Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed . ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

Monday, February 25, 2013

How to improve your writing

Learning how to write well is a journey--one that never ends. With so many resources out there, how do you choose? (You do choose, you know.)

First, what do you write? Fiction? Nonfiction? Books? Articles? PE stories? Devotionals? Blogs?

Second, how much time are you willing to carve out of your schedule for study time?

Third, how much $$ do you have to spend?

Following are some suggestions for you to explore:


Writing Success XXII,  a one-day conference, Emmanuel Christian Church, Stoneboro, Pa.,  April 27

St. Davids Christian Writers' Conference Grove City College, Grove City, Pa., June 18-22


Check out the writing courses Christian Writers Guild offers. Special prices on select courses through the end of February. Each student works with a personal mentor—a working professional writer and editor—who encourages, instructs, and challenges you each step of the way. Courses are available for adults and youth (great for homeschoolers!).


Check the blogs I've listed in the right margin. The Christian Writers Guild blog, as well as Jerry B. Jenkins's blog on writing are both excellent and timely.


I've recently downloaded the following books to help me learn to write fiction better. All are available on (Every serious writer should build a professional library.)

Characters, Emotions, and Viewpoint, Nancy Kress
How to Write Descriptions of Hair and Skin, Val Kovalin
How to Write Descriptions of Eyes and Faces, Val Kovalin
The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression, Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi

Anything by James Scott Bell:  
Plot and Structure
Conflict and Suspense 
The Art of War for Writers 
Revision and Self-Editing

Writing the Breakthrough Novel and Writing the Breakthrough Novel Workbook, Donald Maass (EXCELLENT!!!)
Elements of Style, William Strunk and E.B. White  (a MUST for all writers!)
Writing for the Soul, Jerry B. Jenkins

Writing from Within: A Guide to Creativity and Life Story Writing by Bernard Selling

Reflections from a Mother’s Heart, Publisher: J. Country

Writing Articles from the Heart: How to Write and Sell Your Life Experiences by Marjorie Holmes

Writing from Personal Experience by Nancy Davidoff Kelton; Publisher: Writer’s Digest Books.
Effective Magazine Writing, Roger C. Palms

On Writing Well, William Zinsser

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Brown and Dave Kin

Stein on Writing,  Sol Stein

Write Tight: How to Keep Your Prose Sharp, Focused and Concise, William Brohaugh (WD)

The Writer’s Digest Guide to Good Writing, editors of Writer’s Digest (WD)

Writers on Writing, edited by James Watkins  

The Write Way, Richard Lederer (grammar)

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, Mignon Fogarty (she also has a blog)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

One-day writers' conference

Looking to refine your writing skills? Need help revising your manuscript or finding the right market? Don't have a lot of time or money to attend a days-long writing conference?

Then consider Writing Success XXII, a one-day writers conference on Saturday, April 27, at  Emmanuel Christian Church, 4495 Greenville-Sandy Lake Road, Stoneboro, PA, 16153 (off Route 358 east, exiting Interstate 79 at exit 130).

Featured Writer: Karen Witemeyer

Two-time RITA® Finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance fiction for Bethany House, believing that the world needs more happily-ever-afters.Her books include Head in the Clouds, A Tailor-Made Bride, To Win Her Heart, Short-Straw Bride, and--coming in June--Stealing the Preacher. Karen is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. She makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at: 

My two workshops are Interviewing 101 and Rx Manuscript Critique:

Interviewing 101 -- Michele Huey
Everyone has a story. But not everyone can write that story. That's where we writers can help. Too often, though, our subjects won't open up enough to reveal the important details that make an account memorable. Michele Huey, who has interviewed and written about dozens of individuals for her "People Who Make a Difference" newspaper series, shows you how to get beyond the mask and to the heart of a transforming story by asking the right questions.

RX Manuscript Critique -- Michele Huey
"RX (n.) A prescription for medicine or a medical appliance. A remedy, cure, or solution for a disorder or problem."
What am I doing wrong? is a question writers often ask. Reading how-to books and articles, and analyzing other writers' works can take you so far. It's like reading about health, but not getting answers that address your particular problem.
In this hands-on workshop, under direction of writing mentor and freelance editor Michele Huey, you'll diagnose problems and suggest solutions to the first pages of samples submitted anonymously in advance by workshop attendees.
Submission guidelines: Times New Roman font, 12 pt (regular, not bold or italic); double-spaced with no extra spaces between paragraphs; one space between sentences; align left justification, not full; 1 inch top and bottom margins, 1.25 inches side margin; one page only (about 250 words). Send submissions to by April 15.

Check out the other workshops and faculty.

The conference cost includes your choice of workshops, lunch, the critique of one manuscript (no more than six pages), and the opportunity to enter nine writing contests. For additional cost, you may submit additional pages of a manuscript for critique.

Coffee and donuts will be available in the fellowship hall during registration. Lunch will be served in two shifts. You may skip lunch to attend a fifth workshop without change in conference fee.

A bookstore will be set up for your participation. You may bring your published works to sell on commission.

If you have questions, you can contact Gloria at  724-253-2635  or click on
to send her an e-mail.