Spring has Sprung!

spring_flower_purple_719705_hToday is the first day of Spring – in the Northern Hemisphere, anyhow. (Fall starts tomorrow for our Southern Hemisphere friends) It means new life, Easter, Passover, spring break, spring cleaning, spring training. Lots of things like that – all starting up. It means thawing out, opening the windows for some fresh air, putting away the winter clothes (though here in Michigan, there’s no guarantee it’s quite time for that LOL), exercising outdoors, and all the fun things that come as Spring does.

Maybe your writing has been in a winter of sorts. Been having trouble thawing out your ideas? Been hibernating?Avoiding exercising your writing muscles because they’ve been cramped up inside avoiding the blizzard of rejection, lack of time, or just plain laziness (I see you under that winter blanket, too cozy to get up or try anything new!)?

It’s time to stop hibernating – warm up those writing muscles, get out your favorite writing method (pen? pencil? computer? tablet?) and let your newly-defrosted river of inspiration flow. Ask God to help – He will never let you down.

Where do YOU go for inspiration?

What’s your favorite thing about Spring?

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Lots of Little Writing Tips

Many FaithWriters members are familiar with Jan Ackerson, one of the winningest Writing Challenge writers, an editor extraordinaire, and all-around excellent writer.

Have you checked out the lessons she teaches over on the FaithWriters forums? She covers everything from point of view to characterization to dealing with criticism, and much more. And this week’s lesson is not only full of wisdom for writers – but it is a lesson in brevity itself.

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Jan’s post shares bits of writing advice – whether from her, other FaithWriters members, or professional/ famous writers – and each bit of advice is 15 words or less. Talk about succinct! From Never use a long word where a short one will do. (George Orwell) to Learn the rules before you break the rules. (Jan herself) to Write, write, write. You can edit later. (FaithWriter Helen Paynter) there is something for everyone to learn. And she is inviting you to add your own succinct writing advice as well – just be sure to keep it to 15 words or less.

Also – is there something you want to know about writing that Jan hasn’t already covered? She is always looking for non-grammar related topics to cover. Share your ideas and needs in the comments, as well.

Feel free to peruse and comment on old lessons – and watch for a new one just about every Saturday. Take advantage of this free feature of FaithWriters!

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Don’t Make Their Lives Easy

Don’t Make Their Lives Easy

By Gail Gaymer Martin

Too often authors make situations too easy for characters. They like the people they create, and just as they want happiness and success for their real life friends, they want the same for their characters. But a novel with easy to resolved problems is really a “why bother” story.

Real life piles problems on people every day, some easily solved and some not, so characters need to have similar lives. They must make difficult decisions to change their lives, to lie or be honest, to give up or keep going.  But in fiction, which is bigger than life, authors can go even deeper with characters’ problems and struggles. Here are some strategies that will strengthen characters’ struggles and create a can’t-put-down novel for readers.

Happy Events Gone Sour

Have you ever had your characters go on a picnic? Go to a parade? Plan a weekend at the beach? Did you give them sunshine and fun? How about introducing bad weather: a downpour, an electrical storm, typhoon winds, scorching heat. Don’t make everything perfect. Is a holiday meal part of the plot? Burn the main entree, forget that Uncle Don can’t eat dairy, invite two relatives who aren’t speaking, bring in surprise guests and not enough seating or food. Make it difficult. You can add many events to a story that dampens a situation to add reality to your novel. It also allows your characters to show how they handle the situation. Are the inventive in their solutions? Do they fall apart? Not everything is great and perfect. Keep that in mind when developing plots.

What motivates the goal?
Continue Reading…

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Are You Working on a Page Turner?

Most writers feel like they have “a novel in them.” Some have even started writing it, while others just need a bit of a nudge to get those writing juices going. Well, FaithWriters just may have the nudge for you!

If you are a FaithWriters Platinum member, we have an amazing contest – with amazing prizes – that you can enter for free – and you have over seven months to prepare! Enter the Ninth Annual Page Turner Writing Contest, sponsored by FaithWriters and Breath of Fresh Air Press. And this year, the focus is Christian fiction.

Maybe you’ve got a half-written fiction 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 novel, this contest is just the spur you need to get writing and polishing – and we will even give you until the end of October to get your entry ready.

Sound good? Well, here’s what you need to do. First of all, if you are not already a Platinum member, upgrade your account. Next, write, edit and polish at least one chapter of your manuscript. Once that’s done, prepare an overview of the planned book. Combine the book overview and first chapter in one Word or RTF document, and you’re all set to enter.

One entry will be chosen as the FaithWriters Page Turner Champion for the year, with the author receiving*:

1. A fabulous cash prize of $500 (US);

Continue Reading…

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Making Something Out of Nothing

Making Something Out of Nothing
By Delia Latham

Genesis 1:1: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

God put His “Seal of Approval” on creativity from the start.

He brought forth the earth and seas and sky and everything above, below and in between – out of “thin air,” as the saying goes. But it wasn’t magic. It was creation (the act of producing or causing to exist, according to Dictionary.com).

And it wasn’t easy. God needed rest after he’d finished His work. The first verse in the Bible is most likely the ultimate understatement of all time. I’m convinced those six days of intense creation entailed far more thought and planning than scripture reveals. Is it possible there might even have been a “do-over” or two?

We’re allowed to see only the finished product of God’s original creative process. He kept specific details – the “making of” the making of the world – to Himself. Just handed us the complete, finished work to enjoy.

Isn’t that what we do as writers?

Our Father taught us by example, and we’d do well to follow the Leader:

Start with a blank canvas. Nothing there. Just an empty page and the desire to turn it into something magnificent.

Let there be light. Come up with a bright idea and shine it into some kind of outline, plan, synopsis, scribbled overview: whatever works best for each individual.

Bring in the atmosphere. God placed the sky between the heavens and the earth. We create a mood: a blue sky or a dark one. The atmosphere that will have a bearing on every page of our creation.

Fill the pages with life.

o God put plants and trees in the land He’d created. We insert situations that make readers want to know what happens next.

o He overhung all those growing things with the sun, moon and stars. (Aha! Our Father knew we would need a bit of spark in our lives.) Writers must also set off some fireworks that liven the atmosphere and make hearts pound a little harder.

o He then filled the land, sea and sky with life – sea creatures, birds, animals – and man. Yep, characters, human and otherwise.

Writers are a far cry from being God…but we are made in His image, and our writing should reflect that image as well. What better role model could we possibly have than our heavenly Father, the God who made something (read that “everything) out of nothing at all?

Reflection: As you “create” new worlds, people it with characters and plant it with gripping situations, do you make a conscious effort to follow the Leader’s example every step of the way, every word of the day?

Prayer: Father, You’ve called me to write, and I will. But please give me the anointing to turn the written word into an anointed creation, to make something out of nothing, just as You did. I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, the Name above all names. Amen.

**

Delia Latham, 2012

Delia Latham lives in California with her husband and a spoiled Pomeranian. She writes inspirational romance and women’s fiction, and loves hearing from her readers.

http://www.delialatham.net  http://delialatham.blogspot.com

http://facebook.com/delialatham

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITER

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FaithWriters Testimony Book II is Out!

Lookin9781498416016_medg for inspiration? A great read? The testimonies of 50 different FaithWriters members? Look no further!

Trials and Triumphs II, Rooted and Grounded in Love, is now available for purchase through Xulon Press. This book features fifty personal and inspiring testimonies from FaithWriters members around the world. Longtime members like CD Swanson, Sheldon Bass, and Lynn Gipson. Former Page Turner finalists like Dannie Hawley and Kevin Ingram. AND several dozen more members of FaithWriters. Check out this page to see if your favorite FWer is in the book!

Support your fellow FaithWriters members and purchase this book – you will be blessed, and so will they!

NOTE: If your story is in this book, you can obtain copies to hand out at a nice discount. You must contact Michael@faithwriters.com right away if interested.
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How are you Improving your Writing?

It’s important to not rest on your laurels in your writing. There are several things you can do to improve your craft, and FaithWriters can definitely help.

First, you can check out some excellent writing lessons at the FaithWriters forums, run by longtime FWer Jan Ackerson. With topics from point of view to characterization to gender-neutral language, her explanations and interaction will certainly help you polish up your own writing.

Then, of course, there’s the FaithWriters Writing Challenge, where you are challenged to write to a topic, word count, and deadline – and you will often get some decent feedback on your efforts. You could even win a cash prize!

But maybe what you want is some in-depth feedback. Maybe you should check out the critique circle. Just put up your writing (1,000) words or less, and you can get feedback from others, including FaithWriters member editors. You just need to provide a critique for one of the peices already there.

Perhaps you are ready for even more, personal help from a professional. You can send your writing to a FaithWriters-approved editor and, for a fee, get it edited and polished.

There are many ways to get better, but probably the most important one is to keep writing, and keep trying new things. And what better place to do that than here at FaithWriters!

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The Perfect Ending

The Perfect Ending

By Dorothy Love

Is it just me, or do we spend an inordinate amount of time in workshops worrying about crafting the perfect opening? Of course openings are important–a reader or editor wants to be drawn into the story immediately. But, to leave a lasting impression, we should work just as hard at crafting the perfect ending. By “perfect ending” I don’t necessarily mean one in which everything is neatly resolved, every problem is solved, every wrong forgiven.  On the contrary; wrapping up everything too  neatly can result in the dreaded “pat” resolution.

What, then, is a perfect ending? To me, it’s one that leaves the reader closing the book with a deep sense of satisfaction, a sense of “rightness” about the outcome of the story. One that seems both believable and logical given what the author has told them about the story and the characters. A perfect ending gives the reader another way to think about what has transpired, a way to put the story into perspective.

As you are crafting your ending, decide upon a final image, or final thought you wish the reader to carry with them as they close your book. John LeCarre, the master of the spy thrillers, says to close with a spectacular image. In his book, The Tailor of Panama, it’s a huge fire. In Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, it’s the scene that slowly expands to emphasize the isolation of the main characters in a deserted wood.  My own preference is for some striking visual image, as opposed to philosophical musings. But much depends upon the overall tone and mood of the story.

Continue Reading…

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Motivation and Inspiration – Keep Plugging Along

Did you set goals or resolutions in January? How’s it going for you?

Well, if you are like most people, the answer is probably “not so great.” We are now on day 51 of 2015, and statistically, a good portion of folks aren’t sticking to whatever their goals were for the year – at least not as well as they were in January.

But I am not here to get you down about yourself. Those of you who know me are fully aware I am an optimist, and those of you who don’t now know that ;) . So how about some inspiration and motivation to keep you (or get you back) on track with your goals – whether they be spiritual, writing, or anything else. You CAN do it!

Let’s start with a bit of Scripture – shall we?

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

And how about a few quotes?

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on. ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible. ~George Claude Lorimer

If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’ - Muhammad Ali

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone before. ~Jacob A. Riis

What is your favorite motivational quote or scripture? Please share in the comments!

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In the Beginning was the Word

In the Beginning was the Word

By Lynda Lee Schab

Words have been around since the beginning of time. Christians trust the writer of Genesis when he claims that God spoke the world into existence.

The world became because God spoke a word.

As demonstrated when God created the world, spoken words are powerful. Yet, this is also true with the written word. Just as hearing a lecture or a sermon sometimes shape our views, thoughts, and opinions, books also have the ability to change the way we think. And books are able to affect not only our minds, but our hearts.

When the Bible was written, God’s words were put to paper. While God could have simply given us a list of rules and regulations, or an essay or commentary of sorts, He chose instead to speak to us through stories. Particularly through passionate and heart-felt accounts that move us, teach us, touch our emotions and, ultimately, change us.

In fact, the Bible is packed with stories about the issues of life. It is bursting with characters who are not perfect. They make mistakes, get into trouble, have errors in judgement. They drink too much, they commit adultery, lie, cheat, steal, and kill. They struggle with greed, gluttony, lust, pride, anger, and unforgiveness.

Although Christians believe the Bible to be true, almost all fiction deals with the same real human conditions or circumstances as those described in the Bible. And Christian fiction is no different. It offers exactly the same elements as general fiction: romance, humor, mystery, thrill, suspense, twists, and happy endings. The difference is that unlike general fiction, Christian fiction also includes underlying messages of forgiveness, grace, hope, and redemption. The redemption that comes only through a relationship with a Savior.

A good story is one that leaves you satisfied. And satisfaction is something that can be found between the pages of many books, Christian or non-Christian. But sometimes we need more than just a good story. We need a gentle reminder that even though, like the Bible characters, we are not perfect, we serve a God who is. A God who loves us despite our imperfections. A powerful God who spoke the world into existence with a word. A God who is passionate about speaking to us through His Word - the ultimate Christian story.

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lyndaschabLYNDA LEE SCHAB got her writing start in greeting cards and has many articles and stories published in magazines and online publications. She is also a regular book reviewer for FaithfulReader.com, but Lynda’s passion has always been fiction. Her novels, MIND OVER MADI and MADILY IN LOVE, are available in print and on Kindle. Lynda lives in Michigan with her two children. Learn more about Lynda on her website, www.LyndaSchab.com.

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