gorgeous show horse, Champ.

http://www.amazon.com/Horse-Love-Keystone-Stables-Book-ebook/dp/B002U80FZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456791070&sr=1-1&keywords=A+Horse+to+Love+by+Marsha+Hubler

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January 25, 2016

TEN WAYS TO WRITE LIKE A BEGINNER

Let’s see, you’ve had this great idea for umpteen years, and now you’ve decided to start writing! Or maybe you’ve been writing for a while and you’d like to get your story, poem, article, or book published. Will you qualify as a beginning writer who’ll never see any work published or as an experienced crafter of words who’ll definitely see his/her name in print?

I’ve listed a few characteristics of a writer that automatically brand him/her as a newbie. If you can say “yes, that’s me” to any of the points in the list below, all I can say is “uh oh.” Go ahead, read the list, and see how you do:

  1. Never read any books in the same genre in which you are writing. After all, you don’t want to steal another author’s voice, style, or story!
  2. Write when you feel like it, even if the radio or TV is blasting or your family is demanding supper.
  3. Without trying to publish anything else, start writing the Great American Novel that has plots, subplots, foreshadowing, and complicated characters.
  4. Start your fiction manuscript with five pages of narration and description from five points of view. Have 600 pages in your manuscript.
  5. Develop a boring plot with no climax, characters with no depth, and dialogue that is flat and the same for all your characters.
  6. Don’t seek any help from anyone or anything like a critique group, “how-to-write” books, or writers’ conferences because God told you to write, what to write, and how to write it, and nobody is going to change your mind.
  7. Send your manuscript everywhere without querying first. Buy the Writers’ Market Guide, start on page 1, and don’t stop until you get a sale!
  8. If you decide to write a query letter, write one that is “unique.” Smother it in chocolate or perfume smells and start the letter like this: “Dear Editor, this is your lucky day. My family has read this, and they absolutely love it.”
  9. Send your very first draft of your very first manuscript to a different editor once every six months; then go into deep depression when it’s rejected.
  10. Throw away all rejection letters, including those from editors who suggest changes or editors who would like you to submit other work. After all, if the editor didn’t like your first manuscript, he/she won’t like any of your other stuff, and if you make suggested changes in anything, the manuscript won’t be “your” work anymore.

Well, how’d you do? Hopefully, you’re not guilty of any of these nasty beginners’ habits. If so, perhaps you should take up basket weaving or bowling instead.

Next time we’ll discuss how determined you are to be a writer. What will make you quit?

Marsha

(Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers Tips) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

Montrose Christian Writers Conference http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

(More Shameless Promotion)

SUMMER CAMP ADVENTURE

Keystone Stables Book 4

Foster kid Skye Nicholson and her horse Champ try to teach a Jonathan, a deaf boy, how to ride Western

when he had already learned English.

He won’t listen to anyone then takes off with a horse and gets lost in the woods.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Camp-Adventure-Keystone-Stables-ebook/dp/B003TFE5VI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452968862&sr=1-1&keywords=Summer+Camp+Adventure+by+Marsha+Hubler

How about reading some sweet “love” stories/devotionals….

21 Days of Love

Compiled by Kathy Ide

21 Days of Love.Cover

http://www.amazon.com/Days-Love-Celebrate-Treasured-Relationships-ebook/dp/B018BEKD4Y/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453586941&sr=1-1&keywords=21+days+of+love+by+kathy+ide

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December 7, 2015

Fiction That Wows Your Reader (Part 9)

Writing an Outline First

Writing an “outline” before you actually begin your fiction manuscript is one of those options that each writer must decide whether he wants to use. In my opinion, it’s a necessary nifty little tool of organization that helps move the writing process forward.

Let’s first define “outline.” A manuscript outline is NOT:

I.

A.

B.

C.

II.

A.

B.

C.

III.    Etcetera

Where the term “outline” ever came from is beyond me. Maybe that’s what scares some writers into running the opposite direction when the word is mentioned at writers’ conferences.

What is a Manuscript Outline?

Simply put, it’s a short paragraph or two written in third person with NO dialogue that cites the main characters and describes the action and scenes in each chapter. It’s a roadmap, if you will, that gets the author to the end of each of his chapters and, eventually, to the end of his story. Using a chapter outline usually expedites the thinking and writing process and helps you get finished much quicker than if you’re wandering in “I don’t know what to write next” Land.

I, for one, must have an outline, skimpy as it might be, that takes my characters to a climax near the end of the story and then to a final resolution. The outline gives me direction so I know what the characters must accomplish or must face before the last page. In my last published book, SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS, I also made a detailed list of every character. (We’ll discuss “character sketches” next time.)

Back to outlines. I’ve met authors at writers’ conferences who have the “Seat-of-the Pants” writing style. They state that they like to start with a few main characters and a skeletal storyline and start writing to see what happens!

Frankly, that would drive me crazy, and I’d probably still be writing my first manuscript, which would be about 2500 pages long by now. My head would be spinning just as my characters would be, never getting anywhere or seeing anything happen. (In fact, I know a few unpublished writers who are caught in this trap. They never finish their project because they have no idea where their characters are heading! Of course, I also know some best-selling authors who use this method as well.)

A Sample Outline: Below I’ve listed a short example of three chapter outlines for one of my published works. Take a look and decide which kind of writer you are. Are you an “outliner” or a “pantser?” If you haven’t considered writing outlines before you tackle that fiction manuscript, maybe you should. You might get finished much quicker than you ever dreamed.

Sample Outline for Three Chapters for:

Book 8. Keystone Stables

THE LONG RIDE HOME

KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES BOOK #8

http://www.amazon.com/Long-Ride-Home-Keystone-Stables-ebook/dp/B003QP3XEQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1449523967&sr=1-1&keywords=tHE+Long+Ride+Home+by+marsha+Hubler

Chapter Outline

(Will foster kid Skye find her real parents?)

 Chapter One

            It’s summertime! Mr. and Mrs. Chambers, Morgan and Skye have just finished showing their horses in equine events at a horse show in Virginia. Now they and their four horses are on their way to South Carolina where, for two weeks, they’ll serve as short-term staff at Ralston’s Rocking Horse Ranch, a Christian special needs summer camp. There the four plan to give lessons in horse care and riding and help in the kitchen. After that, they plan to attend at least a half dozen other horse shows where they’ll show the horses and compete to try to win blue ribbons and cash prizes.

Close to Charleston, they pull off the interstate and have lunch at a diner. Their meal is interrupted when a waitress drops a full tray of food right near their table. She tells the Chambers’ family that hearing Skye Nicholson’s name startled her. She asks that they meet her when she leaves work in an hour to discuss something very important about Skye’s real family.

Chapter Two

            The Chambers and the girls wait for the hour and meet the waitress in the parking lot when she comes off duty. The woman, Millie Grove, pulls a photo from her wallet, which shows her holding a three-year-old child whom she claims is Skye. Millie says she’s the sister of Skye’s father, Kent Nicholson, who had married Rita Ulmer sixteen years ago. She relates that both parents battled with drug and alcohol abuse, and three years into their marriage, they were both in a serious car accident that claimed the life of a young mother in a second car. Because Kent was DUI, he was he was sentenced to ten years in prison for vehicular homicide. Rita testified against him, and he threatened to get even with her, so she entered the witness protection program and changed her name. She promptly divorced Kent, left Skye with Millie, and moved away without leaving any forwarding address. Millie never heard from her again and tells Skye that there’s a slim chance that Rita might be living in Pennsylvania close to her only sister.  She also says that although she tried to keep in touch with her brother, he severed all ties with her and refuses to see her or write to her. When Rita left, Millie was a single mother with two of her own children, so she had no choice but to place Skye into foster care.

When Skye shares that she desperately wants to find out about her parents, Millie gives her the only information she has, the name of the prison where Kent had served and the name of a fellow inmate, a friend of Millie’s, who knew Kent and Rita.

 Chapter Three

            The Chambers decide that Skye’s quest to find her roots is most important in her life at this time and rearrange their summer to help Skye. After fulfilling their commitment at the dude ranch, they decide to dedicate the rest of the summer to tracking down Skye’s parents.

When doing research about the prison where Kent had been serving, the Chambers’ family finds out that Kent served his full sentence and was released. They also meet Ralph Mowry, the inmate who knew Kent. He tells them that Kent went to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, to start his life over, and Rita went somewhere in NYC, the only lead Skye has to finding either of her parents. Skye goes online with her laptop and finds three men with the name “Kent Nicholson” in the Gatlinburg area.

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

          So there you have a sample of an outline for three of my chapters in the last book in the Keystone Stables Series, THE LONG RIDE HOME. I couldn’t have written eight different manuscripts with completely different storylines if I hadn’t had an outline for each book. Skye would probably be floating around in the clouds harping about something and never get to first base in the first chapter of the first book!

Maybe you should consider writing chapter outlines to get your manuscript on the move. By the way, when you send a proposal to an agent or an editor at a publishing company, they just might ask for that chapter outline, so why don’t you start writing yours today!

Marsha

(Web) www.marshahubler.com

(Writers Tips) www.marshahubler.wordpress.com

Montrose Christian Writers Conference http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

(Horse Facts Blog) www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

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