The Benefits of Platinum and Gold Membership

Did you know that 99% of all FaithWriters members are free (silver) members? We at FaithWriters are thrilled to be able to give writing help to everyone who “comes through our doors,” but many of the services we provide – both to writers and seekers of God – are not free.

For a small price, you can help support FaithWriters’ dual mission of equipping writers and spreading the Gospel (in over 230 countries!). And YOU get benefits as well!

While Silver membership allows access to the FaithWriters forums, the ability to post articles (including entering the Writing Challenge four times total), private messenger, and other benefits, becoming a paid member gives you even more perks.

A Bronze membership, at only $65 a year (that’s $5.41 a month – only 18 cents a day!), includes the ability to enter the FaithWriters Writing Challenge every week, plus get critiques on your work from fellow FaithWriters and potentially paid editors for free.  You also receive six free writing courses and a free writing book. A 15% discount on marketing materials is also included at this level, and more.

For Platinum members, the benefits are even greater. For $120 a year (comes to $10 a month, or 33 cents a day), you get all the Silver and Bronze benefits, plus six more free writing courses, two more free writing books, and a 25% discount on marketing. Plus, you get to enter the Page Turner contest (prize is PUBLICATION and a cash prize), and two of your books can be listed for free in our ebook store.

And that’s just some of the perks. Check out this link for all the details for benefits for each level.

Are you ready to upgrade?


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Congratulations to 2015′s Best of the Best!

In case you haven’t heard, FaithWriters has crowned its 2015 Writing Challenge Best of the Best winner and two runners up. And for the third time in the Best of the Best’s 11-year history, two of the spots have been won by the same person.

Congratulations – and be sure to read these three AMAZING entries!

1st Place ($300 prize): B’rikh hu by Ann Grover

2nd Place ($100 prize): Assegais and Shields by Corinne Smelker

3rd Place ($75 prize): In the Secret Place by Ann Grover

Watch for interviews with Ann and Corinne in the next few weeks.

The Writing Challenge started up again yesterday with a whole new topic. Be sure to enter – YOU could be Best of the Best next year at this time!

Congratulations, Ann and Cori!

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Xulon Bestseller Package Raffle – One Month Left To Enter!

I don’t know about you, but I am finding it VERY hard to believe we are halfway through the year. Tomorrow is July 1. Truly!

Among other things, that means you only have one month left to enter the Xulon raffle to be eligible to win a Xulon Press Bestseller Package (over $4,000 value). The deadline to get your name “in the hat” is August 1, 2015 at noon ET. And how do you enter? Let me count the ways :)

The only requirement 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 that is taken care of, 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 and 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. 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, 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. Entering the FaithWriters Writing Challenge (which starts up again this Thursday) will also give you five additional entries. Check out the widget at the bottom of the publishing package page for more details and other ways to enter.

But remember – you only have until the first of August to get your entries in. So get busy :)

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Don’t Say It All

Don’t Say it All

By Karen Burkett

One great temptation when writing an article or a book is to try to say it all. There is so much we want to share, we don’t want to leave anything out.

Great way to hide our primary message. Also a great way to chase readers away.

I recommend that you prayerfully select your topic. Then the part of that topic you want to zero in on and what audience you want to address. Ask yourself, what do I want the reader to take from this? Then focus your outline and every part of your writing on your choices.

You may think . . . Well, this point wanders a bit from my topic but it’s so important. I want to share it! I need to share it! Don’t. Save it for another article, another book, when it is on target for your topic. Stay focused!

“Focus is the Feature of Effective Writing that answers the question ‘So What?’ An effective piece of writing establishes a single focus and sustains that focus throughout the piece. Just as a photographer needs to focus on a particular subject to produce a clear picture, a writer needs to focus on a single topic or main idea in order to produce an effective piece of writing.” (Kathleen Cali) Read the rest of Cali’s informative article here.

Use the same approach with your blog. I recommend this article: “5 Reasons to Stay on Topic on Your Blog.”

Choose your topic. Choose your audience. Decide on desired take-aways. And focus.


Karen Burkett  is a published freelance writer and editor. Leads Christian team of editors at Creator and webmaster of Former contributor to three national trade magazines. Experience includes writing and editing books, workbooks, articles, grants, ministry letters, radio scripts, daily devotions and more. Has worked in church and evangelism ministries and for Living Free, a non-profit organization.

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Spring Writing Challenge Quarterly Cash Winners!

A HUGE congratulations to EVERYONE who entered the FaithWriters Writing Challenge this past quarter.  Just by submitting an entry, you are a winner (at least in my book! I haven’t gotten a single piece in yet this year). But some pieces rise even higher than that to place – while others go even higher than that.

And that is what the quarterly cash awards are meant to recognize. The highest scoring entry in EACH LEVEL over each entire ten-week quarter receives a $50 cash prize. This past quarter was “Don’t Mention the Song,” and these four entries are the ones that rose above all the rest in their levels. Congratulations!

LEVEL 1 A Reason to Stand by Jamie Boettcher (Stand Up for Jesus Challenge)

LEVEL 2 Coming Out Day by Jenni Starkman (Stand Up for Jesus Challenge)

LEVEL 3 Does Jesus Want Us To Stand Up For Him? by Barbara Nicholson (Stand Up for Jesus Challenge)

LEVEL 4 B’rikh hu by Ann Grover (I Surrender All Challenge)

The Writing Challenge is on a break right now. Watch for the next topic in a week and a half – on Thursday, July 2. But before that, keep your eyes open for the announcement of the 2015 Writing Challenge Best of the Best, due on July 1.

Congratulations, Jamie, Jenni, Barbara, and Ann!

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Writing Challenge: Best of the Best Contenders: Spring 2015

Just under TWO WEEKS before the Best of the Best winners and runners up are announced – can you believe it? And now is the time to review the last ten contenders (see the three previous quarters here, here, and here) – one of which was announced only yesterday!
Unfamiliar with Best of the Best? Each week, the top scoring entry overall in the FaithWriters writing challenge is eligible to be declared the Best of the Best winner. At the end of all four ten-week quarters, we have 40 potential pieces vying for the Best of the Best crown. And, on July 1 each year, the highest rated of all the first place entries is named Best of the Best and awarded a $300 cash prize. Second and third place receive $100 and $75, respectively.
This past quarter’s topics were song titles – but you were not supposed to write about the songs themselves. Be sure to check these excellent entries out – and watch for the challenge quarterly winners in a day or so – and the Best of the Best for 2015 on July 1!
All’s Well – An Unspoken Message by Margaret Kearley ( from the IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL challenge)
Assegais and Shields by Corrine Smelker (from the STAND UP FOR JESUS challenge)
All Good Things by Ann Grover (from the COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS challenge)
In the Secret Place by Ann Grover (from the A MIGHTY FORTRESS challenge
Suleiman by Jack Taylor (from the SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER challenge)
B’rihk Hu by Ann Grover (from the I SURRENDER ALL challenge)
The Society of Soldierettes for Sensibility and Sobriety by Ann Grover (from the ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS challenge)
Walking the Waves by Margaret Kearley (from the TRUST AND OBEY challenge)
A Prayer of Praise by Ellen Carr (from THE WHOLE WORLD IN GOD’S HANDS challenge)

Some Angels by Ann Grover (from the ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME challenge)

Watch for the Best of the Best announcement on July 1 – and the next quarter of the Writing Challenge just a day later. You could be on this list next year!


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Is it Reflection, Interior Monologue, or Introspection?

Is it Reflection, Interior Monologue, or Introspection?

By Gail Gaymer Martin

I’ve been teaching fiction for years and during the Q and A time, I have received many interesting questions. The interior monolgue or internal speech, stream of consciousness and even introspection often cause confusion. Exactly what is it and what does it do? First let’s look at this question:

Difference between Introspection and Internal Monologue
The dictionary definitions are:
Internal speech, or verbal stream of consciousness is thinking in words. It also refers to the semi-constant internal or interior monologue we has with ourselves at a conscious or semi-conscious level. In fiction, it is a form of stream-of-consciousness writing that represents the inner thoughts of a character.
Introspection is the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes. In fiction, introspection can be extremely valuable to getting to know the character as the character gets to know himself
And the answer to the difference between internal monologue and introspection: Stream of Consciousness (Internal Speech or monologue) deals more with sensory input whereas interior monologue focuses on the processing of ideas. Any good soliloquy found in classical literature could be held up as an example of interior monologue. But stream of consciousness doesn’t handle morality or problem solving. It lives inside the moment and does not consider the past or future. Interior monologue considers the moment with reflection and planning.
And with those definitions in mind, here’s the question I received from the writer:
Is interior monologue direct thought or is it reflection? Is there a difference?
I use internal monologue and introspection interchangingly and  in a variety of ways. For one thing, through internal thinking, it is the only time the reader can know the character’s truths  as he sees it. It’s a time to reflect on the past and it’s a time to respond to the present or to plan for the future. It’s a place where the author can drop a clue to the past or piece of back story or even foreshadowing.
Here are examples:
Joe couldn’t tell her how he really felt. She wanted him to say he loved her, but he couldn’t. He’d learned that he couldn’t love anyone when he didn’t love himself.
This example allows the reader to understand more about Joe and why he rejects friendships and love. It also shows his attempt to view others as to what they are thinking. He could be right but he could be wrong. This leaves the reader with a question.
The past:
Looking at Susan today drew him back five years earlier when they’d first met. The memory sent a chill up his spin, recalling her face tilted toward the sky, the sun shining on her hair. Why couldn’t he allow those feelings to surface today?
This Internal monologue asks a direct question and leaves the reader with the desire to know why. This works as a hook to pull readers into the story.
The Future:
Tom’s mind spun with ideas. He had to do something. Time wouldn’t allow him to weigh every option. She needed his help, and it had to be now. Possibilities filled his mind until one stood out among the rest. He knew what he had to do.
Another effective hook.  If a chapter or scene ended with this line, readers would be drawn to turn the page and start the next section to learn the answer.
A shudder rolled over Susan’s shoulders as she headed for the basement. Why did she dislike this place? She knew. It was too much like a grave. A cellar was underground, and Susan preferred the light, not the dank gloom of a cellar.
Foreshadowing is a great way to draw readers into the story. They are alerted, if they’re thinking, that something is going to happen underground. Will Susan get trapped in a cellar or is it more the darkness that frightens her? Readers know that something is going to happen.  Another good hook.
No matter what you call it -  Internal monologue, Introspection, or Stream of consciousness – the examples show you how it can be used with purpose. Sometimes going into the character’s thoughts can explain a reaction or express the character’s emotions not shown because the scene was in the another character’s POV, but these thought can also provide excellent hooks that draw readers into the story and make them turn pages.
gailmartinMulti-award-winning novelist Gail Gaymer Martin writes Christian women’s fiction, romance and romantic suspense. Gail has fifty-seven contracted novels with four million books sold. She is the author of Writers Digest’s Writing the Christian Romance. Gail is a co-founder of American Christian Fiction Writers, a keynote speaker at churches, libraries and writers organizations, and presents workshops at conference across the US. She was named one of the four best novelists in the Detroit area by CBS local news. She lives with her husband in a northwest Detroit suburb. Visit her website at Her latest,  A Mother To Love, released from  Love Inspired this month.

Why We Write

Eighty-six  years ago today, a baby girl was born in Germany. Thirteen years later, she received a diary for her birthday, and wrote in it regularly for two years. And she impacted the world in a way she never could have imagined.

Perhaps you already know who this girl is. How, for many (me included), hers is the first name that comes to mind when we think of Holocaust victims.  Anne Frank is in many ways the voice of the Holocaust – of Hitler’s oppression of the Jews (and others). And it is all because of her writings – writings she never intended anyone else to see.

And maybe that is part of why her story is so compelling. She wasn’t writing for a paycheck, for accolades, or to impact the world. She wrote because she could – because she had something to say: to get off her chest. She was baring her soul – writing as she felt led. She wrote for an audience of one.

Anne Frank was not a Christ-follower, but maybe she has something to teach us about our focus and our purpose for writing. Maybe not. But I have to believe that her story – the story of the horrors of the Holocaust – would have been seen much differently if she had told her story any other way.

Why do YOU write?

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Writing Challenge Best of the Best Contenders: Winter 2015

And now for the third group of four Best of the Best contenders (check out the ten from Summer and Fall 2014 in previous posts)

Unfamiliar with Best of the Best? Each week, the top scoring entry overall in the FaithWriters writing challenge is eligible to be declared the Best of the Best winner. At the end of all four ten-week quarters, we have 40 potential pieces vying for the Best of the Best crown. And, on July 1 each year, the highest rated of all the first place entries is named Best of the Best and awarded a $300 cash prize. Second and third place receive $100 and $75, respectively.

Winter 2015 was seven deadly sins and three remedies quarter. Give these ten excellent entries a look!

Thinking and Knowing by Melanie Kerr (LUST challenge)

Just Once by Ann Grover (GLUTTONY challenge)

Adieu, Dodo by Beth LaBuff (GREED challenge)

The Coffee Boiler by Ann Grover (SLOTH challenge)

When Sirens Blare by Francy Judge (RAGE challenge)

Your Fountain by Holly Westefeld (ENVY challenge)

The Ode and the Epitaph — The Paragon-Pariah of Fallow Field Farm by Beth LaBuff (PRIDE challenge)

The Test by David Walker (FAITH challenge)

My Expectation by Vincent Lyon (HOPE challenge)

The Seeker by Dave Walker (LOVE challenge)

Watch for the final quarter of Best of the Best contenders in a week or so – and it isn’t too late for YOUR name to be on the list! The tenth and final topic of the quarter, “Angels Watching Over Me (don’t write about the song),” closes this Thursday at 11am ET. Enter soon!


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Hook Me

Hook Me

By Delia Latham

If it had eyes, they’d be watching me. Reproachful. Accusing.

It’s a book, for heaven’s sake. A simple, ordinary, inanimate object without sight or voice. And yet it chides me for neglecting a duty…back pedaling on a promise. I feel its sightless stare each time I’m within five feet of it.

Here’s the weird thing: I love to read. If I pick the book up and read it, it will stop taunting me. So why not just do that, and eliminate all the unpleasantness of avoiding a lifeless object?

The problem is, I did pick it up and start reading. This particular novel didn’t grab my attention from the word “go.” As much as I love to read, that much, at least, is necessary. If a writer doesn’t hook me from the beginning and pull me in so deeply that I can’t put the book down, I will put it down, and I won’t ever pick it back up.

Except…I made a promise to read and review this book. So I have to open it again, and I know it won’t be a pleasure read. “Plowing” is hard work. If I must “plow” through a book, I’ve defeated my purpose in reading, which is pleasure, escape, entertainment and relaxation. I want to lose myself in the story, preferably from the very first sentence, and not have to think about the fact that I’m reading. I want to become a part of that fictional world, and forget the real one exists, at least for the duration of that novel. If the author fails to absorb me into his or her tale that thoroughly, then I am constantly reminded of my existence outside the book, and I will return to it, leaving the fictional world on the shelf.

Continue Reading…

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