Friday, November 30, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Writing the Perfect Scene
Having trouble making the scenes in your novel work their magic? In this article, I'll show you how to write the "perfect" scene.
Maybe you think it's impossible to write the perfect scene. After all, who can choose every word perfectly, every thought, every sentence, every paragraph? What does perfection mean, anyway?
Honestly, I don't know. Perfection is in the eye of the beholder. Style is a matter of taste.
But structure is pretty well understood. Maybe you can't write the perfectly styled scene. But you can write the perfectly structured scene. And that's a whale of a lot better than writing a badly structured scene.
A scene has two levels of structure, and only two. They are:
The large-scale structure of the scene
The small-scale structure of the scene
Also, check out Randy's blog for interviews with Jeff Gerke who is launching his own Publishing House! Cool.
Also, stay tuned...I'm being interviewed by Randy in a few weeks.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
African American :
Inspirational Romance: Marilynn Griffith
Inspirational Women's Fiction:Stacy Hawkins Adams
Inspirational Contemporary Fiction:Victoria Christopher Murray
Inspirational Urban Fiction: Michelle McKinney Hammond
Inspirational Break Out Author of the Year: Sherri L. Lewis
Inspirational Historical Romance: Tricia Goyer
Inspirational MultiCultural Fiction: Marilynn Griffith
Inspirational Suspense: Brandilyn Collins
Inspirational Science Fiction: Donita K. Paul
Inspirational Young Adult Fiction: Melody Carlson
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
1623–July 30, Governor Bradford ordered a day of prayer for their withering harvest. Rain soon fell and the crops were saved.
1777—General George Washington proposed a national holiday that would combine harvest home with a more formal day of giving thanks.
1789—The year of his inauguration, President Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving proclamation—but it lacked popular support.
1798—President John Adams designated May 9, 1798 as a time for “solemn humiliation, fasting and prayer.”
1815—President James Madison restored the observance of Thanksgiving on April 13.
1827–Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale begins petitioning presidents and government officials to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday.
1861–First Pilgrim celebration
1863–President Lincoln issued two Thanksgiving proclamations—August 6 & the last Thursday of November.
1864--Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the last Thursday of November since this time.
1941–In December, a Congressional Joint Resolution specified that the holiday be permanently set on the fourth Thursday in November.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Magazine Writing Q & A
(Answers to my most asked questions)
Question: Should I send an e-query or send my query letter in the mail?
Answer: Personally I love e-query. No envelopes or stamps to mess with and usually a quicker reply. You need to check though with the market guide to see if the publisher accepts e-queries. Most do, but there are a few who hang to the old tried and true through sleet and snow group.
Question: Do I have to send in the entire article or is a query enough?
Answer: Well, the answer is both. You need to send the query to get the assignment. If you are a beginning writer, or new to that particular magazine, they may want to see the entire manuscript first. This is called “on spec” and means you may do all the work and they will still reject you without pay, but if they like your style they will probably use you again. It's a way to get “in the door.”
Question: Can you send the same query letter to different magazines at the same time?
Answer: Yes, but...
First, be sure and tell them in the query that you are sending this as a simultaneous submission (you don't need to list to whom). Second, I'm hoping that your query isn't a “shotgun” letter ie. sending the exact letter to everyone. Each query should reflect the individual voice and needs of that particular magazine.
Question: When can I send my published article in to another magazine?
Answer: That depends. First, it depends on the kind of rights the first magazine purchased. If they purchased “All Rights” then you can't sell the article again. It belongs to them forever. Personally, I don’t sell “All Rights.” If you sold “First Rights” which is what I sell, then you need to refer to your contract or writer's guidelines. Most magazines secure their right to that article for 60 days after it runs in their publication. Be sure and check before trying to sell the article again, called “Reprint Rights.”
Question: How many rejection letters did you get before you finally sold an article?
Answer: This is a dangerous question. If I said 20, and you've received 21 rejection notices, does that mean you're going to quit writing? The reality is, God is looking for obedience. So if you've received 100 rejections, and He says keep going, then that is your answer. I would suggest, however, that you keep working to improve your craft.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Stepping Stones is now an online magazine for writers. New features have been introduced, such as ‘Advice from the Pros’. You can read what advice Brandilyn Collins and Tricia Goyer have to offer this month. Also, there are two interviews you may want to read, one for suspense author Wanda Dyson, the other for fiction writer Susan Page Davis.
Rita asked authors, ‘If you only had one classic to read, what title would it be?’ Fun! Go on over and find out what your favorite author/s had to say.
Also, Check out ‘Comfort Foods for Writers’. A yummy recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cheese Cake, and a Pumpkin Bread recipe from Hershey awaits! There are other recipes in the sidebar link. One is from Christian cookbook author Jennifer Cote for her luscious caramel sauce.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Here are some specific ways you can hone your writing skills this year. This list is by no means exhaustive, but if you incorporate some of these ten tasks into your writing life, improvement awaits you (how's that for passive voice?!):
1. Find a writing mentor and establish a prayer team. I fledged my way through eight years of writing before I met my mentor (who is also one of my closest friends). Although I definitely see those eight years as greatly important in terms of learning to labor in obscurity, I see the last four years as more fruitful because of my friend Sandi. She helped me craft my first sellable query letter. She rejoiced with me when I actually sold an article. She attended Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference with me.
Even more important: consider pulling together a team of praying folks who will lift you up as you write. I don’t think I’d be where I am today without my Writing Prayer Circle. You’ll see them thanked in every acknowledgment section of my books. Stop right now and pray about who God might want to bring into your circle of prayer. Send out an invitational email, then faithfully email your team on a regular basis. Prepare to be blessed.
2. Start blogging. If you would like to make yourself write (and volume of writing is very helpful in developing your voice), start a blog. Go to http://www.blogger.com/. Follow their instructions and begin posting. I am not techno-savvy, but I was able to do this with little pain. Here are some of my favorite writing industry blogs:
· http://www.michaelhyatt.com/fromwhereisit/ (Industry insider Michael Hyatt’s blog),
· http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/blog/ (Randy Ingermanson’s amazing blog for fiction writers)
· http://terrywhalin.blogspot.com/ (A very, very good resource for writers)
· http://www.themastersartist.blogspot.com/ (I post here on Tuesdays). There are more amazing blogs listed on the right of this page. Do yourself a favor and check them out.
· http://noveljourney.blogspot.com/ (Novelists are interviewed there nearly every day!)
· http://www.mywritingmentor.blogspot.com/, (Tricia Goyer’s mentoring blog)
· http://www.chipmacgregor.com/ (an agent’s perspective on the industry, very valuable)
· http://wildfiremarketing.blogspot.com/ (a marketer’s perspective)
3. Join a writer's group. If you haven't been critiqued yet, it is important that you accustom yourself to this. If you happen to live in Dallas, you can look up The Dallas Christian Writers Guild or the Rockwall Christian Writer's Group. From the Rockwall group, three of us split off to form Life Sentence, a more intensive critique group. I would not be the writer I am today without Leslie and D'Ann.
There are also amazing online groups that provide information, community, and sometimes critique. Here are a few:
· The Writers View 1, for professional writers. Format: Every week we pose two industry or writing related questions. Both professional panelists and members give valuable information. Go here to join.
· The Writers View 2, for new and upcoming writers (same format as above). Go here to join
· American Christian Fiction Writers: Cost is 40 dollars a year. You get a discount for the annual conference and access to loops and great teaching. Critique groups often spur off this larger group.
· Fellowship of Christian Writers
· Christian Writers Group International
· American Christian Writers
· The Writers Information Network
· Christian Writers Guild
4. Go to a writer's conference. I personally recommend Mount Hermon Christian Writer's Conference. Last year I taught there about the spiritual life of the writer. Mount Hermon is where I got my start. An amazing Christian fiction conference is the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference. Go here for more information.
There are MANY other amazing conferences. Here's a comprehensive list.
5. Set a weekly word count goal. For the novel I just handed in, I set a 10,000 a week word count goal. For my non-fiction (since it involves more research) my goal is 6000. I used to think that many words were impossible, but once I set the goal, I met it. If you are serious about writing and improving your craft, set goals.
And set deadlines, too. Tell yourself you must finish an article or book by a certain day and then EXCEED that deadline.
Give yourself baby-step goals. Want to break into publication? Set a query letter writing goal per week, or an article-producing goal per week. Write a short story a month, or three poems.
6. Pay it forward. Do some writing for free, whether it be a long-thought out letter to a struggling friend or a non-profit publication needing your words. When you’re starting out your journey, there will be opportunities to do this. My teenage daughter got her first writing publication (not paid) through our church’s magazine. Not bad, considering the circulation is 10,000. Not only did she minister to many, but now she has a publishing clip to show magazines when she starts pursuing publication.
7. Do something you've never done before. Terrified of poetry? Pick up a book of sonnets and try to construct one. Non-fiction proposals freak you out? Write one. Here's a 50 page tutorial I’ve written that you can purchase for ten dollars on my website.
8. Read great books and articles.
· Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers Market Guide
· Writers Market Guide
· Sandra Glahn’s information about magazine writing:
· Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Again, a bit raw, but very, very good advice. Anne writes crazily (if there is such a thing) but it works. She's got a terrific voice.
· Randy Ingermanson’s Advanced Fiction Writing Ezine
10. Get your head (and heart!) on straight. Writing for publication is a difficult journey, particularly if you’re a Christian and don’t want to fall into prideful temptations. My notes about the inner journey of the writer addresses this issue of pride and many others. You can download it free here!
There you go! I hope this has given you a good foundation for exploring writing. I look forward to hearing about your writing journey.
Mary E. DeMuth
Silly Bio Stuff:
Mary E. DeMuth loves to help folks turn their trials to triumph, particularly Pioneer Parents. Her books include Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), Watching the Tree Limbs, Wishing on Dandelions (NavPress, 2006), and Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House 2007). A mother of three, Mary lives with her husband Patrick and their three children in Texas. They recently returned from Southern France where they planted a church. She blogs nearly-daily at www.relevantblog.blogspot.com . Check out her newly redesigned website at www.marydemuth.com
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Tricia Goyer is a amazing writer, mother and strong women of faith, who over came many obstacles that add depth and experience to her writing. Tricia's latest book, Generation X Parenting will help you recognize the challenges faced by today's parent. Listen to Candace's exclusive interview with Tricia as they find they have lots in common! After listening to Tricia and Candace speak, maybe it will inspire you to start your own dream of writing!Website: http://www.triciagoyer.com/
Listen/Watch this Interview
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 11, 2007
I felt SO unworthy to meet with these men. I knew very little about WWII, and I didn't want my inexperience to show. Not to mention the $1000+ for airfare, hotels, rental car for a book I didn't have a contract to write.
I urged a friend to go with me, and I've been so thankful we went. The men were caring and opened their hearts to me. They shared stories with me that they hadn't shared with anyone before. They laughed. They cried. They took my hands and thanked me for caring about their story. They hugged me and kissed my cheeks.
Below are photos of a few of the men I've interviewed.
Friday, November 9, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Its a contest...and it will help you!
Check it out...
Ask the Doc: Contest!
We at Book Therapy care about your WIP, and its problems...
We know that getting along with your characters can be a challenge. They're moody, or introverted, or maybe they simply don't want to cooperate with your plot. Worse, sometimes they refuse to come out and play! We understand...and want to help!! Here's your chance to get real advice from book doctors trained to help you fix your fiction.
What is your MOST VEXING issue in your current wip? Go to the Ask the Doc entry form, write your answer, and be eligible to win a copy of NOAH LUKEMAN's THE PLOT THICKENS -- 8 WAYS TO BRING FICTION TO LIFE~ ! A fascinating book about CHARACTERIZATION and how to create juicy conflict. A MUST HAVE for every fiction writer's library!
5 additional winners will be drawn from the entries to receive a copy of either a Susan May Warren or Rachel Hauck novel.
Winners will be announced in My Book Therapy at the end of the month!
Monday, November 5, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
*A chance to get your book in front of readers who might not otherwise pick them up (especially a chance to share your faith with secular readers.)
*Winners get free advertising via the contest Web site, print ads in publications like Romantic Times BookClub, RWR, etc., and word of mouth.
*A trophy, medal or certificate to remind myself that someone once thought I was a decent writer. ; )
*Publishers seem to like being able to call you an “award-winning author” (next best thing to “best-selling author”?) on book covers, in endorsement taglines, catalog copy, advertising, etc.
*It’s nice to have a list of awards to put on your bio and as part of proposals. This is probably more valuable to unpublished writers than published, but either way, awards are a way of recognizing excellence (or at least what several people perceived as excellence.) I’ve also had publishers put mention of the awards on the cover of the books when they went back to press, which is a nice and permanent recognition.
*It can get expensive. My publishers are almost always willing to provide a case or so of books for entries, but I pay the entry fees and shipping out of my own pocket. I enter 8-10 contests a year and spend around $2-300 in entry fees and postage. (Fees range anywhere from $15 to $40 plus 3-5 books per entry, plus shipping.)
*It can be time consuming filling out entry forms, packaging up books, etc.
*It can feel like a rejection and a waste of money if you don’t even final.
*It can give you a severe case of puffed-uppedness if you let a win go to your head.
*It can give you a false sense of your book’s success since award-winning does NOT equate bestselling (in fact, from what I hear, often the opposite it true.)
*Some of these awards have been heavily “overrun” with erotica categories/titles, so that in any advertising (or even an internet search) your book may appear alongside one with a very suggestive cover or title.
A few contests I routinely enter because of their value in recognition (prestige), Web presence, advertising, etc. include:
The RITA (judged by published authors)
The HOLT Medallion (judged by readers)
The National Readers’ Choice Award (judged by readers)
The Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence (judged by readers and professionals)
The Booksellers’ Best Award (judged by booksellers)
The ACFW Book of the Year Award (judged by writers and professionals)
The FH&L Inspirational Readers Choice Contest (judged by readers)
The Golden Quill (judged by readers)
More Than Magic Contest (judged by ??)
Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence (judged by readers and booksellers)
Winter Rose Contest (judged by ??)
I’ve stopped entering certain contests (including several in the above list) because they really don’t offer anything in return—no mention on a Web page, no ads in publications for winners and finalists, very little prestige associated with the award, etc. And while I still see getting my book in front of secular readers as an important reason for entering, I’ve had to weigh each contest’s offer carefully against the expense and time involved.
The Christy Award and The Christian Book Awards (formerly the Gold Medallion) are the granddaddy of CBA awards for fiction, but books have to be entered by the publisher, so those are out of my hands.
Some authors find more value in contests judged by readers, others feel those judged by their peers or by booksellers carry more weight. It sort of depends on what you see as the most important reasons to enter.
The above are all contests for published authors (and most lean toward romance) but many of them have a counterpart for unpublished authors ( Golden Heart/RITA, IRCC/Touched by Love, etc.)
There are also contests for both published and unpublished for more specialized genres such as the Daphne du Maurier for mystery writers.
NOW IN BOOKSTORES! WITHIN THIS CIRCLE, sequel to A VOW TO CHERISH
The novel that inspired the award-winning film from World Wide Pictures
REMEMBER TO FORGET, a Clayburn Novel from Howard Books/Simon & Schuster
Visit my website at: http://www.deborahraney.com