Write What You Know?

Write What You Know

By Gail Gaymer Martin

Everyone has heard the phrase “write what you know,” and yet writing  -whether contemporary or historical – takes research, no matter how much you know.

Keeping your story accurate is important to give readers a sense of truth when they read your work. One significant error can cause readers to distrust everything you say. It is easy to question the write-what-you-know statement, because if all writers did that, where would the thrillers be, the murder mysteries, the fantasies, the paranormal novels?

But write what you know is a reminder that writers can improve their fiction but using their personal knowledge to enhance the story. By providing a few details using sense imagery, emotion, experience and insight, they bring novels to life far greater than if they leave out those details. Warning: avoid overdoing the descriptions. Select only purposeful and significant personal experiences or emotions and use it for the betterment of the book. Also, when using real towns and places, avoid negativity.

Which details does this cover?
∙ Familiar settings: Capture the language, local ambiance and personality of the town using the five senses, significant traditions and activities in the town or city, interesting characters, real businesses, parks, and stores, history that influences or impacts the present.
Example: Besides making it real, people who live in this city or who have visited this city enjoy reading about a place they know and have been. Increases book sales.

∙ Career or Work Experiences: Abilities and/or education needed, descriptive details important to the story or to bring it to life, attributes needed to do this job, the negative and/or positive nature of the career, and how it impacts the character’s personal life.
Example: Computer programmer is needed to dissect a code to save the world.

Continue Reading…

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Writing Challenge – Writing AND Feedback

Have you jumped in to the Writing Challenge? We just started week four of the current quarter yesterday, and things are underway – including the ability to get ratings reports on your entries.

If you are a Platinum member  (click here to upgrade), you can receive up to three free judges’ ratings reports per quarter on any entry that does not place in the Editor’s Choice. Simply use the simple form to make the request between the time winners are announced and the following Thursday (one week window to request the report). So, if you entered the “Fold” challenge and didn’t place in the EC, get your ratings report request in soon!

Besides the ratings reports, another great way to improve your writing is to read others’ entries – and there is a great opportunity for that in the Writing Challenge as well. While last week’s “Clarify” entries are being judged (and anonymous), you can give them a read today - and give folks those wonderful yellow boxes of feedback. And watch for the brick throwing thread on the Forums- an opportunity to post a link to your own entry for feedback (and to check out others’).

And, of course, there’s actually ENTERING the Writing Challenge. This week’s topic is “Mix,” and there is plenty of room for your piece on the topic (review the guidelines here if you need a refresher course). Platinum and Gold members can enter each week if desired – and even Silver members have a total of four opportunities to give the Challenge a try.

Rise to the (Writing) Challenge!


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Using Every Moment

A steering wheel is certainly not my favorite writing desk, but lately, it seems to be my most common one.

Don’t worry—you won’t find me writing the great American novel as I drive along the interstate at 60 plus miles per hour. I don’t even jot down notes as I motor along a heavily trafficked street at a snail’s pace. I am a bad enough driver without distractions like that. No need to endanger the population any more than it already is.

While I will admit to jotting down a few things at the occasional stoplight or stop sign, the majority of my “auto writing” is done with the car off—or at least in park.

You see, I’m a busy mom, and one aspect of being a busy mom that seems unavoidable (and that, by the way, I was not expecting) is “wait time.”

For me, much, though certainly not all, of this time is spent within my vehicle.

Each school day at around 2:30, for instance, you will find me sitting in my car in a line in the parking lot of my son’s high school, waiting to pick my freshman up at the end of the day. The line of cars isn’t generally very long—though the closer to dismissal time you arrive there, the more likely you’ll be back near the road. And, of course, the more cars there are ahead of you, the longer you will be starting and stopping as those in ahead of you receive their precious children. So, I arrive a bit early, allowing me to spend my time in solitude, in my “parked” car, often with a pen and paper in hand. There’s ten to fifteen minutes of good writing time for you!

After we leave there, it’s off to my daughter’s school, where there is yet ANOTHER line, and often another few minutes of waiting (and writing) time.

I’ve also been known to spit out a sentence or two at a railroad crossing, while waiting for the drive-up ATM to be available, or between “do you want fries with that?” and “have a nice day.” In fact, the majority of this piece itself was written while sitting in the driver’s seat of my car.

Is this the ideal method and/or timing for using this literary gift the Lord has given me: composing my thoughts in ten-minute (or less) increments? Probably not. And I must admit that I do, on occasion, devote some more substantial blocks of time, in a more “writerly” setting, to my craft—though not often.

Yet, just because my circumstances are not ideal doesn’t mean I should wait until they are to act.

I shudder to think how much less writing I would have accomplished if I had waited until I had a “good chunk of time” before I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). And if I had waited for complete silence before I started writing (which, by the way, is definitely my preference), my personal canon would be basically nonexistent. So, I do what I feel led to do, whether I feel like the circumstances are just right or not.

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16, Amplified Bible

It is like that with most things—including exercising our gifts from the Lord and doing His will. It’s easy to put off sharing Christ, for instance, because you have an appointment to keep, or to decide you weren’t really supposed to make that meal for your ill neighbor because you’d have to make that extra trip to the store you weren’t planning on. I’m sure you can come up with your own examples.

We need to remember to grab every moment of our days for His glory. We don’t need to wait until “the time is right” to exercise our gifts, or until the circumstances are in our favor. God doesn’t need perfect circumstances—or perfect people—to work through us.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for guiding me to work for You whenever I can, not just when the time seems right. Help me, Lord, to make the use of each moment of time You give me to do things for Your glory, even if it is inconvenient. Help me to use my “wait time,” and the rest of my time, wisely and to not worry about whether the circumstances are ideal. You, Lord, can make any time ideal. In the name of Jesus, your precious Son, I pray. Amen

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When Change Affects Your Writing

When Change Affects Your Writing

By Delia Latham

After a recent move from California to Texas, my entire writing routine went out the window. Got turned on its head. Went on sabbatical. Took a long trip to Who-Knows-Where.

In other words, I wasn’t writing. I simply could not find the right “groove” to get going. I’m very much a creature of habit, and nothing around me fit into my habitual daily existence.

For instance:

My routine: I’m used to being an empty-nester with just hubby and me in our own little surroundings.
The change: We were living in the house with our daughter’s family…that’s two more adults and two more children than I’m accustomed to living with. Add another two people (my youngest son and youngest daughter also moved to Texas, and moved in temporarily with their older sister), and the house became a public bed-and-breakfast, with constant activity going on around me.
My routine:  I’m accustomed to writing late into the night, and most often sleeping late the next morning. Yes, my sleeping schedule is skewed by “normal” standards, but I don’t think it’s that uncommon amongst writers.
The change:  Our “bedroom” was no longer private. We slept in the game room, with our bed right out in the open. Sleeping “in” while two children and three adults got ready to dive into a new day was out of the question, as was staying up late. Afraid the light would keep everyone else awake, I avoided having it on after a reasonable hour.
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Running Out of Time to Enter Page Turner

It’s October – the middle of the month, even. And for FaithWriters folks, that can mean only one thing – the deadline for the ninth annual Page Turner Contest is sneaking up on us. In a mere two and a half weeks weeks, the opportunity to be considered for a publishing package for your fiction manuscript will be gone – for two years! (Next year’s contest will focus on nonfiction)

Maybe you’ve got a half-written manuscript gathering dust in the bottom of your desk. 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 may be just the nudge you need to get writing and polishing – but you only have until the end of this month to get your entry ready.

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 – and even more here if you are already a platinum member. So, get busy on your manuscript – time is running out!

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The Unfair Advantage Christian Writers Have

The Unfair Advantage Christian Writers Have Over Unbelievers

(But Are Sadly Underutilizing)

By Pastor QT Nyathi

Picture two buses trying to negotiate a steep incline:

One is huffing and puffing thick plumes of grey-black smoke, barely moving. If anything, it looks as if it might roll back any second and put the lives of its passengers in jeopardy.

“Looks like this old lady’s having a hard time trying to climb this mountain,” says Rob.

“Yeah,” agreed the whiskered man seated next to him.

“But you’ve got to understand that this is a steep climb. Any bus would struggle to go up these slopes,” he concludes.

Just then another bus whizzes past them, its driver coolly chewing Dentyne ice unlike his counterpart whose sweaty palms are glued to the steering wheel. Rob turns towards his fellow passenger, eyeballs almost popping out of their sockets.


They both turn to look at the spectacled teenager who somehow finds this whole scene hilarious.

“Now, that’s a bus. It’s got turbocharge, baby— makes all the difference.”

Here’s the good news. You’re the driver of the second bus, writing-wise. Your writing bus has super power. But the question is: have you used all the power that your massive engine offers?

What engine, you ask? I’m talking about the Holy Spirit.

Continue Reading…


Become a Platinum Member: Improve or Your Money Back!

Just FYI – the FaithWriters Forums have been reorganized and streamlined. All your favorite forums are still there – just in groups under parent forums. LOTS less scrolling to get to where you need to – and remember, the fastest way to see posts you have yet to read is to click on view new posts near the top. Stop by!

There are lots of reasons already to become a FaithWriters Platinum member.

  1. Only Platinum members are eligible to enter the Page Turner first chapter contest - whose prize is publication with Breath of Fresh Air Press, a cash prize, and more (hurry – the deadline for this year is the end of this month!).
  2. Platinum members can receive up to three judge feedback reports per quarter on their Writing Challenge entries
  3. Three free writing craft books
  4. Free writing courses
  5. and MORE!

And now, new Platinum members can get their money refunded if they feel upgrading doesn’t improve their writing. That’s right: if you don’t think being upgrading, and following our plan for writing improvement, doesn’t make you a better writer, you can get your money back!

So, what is this plan? In short (click on the link right above here for all the details), you need to

  1. Enter the Writing Challenge 20 times over eight months
  2. Request at least six ratings reports on your challenge entries
  3. Review in Jan’s writing lessons the specific classes where the rating reports indicate your writing needs help
  4. Read top challenge winners with the eight rating categories in hand
  5. Make a minimum of 20 comments on others’ challenge entries
  6. Provide 3 critiques in the Critique Circle
  7. Submit 3 non-Challenge pieces to the Critique Circle

So – what are you waiting for? Give Platinum membership a try.

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Spirit-Inspired Words

Spirit-Inspired Words
By Shari Weigerstorfer

I was bogged down trying to find the appropriate verbiage for an article I was writing. Agitation replaced enjoyment as I contemplated the merit of two equally good words. I decided to take a break and straighten up my office. As I gathered up the morning newspaper, an advertising slogan jumped out at me: Do you have too many choices? I thought, How appropriate! I have an entire dictionary to choose from!

I don’t believe I’m the only one who goes through this. I think most writers struggle to find the precise words that perfectly communicate what they wish to express. The more committed the writer, the more intense the search. Excellence is tolerated, but perfection is the goal. Far too seldom are the times when the right words just seem to flow effortlessly, as if being delivered by some unseen spiritual stream.

The most difficult of all, it seems, is writing about spiritual revelation and insight. It can be arduous work, requiring both time and patience. Translating spiritual concepts into words can be challenging. To share an insight effectively, the words must be exactly the ones that the Holy Spirit wants to be used in order for the significance of the revelation to be revealed — the more accurate the translation, the more effective the interpretation. Using a wrong or inferior word will dilute or obscure the meaning. If this happens, the truth will remain hidden. All effort on the part of the writer and the reader will have been in vain.

Revelation, translated by the Holy Spirit and transferred by the writer to the reader, is the process by which anointed spiritual writing is created. This touch of the Spirit is essential. The anointing, or enabling, of the Holy Spirit transforms words so that they can be received by the human spirit. Anointed writing is a communication from Spirit to spirit. Writings like these change the world. This is how the Bible was composed, and why it contains life.

Easier said than done though, isn’t it?

At a loss for which word to use for my article, I finally went to prayer: Dear God, I’m not up to this. My command of the English language is not sufficient to find the exact word needed to translate revelation into the written word. Scripture says that Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your power is perfected in weakness. I know Your ability more than makes up for my inability. Please help me to choose the words You would use.

As I contemplated the problem, my imagination began to stir: I saw myself walking into a magnificent, golden hall. It was an amazing Hall of Words, a virtual library filled with books from floor to ceiling. Each book had one word inscribed on the binding. When opened, each word would release extraordinary insight into the meaning or nature of something.

I saw a book with the word Joy on the binding. When I opened it, the vivid colors and emotions expressing joy leaped out, pouring forth the knowledge and understanding of what the word joy really meant. Each volume I opened after that contained its own comprehensive revelation.

Clearly, finding the right word is absolutely necessary when writing spiritually inspired works. What an intimidating responsibility! As I stood in that Hall of Words, I wondered: How would I ever know which words to choose?

Then, unexpectedly, a book moved slowly out from its place on the shelf and floated down to me. Then another came.

The right words were literally coming to me.

A sense of peace came over me, and I remembered the expression the inspired word of God.

The Bible says that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God. Sacred writings are not esteemed for being written by men of brilliance or vision, but because they are perceived to have been inspired by God. It is the established belief that these writers were guided by the Spirit to convey with precision exactly what God intended them to declare as the accurate revelation of His mind and will.

Personally, I don’t think the Spirit quit inspiring writers when the Scriptures were completed. I think He still helps writers today to find the words that are good and acceptable and perfect. I think it’s something that gives Him pleasureHe is our Holy Ghostwriter!

Shari Weigerstorfer is a free-lance Christian writer, native to the West Coast of America. When not indulging in her passion for travel, she writes from her home in Singapore. Other articles by Shari can be found on her site at Faithwriters.com

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

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You Think English is Easy? Our Crazy Language

You Think English is Easy?  Our Crazy Language

By Lynda Lee Schab

This was sent to me by a fellow author and I knew I had to share it. Let me know if you can think of any more.

You think English is easy??

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is ‘UP.’

It’s easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed
UP about UP !
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP , look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP , you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn’t rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it UP.
for now my time is UP,
so…….it is time to shut UP!
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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Writing Challenge Ratings Reports for Platinum Members

We are about to offer the best new tool we have offered in years to greatly improve your writing. Can you imagine how much you could improve your writing skill by receiving a review on your submission from the Writing Challenge judges?

Starting this next Writing Challenge quarter, which begins October 1, Platinum members can receive up to three rating reports per member a quarter on their entries. These reports come directly from the judges. They will clearly let you know where your entry excelled and where it was lacking. This is an incredible increase in benefits for Platinum members only due to the additional work involved. You will not find a better way to improve your writing for so little per month. If you are not a Platinum, you might want to upgrade and pay the additional $5.00 per month over Gold membership (or $10 a month over silver) to take advantage for the upcoming Challenge quarter.

Click here to see a sample report.

If you believe you are ready to grow as a writer, here are all the details you need to know:

1. Ratings feedback will be made available (by member request only) to Platinum members, free of charge, during each quarter of the Writing Challenge on Challenges going forward from October 1st, 2015. Reports are to be ordered by a member only after their entry has been judged and they desire to learn why it placed where it did so they can improve the next time.
2. Each Platinum member will be able to request up to three reports during each quarter of the Challenge.
3. Reports for a specific quarter of the Challenge must be requested before the beginning of the next quarter. For example, a report for an entry during the July to September quarter of the Challenge must be requested before October 1. Any requests received for reports outside the current quarter will not be accepted.
4. The three credits per quarter are not cumulative. They will not rollover to the next quarter.
5. These reports are not sugar coated in any way, but as such, they are invaluable as a tool for growth.
6. Requests for reports on Editors’ Choice winning entries will not be accepted.
7. As is the case with the Challenge, the judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Platinums Order a Report Here on judged entries October 2015 going forward. If you are not logged into the site you will be taken to the log in page first and then to the page where you can order a report.

Check out this post on the FaithWriters forums for more details.

What a fabulous new benefit. Will you give it a try?

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