Music and the Muse

Music and the Muse

by Randy Ingermanson

When you’re writing a full-length novel, you’re going to spend a lot of time typing your first draft. Probably at least 100 hours, and possibly much longer.

Anything that makes you more creative during those hundreds of hours will pay off hugely. It’ll take you less time to write your first draft. And your first draft will be better.

I recently asked a number of writers if they listen to music when they write. The reason I asked is because I’m convinced that music makes me write faster and better. (I can’t prove this, but I feel more creative and more productive when I’m writing to music, and that has to count for something.)

I got back four different kinds of answers:

Silence is Golden

For some writers, any kind of music is a distraction. They need silence. If they could get a sound-proof room, they’d hide away there to write.

I was surprised at this, because I hate silence. But this may have been the biggest group.

Nature Sounds are Magic

Other writers thrive on nature sounds. A babbling brook. Waves. Rain.

If this is your thing, you can find online sound-generators to give you whatever kind of nature you need.

And some writers like the sounds of a coffee shop, whether a recording or the real thing. I know a few writers who use the local Starbucks as their office, because the atmosphere puts them in the mood to write.

Continue Reading…

Comments Off

Entering the Xulon Raffle for a Publishing Package

So, have you popped over to the Xulon Raffle Page since it opened on the first of this month? There are LOTS of ways to enter to receive a chance to win a Xulon Bestseller Package (over $4,000 retail value) – and the 0nly qualification to enter is that you must be a FaithWriters member – anything from a free silver member up to platinum. (You can join FaithWriters here if you haven’t already)

Once you have joined, pop over to the FaithWriters Publishing package page and scroll down to the raffle widget. To enter, click on ENTER TO WIN on the widget, enter your name and email address for tracking purposes (or log in using Facebook).

Once you have checked off that you are a FaithWriters member, it will unlock a long list of  all of the things you can do to earn entry credits. Make sure to always use the same email address so all of your entry credits go to the proper account. Each task has the number of entry credits you will earn clearly posted next to it. Every entry credit you gain will improve your chances to win. There is no limit to the number of entry credits you can build up. When this contest closes on August 1, 2015, winners will be drawn randomly from all of the entries.

You can stick with your one entry for being a FaithWriters member – or do one of dozens of other things to up your chances. Platinum members get an extra five entries, while taking one of Jan’s free writing lessons on the FaithWriters forums earns you two. Like FaithWriters on Facebook for another entry, or download the Xulon publishing guide for five more. Check out the widget at the bottom of the publishing package page for more details.



Comments Off

A Lesson in Trust, For Writers

A Lesson in Trust, For Writers

by Linda Yezak

Have you ever read a book or manuscript written by someone who obviously doesn’t trust you? The author tells you what the character is going to do, then shows the character doing it, and finishes by interpreting the actions just in case you didn’t get it. Italics tell us the character is thinking, and the telling goes from there:

Clara saw someone who looked like Ron. I wonder if that’s Ron? She ran ideas through her mind, trying to decide how to find out if he was Ron. Maybe I should just ask him.

She tapped him on the shoulder.

“Are you Ron?” she asked, because she had decided the direct approach would work best.

Maybe not quite this extreme, but similar, perhaps a more subtle rendering of the same thing. The author either doesn’t trust her reader to interpret the action or she doesn’t trust herself to be able to depict what she has in mind. But readers are smart–which shouldn’t surprise anyone, because they are, after all, readers.

Showing a reader what you see in your head provides her with such a beautiful, fulfilling experience that she’ll want to keep reading farther in the story, and farther in your line of books.

I read “The Boy Who Smelled Colors,” a short story by H. Lee Barnes (Red Rock Review, Spring, 2015). The bulk of the first paragraph introduces Julian and Christopher as the characters exploring the Arizona desert. Christopher is the POV character, Julian is his brother. Julian “gazes horizon to horizon as if taking in the landscape.” He wants to “feel the air from different angles.”

Continue Reading…

Comments Off

God Friday

GOD Friday
By Anna Caison

According to Ken Collins http://(, Good Friday in German is called Mourning (Karfreitag) Friday because it was on this day that the disciples of Jesus mourned at His crucifixion. He further adds that the word good had a secondary meaning, holy; and how in some phrases the words God and Good was switched around because of their similarity (ex: God be with you, today is simply, good-bye). So maybe at one time, Good Friday may have been called God Friday.

Whether or not Ken Collins’ findings are true or not, I can see validity in both terms.

First, the Friday Jesus was crucified was indeed a God Friday. God, in the person of Jesus, transferred onto Himself, the sin of every individual, past, present and future. The Lord God Almighty, the creator of everything seen and unseen, became sin for us! Words cannot accurately express the agony the Lord experienced as He became seared, beaten and tortured with our filthiness: perverseness, iniquity and indifference.

Secondly, it was a Good Friday. It was Good in that Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself on Calvary in our place bought our redemption; it reconciled us back into a right relationship with God. It delivered us from the power and consequence of sin and the devil.

Continue Reading…

Comments Off

Congratulations to the Writing Challenge Quarterly Cash Winners!

The FaithWriters’ Writing Challenge is on a break right now, with the last winners of the past quarter  – with a theme of the seven deadly sins and the three “good guys” – 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 My Nola by Melinda Melton (GLUTTONY challenge)

LEVEL 2 Popcorn Love by Timothy Lollis (LOVE challenge)

LEVEL 3 Right? by Theresa Crumpton (HOPE challenge)

LEVEL 4 The Seeker by Dave Walker (LOVE challenge)

The new challenge quarter starts up again in just a couple days. Watch for the first topic on Thursday, April 2. Be sure to enter – and your name could be here in three months!

Congratulations, Melinda, Timothy, Theresa, and Dave!

Comments Off

Getting Your Book Published – Two Contests, Two Chances

FaithWriters has two different contests this year where the prize will get your book published – one is open now, and another opens in just a few days.

First, of course, is the 9th Annual Page Turner Contest, which is focused on fiction this year. Any Platinum member (click here to upgrade) is eligible to enter the first chapter and a synopsis of their fiction manuscript with a Christian worldview in this contest by the October 31, 2015 deadline. The winner will receive a $500 cash prize, free editing of their manuscript, the offer of traditional publishing with Breath of Fresh Air Press, free publicity and marketing of their book on all FaithWriters’ sites for twelve months following publication, and a Page Turner Champion award plaque. Two runners up will each receive $50 cash, a Page Turner award plaque, and consideration for future publication by Breath of Fresh Air Press. You can find more details here.

The second contest – which is open to ALL members – opens next week. For our newest contest, we are holding an old-fashioned raffle with a hi-tech touch. The entry period starts Wednesday, April 1, 2015 and ends at 12:00 noon New York time August 1 2015. There is no purchase required, and you could win a Xulon Publishing Package (over a $4,000.00 retail value) to be used for any type of Christian book you desire. All FaithWriters members are eligible to enter and there are many things you can do on the site to increase your chances of winning. There is something for everyone. Be sure to check it out here for more details. The more you enter, the better your chance to win!

Give them a try!

Comments Off

A Piece of Stained Glass

A Piece of Stained Glass
By Marlene Mesot

I don’t mind sharing myself with others, as in my writing, because this is how God can use me as a tool for His witness. Writing is a means of self expression, but when it is shared, it becomes universal. There is no greater example of how to write than the Holy Word of God. Even to those who do not believe its writings, the Bible is recognized as a great literary work. For Christian believers it is our window into eternity.

When we give of ourselves, we reflect Him. We do not have to worry about our own needs because He will supply them according to Philippians 4:19: “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (NASB). The Bible is our guide through life, our reference point, focal point and the means to a glorious union. According to 1 Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” (NASB). The phrasing is similar in the traditional King James version. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” The latter part of this verse may seem like a paradox, but it isn’t. God keeps only what we do according to His will and in His Spirit and dismisses the unwanted, carnal things. If we are reflections of His glory, we are showing the unbelieving world what He is like. Our walk is fragile, like glass. It is a balancing act between the spiritual and the carnal. Our personal experiences, personalities, beliefs, etc.–our essence–makes us effective witnessing tools because we can feel empathy, give advice, say, “I have been where you are. Let me help you cope.” This is why knowing and accepting Jesus must be a personal experience. It could not be effective or real otherwise.

We are all parts reflecting the whole. The body of Chrst is, figuratively, the parts, or pieces, made up by his people. According to 1 Corinthians 12:12-14: “For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.” (NASB). Each of us is but a piece of stained glass, one day to be whole. When all of the pieces fit together, the puzzle will be solved.

Christian mystery romance author, only child, legally blind & hearing aid user.

Article Source: WRITER

Comments Off

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?

1 Comment

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.

izmir epilasyon

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!

Comments Off

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…

Comments Off