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.

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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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Congratulations to the blog contest winners!

The latest blog contest closed to submissions less than two weeks ago, and now we are excited to announce our winners!

This time, the contest was meant to promote FaithWriters’ partnership with Xulon Press, one of the largest Christian self-publishers.  FWers were to write an article about the various benefits of the partnership, including the second testimony book, and two giveaways of Xulon Bestseller Packages to Platinum members.

Out of the handful of entries, two of them rose to the top and were declared our winners. Be sure to check out the post on the boards to read the winning entries, and those of other folks who gave it a try.

And now, without further ado, our winners:

First Place: The Reluctant Mom by Toni Hammer ($100 prize)

Second Place: Hope Rises Again by P.J. Baker ($50 prize)

Watch the FaithWriters Forums (and this blog!) for the next contest, which will promote an online church for those unable to attend in person. It will be starting soon!

Congratulations, Toni and P.J.!

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How Dense Can Ya Get? (Story Structure and Timing)

How Dense Can Ya Get?

By Linda Yezak

Your bad guy hides behind Prada and a smooth personality. His car has leather seats. He whips out his Platinum card with the carelessness of one who doesn’t have to worry how much he charges to it.

And he has captured your Main Character’s eye.

She has a choice between the flashy guy who “knows how to treat a woman” and a plain ol’ blue-jeans clad country boy whose actions can be misinterpreted to put him in the worst light possible. He has a certain charm, but in your MC’s eyes, he’s the bad guy.

Wow. That’s the makings of a good story.

But it’s also a delicate balance. As the story goes along, we, the readers, learn the true nature of each man, and before long, we’re on the edge of our seats as our heroine consistently makes the wrong choice. The writer always lets us into her mind, always shows how she reaches her conclusions, always puts the good guy in compromising positions that confirm her opinion of him.

After a while, though, it’s time to start showing her doubt of her choices, otherwise we, the readers, start getting seriously frustrated with the woman.

Soon after the midpoint, she needs to start getting niggling little doubts that increase beyond a “niggle” by the three quarter point. By this time, she should be in deep, completely entangled with the wrong guy, so the last quarter of the book leads to the nail-gnawing climax and satisfying conclusion.

Continue Reading…

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Great Reads from Some FaithWriters Members!

If you are looking for some inspiring stories, whether fiction and nonfiction, FaithWriters is the place to look – especially this week. Two new publications became available in just the past few days, and you will definitely want to check them out.

First, the highly anticipated book of forty FaithWriters members’ testimonies, Trials and Triumphs, is now available – and, for a limited time, it is FREE as an ebook! Check out these inspiring stories of FW members’ salvation testimonies, as well as how God was with them during trials. Read their inspiring stories (including my own story of how I came to Christ), and leave a review, if you would, on the FaithWriters bookstore  AND at Amazon (where you can purchase a paper copy of the book – and soon, an ebook!) That is the best way to garner sales for this book – and we would love your help.

And on a side note, we are currently holding a contest for a second book of testimonies – if yours wasn’t published in this first book and you are a gold or platinum member, stop by here  and scroll down a bit for information and to enter.

Secondly, the latest issue of the FaithWriters Magazine is now available! The March issue includes inspirational short pieces – from poetry to true life inspirational stories. There’s plenty of fiction, too, with humor, romance, slice of life, and several genres. Be sure to stop by and check it out!

Which Will You Read First?

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Broken Record Writing

Broken-Record Writing
By Delia Latham

With the advent of CDs and streaming music, the term “broken record” is fast becoming obsolete. I’m hoping most people still know what it means.

Even if the experience is not personal, most of us have heard the result of a scratched record. The needle gets hung in the scratch, the record keeps spinning, and the result is an annoying repetition of the same words – over and over…and over again.

It happens in writing as well. Sometimes our characters’ repetitious actions make a reader crazy.

My heroes chuckle a lot. They grin when I can’t think of anything else for them to do. They love to “quirk” or “hike” an eyebrow. My ladies’ lips “curve upward in a smile” way too often.

I recently read a rough draft chapter for an author whose characters overused their hands. Every few sentences, an action tag involved the word “hands.” She wrung her hands. He ran a hand through his hair. Their hands touched. He stuffed his hands into his pockets. She placed a hand over her mouth.

Talk about your broken record! A whole book of that would have me breaking the record over the hero’s head.

A friend admitted that she uses coffee as a tool for too much of the action in her story. He poured himself a cup of coffee. She wrapped her cold fingers around the hot mug. He sipped the hot brew. She tasted the lukewarm liquid and set her cup back on the table. He put on another pot of coffee. If I consumed as much caffeine as these characters, I’d never sleep!

Continue Reading…

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