Free to Use Christian Articles

Meet 2018 2nd Place Best of the Best Kate Mackereth!

Read the interview with Jan Ackerson, first place Best of the Best, here.

Kate Mackereth has loved to write since she was a girl, but only began entering the Challenge a few months ago – and already one of her first entries, the heartwrenching Baby Shrapnel, has placed second in the annual Best of the Best. Read on to learn more about Kate, her winning entry, her striving for perfection, and more.

JOANNE SHER: First of all, congratulations on your second place win! What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen as second place in Best of the Best?

KATE MACKERETH: Thank you! I was very surprised because I am new to the challenge. It was quite thrilling.

JOANNE: Your winning piece, Baby Shrapnel, is incredibly poignant and heart-wrenching. Reading it made me wonder if it was based on personal experience. Was it?  Where did you get the idea for this piece? How did it come together for you? Any particular struggles getting it the way you liked it?

KATE: It was Anzac day here in Australia when I wrote it, so I had our soldiers and the theme of sacrifice on my mind. As an Army wife, I’ve been through the various emotions of deployment so that bit just flowed. The part about mowing the lawn is completely true, and I enjoyed the shocked expression on my husband’s face when he read it!!

The topic was ‘Amazing’ and I just love how amazing it is that God has claimed us as his, all at a cost to himself. I wanted to make that kind of sacrificial love more personal to readers. I knew a family in one of my old churches who had lost a baby boy named Matthew. They were told he would be born without a brain and not survive but still the mother carried him to term. They loved him through the entire process regardless of the heartbreak and it moved me greatly to hear about it.

I was worried about the way I started my sentences and using the topic word in the piece but I did it anyway and held my breath. It is fun to break some rules and I’m so delighted people were moved by it. Continue Reading…

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Meet 2018 Best of the Best Winner Jan Ackerson

Jan Ackerson is no stranger to the FaithWriters blog, nor recognition for her writing on the site. Because of past writing accolades, she has already had interviews on this blog THREE times. And now, here she is again, as the winner of the 2018 FaithWriters Writing Challenge Best of the Best (awarded to the highest ranking Writing Challenge entry for July 2017-June 2018), for her expertly written Almost Happy. Join me as we learn about how this story came together, Jan’s passions, and more.

JOANNE SHER: Congratulations on winning Best of the Best! What was your reaction when you found out your piece was at the top this year?

JAN ACKERSON: I was more than a little surprised, especially since I hadn’t entered the Writing Challenge in several months. FaithWriters wasn’t really forefront in my thoughts, so seeing that announcement on Facebook was kind of stunning. I actually had to go back and read the story; I’d mostly forgotten it.

JOANNE: This isn’t your first time interviewing with me for a FaithWriters recognition, and I know you are absolutely not someone who likes the attention. But humor me – share one thing that you are fairly certain you haven’t shared here before, and that you think is at least somewhat interesting about yourself.

JAN: Hmmm. Well, I do a bit of freelance work to supplement my retirement income, and my most recent gig taps into both my love of literature and my enjoyment in finding errors and pointing them out. I work together with a fellow who produces award-winning audiobooks, listening to his audio file “rough drafts” and noting where he deviates from the text. Another use for my metaphorical red pencil! Continue Reading…

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Congratuations to the 2018 Best of the Best Winners!

After twelve months of Writing Challenge topics and entries, we had our 30+ contenders for the Best of The Best.

The annual Best of the Best awards are announced July 1 each year, and the awards go to the three highest rated Editors’ Choice winners for the previous twelve months. First place gets $100, second place $50, and third place $25.

Congratulations to our three awesome winners:

1ST PLACE Almost Happy by Jan Ackerson (Back to the Drawing Board Challenge)

2ND PLACE Baby Shrapnel by Kate Mackereth (Amazing Challenge)

3RD PLACE Orange Is the Colour of Friendship by Lucy Steel (Friend Challenge)

Watch for interviews with the winners on the blog soon!

Congratulations, Jan, Kate, and Lucy!

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Just Three Months to Enter Page Turner!

For some, this time of year is busier than any other. For others, it’s just the opposite: extra time to get things done. Whatever your situation, getting the first chapter of your book (fiction or non-fiction) written and “in shape” in three months probably isn’t an impossible goal.

Need more motivation than that? How about an opportunity to get a fabulous cash prize and an offer of traditional publishing? Well, FaithWriters  and Breath of Fresh Air Press are offering just that, in the 12th Annual Page Turner Contest.

If you are a FaithWriters Platinum member, you are invited to enter this very special contest created just for you. If you are not yet a Platinum member, this may be the perfect reason to upgrade. The feedback on your manuscript, alone, makes it an outstanding value.

Maybe you’ve got a half-written manuscript gathering dust in the bottom of your wardrobe. 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 manuscript, this Christian writing contest is the spur you need to write, polish, and submit it-and we will give you until the end of September to get your entry ready.

Sound good? Well, here’s what you need to do: Continue Reading…

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FW Member Discount on Novel Writing Course!

We at FaithWriters want our members to be the best writers they can be for Jesus. Jerry B. Jenkins, a 21-time New York Times bestselling author, including the Left Behind series, is releasing his new flagship course, Your Novel Blueprint (YNB). In this course, he gives writers a start-to-finish blueprint for writing a great novel: all the way from the book idea to the completed manuscript. This is an in-depth course done online and presented in a very professional video format. The course is filled with great advice, encouragement and tips from Jerry. You will learn from his vast experience (author of over 190 books), including how to avoid the mistakes he made on his road to success. The wise advice in this course will save you years and countless dollars. It’s worth every penny for any serious Christian writer.

Your-Novel-Blueprint@2x

  • Laying the Foundation – 13 modules
  • Starting the Writing – 5 modules
  • Establishing a Writing Routine – 18 modules
  • Finishing Well – 20 modules

Continue Reading…

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Clued in to Writing with Jeopardy

Clued in To Writing with Jeopardy
by Marlene Mesot

Setting up a mystery with proper and fair clues takes skill. It is probably harder for the all-knowing writer, seeing the whole picture, who must take the pieces apart for the reader to find clues and put it back together. The reader is the fresh, unknowing eye upon the puzzle. The reader is not clueless however. Take an example from the quiz show Jeopardy.

If you have at least some idea of the topic of the question, the skilled writers of Jeopardy’s clues have added a subtle hint to the second part of each question to help the contestant, reader, figure it out. Novels are the same way. Skilled writers place subtle clues along the way hinting at the resolution to the story.

I was clued in to one such story because I am an animal lover and have some knowledge of dog’s behavior. Written in Bone by Simon Beckett happened to be the novel where I picked up on the subtle clue. But, I was totally clueless and never saw the surprise ending in The Worst Thing by Aaron Elkins.

God is the Author of the greatest story ever told. Those of us who are believers and have the understanding of the Holy Spirit are clued in to the message of the Bible. Even though God’s message is all around us in nature, the sky, ourselves and our behaviors, unbelievers are clueless, without help.

Marlene Mesot: Christian mystery romance author, only child, legally blind & hearing aid user.
www.marlsmenagerie.com/
 Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com
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Writing a Book This Summer? A Contest for You

For many, summer means a bit more of a relaxed schedule – and maybe even some vacation time. School’s out, the days get longer, the weather is often nice (in this hemisphere, anyway :D). A great time to start a project – and for writers, that could be writing a book (or at least getting started on one  -or getting back to one you started before). If that’s you, here’s a contest to keep you motivated!

FaithWriters.com and Breath of Fresh Air Press are pleased to announce the twelfth annual Page Turner Christian writing contest. If you are a FaithWriters Platinum member, you are invited to enter this very special contest created just for you. If you are not yet a Platinum member, this may be the perfect reason to upgrade. The feedback on your manuscript alone makes it an outstanding value.

Maybe you’ve got a half-written manuscript gathering dust in the bottom of your wardrobe. 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 manuscript, this Christian writing contest is the spur you need to write, polish, and submit it-and we will give you until the end of September to get your entry ready.

Sound good? Well, here’s what you need to do:

Continue Reading…

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Meet FWer, award-winning script-writer Gerald Shuler

Gerald Shuler has been a FaithWriters member for 10+ years, entering the Writing Challenge close to 100 times, and posting several dozen time in regular articles. And now, he can add “award-winning” to his list of accomplishments, as a skit he posted on FaithWriters seven years ago was made into a short film, which won several awards at the 2018 Christian Film Festival, including Gerald himself for best writer! Read on to learn more about Gerald, the skit, the award, and the role FaithWriters played.

JOANNE SHER: Congratulations, Gerald! Can you tell me your reaction when you found out the film based on your skit won?Gerry Shuler, A Christian free to use article writer

GERALD SHULER: I’m human… I was thrilled. My wife, though, was even more thrilled so I guess my most memorable reaction was asking myself “How am I going to get my wife unpeeled from the ceiling?”

JOANNE: Can you talk us through the whole process this went through? When did you write the skit? For what purpose? How did the eventual filmmakers find it? Were you involved in the filming process at all?

GERALD: The original skit was written about 30 years ago when I was a youth pastor in need of something for the teens to do. The girl that played the lead part in the very first performance broke down in tears when she realized that her life was just like the character’s life. She accepted the Lord at that moment and then went on with rehearsal. The script is on my profile page (https://www.faithwriters.com/article-details.php?id=126208 ) just the way it was performed 30 years ago.

I had no input in the production so I don’t know the process. All I know is that the producer read my skit on FaithWriters and emailed me to see what it would take to use it for his next movie. He was willing to pay for it but, silly me, I told him all I wanted was full screen credit as the writer. That took me completely out of the production loop.

JOANNE: Still – SO cool! Is it possible to see the film? If so, how and where? What were your thoughts when you saw it? Continue Reading…

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Writing Challenge Change as of April 2018

In recent months, some of our members have expressed concern that the Writing Challenge may be losing the strength of its faith-based roots. The Challenge has always encouraged wholesome, clean writing from a Christian worldview, with the understanding that there is room for both Christian writers and writers who are Christian. We still believe that; however, we have listened, prayed, and agreed that it’s time to make a change.

For most of our members, the change to the Challenge will have little to no impact. However, for others, the change may be significant.

From April 5, (the start of the next quarter) the rule regarding Christian content will change to the following:

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Entries may be in any style or genre; however, they MUST communicate some form of Christian message or spiritual truth. This message may be directed to the Christian reader or may be evangelistic in nature. Either is acceptable. In the case of fiction, the message may be subtle or allegorical. In that case, a scripture should be included at the end of the entry in order to highlight the intended message for the reader. If an entry has no apparent Christian message or spiritual truth, it will remain in the list, but will be ineligible for judging.

Please note: Language deemed inappropriate for Christian readers will be removed, even if used in the portrayal of a non-Christian character.

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Continue Reading…

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March is Reading Month

LibraryBesides the Lord Himself, there is one thing that just about every reader needs desperately. No, I am not talking about inspiration, ideas, writing utensils, an editor, or anything else of that nature. No, just about every writer needs a READER – preferably more than one 🙂

Because of that, writers should certainly be aware that the month of March (only two days away!) is National Reading Month (here in the States, anyway). While it is geared mostly toward children and schools (the month was chosen because Dr Seuss’s birthday is March 2), everyone can benefit from jumping on the reading bandwagon. One of the best ways to improve your own writing is to read. Plus, the earlier we get people (kids!) hooked on reading, the better – right?

Many schools are looking for guest readers – in March, and throughout the year. Call one in your neighborhood and see if you can bring in a favorite book (even your own, if appropriate) to read to kids. Who knows – that kid hanging on your every word (or completely ignoring you) could be one of your future readers – or a fellow writer – in a dozen years.

And do your own reading as well – from writing books to books in your genre to books that interest you. It will only make you a stronger writer.

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