Congratulations to the 2016 Best of the Best

After twelve months of Writing Challenge topics and entries, we had our forty contenders for the 2016 Best of the Best awards.

The annual Best of the Best awards are announced July 1 each year, and the awards go to the three highest rated Editors’ Choice winners for the previous twelve months.

Congratulations to our three awesome winners:

1ST PLACE Salvo by Jan Ackerson

2ND PLACE Who Kissed the Teacup by Francy Judge

3RD PLACE Mortimer’s Plight by Donna Powers

The countdown to next year’s Best of the Best awards begins with the new Challenge quarter, starting July 7. You have to be in the Challenge to be in the running.

Watch for interviews with the winners in the near future!

Congratulations, Jan, Francy, and Donna!

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Congrats to Spring 2016 Writing Challenge Quarterly Winners

A HUGE congratulations to EVERYONE who entered the FaithWriters Writing Challenge this past quarter.  Just by submitting an entry, you are a winner. But some pieces rise even higher than that to place – while others go even higher than that.

And that is what the quarterly cash awards are meant to recognize. The highest scoring entry in EACH LEVEL over each entire ten-week quarter receives a $50 cash prize. This past quarter  had a variety of topics – from fizzle to candy to social – and these four entries (one from each level) came out on top. Be sure to check them out!

LEVEL 1: Four Months by Maribeth Brownhill (FINISH topic)

LEVEL 2: Sister Chat by Sherry Brock (COMPUTER topic)

LEVEL 3: Why Not Save the Whales? by Taryn Deets (GAMBLE topic)

LEVEL 4: Salvo by Jan Ackerson (CANDY topic)

Watch for our BIG challenge award – The Best of the Best - to be announced on Friday July 1. Plus, the challenge will start up again on July 7. YOUR name could be here in a few months!

Congratulations, Maribeth, Sherry, Taryn, and Jan!

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Finding Time to Write: Don’t Despise the Bits and Pieces of Time You Have Available

Finding Time to Write:

Don’t Despise the Bits and Pieces of Time You Have Available

By Edie Melson

I had always believed that I needed at least an hour, and preferably three, to make any progress at all with my writing.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The truth is, those small bits and pieces of time we all have add up to a lot. And wasting them can severely hamper our ability to meet deadlines and find success.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to use the time I have, even if it’s just ten minutes. Today I want to share the specific things I do to help increase my productivity when long stretches of writing time just aren’t possible.

Tips for Finding Time to Write

1. Decide to use what you’ve got. This is the biggest part of the puzzle. If you wait for perfect circumstances, chances are you’ll never finish your book. Truthfully, things rarely line up. When they do—celebrate! When they don’t—just decide to work harder.

2. Do your pre-work. There are a couple of things I recommend you do before you start writing in those short bits of time. AND they can also be done in bits and pieces.

  1. Have a road map of where your book is going. I’ve learned that I work better from a scene map (a list of all the scenes I want to include in my book). You may not have something that detailed. But you should know what you want to write about next. After you finish a scene, before you get up, make a couple of notes about where you want to go from there.
  2. Have a foundation of research to build on. I take a few weeks, before I start writing, to do my research and compile my notes.
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Page Turner Deadline in Four Months!

FaithWriters and Breath of Fresh Air Press are pleased to announce the Tenth Annual Page Turner Contest  – and this year we are celebrating in a very big way. For the first time, the door is open for both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts – with a winner and runner-up in BOTH categories!

If you are a member of the FaithWriters Platinum 500, you are invited to enter this very special contest created just for you. If you are not yet a Platinum member, this is the perfect reason to upgrade your membership.

Maybe you’ve got a half-written manuscript gathering dust in the bottom of your wardrobe. Perhaps it’s something you wrote during NaNoWriMo last year. It could even be an idea that’s been brewing in the back of your mind for years. Whatever the stage of your manuscript, this contest is just the spur you need to get writing and polishing-and we will give you until the end of September (note this change from previous years) to get your entry ready.

Sound good? Well, here’s what you need to do:

1. Write, edit and polish at least one chapter of your manuscript. You may seek professional editing input to polish your chapter.
2. Prepare a book proposal.
3. Combine the  chapter and book proposal as one Word or RTF document (book overview first, followed by the chapter), and you’re all set to enter the 2016 Page Turner Contest.

See further details here (if you are a platinum member) or here (if you are not yet a platinum member).

This year, there will be two Page Turner winners-one from the fiction submissions, and one from the nonfiction submissions. These two champions will each receive:

1. A fabulous cash prize of $250 (US);
2. The offer of traditional publication of their winning manuscript by Breath of Fresh Air Press;
3. Free publicity and marketing of their book on all FaithWriters’ sites for twelve months following  publication; and
4. A special Page Turner Champion award plaque.

A Page Turner runner up will be chosen from each of the two categories (fiction and nonfiction). Each runner up will receive a special Page Turner award plaque.

Brief feedback on your entry by Deb Porter (Breath of Fresh Air Press) will be available after the contest is concluded. However, this feedback will only be provided at the entrant’s request (which should be indicated by checking the appropriate box on the entry form). Many people enter the Page Turner purely for this very helpful feedback.

Is your interest piqued? If you are a Platinum member already, here’s where you can find out all the details, and also where you will go to submit your entry:

If you are not yet a Platinum member, you can find out all about the Page Turner contest here.

So get working on your manuscript – and get it submitted before September 30!

Are you in?

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FaithWriters Gathering: Early Bird Deadline Approaching!

So, are you planning to attend the FaithWriters Gathering in McDonough, Georgia (outside Atlanta) this summer? It’s sure to be a fabulous time of fun, fellowship, and learning, and the price is incredibly reasonable considering all you will be getting.

Need some details? Here we go:

FaithWriters Gathering: Ignite Your Passion

Friday, July 15, 2016 at 5pm to Saturday,July 16, 2016 at 9pm

First Baptist Church, McDonough, GA

Cost: $50 until May 31; $57 from June 1 on

The FaithWriters Gathering is not another writers’ conference. You won’t be sitting listening to people speak all day. Instead, we want you to escape to Georgia for a weekend of fellowship, fun, encouragement, inspiration, and hands on workshops and word games. Come prepared to write. (Bring notepads, pens, tablets, laptops, and anything else you need to ignite your writing passion.) Cost includes workshops, plus Saturday meals and snacks.

PLEASE NOTE: In the event of your cancellation, all but a $10 administration fee, per person, will be refunded. Rates do not include transportation or room charges.

Session/workshop offerings include songwriting, creative nonfiction writing, beginnings and ends, poetry, critique, fiction essentials, and more.

There is a block of rooms reserved at a nearby hotel, and the church is providing limited shuttle service to and from the airport (see more details at the FaithWriters Gathering page).

And the early-bird price only lasts another two weeks!

Who’s Coming to the FaithWriters Gathering?

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FaithWriters Going Mobile-Responsive – Pardon Our Dust :)

417720305At the request of members, and to keep up with technology, FaithWriters will soon begin a gradual conversion to a mobile responsive site. Much of the hard work of individual page conversion has already been done on a duplicate site designed for development. We will gradually be replacing the current site pages with pages that will automatically re-size based on your viewing device.

This has been a very large and time consuming project due to the size of the site. As we convert, you should not notice any interruption on a normal sized laptop or larger screen. We are hoping for no issues on mobile devices, but there could be issues at times with links not working and misaligned formatting on pages.

If you are using a mobile device, for a time you may experience pages that respond correctly to your device size and other pages that display in their current full size format. A gradual transition should avoid any huge issues that might occur by transitioning all at once.

We thank you for your patience.

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You Are What You Read?

You Are What You Read?

By Randy Ingermanson

Years ago I was talking to a fellow novelist whom I’d just met and I asked him what his Top Five favorite novels were. This is a question I ask writers a lot. I’m always looking for great books, and one place to find them is on the Top Five list of another writer.

This guy’s answer just about knocked me over. He said, “I don’t read fiction.”

I couldn’t believe it. I asked him if he meant he didn’t read much fiction. No, he didn’t read any. He was a nonfiction kind of a guy.  He wrote fiction, but he didn’t read it.  That was years ago, and I haven’t seen anything from him recently.

To put it bluntly, I don’t see that as a recipe for success. If you’re a novelist, you need to be reading fiction.

There’s a saying that “you are what you read,” and I think this is partially true.  If you read great fiction, you’ll absorb some of it, and you’ll become a better writer. You’ll learn what’s possible to do in writing, and it can’t help but expand you as a writer.

But I think it goes beyond that. I recommend reading widely, even if it isn’t great fiction. Because the fact is that you are MORE than what you read. What you read is fuel for your mind—it’s necessary, but it’s not sufficient.  Novelists need to be reading fiction. A lot of fiction. Not just the bestsellers. Obscure stuff. Good fiction. Great fiction. Horrible fiction (not too much of this—if you do manuscript reviews at a writing conference, you’ll see more than you need).

When you read other people’s fiction, you learn things that you couldn’t learn any other way. Because when it comes to the craft of writing, you don’t know what you don’t know. The only way to learn what you don’t know is by reading other people’s work.  For starters, you should read widely in your category. You need to know the rules of your genre—which ones are ironclad and which ones can be bent.

Continue Reading…


Congrats to Winter 2016 Quarterly Cash Winners!

A HUGE congratulations to EVERYONE who entered the FaithWriters Writing Challenge this past quarter.  Just by submitting an entry, you are a winner. But some pieces rise even higher than that to place – while others go even higher than that.

And that is what the quarterly cash awards are meant to recognize. The highest scoring entry in EACH LEVEL over each entire ten-week quarter receives a $50 cash prize. This past quarter  had a variety of topics – from smear to delicious to call – and these four entries (one from each level) came out on top. Be sure to check them out!

LEVEL 1        The Pea-Sized Problem by Belinda Peoples (Resolution Challenge)

LEVEL 2        Taking it to the Mat by Wanda Draus (Resolution Challenge)

LEVEL 3        ASSAM by Pat Small (Resolution Challenge)

LEVEL 4         Who Kissed the Teacup? by Francy Judge (Smear Challenge)

The new challenge quarter starts up THIS WEEK – with the new topic announced this Thursday, April 7. Be sure to give the Writing Challenge a try – YOUR name could be here in a few months!


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For Passion Week: Contemplating History

Contemplating History

By Joanne Sher

A man – jaw set, countenance firm – looked out in the distance
contemplating history, recalling events of the past.

They said they loved the Lord, that God was their Father.
Yet Adam and Eve disobeyed, eating of the forbidden tree.

And the man pursed his lips.

He said he would follow God, that he trusted His direction.
Yet Abraham bedded Hagar to sire a son his own way.

And the man cringed.

They praised the Lord for miracles, declaring their devotion to Him.
Yet the Israelites built an idol in the desert, bowing low to a calf of gold.

And the man wept.

He said he would rule for God, that he would lead His people righteously.
Yet Saul took power into his own hands, offering an unholy, forbidden sacrifice.

And the man clenched his fist.

He said that God was his shepherd, that the Lord would meet his every want.
Yet David sent a man to his death to satisfy his own lust.

And the man sighed.

He said he wanted Godly wisdom, that he would serve Him only.
Yet Solomon took wives by the hundreds, and followed each of their gods.

And the man shook his head.

He was a prophet of the Most High, speaking His pronouncements far and wide.
Yet Jonah turned from Ninevah and entered the great fish’s belly.

And the man bowed his head.

They praised God with singing, celebrating their return to the land.
Yet the remnant neglected His temple, letting its gates disintegrate.

And the man closed his eyes.

They taught God’s Word to the masses, rebuking those who defied their authority.
Yet the Pharisees hated His Son, and worked to destroy Him.

And the man grit his teeth.

He marveled at Christ’s miracles, following and speaking for Him.
Yet Judas betrayed Jesus, sending Him to death with a kiss.

And the man grimaced.

He said he would never leave Jesus, declaring Christ was the Son of God.
Yet Peter turned his back on Him, denying Him thrice in one night.

And the man scanned the crowd.

They said they were God’s chosen, following His laws and precepts.
Yet the crowd rejected God’s Son, condemning Him to death on a cross.

And the Man examined His hands and feet.

“It is finished,” He cried, and He gave up His spirit.
At that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

Based on Genesis 3 and 16, Exodus 32, 1 Samuel 13, 2 Samuel 11, 1 Kings 11, Jonah 1, Nehemiah, and the four Gospel accounts.

The direct Bible reference is taken from John 19:30 and Matthew 27:50b-51.

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Writing: The Logical Approach

Writing: The Logical Approach

By Linda W. Yezak

We authors get to rolling in our manuscripts and sometimes forget to pay attention to what we’re putting on the page. Don’t ask me how this happens, I don’t know. I’m as guilty as anyone and often have to giggle at my own silliness as I delete words and phrases from the previous day’s session.

And that’s precisely what I’m talking about–the silly things. These little giggle-producing jewels are actually the big ol’ chunks of coal that increase wordiness, loosen what should be tight writing, and sometimes, simply defy logic.

What do I mean? Well, let’s see if you can recognize the coal in these sentences:

He nodded his head.

She raised the pitcher with her hand.

He gave her a silent smile.

He sat beside her bed. As she drifted into dreamland, she could see him playing with the phone cord.

In the next few minutes, she cooked and served dinner, cleaned the kitchen, bathed the kids, and read them a bedtime story, before collapsing into bed herself.

The first three are silly, nit-picking little things, but if you’re trying to control your wordcount, they’re things you should look for. “He nodded his head.” Think about it: what else would he nod? The same logic doesn’t apply to “He shook his head,” because other things can be “shook”–he shook hands, for instance. But the nod? That’s a head thing, no point being redundant.

Same approach to “She raised the pitcher with her hand.” Uh, opposed to raising it with her foot? Her teeth? “He gave her a silent smile”–as opposed to a noisy one, right?

The last two are tests of logic: How could she see him if she was drifting to dreamland, unless she slept with her eyes opened? Of course, she could see him in her dreams, I suppose. Depends on the context.

How about that last one? Can all that be done “in the next few minutes”? I guess in the overall expanse of a person’s life, the four hours, more or less, that it would take to do everything listed there could be considered “a few minutes.” However, when we’re thinking in terms of “minutes,” we’re thinking in terms of five or ten clicks of the clock’s big hand, not two hundred forty of those suckers.

When you’re reviewing your work or are in your first edit, hunt these little culprits down. Use the logical side of your brain. Think like an editor–because that’s what editors do. They take everything literally. And good thing they do, because you never know when one of your readers has a keen sense of logic and catches all these things that you didn’t.

Logic. It’s not just for philosophers and mathematicians.


lindayLinda W. Yezak lives  in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She holds a BA in English and a graduate certificate in Paralegal Studies. Thirty years later, she’s finally putting her degree in English to good use, combining it with her natural inclination toward story-telling to create fun, unique novels, which include Give the Lady a Ride, The Cat Lady’s Secret, and The Simulacrum. Her major non-fiction title is Writing in Obedience, cowritten with Hartline literary agent, Terry Burns.

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Twitter: @LindaYezak

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