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The MCWC Faculty Spotlight

VIE HERLOCKER

AN EDITOR’S PET PEEVES

AFTERNOON SERIES

Writers, exactly how important is it to know whether that comma belongs there or not? Do you really need to know how to spell every word correctly in your manuscript? Won’t the editor at the publishing company “fix” my manuscript?

These questions have run through every writer’s mind. Yet, the average writer, especially newbies, often think the PUGS (punctuation, usage, grammar, and spelling) aren’t that important when creating a masterpiece.

My afternoon series of classes will set the record straight. Each class will be very hands on with worksheets and handouts. Everyone in attendance will learn how really important editing your own manuscript is. Here’s what you’ll be learning in my four classes:

Day One

Formatting before beginning: margins, headers, font. Setting up Word for auto indent and no space between like paragraphs.

PUGS—specifically using commas, semicolons, colons, smart quotation marks, dashes, ellipses, plurals (with attention to plural acronym—UFOs, not UFO’s), turning apostrophes the right way (Don’t worry your noggin, just listen to Mama—an apostrophe’s simply a flying comma). Hyphenation, passive constructions, etc.

Day Two

Powerful Sentence Structures: (This is my baby)-examples of poor to good sentences and then showing how reworking them moves them to outstanding. Showing the power of end-loading or front-loading the critical information to get certain reactions from the reader. This day will also work on misplaced modifiers, awkward phrasing, rule of 3, etc. Also varying sentence structures and Whacking the Weed Words and Wonkers that weaken sentences: To be words, repetitions, overused words, adjectives and adverbs, cliches, etc. How to use “search” to help clean up your manuscript.

Day Three

PUGS specific to Christian writers: formatting/punctuating Scripture, capitalization of common religious terms. Using the tools to help you find the answers if you don’t know them. (This info can be part of the Day One PUGS stuff as well.)

Day Four

Understanding the business of writing for publication. I’ve found that most writers we contract at Sonfire have no clue how a book gets from pen to published to distribution and how royalties can be figured more than one way, so 10% one way may be just as good at 20% another way. This day will also work on IEPs. Individual Escape Plans—for hopping off that train or treadmill and taking measurable steps toward their goals. Will talk about investing in yourself, both financially and with time to study/write/rewrite/repeat.

Writers, you CAN improve your own writing!

Commit all that you do to the Lord, trust Him to help you do it, and He will. Psalm 37:5

A Little About Vie

Vie Herlocker is editor for Sonfire Media, a small traditional Christian publisher, and its fiction imprint, Taberah Press, located in Galax, Virginia. She is also a freelance editor at Cornerstone-Ink Editing. She is a member of the Christian Editor Connection, Christian Proofreaders and Editors Network, ACFW, and ACW.

While editing is her greatest love, Vie coauthored a book for the educational in-service market, ghostwrote a memoir, and has been published in compilation books and periodicals, including Penned from the Heart, Chicken Soup for the Empty Nester’s Soul, Christian Communicator, Church Libraries, Guideposts, Angels on Earth, and more.

Editorial Needs

Sonfire Media publishes nonfiction “Messages that Matter.” We like Christian living and inspirational books, including distinctive memoirs. Themed devotionals are considered, but we prefer these not be 365-day books.

Taberah Press publishes fiction with “Intrigue and Inspiration.” We are looking for YA/New Adult speculative fiction that takes readers on a journey, shows them something about life, and reminds them that there is more.

Contact: vie.herlocker@sonfiremedia.com

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I’m looking forward to seeing you at this year’s conference.

To register, go to http://www.montrosebible.org/OurEvents/tabid/113/page_550/1/eventid_550/58/Default.aspx

Marsha, Director

 

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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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Nov. 9, 2015

Fiction That Wows Your Reader (Part 5)

Writing Outside the Box

stock-photo-happy-child-playing-in-cardboard-box-kid-having-fun-at-home-303306602

First, let’s define the term “outside the box.” What in heaven’s name does that mean? “Write outside the box.”

Well, in plain language, it means to write a plot and develop characters that don’t have a normal humdrum boring story line or everyday blah life.

As a short exercise in my presentation, I always cite some average boring story lines and ask my class to change the plot so that it’s outside the box. One example I cite is the following:

“A little girl finds a nest of baby bunnies in her back yard.”

Now, of course, everyone is immediately drawn to the “outside the box” famous children’s story, Alice in Wonderland, where Alice finds a whole new world, not a nest of baby bunnies.

Several years ago, I presented this workshop to a group of writers and asked how to change the story line. One fellow in the back of the room raised his hand and said, “How about if a big rabbit finds a nest of little girls in his back yard?”

I said to him, “Sir, you are DEFINITELY thinking outside the box. Go for it.”

Just for the fun of it, I’m going to list about 10 different story lines. Analyze each one. If you can change the plot to move it outside the box, do so. But some of the story lines are already outside the box and are, in fact, famous stories or books written by best-selling published authors. See if you can identify those that are already great plots.

So, which of these would you like to continue to read?

  1. A little girl saves enough money to buy a horse at auction.
  2. A bitter sea captain of a sailing ship hunts for a white sperm whale to kill him.
  3. A newly married couple tours Paris, France, and enjoys all the sites.
  4. A boy is shipwrecked on an island with only a wild stallion that won’t let him get near him.
  5. A middle-aged woman works at Wal-Mart, saving enough money to take a trip to Hawaii.
  6. A young pioneer woman is left alone on the prairie in her covered wagon when her husband falls from his horse and is killed.
  7. The neighbor’s cat has a litter of six kittens underneath a little boy’s porch.
  8. A collie dog, sold and taken away from the boy he loves, travels a long distance through life-threatening dangers to return to his boy.
  9. A young unmarried girl decides to marry her childhood sweetheart.
  10. An unmarried woman on a plantation in a southern state faces the harsh reality of post Civil War life and the loss of all she held dear.

Well, how did you do? Did you analyze the boring plots and the character development and decide what you could do to make them better? (Numbers 1, 3, 5, 7, 9)

And did you identify the best-selling books/movies in numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10?

MOBY DICK

THE BLACK STALLION

LOVE COMES SOFTLY

LASSIE, COME HOME

GONE WITH THE WIND

When you analyze what makes these million-dollar story lines what they are, you’ll be on your way to writing, possibly, the next great American novel. And all the while you’re writing, keep on reading. Read tons of books, especially in the subgenre in which you are writing, and learn how the masters did it. Maybe someday, your name will be on a best-seller list with the rest of them!

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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(More Shameless Promotion)

Book2.On.Victory.Trail.Cover

ON THE VICYTORY TRAIL

 (Book 2 in the Keystone Stables Series)

Skye faces the challenge of her life when her best friend, Sooze, develops a brain tumor.

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