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Archive for the ‘Craft of writing’ Category

Barb Haley apr 2016 cropped

Guest Blogger
Barbara Haley
Registrar &
Appointment Coordinator
Colorado & Greater Philly
Christian Writers Conference

I was ten years old when I asked God to show me if He was real. The next day my sixteen-year-old sister was killed in an automobile accident. God was real. I shouldn’t have asked.

Of course, I didn’t tell anyone. Instead, I stuffed the guilt and the excruciating pain when my parents said things to me like, “You may look like her, but you’ll never be as good as her.” Or, “Comb your hair a different way; I can’t stand to look at you.”

Thirty-five years later, I finally opened up to a therapist. He sent me home to write a letter to my big sister from the point of view of a ten-year-old child.

After just a few sentences, my heart connected with the hurting little girl inside, and she began to voice her pain. Begging forgiveness from her precious older sister for causing her death. Suggesting that everyone would have been better off if only she could have died in her sister’s place that day. And finally, admitting how very much she hated God for what He’d done.

My next letter was to that sweet child—explaining to her that she didn’t cause her sister’s death and that God was not angry with her for her honest feelings and reactions. I released that child to be exactly that. A broken and confused child who desperately needed to know she was loved by God and family.

That writing changed my life and instilled in me a desire to learn how to use my life experiences to minister to others through the written word.

But I needed to learn how to write tight. To eliminate wordiness. To organize my thoughts. To connect emotionally with the reader. To stick to one point of view. To create a setting that captures the reader’s imagination and transfers them from their everyday life to an exciting new story world.

Writing conferences. This is where I’m learning the craft. Where I connect with other writers to encourage and be encouraged. Where I receive one-on-one feedback with paid critiques. And where God speaks clearly to my heart through inspiring worship and keynote speakers, informative workshops and continuing sessions, life-changing editor appointments, and most of all—the day to day rapport with fellow writers while sharing meals, waiting in line at the book table, or joining together for intimate prayer and Bible study.

Sure, you can buy books about the craft of writing. My shelves are loaded with them. But only when I began to consistently attend conferences did I really improve as a writer. I needed the immediate feedback and the hands-on practice provided in small groups led by experienced teachers. I grew in leaps and bounds as I jotted down strategies mentioned by other writers and began implementing them in my own writing. And, as I stood amazed, listening to big-name authors share their overwhelmingly deep love for God and His people, I realized just how sacred the ministry of writing is.

Let me encourage you to come and grow in your ministry as a writer at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers’ Conference. The friendships you’ll form will develop into a network of love and support in all areas of your life, and your writing friends will truly become your family. I promise.

______________

Biz AmazonThanks, Barbie, for sharing your heart and for serving as the registrar and appointments coordinator at both the Colorado and the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. You are a HUGE blessing! And I love your latest book! (Available on Amazon – click here.)

NOTE: The Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference is celebrating our 35th year of ministry. We’ve moved to a new location, Dock Mennonite Academy just off the Lansdale Exit of the North/South PA Turnpike (I-476). The registration fee increases July 8 so don’t delay. And reserve your room at the Holiday Inn (also by July 8) before our block is released and the price increases.

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LCW SS 2018

A reminder this is the last week of preregistration for Lancaster Christian Writers’ Super Saturday 2018!! on April 7th, 2018, from 8:30am-4:30pm at Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA, 17601. Preregistration of $55 is due by Wednesday, April 4th, and includes soup/sandwich buffet lunch and LCW membership. Registrations after April 4th and walk-ins day of the conference are $65. Seventh-twelfth grade aspiring writers are also welcome at a two-for-one rate, or half-off if accompanying a parent, which includes lunch buffet. Note a few conference updates below:

SCHEDULE:  The conference schedule is now posted on LCW’s webpage, along with workshop and faculty descriptions, flyer, registration, and payment forms (see right column). OR it can be found HERE:

ONE ON ONE FACULTY APPOINTMENTS: A perk of the conference is scheduling fifteen minute appointments to share your work with or pick the brain of a faculty member. We are excited to have two auxiliary faculty, who will not be teaching but will be available throughout the day for appointments:

David E. Fessenden is the publisher for Honeycomb House Publishing LLC, and a literary agent for WordWise Media Services. He has degrees in journalism and theology, and over thirty years of experience in writing, editing, and editorial management for Christian book publishers. A frequent speaker at writers’ conferences, he is also author of seven books, including Writing the Christian Nonfiction Book: Concept to Contract, A Christian Writer’s Guide to the Book Proposal, and The Case of the Exploding Speakeasy.

Donna L.H. Smith is managing editor OF Almost an Author, or A3 (www.almostanauthor.com), which focuses on teaching the craft of writing and helps writers build their very-important platform. In January, A3 was named #6 on the Top 100 Websites for Writers by The Writer Life. A3 is actively acquiring submissions in wide range of genres from fiction to non-fiction to the writer’s life (300—500 words) so bring that piece for an appointment! Donna adds, “We’re a great way to build platform and obtain a publishing cred.”  Donna is also author of Meghan’s Choice, published in 2017.  Please note:

1. Appointments are first come, first served, sign-ups open from 7:30am morning of conference, so plan to get there early if you have a specific faculty signup in mind.
2. Only ONE appointment can be signed up until after the first workshop. A second one can be signed then. After lunch, all available remaining slots are fair game. But be considerate that others also are wanting to meet, and appointment slots are limited.

LOCATION: Conference activities all take place in LBC’s Sebastian Academic Center except lunch, which will be hosted in the Olewine Dining Commons. There will be signs posted to direct you once you are on LBC campus.

BOOK DRAWING/BOOKSTORE:  Each conferee will also receive a ticket for a book drawing, both faculty titles and a wide array of writing books. Keep in mind that the drawing takes place in first half of opening session, so again you will want to be there on time. The good news, if you don’t draw the book you want, they will all be available in the conference bookstore.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR CONFERENCE SET-UP: We do need a few good humans for conference set-up and registration. We will be there from 7am, so any time from 7-8am that volunteers can come early would be HUGELY appreciated. Helping with bookstore set-up and manning registration table are main duties. Bonus is first crack at faculty appointments. ALL volunteer help will be finished before opening session.

More information, including the Super Saturday 2018 Flyer/Registration Form and Press Release can be found at Lancaster Christian Writers Today (http://lancasterchristianwriterstoday.blogspot.com/) OR email LCW president Jeanette Windle at jeanette@jeanettewindle.com. Payment can be made online (http://lancasterchristianwriterstoday.blogspot.com/), or mail check/ money order payable to: Lancaster Christian Writers, c/o Jeanette Windle, 1776 Euclid Drive,
Lancaster, PA 17601
.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

P.S. From Marlene – I’ll be there with the Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference bookstore. I’ll also be teaching a workshop, ““Hook ‘em from the Get-go and Hold ‘em to the End.” I hope to see you there!

 

 

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poetry in Bible pexels-photo-257013Have you ever attended a workshop on writing poetry?

I never had. In fact, to be honest, I wasn’t interested in reading poetry much less writing it. Okay, of course, I read and loved many of the Psalms. I guess I just didn’t think of them as poems.

But then I took a poetry workshop with David Page at the St. David’s Christian Writers Conference that transformed my thinking and my writing. Since then, I’ve published over 50 poems in numerous Christian periodicals, many of them more than once.

Through the years I’ve offered poetry workshops at the Colorado and Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Sadly, they are usually not well attended. This year I hope that will change and that you will seriously consider taking Catherine Lawton’s early bird workshop Wednesday afternoon, May 16, from 1:00 – 2:00 at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. The cost is only $25 ($15 if you take a second or third early bird workshop). You won’t regret it!

Ten Ways Poetry Can Improve Your Prose
by Catherine Lawton

  1. Writing poetry provides practice in developing skills of concise wording (something we editors like!).
  2. The writing (and reading) of poetry can sharpen your observation skills.
  3. Because syntax matters in poetry, you will improve in your understanding of syntax matters.
  4. Figures of speech used in poetry teach you finer subtleties of word usage and connotations and make you a better wordsmith.
  5. Precision in word choices, necessary in poetry, sharpens your skill in choosing the most fitting, evocative, precise words in your prose.
  6. The rhythms and rhymes of poetry tune your ear to hear fluctuations and patterns in the sense and sound of language.
  7. Writing (or reading) a poem can provide a rejuvenating break from a long writing project. It may even break you out of writers block.
  8. Writing a poem can help you distill a thought, discover the kernel of the truth, and find your focus on a topic to develop more fully later, in prose.
  9. A poem or short rhyme can add variety/spice/interest to a longer piece, when used in an organic way in a novel, memoir, blog post, even an expository piece of writing (and it looks good on the page).
  10. You may possibly find your calling as a poet and discover that your poetry will reach your reader’s mind and heart more effectively than 1,000s of prose words.

Cathy Lawton 2017

Catherine Lawton is an author and co-owner, publisher, and editor at Cladach Publishing that she founded fifteen years ago.

Cathy has enjoyed producing written expression since she was a toddler scribbling in the margins of her preacher-father’s theology books. This desire was encouraged when she had a poem published in a national periodical at the age of  twelve. Cathy is the author, as-told-to author, or compiler/author of four books, including her collection of poetry written throughout her life, Remembering Softly: A Life in Poems. Her writing has appeared in a variety of periodicals.

Cladach is a small royalty press that produces and distributes 2-3 new titles per year and currently has 38 titles in print. Cladach publishes trade paperbacks, ebooks, and some audio books. This family company includes Cathy, her husband, Larry, and their daughter, and they wear all the hats of publisher, editor, design, marketing, sales, and fulfillment. With a BA in English and training in music, Cathy has worked as a substitute teacher in public schools, a private piano teacher, a freelance writer and editor. Cathy finds regular renewal in nature, contemplation, poetry, music, friends, and family.

Cladach is pronounced: Kla’ dak ~ This Scottish Gaelic word means “shore” as in “seashore.” “Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore” (John 21:4). The Lord sends us forth on life’s sea to venture for him, then welcomes us to the safety of his shore; and always He is with us. 

Note from Marlene: Cathy’s workshop is one of 16 Wednesday early bird workshops. I encourage you to subscribe to her blog, “The View from This Publisher’s Shore,” at http://cladach.com/blog.

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I’m risking being a pest because I so believe in the value of this new conference. Plus there is now a 9th reason for you to come!

Come to what? When? Where? The NEW

Write to Impact Lives Conference
February 9-10 in Lansdale, PA

And why?

Question & Exclam pt

9. Writers love books, and they need books! And if you register for both days, along with those who have already registered you will receive FREE the following three books that support the purpose of this conference.

New WHA cover

My Bible study for writers that addresses the struggles we face and must overcome.

Communicate Change Lives

Jim Watkins’ book that I believe every Christian writer needs to read.

CWMG 2018
The info you need to find markets for your work as well as literary agents, writers conferences and seminars, writers groups, editorial services, publicity and marketing services, and contests.

The three books sell for $44.97 on Amazon ($37.99 through the Write His Answer Bookstore), but if you register for the entire conference, you will receive them free of charge (or the equivalent value in other books we’ll have for sale).

8. To give your writing the jumpstart it needs in the midst of the winter doldrums and prepare to meet with editors and agents at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Attendees will receive 10% off GPCWC’s registration fee .

7. To participate in our Friday evening author interviews and book signing. If you’re not yet published, you’ll be encouraged by their testimony and by fellowship with other conferees and our faculty. We need to

Encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

6. To be challenged, encouraged, and inspired through three powerful keynote addresses.

  • “Christians Are Hateful” – The Cultural Challenge for Today’s Christians – Bill Watkins
  • Write from the Deep – Karen Ball
  • Keeping Your Dreams Alive – Jim Watkins

5. To discover the advantages of Going Indie with Sarah Bolme, Director, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). Self-publishing is no longer viewed as the last resort for writers unable to land a contract with a traditional publisher. Even best-selling authors often choose to go indie. This 4-hour learning lab will give you the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your book.

4. To keep growing your writing skills in a 3-hour continuing session.

  • Taming Fiction Dragons with Karen Ball who has built fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. As an editor, author, and former literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency, Karen has over 30 years publishing experience.
  • The Five Rs of Nonfiction with Jim Watkins, an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles. Jim will give you practical, step-by-step methods to get into print and pixels.
  • Writing that Changes Lives with Bill Watkins – Writing that connects, challenges, provokes, inspires, casts vision, provides hope, and refuses to back away from telling the truth can change lives and eventually cultures. During his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with hundreds of authors including Chuck Swindoll, Josh McDowell, Leslie Vernick, and Mike Huckabee. He is also an award-winning author with 7 published books, the president of Literary Solutions, and senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.
  • Develop a Personalized Marketing Strategy for Your Book with Karen Whiting, an award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books. Whether it’s still an idea or an already published book, learn how to use your strengths to develop a marketing strategy that fits you and reaches your potential readers.

3. To learn ways to build your “platform.”  Whether you land a contract with a traditional publisher or go indie, you need to learn how to effectively reach your audience. Our faculty panel will share what works (and doesn’t) and answer your questions.

2. You’re too late to take advantage of a paid critique, BUT as their schedule allows, faculty will be available for free 15-minute appointments. Sign-up when you arrive.

1. Last but first, to hear from the Lord and recommit yourself to write to impact lives!

God can do anything, you know—far more
than you could ever imagine or guess or request
in your wildest dreams!
Ephesians 3:20 MSG

For more information and to register, click here. Walk-ins are welcome, but please check the website for specific info on the location.

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reading newspaper pexels-photo-404976

Yes, I believe our writing is a ministry! But if we want to reach the most people possible with the message Father has entrusted to us, we can’t ignore the business aspect of our ministry. Especially when it comes to social media, we need to learn the most effective ways of connecting with our audience and with influencers.

So . . . below is some “news you can use” that will hopefully help you to expand your ministry. But one word of caution. Be careful to guard against getting so caught up with numbers and the world’s way of doing things that you leave the Lord out of the equation. He is able to make things happen that you could never do on your own.

God can pour on the blessings
in astonishing ways
so that you’re ready for anything and everything,
more than just ready to do what needs to be done.
2 Corinthians 9:8 MSG

The Ultimate Book Marketing Plan

Rob Eagar, www.startawildfire.com, announced: “I’m giving away an incredible new 10-part email course called the Ultimate Book Marketing Plan for FREE at Reedsy.com. Reedsy is a new global online marketplace for authors that I encourage you to visit. It’s like AirBnB or Angie’s List for the needs that authors face, such as finding a book cover designer, editor, or a marketer like me.

“This new email course officially launched January 26. You get to be one of the first authors to access it for free. It’s a perfect complement to the Ultimate Book Marketing Template that many of you have downloaded. Click here to take the free email course at Reedsy.”

A Writer’s Best Friend 

A helpful and humorous blog by author and literary agent Bob Hostetler about a tool every writer needs to use. I won’t tell you what it is. 🙂 You need to read Bob’s blog. Click the link above.

Connect with Influencers in Three Sentences

If you need to secure endorsements for your book, you need to read this helpful blog post from Mike Loomis who has served on the faculty of the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.

What Facebook’s 2018 Change Means for Authors  

This blog post from Thomas Umstattd Jr. (another former CCWC faculty member) explains Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. One important change: “Reactions (like laugh, heart, and crying face) are now weighted more than likes. So if somebody gives you a heart emoji, that’s more than if they just give you a regular thumbs up.” Let’s remember to do this when responding to posts of those who need our support.

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Come to what? When? Where? The NEW

Write to Impact Lives Conference
February 9-10 in Lansdale, PA

And why?

Question & Exclam pt

8. To give your writing the jumpstart it needs in the midst of the winter doldrums and prepare to meet with editors and agents at the July 26-28 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference. Attendees will receive 10% off GPCWC’s registration fee .

7. To participate in our Friday evening author interviews and book signing. If you’re not yet published, you’ll be encouraged by their testimony and by fellowship with other conferees and our faculty. We need to

Encourage each other and build each other up,
just as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT

6. To be challenged, encouraged, and inspired through three powerful keynote addresses.

  • “Christians Are Hateful” – The Cultural Challenge for Today’s Christians – Bill Watkins
  • Write from the Deep – Karen Ball
  • Keeping Your Dreams Alive – Jim Watkins

5. To discover the advantages of “Going Indie” with Sarah Bolme, Director, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA). Self-publishing is no longer viewed as the last resort for writers unable to land a contract with a traditional publisher. Even best-selling authors often choose to go indie. This 4-hour learning lab will give you the knowledge and tools you need to publish and market your book.

4. To keep growing your writing skills in a 3-hour continuing session.

  • Taming Fiction Dragons with Karen Ball who has built fiction lines for Tyndale, Multnomah, Zondervan, and B&H Publishing Group. As an editor, author, and former literary agent with The Steve Laube Agency, Karen has over 30 years publishing experience.
  • The Five Rs of Nonfiction with Jim Watkins, an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles. Jim will give you practical, step-by-step methods to get into print and pixels.
  • Writing that Changes Lives with Bill Watkins – Writing that connects, challenges, provokes, inspires, casts vision, provides hope, and refuses to back away from telling the truth can change lives and eventually cultures. During his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with hundreds of authors including Chuck Swindoll, Josh McDowell, Leslie Vernick, and Mike Huckabee. He is also an award-winning author with 7 published books, the president of Literary Solutions, and senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.
  • Develop a Personalized Marketing Strategy for Your Book with Karen Whiting, an award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books. Whether it’s still an idea or an already published book, learn how to use your strengths to develop a marketing strategy that fits you and reaches your potential readers.

3. To learn ways to build your “platform.”  Whether you land a contract with a traditional publisher or go indie, you need to learn how to effectively reach your audience. Our faculty panel will share what works (and doesn’t) and answer your questions.

2. To take advantage of the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a faculty member for a paid critique or marketing consultation for just $25. Barb Haley, our registrar, says: “Learning in a classroom is awesome, but to have someone give specific feedback about your  writing is so valuable. There have been conferences where I’ve scheduled 3-4 of these!” Space is limited and available on a first-come basis. Your manuscript (first 7 pages and a one-sheet) or marketing questions (and more click here) must be submitted by February 1.

1. Last but first, to hear from the Lord and recommit yourself to write to impact lives!

God can do anything, you know—far more
than you could ever imagine or guess or request
in your wildest dreams!
Ephesians 3:20 MSG

For more information and to register, click here.

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Feb banner

Looking to overcome winter doldrums and jumpstart this year’s writing?

A brand-new conference is coming up quickly this February 9-10 (Friday/Saturday) in Lansdale, PA (just off the north/south PA Turnpike) at Towamencin Mennonite Church (Friday afternoon) and Dock Mennonite Academy (Friday evening and all day Saturday). Friday night lodging at the Holiday Inn is $89 plus tax with roommate matching available to split the cost with one, two, or three other writers.

A small but highly qualified faculty will provide three inspiring keynotes, valuable 20-minute paid critiques and marketing consultations, a “Build Your Platform Panel,” and in-depth teaching.

Sarah Bolme, teaching a 4-hour learning lab Friday afternoon on Going Indie. Sarah is the author of the award-winning Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace and the director of the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Karen Ball, teaching a 3-hour session on Taming Fiction Dragons. In her more than 30 years in publishing, Karen has built fiction lines for major publishers and worked with some of the best authors, including Francine Rivers and Karen Kingsbury.

Bill Watkins, teaching a 3-hour session on Writing that Changes Lives. In his 35-plus years in publishing, Bill has worked with authors such as Mike Huckabee, Charles Swindoll, and Josh McDowell. He is an award-winning author of 7 books and senior editor at BroadStreet Publishing Group.

Jim Watkins, teaching a 3-hour session on The Five Rs of Nonfiction. Jim is an award-winning author of over 20 books and 2,000 articles. He has spoken across the United States and overseas.

Karen Whiting, teaching a 3-hour session on Developing a Personalized Marketing Strategy for Your Book. Karen is a freelance writer and award-winning author of 25 nonfiction books.

Feb flyer for webFriday evening,  in addition to Bill Watkins’ keynote, Christians Are Hateful – The Cultural Challenge for Today’s Christians, includes author interviews and a book signing. Bring your book(s) to sell and sign.

Click here for the conference flyer.

And for more info and to register click here.

Conference Bonus:

An extra bonus for conferees is to attend and participate in the Munce Christian Product Exposition (CPE) February 11-13 at Eden Resort in Lancaster, PA.

Munce, the largest association of independent Christian bookstores in North America, holds two CPEs each year, the second in Nashville, TN, in the fall.

It is a real privilege to come and interact with 100+ bookstore owners. Karen Whiting will do a special training at the CPE in how to make the most of this exciting opportunity including: 

1. There are several limited spots open to sign complimentary copies of books for retailers at the Sunday afternoon (4:30 – 5:30) author personality event. Authors need to provide 50-80 copies of their book to give retailers. This is a great opportunity to get your book in the hands of retailers who might choose to carry the book, or have you come to their store for an event. You can include your speaker one sheet, bookmarks, and other promotional materials.

2. Experience a book trade show. The exhibit floor is open on Monday and Tuesday plus there are workshops on marketing and other retail topics. You’ll see the latest in products and have the opportunity to talk to retailers and sales reps (you cannot interrupt the sales happening between retailers and sales people).

Click here for the schedule. If you’re interested in attending, email Karen at authorkarenwhiting@gmail.com.

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Nonfiction is by far the most popular and strongest selling genre in publishing (both secular and Christian). With all that demand, why can it be so difficult to capture a publisher’s interest in your real-life story of God’s work? The short answer . . . nonfiction stories are a much smaller niche.” ~ Craig Bubeck

My friend, Craig Bubeck, is offering a 3-hour workshop on Wednesday, May 17, from 2:15 – 5:45 (with a 30 -minute break) at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. Craig is a professional editor and writer who has served for 20 years in the CBA retail industry as publishing director and in senior-level acquisitions editorial with publishers such as Wesleyan Publishing House, David C. Cook, Victor Books, and Scripture Press. In the span of his career he was directly responsible for the successful publication of more than 200 retail books. Simultaneously with his publishing career, for 25 years Craig has taught college English writing, rhetoric, and literature at colleges and universities wherever he has lived.

I’m very excited about Craig’s workshop. I’ve known him for many years and highly respect him and his skill as an editor and teacher. A description of his workshop is below. I have no doubt it will be worth much more than the cost of only $40.

It’s not too late to register for Craig’s workshop or for one or more days of the conference. With 8 continuing sessions and 42 workshops (plus the 16 early bird workshops on Wednesday) there really is something for brand new writers who have not yet been published (or even submitted a manuscript) as well as professionals who need the encouragement and networking opportunities the conference offers. Those who register for Thursday through Saturday get four free 15-minute appointments with our faculty of 56 agents, editors, and authors. Partial scholarships for those with financial needs and/or time payments are still available.

For more information about the conference and to register go to http://colorado.writehisanswer.com.

Here’s the description of Craig’s early bird workshop:

Transforming Nonfiction
for Ears that Will Hear

Nonfiction is by far the most popular and strongest selling genre in publishing (both secular and Christian). With all that demand, why can it be so difficult to capture a publisher’s interest in your real-life story of God’s work? The short answer . . . nonfiction stories are a much smaller niche. (To learn how to connect with the nonfiction story market, check out Marti Pieper’s “Master the Memoir” [E4 from 1:00 – 2:00 on Wednesday] and the Sloans’ “Narrative and Nonfiction” [2D on Thursday afternoon].)

But if you are more interested in communicating a message, join us in this extended, in-depth, practical workshop as we explore why and how to transform a narrative nonfiction (your personal experience story or memoir) into the kind of topical nonfiction that has the broadest market appeal (and impact). This workshop is also a good transition and lead into Janis Whipple’s “Organizing and Outlining a Nonfiction Book” (3D on Friday afternoon). The truth God has revealed to you is important, but how you package the truth (how you incarnate it) for audiences can be the greatest and most rewarding challenge of God’s calling.

Please pray about joining us on the mountain. I know Father is going to meet us there!

2017-co-banner-with-date

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grist mill

Years ago my mentor, Anne Sirna, said, “Problems are wonderful grist for a writer’s mill.” Then she added, “And you have a wonderful life for a writer.”

Well, yes, there certainly has been no shortage of problems in my life. In fact, I often remind the Lord that I haven’t written my way through the last batch of problems.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials,
for we know that they are good for us—
they help us learn to be patient.
Romans 5:3 TLB

Patience! Sigh. There’s that word again – that character quality that we’re reluctant to add to our prayer list. Yet if God can work good from the problems and trials (and I know He can), and if I’m able to encourage even one person from the difficulties I’ve gone through and hopefully grown through, then the problems and trials aren’t wasted.

You grow more in the pit than on the pedestal.
Jim Watkins

April 11 I’ll be teaching one of my favorite workshops, “Writing the Personal Experience Story,” at Willow Valley Community in Lancaster County, PA.

PE wksp

I’ll talk about the importance of journaling because we will forget the details and the intensity of our feelings. I’ll encourage participants to inventory and reflect on their life experiences, and then I’ll discuss the seven essentials and pitfalls of good PE story writing.

1.  Clear focus.
Pitfall – we want to tell too much.

2.  Create reader identification.
Pitfall – the story is important to you but not relevant to your readers’ needs.

3.  Be honest.
Pitfall – the temptation to make yourself look better than you are.

4.  Use the 4Cs of fiction

  • Characters – contrasting & strongly motivated
    Pitfall – don’t lose reader’s sympathy
  • Conflict – credible problems & obstacles
    Pitfall – can’t remember all the details; inconsequential or unbelievable event
  • Crisis – black hole
    Pitfall – too emotional or not emotional enough
  • Change/resolution – take-away
    Pitfall – “I came to realize” or “suddenly I realized”

5.  Strong scenes.
Pitfall – telling instead of showing

6.  Dialogue used effectively.
Pitfall – unnatural, stilted dialogue

7.  Strong take-away.
Pitfall – failure to give reader something he can apply to his own life.

For more information contact Marie Zakaluk at 717-464-6258. If you live too far away, a CD of this workshop or my entire 7.5 hour “Called to Write His Answer” seminar can be ordered through the Write His Answer bookstore.

He comes alongside us when we go through hard times,
and before you know it,
he brings us alongside someone else
who is going through hard times
so that we can be there for that person
just as God was there for us.
2 Corinthians 1:4 MSG

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Fact or fantasy?

All you have to do to be a successful writer is to sit down and write.

Well, yes, certainly you’ll never be a writer (successful or not) if you don’t write. But the days when all a writer needed to do was to write are history.

In today’s world it is essential that we master technology. Okay, we won’t master technology, but it is critical that we know the basics of how to use a computer. And that doesn’t mean just learning how to use Microsoft Word to create a professional looking manuscript that is properly formatted and has headers and page numbers. The wise and brave will learn how to use Scrivener. (Debbie Allen is teaching a 4.5 Wednesday afternoon early bird workshop on “Scrivener from 0-60: Get Comfortable, Get Writing” May 17 at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference.)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut the actual writing and learning how to use the great tools we now have is just part of what we need to do. I began writing on an old manual typewriter. Well I’m not as old as this antique typewriter although I do remember my grandfather had one in the basement. My first manuscripts for publication were created on a blue Royal with keys that got tangled when I typed too fast.

Selectric type ballThe introduction of the Selectric typewriter and that marvelous spinning ball greatly increased my productivity. And to be honest, when computers were introduced, I was not at all interested in giving up my trusted Selectric and learning something new. (I really didn’t think I was smart enough!)

Even today, when my computer is causing me grief, I admit I almost long for the good old days of a yellow legal pad and pencil!

The greatest struggle though is all the other stuff that has become essential. Yep! I mean the “building a platform” stuff. While it’s exciting to be able to write something and publish it ourselves as a blog or ebook, the challenge of finding readers is daunting.

Both the May 17-20 Colorado and July 26-29 Greater Philly Christian Writers Conference will provide help with

Blogging

     Creating a Brand

                    Marketing Plans

           Public Speaking

                       Social Media How-to

     Website Evaluation

Below is a chart of Colorado faculty members who are available for one-on-one appointments to help you grow your platform and thus your writing ministry.

chart-grow-writing-ministry2

Important: For a PDF of the above chart click here.
The links are live in the PDF version.

Father, help us to embrace today’s opportunities to reach the world with the words You’ve entrusted to us. When we feel confused and overwhelmed by all we need to learn and to do, help us to trust You. Thank You for Your promise:

Now you have every grace and blessing; every spiritual gift and power for doing his will are yours during this time of waiting for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7 TLB

 

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