A Work in Progress

A Work in Progress

By Lori Godfrey

The morning looked to be a dismal day, one that would keep a person inside. Maybe a book reading day, I thought. Or a chance to continue my memoir. As a child I would ask my mom, “Mom how do you know I will write?” “Because you love to write,” she would say.

Mom was correct. I began writing at a young age and continue today. Writing a memoir is a journey into a different realm. Writing about your life takes on a new meaning. The past, with its memories, whether good or bad, come to the surface of our minds.

A memoir is not complete until the memories fade beneath the crevices of our mind. Writing is a work in progress, never ending until the day we die. Writers make up several class of people. There are no two alike. Just as the languages of the world are diverse, so are the ones who pen words to paper.

By the afternoon, the sun decided to peek from the clouds and a day of outdoors began. Summer had the bids on outdoor activities, writer or not. A schedule would ensue for the one who passionately pursued her craft and work in progress would continue.

Just as the seasons change, time also moves forward. Life is a entity of uncertainties but people with talent also put forth the effort to continue along the path of creativity: no matter the hours or frustration it can bring.

The work in progress stems from our ability to see within ourselves and know we can create something from the talent God has given. The question being, Do we have enough confidence in ourselves to live the life we know we’re to live?

As writers, can we fulfill the call we have on our life? There are those who write for the good and those who write for the dark side. We, along with our conscience as our guide, have to arrive at the moment of decision.

Each individual has a work in progress. Our lives are a masterpiece woven between the heart and mind of the One who created us. Let us pen the words He so lovingly inspired upon our hearts with such gratitude that even we are taken back.

**
About Lori Godfrey: I am a Christian freelance writer reaching out to those who want answers to life’s problems through creative writing. I also write for a bi- monthly Christian magazine, as well as being published in my home town newspaper. I am an author, writer and mom. My sons and I reside in the south.

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Page Turner Deadline Only Weeks Away!

Got a great nonfiction book in your drawer? Or started on your computer? Or even just an idea for one? If you are a FaithWriters Platinum member, there is a fabulous contest you can enter, at no charge, that could get your book published. But don’t delay – the deadline to enter is only just over three weeks away!

The eighth annual Page Turner writing contest (sponsored by FaithWriters.com, Finesse Writing and Editing Service, and Breath of Fresh Air Press)is into the home stretch, and this year, it’s for non-fiction. All you need to do is write the first chapter, together with a basic book proposal/overview of the planned book, and then submit it. But you only have until the end of this month to do it.

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 (click here to upgrade), this is the perfect reason to upgrade your membership.

The deadline to enter is October 31, 2014 – that’s only 24 days from today!

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12 Promises Writers MUST Make to Themselves to Fulfill Their Dreams

12 Promises Writers MUST Make to Themselves to Fulfill Their Dreams

by Edie Melson

The writing life isn’t an easy one. It’s one filled with joy, but also has its painful side. With any lifestyle that requires the courage to follow a dream, there are frequent roadblocks and obstacles.

Many of these are imposed from others. Just announce that you’re following your heart and people seem to come out of the woodwork to tell you why it can’t—and/or shouldn’t—be done. In addition to the naysayers, we can also be responsible for causing our own stumbling blocks.
Today I want to focus on the things we can do—promises we can make to ourselves—that will make things easier.
I Promise . . .
1. I will not hold the past against me. Just like the rest of our lives, our writing journeys will be fraught with poor decisions and missed opportunities. Those aren’t usually things we can go back and change. Instead we need to learn from the past, but not choose to dwell there.
2. I will speak gently and kindly to myself. I don’t know about you, but I’m often my worst critic. I’m the first one to say things I’d never accept from someone else. I’ve been known to berate myself internally with thoughts of
  • I’ll never be able to succeed, I should just give up.
  • I’m a horrible writer, no one wants to read what I write.
  • Everything I write is bad.
3. I will spend some time every week writing something I WANT to write. As we progress in our careers (and sometimes even before) we get caught up in deadlines and commitments. It’s important to always keep the joy of writing somewhere in our lives.
4. I will let go of relationships that keep me from following my dream. This may mean letting go of a vicious critique group, or distancing yourself from a friend who discourages you from writing, or even backing away from someone who takes up too much of your writing time. I’m NOT talking about abandoning people we love (certainly not children and spouses) but about those other relationships that can suck us dry and leave us with little or no energy to write.
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Congratulations to Summer Quarter Writing Challenge Cash Winners!

The FaithWriters’ Writing Challenge is on a break right now, with the last winners of the Goes Together LIke” quarter announced just last week. And that means it’s time to announce the four winners of the quarterly level awards. The highest scoring entry in EACH LEVEL over each entire ten-week quarter receives a $50 cash prize.

Level 1: BEGINNERS – Saddle for Sale by Rachel Barrett (Pen and Paper Challenge)

Level 2: INTERMEDIATE – Dear Doctor C.E.O. by Diane Bowman (Pen and Paper Challenge)

 Level 3: ADVANCED – And the Beat Goes On by Veronica Winley (Husband and Wife Challenge)

Level 4: MASTERS – Fleeting Moments of Forever by Ann Grover (Husband and Wife Challenge)

Ann says: “Thank you, FaithWriters! After a three year hiatus from FW, I am excited to be back. Thank you for your support, love, prayers, and encouragement through the years.”

The new challenge quarter (with an old favorite as a theme!) starts up again in just a couple days – on Thursday, October 2. Be sure to give it a try – and YOUR name could be here next time!

CONGRATULATIONS, RACHEL, DIANE, VERONICA, and ANN!

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An Interview with God’s Word

An Interview With God’s Word
By Abby Kelly

Have you ever heard of the “5 W’s and an H”?

I studied journalism in college. I loved reporting, interviewing, writing and even editing articles. My favorite part was talking to people I’d never met, asking them questions and then piecing the story together. Being concise is one of the most important elements of writing a news story. I remember Dr. Senat saying over and over, “Cut out the extras! Get to the point! Answer all the reader’s questions and then stop writing!”

The best tool Dr. Senat gave his students as we were learning to write “tightly” were the “5 W’s and an H”. So, I figured, it might also be a good tool to pull together the most vital information about the Bible. Let’s ask God’s Word these questions!

Who is the Word of God? John 1:1-3 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

The Word of God is much more than just the thick book you carry to church. It’s more than a collection of stories or even a “road map to heaven”. The Word of God is a person.

John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This means that Jesus Christ is the Word of God.

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Cutting Extraneous Words from your Manuscript

Cutting Extraneous Words from your Manuscript

Dialogue Tags and Adverbs

by Suzanne Hartmann

There are many different words that can be cut from a manuscript. Here, author Suzanne Hartmann talks about two of them – check out her series on this topic for more examples.

Dialogue Tags are phrases that identify who is speaking. It is necessary to let the reader know who is speaking, but excessive use of dialogue tags gets old quickly.

Examples =
“Pass me the bread, please,” Diana said.

“Don’ t you know you’re not supposed to do that?” asked Johnny.

When there are only two speakers, it is often obvious who is speaking because the dialogue goes back and forth between the speakers, although if the dialogue runs long, a reader can still get confused.

An occasional action beat is another way to let the reader know who is speaking, or letting us know the speaker’s thoughts.

Examples =
“Pass me the bread, please.” Diana scooped out a chunk of butter and waited for the bread basket to come her way.

“Don’t you know you’re not supposed to do that?” Johnny scowled at his little brother.

“Your painting is wonderful, Sammy. You’ve improved so much this semester.” In her mind, his mother compared the first painting he’d brought home with the one she held in her hand.

Too many action beats within the dialogue, however, can become distracting. The key is variety. Mix it up and keep it interesting.

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Christian Novel Contest – Xulon Publishing Package is Prize

Have you written (or at least started) a novel-length fiction manuscript with a sound Biblical message? If so, FaithWriters may have just the contest for you.

Any Platinum member can submit the first chapter of their novel and a synopsis to this free contest, sponsored by FaithWriters and Xulon Press. After the contest deadline of November 30, 2014, entries will be judged, and the winner will receive Xulon Press’s Best Seller Package (with a retail value of over $4,000) and free publicity and marketing of the completed book on all FaithWriters’ sites. Imagine – your own self-publishing package at NO charge to you! But remember – you must be a Platinum member to enter (click here to upgrade). Be sure to stop by the contest page for more details! And don’t forget – the deadline is the end of November – which is coming up faster than you realize!

(Note – if your manuscript is nonfiction, be sure to check out our 8th Annual Page Turner Contest, which is focused on nonfiction this year. The winner gets a fabulous cash prize and publishing with new Christian publisher Breath of Fresh Air Press and more. More details here.)

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Why Word Count Matters

Why Word Count Matters

By Randy Ingermanson

I’ve noticed an interesting fact about my successful novelist friends.

Word count matters to them. A lot.

They may have a daily word count quota or a weekly quota. But they have a target.

When you have a target, you have a chance of hitting it. If you don’t have a target, you’re guaranteed not to hit it.

Word count matters because that’s what gets you to the finish line of your novel.

You can have all sort of amazing plot twists for your story. You can have brilliant characters. Snappy dialogue. A dazzling theme.

None of those will do you any good unless you get them on the page. As words.

A short novel is around 60,000 words. A medium length novel is around 90,000. A long one might run 120,000. An epic could go 200,000 or more.

You don’t pile up that many words without putting down some serious word count on a regular basis.

My friend James Scott Bell used to talk about the “nifty three-fifty.” The idea was that you sit down to write and you don’t stop until you’ve got 350 words.

That may not seem like a lot, hardly worth doing. But at least it’s a very doable target. I can drill out that many words in about 20 minutes at my usual pace for writing first draft copy. Even a slow writer can produce 350 words in an hour.

So a “nifty three-fifty” target is easy to hit every day.

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Meet 2014 Best of the Best Runner-Up Kenn Allan

Kenn Allan is no stranger to FaithWriters, the Writing Challenge, OR Best of the Best. In fact, he held the crown eight years ago (see his first Best of the Best interview here). Join Joanne Sher as she gets an update on his life, his reaction to his 3rd place win, and a bit on what inspires him.

JOANNE: First of all, Kenn, congratulations! Can you tell me what your reaction was when you learned one of your entries placed 3rd in Best of the Best this year?

KENN: Hiya, Joanne. I suppose my reaction is best described as “pleasantly surprised.” I had completely forgotten about my eligible challenge entries until receiving the notification. I suspect I might have squealed a bit but I’m not sure.

JOANNE: Your winning entry, Nature Speaks, is a beautiful piece on how nature declares God’s attributes. What was your inspiration for this piece? Do you recall how it came together?

KENN: I’ve always been in awe of God’s creation; it’s easy to catch a glimpse of Eden if you look hard enough. Nature Speaks was an expression of Psalms 19, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth His handiwork.” Although pleased with the finished work, the rigid nature of the left margin glitched me; after all, the poem spoke of God’s creative nature and He rarely uses straight lines. So, anyway, that’s why the left margin is curved.

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Hearing Voices

Hearing Voices

by Linda Yezak

When you’re awake at three a.m. agonizing over your manuscript, whose voice do you hear? What is it saying?

If you’re hearing your characters working out their tough scene, you’re in good shape. If you’re hearing the encouraging cheer of someone who supports and believes in you, you’re in really good shape.

The voice that makes me most angry is the one that whispers “you can’t do this.” The best way to shut that voice up is to prove it wrong.

But then, there’s the voice that says “you shouldn’t do this.” Great advice if you’re planning something stupid, but if you’re not—then what?

If you’ve been reading my blog lately, you already know I’m having trouble with Corporate Ladder. It went rogue not long ago, and I needed to decide what to do with the intense scene I’d written too early. It was a good scene, a logical progression from what I’d built in before, but it was too intense for the first quarter of the novel. I reread it yesterday and decided to yank it out and save it for later.

As I read it, I heard voices in my head. Familiar voices–people I know whose advice is usually sound. They were saying what they always say when I work on Corporate Ladder: “don’t.” Hearing these voices may be one of the reasons CL has been a work in progress since 2009 and never a completed manuscript. The other reason is that it’s my first serious work, and I want to do it right. I want it to be, not just good, but exceptional.

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