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

Friday, June 28, 2013

Trimming the verbiage in your fiction

If you, like me, are struggling with writing "tight yet precise," here are two excellent blog posts by Brandilyn Collins:
Product Details
"How to Compress your Fiction, Part 1"

"How to Compress Your Fiction, Part 2"

Both are adapted from her how-to book, Getting Into Character. She will be teaching at the 2014 Writing for the Soul Conference Feb, 13-16, 2014, at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense. Awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol (three times), Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice. Brandilyn is also known for her book on fiction techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). Read the first chapters of all her books at

Monday, June 24, 2013

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a writer. Once upon a time I walked to the library across town and checked out four Nancy Drew mysteries and read them in one day. Once upon a time I took every writing course my college had to offer. Once upon a time I fell in love with teaching and put my writing dreams on the back burner.

For twenty years.

Then in 1993 I was teaching seventh grade reading as a full-time sub while the regular teacher was on sabbatical leave. One day the junior high librarian knocked at my door and asked me if I wanted a stack of newspapers. I'd have enough copies of the daily local newspaper for the entire class for at least a week. I'd wanted to teach a unit on reading the newspaper. I pored through sixteen filing cabinet drawers, but couldn't find any teaching material. I checked the curriculum catalogs to no avail.

So I decided to write one myself. Teaching the Newspaper, written on a Brother word processor, was my first venture into self-publishing. A local newspaper bought it to use with their Newspaper in Education program. Homeschooling parents found it easy to use and practical.

On the heels of writing the newspaper curriculum came a flood of story ideas, which I'd scribble on scraps of paper and stuff into a file folder. Then I read about the Guideposts Writers Workshop Contest. I didn't make the cut, but the story I entered was published in the September 1995 issue as "Wisdom from an Old Refrigerator."

When I told my Aunt Betty, my godmother who knew me better than I knew myself and understood me better than my own mother, that I was getting back into writing, she said, "It's about time."

And so the journey began. Or should I say, re-began.

I'm a writer.

Writers write.

Writers read.

Writers learn the craft and hone their skills.

My summer reading stack (if you can call e-books on your Kindle or in your cloud a stack) includes Debbie Macomber's Once Upon a Time. 

Everyone has a story. Even me. Even you. And we can write it--for inspiration, for material for our own fiction, for posterity.

Here's an excerpt from her webpage that describes the book:

"With chapters that cover the importance of characters, setting, backstory, and conflict, Macomber uses the elements of a story to show how to understand our own lives better. Each chapter has a storytelling prompt—a searching question that will help frame your story—and a sidebar that pulls an idea out of the chapter and expands it with practical tips. Once Upon a Time shares Debbie’s love of story and helps showcase the big picture of the story God is writing through us."

I'm loving the storytelling prompts. The prompt for chapter one: 

What is your “in the beginning story” as told to you by family? What is your own earliest memory?

I opened a file on my desktop,labeled it OUAT journal prompts, opened a new WORD document, and began writing about my maternal grandmother, who immigrated from Europe in 1910.

Writing is rarely easy. Even when writing my own story. But I find the more I write, the better the words flow, and the easier it becomes. NOTE: It doesn't become easy, but easier

If you're looking for a good read and a practical book on the craft of writing, one with do-able exercises, get Debbie's book, Once Upon a Time. It's available in hard copy and as an ebook.

Now, on to write the chapter two prompt . . . 

Friday, June 21, 2013

The latest from a master

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: 
read a lot and write a lot.
- Stephen King

Especially read those who have mastered the craft. Such as Jerry Jenkins, the author of the bestselling Left Behind series.  

Jerry's latest book, I, Saul, will be released Aug. 27. 

 Here's the description from Amazon:

A Murderer Who Would Change the World
From one of the bestselling novelists of all time comes a unique international thriller that transports you from present-day Texas to a dank Roman dungeon in A.D. 67, through the dusty roads of Israel, and back again.
A modern-day seminary professor is drawn into a deadly race to save his best friend's life and priceless parchments from antiquities thieves, discovering a connection across the centuries with another who faced death for the sake of the truth. I, Saul will keep you riveted as it offers new insight into the fiery young days of Christianity when Saul of Tarsus vowed to put an end to the new sect, whatever the cost.
A fast-paced story filled with political intrigue, mystery, and rich detail, I, Saul is the thrilling tale of loyal friendships tested by life or death quests, two millennia apart, as only a master storyteller can tell it.

Here's the link to the book trailer on You Tube:

Happy reading! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What a respected literary agent has to say about crossovers

Literary agent Chip MacGregor posted a great piece yesterday on his blog, "Is crossing over from CBA to the general market possible?"

Note the list of blogs for writers at the right of this page. I've found these blogs extremely helpful. This list automatically updates, so visit the Christian Writers Page often.