Writing Feedback – Sharing Your Babies

Our writing projects can sometimes feel like our babies. We spend so much time thinking about them, writing, editing, fixing, rewriting, that oftentimes, we might have trouble seeing their faults. Our wonderful writing, it seems, can do no wrong.

But there is always room for growth. Even bestselling authors need editors, and folks with a different perspective. And the neat thing is, anyone can give feedback to anyone – you don’t need to be a bestselling author to share your thoughts, as a reader, on a piece. If something doesn’t make sense to you, a learning writer (and we are ALL learning) needs to know.

One of the best places for this kind of feedback – whether receiving it or giving it – is FaithWriters’ Critique Circle. Currently, several advanced level writers and some editors are spending time there, leaving feedback for folks who submit their work. And the comments folks make are not available to those who browse – so people are more likely, I believe, to be honest with you about where your piece might need work.

All upgraded members need to do to get constructive feedback is to leave some for others – and remember, ANY feedback from folks of any level is helpful. Anyone can leave a critique – and when you do, you get a credit to sumbit your own work to the Critique Circle. Gold and Platinum members can then submit work for critique themselves, likely resulting in two or three critiques from others.

Don’t be afraid of sharing your babies with the world – a little critique can only make them better!

 

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Big Goals and Interview Tips

Big Goals and Interview Tips

By Lizzy Ainsworth

I’ve been hearing a lot lately how we need to set ourselves some crazy goals, to go further than what we thought we could and think outside our little box or blog.

So I set a goal, and maybe I’ve set the timeline too close, but by Mother’s Day next year, I want to interview a specific best-selling author and a very popular blogger.  I’m not mentioning names, because it’s just a pipe dream at the moment.

I decided to start interviewing people to work towards this goal .I figured I would start with a few self-published authors and work toward something bigger, but then this opportunity popped up to interview Candy Chand, who co-authored ‘No Greater Love’ with Levi Benkert, published by Tyndale House.

I loved the book, and started thinking about the woman who co-authored it, who had poured in her heart and soul to this book, but whose story was not told, and thought, ‘I want to know more.’

So I googled her name, but I could not find an interview that answered the questions I wanted to ask her, but I did find her e-mail address. So I gathered up my courage and wrote a little e-mail about how I was a young author, with a little, little blog but that I would love to interview her.  After all she could only say no, right?  Thing is, she said yes, and actually she said it within 5 minutes of my sending her the e-mail.

Continue Reading…

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Help Authors – and Yourself – with Reviews

Do you know what one of the most valuable things is to published authors these days? What can boost sales and get more recognition in the world of books?

Book reviews – that’s what. With the plethora of different book options out there, reviews on sites like Amazon can draw people to books, and good reviews can encourage folks to purchase.  And FaithWriters has a program to help authors get those reviews – AND benefit the readers as well.

FaithWriters’ Free Reads for Reviews is a way for authors to accumulate reviews (and readers to get free books) to help with sales and marketing. Just go to the FaithWriters bookstore and check out the Free Reads for Reviews program. There are over six dozen books by FaithWriters members available in this program, from fiction to self-help to Bible studies and more. Simply look at the list, contact the author, and he or she will send you a copy. Read the book, leave an HONEST review (doesn’t have to be positive) at their Amazon page or elsewhere if applicable – and you’ve done your part!

But that isn’t the only benefit to readers! FaithWriters has a special incentive going on now through the end of June. The person who reviews the most books between the beginning of this year and midnight June 30, 2014 will receive $150 – and everyone who reviews any book during that time will get their name put in a hat, with one person winning $100. See this link for details and how to make your review “count.”

And if you’re an author and want your book involved, check out this link.

What book will you review first?

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Why I Create

Why I Create
By Abby Kelly

They called it re:Write. As I sat my bum in a chair pinched between two other wannabe writers, (or perhaps they’ve already arrived and confidently call themselves “scribes,” as such) tears welled in my eyes.

Apparently, not enough of my life is “re:Writing” to make blip on a publisher’s radar. Apparently, the spontaneous energy that itches at the tips of my fingers and prickles my mind when there’s no paper in sight isn’t really what good books are made of. Apparently, almost nobody reads anymore. Apparently, the mysterious romance of author and pen, discovery and syntax, melody and imagination just isn’t enough. And apparently, even a message from God, a testimony of redemption, this welling glory in my chest, a conviction to share Gospel through story, to wrap my story up in His story, just may not be newsworthy.

Between masters of market analysis and prestigious publishers, an author was sandwiched. Ted Dekker took the stage in artsy array, as if he’d clothed himself from the quirky Austin shops on his way to the conference. His message entranced me and coaxed even more tears through the rivulets already marring my makeup.

It was almost as if he implored me not to be there. His call to my artist-heart was that sweet-sorrowful voice of Create, wooing me to endure. I wept, fearful that in twelve more hours of facts and figures, the voice would be drowned out. Back in my room last night, I sobbed.

I picked up the program, willing myself to will to go back, to face the cold, hard truth of the dismal potential of publishing.

Continue Reading…

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Are You Working on your Contest Entries?

FaithWriters has several different contests going on, whether you are writing book-length work, or shorter pieces. And at least one, I’m sure, is right up your alley. See the highlights of some of them here.

Do you have a book-length nonfiction manuscript started, sitting on the shelf, or brewing in your head? Then FaithWriters’ Eighth Annual Page Turner contest may be what you’re looking for. Just polish your first chapter, plus an overview of the rest of the book, and submit it no later than October 31, 2014 at the Page Turner page (you must be a platinum member to enter and access this page – click here to upgrade to platinum). The winner will receive fabulous prizes, incuding $800, free editing and marketing of the finished book, and more. Stop by this link for more details.

Maybe your book-length manuscript is fiction. If so, FaithWriters and Xulon Press are awarding a Xulon Best Seller Package and free premium publicity and marketing for the book on all FaithWriters sites to one Christian fiction novel with a sound biblical message. Platinum members can submit the first chapter and book synopsis/outline and be in the running for this prize. More details can be found here. Deadline for this contest is November 30, 2014.

Maybe shorter works are more your thing. If so, we have a few options in that area as well.

Continue Reading…

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Fall Back in Love With Writing

Fall Back in Love With Writing

By Edie Melson

Between deadlines, edits and rejections it’s easy to fall out of love with our writing. It can get so bad that we begin to dread sitting down at the keyboard.

When that happens to me my mind begins to reprioritize my life. I can suddenly find a million things more important than putting my rear end in the chair and pounding out words. When I begin arguing with myself, stating that clean baseboards are more important than word count goals, I know I’m in trouble.

Today, I want to share some tips that help me fall back in love with writing.

Tips to Rekindle the Romance of Writing

1. Realize that love is a choice—not an emotion. I know that sounds more like marriage counseling than advice for writers, but truth is truth. I’ve made a commitment to what it means to be a writer, and the means not quitting when times get bad.

2. Stop the negative talk. The more you bad-mouth writing—even if it’s just in your mind—the more you’ll begin to believe what you’re hearing. This is an important step in returning to that bloom of first love. Don’t taper off the negativity, just stop . . . immediately!

3. Make a list of all the things that made you fall in love in the first place. There was a reason you answered the siren call of words. It’s up to you to remember it and then—write it down.

Continue Reading…

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First Quarter 2014 Writing Challenge Cash Winners

The FaithWriters’ Writing Challenge is on a break right now, with the last winners of the “End” 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.

And our winners for the first quarter of 2014 are:

 Level 1: Beginners: Wrapped in Communion by Linda Buskirk (End Times Challenge)

Level 2: Intermediate: Tan Lines by Toni Hammer (Short End of the Stick Challenge)

Level 3: Advanced: Absolutely Real-to-Life Adventures Educating the Public by Karen Locklear (At Wit’s End Challenge)

Level 4: Masters: Beruz by Jack Taylor (Bookends Challenge)

The challenge starts up again on Thursday, April 3 – that’s just a bit more than a week away. And don’t forget, this next quarter is your last opportunity to qualify for the annual Best of the Best awards. So plan to enter!

Congratulations, Jack, Karen, Toni, and Linda!

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An Excellent Description

An Excellent Description

by Suzanne Hartmann

Several months ago, while reading the selection of the month for a book club, I came across the following description of how it felt to a child in the 1940s to drink a soda for the first time.

I read the sentence several more times just to enjoy the visual effects. The only word that came to mind was, “Wow!” The words are fanciful, yet an accurate description of the sensation. I have to admit that this is one of the best description I’ve ever read.

From Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon: The fizz had entered his nasal passages and gone straight to his cerebrum, where it shivered and danced and burst like a Roman candle in his brain.

Do the words pop out at you like they did for me? Are the pictures they paint in your mind vivid? Do they make you relive the sensation yourself?

What kind of description do you have in your writing? Does it make the readers feel like they’re seeing/experiencing/sensing it with the characters or do they just give the facts?

CHALLENGE:
1) Find a vivid description in your own writing and share it in a comment below.
OR
2) Write a vivid description (either from scratch or rewriting one from your writing) and share it in a comment.

**

Glamour Shots-S1SUZANNE HARTMANN is the author of PERIL: Fast Track Thriller #1, and Write This Way: Take Your Writing to a New Level, a blueprint for new authors to guide them through the process of writing and revising a novel.

Suzanne is a homeschool mom and lives in the St. Louis area with her husband and three children. When not homeschooling or writing, she enjoys scrapbooking, reading, and Bible study. On the editorial side, she is a contributing editor with Port Yonder Press and operates the Write This Way Critique Service.

LINK for Write This Way: Write This Way Blog: http://suzanne-hartmann2.blogspot.com/2007/01/write-this-way-take-your-writing-to-new.html

LINKS for Suzanne:

Facebook – Suzanne Hartmann – Author

Twitter – @SuzInIL

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Set Apart Church – New Blogging Contest

FaithWriters’ newest blogging contest is now under way – don’t miss your opportunity to help promote a Christian ministry, improve your writing skills, and maybe even win paid writing assignments!

The newest contest promotes Set Apart Church, an online non-denominational church meant to serve those who are unable to attend a local church for whatever reason. It includes weekly sermons, devotionals, and a place to share prayer requests. This is a relatively new ministry which we at FaithWriters hope to help. And you can help too, by entering the contest.

Check here and here for specific rules for entering, but in general, you must write an article of 750 words or less about the ministry, and post it in the appropriate place in the FaithWriters forums, in FaithWriters’ regular articles, and one other location. The article must have three contextual links to Set Apart Church’s website. Again, see more specific instructions at the links above. But don’t delay too long – the deadline is 9pm ET on Tuesday April 15, 2014.

Entering will not just benefit the ministry – there will be prizes as well :)

Best Gold or Platinum member entry: Two $75.00 paid writing assignments from Set Apart Church.
Second Best Gold or Platinum member entry: One $75.00 paid writing assignment from Set Apart Church.
Best Silver entry: One year Gold membership at FaithWriters.

Check out this ministry – and blog contest. Then enter!

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Dealing With Overwhelm

Dealing with Overwhelm

By Randy Ingermanson

Once in a while life feels overwhelming. It feels like everything is crashing in on you at once.

Like you’re spinning your wheels. Going nowhere.

I learned a neat trick a few years ago from Eben Pagan on how to deal with this. Eben teaches productivity techniques, and he’s good at it.

Today, I desperately needed Eben’s trick. When I logged onto my computer this morning, it told me that my external hard drive (the one that contains all my backups) was having problems. I ran some diagnostics and concluded that the hard drive really couldn’t be saved.

This meant a trip to town to get a new one. Since I live quite far away from civilization, this meant taking hours out of my day. Hours I didn’t have.

By the time I got home, I was feeling pretty depressed. I’d burnt a lot of time on an emergency and now I was way behind. And I had already been feeling stressed when I woke up, because there are a ton of things on my plate for this week.

I felt horribly overwhelmed.

So I tried Eben’s trick. Here it is, and it might work for you on a day when you feel like you won’t ever get caught up: Continue Reading…

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