Sunday, December 17, 2017

Inspiration for the Long Writing Journey


by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee

Every Christmas, under a canopy of stars, we would carry our pajama laden children to the minivan. We’d tuck them into car seats and strap down a television and VCR to provide entertainment during the marathon journey across the country.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Let Your Christmas Heart Song Fuel Your Writing


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

As writers, our tendency to look deep helps us create story energy and innovative characters. We break through imaginary walls and see beyond the ordinary as we unfold story. This also holds true in our own story. At least it does with me.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

How to Create a Captivating Murder Mystery


by Warren Adler @WarrenAdler

I’ve always loved mysteries, my favorite mystery author being George Simenon who, in my opinion, is the master of brevity. Simenon wrote a masterful series of seventy-five novels and twenty-eight short stories following Inspector Maigret. He inspired me to try writing my own mystery series, which I began in 1981. Here I share the top three things you must keep in mind if you want to create as captivating a murder mystery as possible.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Writing Lessons from a Christmas Tree


by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

“Mom, why is Moses on our Christmas tree?”
           
“Moses? We don’t have Moses on the tree. You know the only ornaments allowed on the tree are those that have all three members of the Holy Family.”
           
For years I have collected nativity ornaments. My mother started my collection while I was still living at home and dated each one so I would remember when it was added to my collection.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fall Clean-Up – 3 Tips to Getting Your Writing Habits Ready for Winter

Edie here. Sometimes, I can't help it, I just get it wrong. Cindy sent me this post for November and somehow I managed to put up the post meant for December instead. It's a fantastic post, so I refuse to not share it, but I didn't want you to think she'd missed the timing on this. 


Fall Clean-Up—3 Tips to Getting Your Writing Habits Ready for Winter 
by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

I swore I’d try to never write on a subject that is worn out. You know, the hundreds of devotions making analogies about gardening to their spiritual life? Well, guess what? I had an epiphany while cleaning out fall bushes and leaves that will not leave my creative desire to compare it to my writing life, alone.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Best Practices for Facebook in 2018


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Last week I shared Best Practices for Twitter. This week I’m following that up with a follow-up post about Facebook.

While there haven’t been any major changes lately with Facebook, it continues to make changes and updates regularly—especially in the Edge Rank Algorithm.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Who Made the Poppies?


by Sarah Van Diest @SarahVanDiest


In Switzerland—Burtigny, to be precise—there is a hill I climbed several times during my recent stay. Though autumn had secured much of the landscape, there remained a few bright red poppies blooming on the edge of a farmer’s field. Situated just above this field was a small wooded area with an enticing walking path through the heart of it. It didn’t seem to matter to me if the day was sunny and mild, or cloudy and wet, I still wanted to walk up the hill, venture into the woods if time allowed, and always visit the poppies.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Keeping Christmas All Year


by Beth Vogt @BethVogt

I collect Nativity scenes. I don’t have an extensive collection, but I do have a much-loved assortment that includes a hand-sewn cloth Nativity that little hands may play with. I also have a treasured olive wood set from my mission trip to Israel in 2000, when my husband and I chaperoned a high school trip that our son went on. My husband and I brought back matching Nativity sets for each of our children, including our then-to-be-born “caboose kiddo,” Christa, who arrived later that year on Christmas Eve.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Will You Nominate THE WRITE CONVERSATION Again for the Top 101 Writing Blogs?

By Edie Melson @EdieMelson


Will you recommend The Write Conversation as a Top 101 Writing Blog?
This year I'm doing something different. I'm asking for a present from you—our loyal blog readers. It won't cost a thing—I promise! 

The team and I here at The Write Conversation are working hard to provide information to help equip you to follow your writing dream. We have a dream too, it's to be listed in the Writer's Digest top 101 Writing Blogs in The Write Life's 100 Best Websites for Writers.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Editing Your Book, Part V—Copy Editing: the 5 foot view


by Sarah Sally Hamer @SarahSallyHamer


There are four basic types of editing:
  • Developmental Editing
  • Substantive Editing
  • Line Editing
  • Copy Editing
Each type of editing offers an opportunity to look at a manuscript from a different place, and for different reasons. Today, we work with Copy Editing (CE).

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

4 Goal Setting Tips for Writers


by Cynthia Owens @EfficiencyAdict

It’s a December ritual—looking back on the current year and considering all the possibilities for the next. We celebrate, make resolutions to do better, and dream of what the new year could hold. However, statistics tell us that only 9.2% of those who make resolutions will achieve their goals.

I don’t share that to deter you. I list it so we know what we’re up against and can make a plan to overcome it. There are a lot of articles about how to achieve goals, but today I want to share four lesser known tips that have actually worked for me.

Monday, December 4, 2017

21 Best Practices for Twitter in 2018


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

There has been a huge change with Twitter recently—Tweets are no longer limited to only 140 characters. Instead you can use up to 280. The question is, should you?

Maybe...

There are other, less obvious, shifts in the Twitter universe as well. Those feed into how we should approach the length of our updates. Instead of length explanations, I’m going to share a list to help navigate this new paradigm.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Writer’s Advent Prayer


by Danetta Kellar @DanettaKellar

Do you ever wonder why words have such power? As writers we are obsessed with them. We dream about them and parse them while we are awake. We endlessly fixate on synonyms and sit at our desks deeply preoccupied with finding just the right word to express the ideas that surge like lightening through our spirits.

Words may just be the most powerful force we wield. Yes, love is powerful. Compassion is transformational. Generosity can be revolutionary. But words are the pen with which God engraves value and meaning upon the human heart.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Record Your Blessings


by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

The holidays can be festive, magical times. Twinkling lights, traditions, decorations reminding us of family and friends, an excitement and buzz in the stores, and anticipation of reuniting with family members.

The holidays can also be a very lonely time. A yearly reminder of friends or family who are no longer here to sit around the table, traditions with no one to share them with, and meals set for one.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Creative Christmas Gifts Only a Writer Can Give


by Cathy Baker @CathySBaker

As writers, we have the unique opportunity to give gifts not found on your typical Christmas list. Material gifts gather dust, but words captivate the heart.

While most of the gifts below are more meaningful than fun, all are in your wheelhouse waiting to be wrapped and given away.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Time to Write - the Gift You Give Yourself


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Most writers I know are part of a conflicted group. 

We’re driven to write—spending time composing poetry, writing books, researching articles. We doodle titles, character names, and plot ideas on scraps of paper. All the while feeling guilty about the time we spend pursuing our dream. I call it writer's guilt.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Let My Words Be Few


by Heather Iseminger @Hiseminger


I can’t remember a time when my pencil didn’t scratch across paper or my fingers didn’t tap, tap, tap on a keyboard.

Writing is part of the air that fills my lungs and allows me to breathe. Crafting sentences into ideas is the way I express my most authentic self. I’m sure you can relate.

So what happens when God whispers, stop?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

First Rules of Critique—“Rule Two”


by Eva Marie Everson @EvaMarieEverson

Last month I talked with you about the first rule of critique, which is to know the level of the writer whose work you are critiquing.

So, let’s move forward with Rule #2: There are rules … and there is style.

About a year ago, an email came into my Firefly Southern Fiction managing editor mailbox (oh, yes . . . another hat I wear . . . ). In the text of the email was a book proposal. In the text of the email. Well, I knew immediately that this writer didn’t have an agent. As I only work with agented authors, I quickly wrote back (without reading the proposal, mind you), and asked if the author had an agent (knowing full well she would say “no.”).

She wrote back a short while later with, “I do not have an agent.”

Yeah . . . I kinda knew that (insert smile here). So, I thought I’d quickly shoot back that I only work with agented authors. But before I could hit the “compose” button on my email page, a thought came to me. Eva Marie, said the Thought, you are the president of Word Weavers International. You are supposed to offer a word of encouragement . . .

Oh. Yeah. So, I decided I’d peruse the first few lines of the “in the text of the email” work, offer a few “kudos here and there” and then suggest that when the author find an agent, she contact me again. Well, reading those first few lines led to reading the next few lines. And then a few more . . . until I was convinced I’d found the next great Southern writer. I was Max Perkins and this was my Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe all rolled into one fabulous female from Memphis now living in Malibu!

I got on the phone, called the author, and asked (stupidly), “You don’t have an agent?” She repeated that she did not. “Hold on,” I said. “I’ll call you back.” Then I jumped back on the phone and called a Southern Belle agent I know who I thought would be perfect for this Southern Belle writer. After I read the first several paragraphs out loud, the agent said, “What on earth is that glorious writing?”

Long story a tad longer . . .  the writer had a new agent . . .  the agent had a new client . . . and I had a new author.

But here’s the deal. The author, Claire Fullerton, broke one “rule” after the other for the sake of style in her work and, in the process, handed me a most delicious body of work. Months later, when I sent Mourning Dove (releases June 2018) to the proofer, and after she’d done her job on it, she wrote me and said, “She broke every CBA rule . . .  and did it beautifully.”

Here’s the problem as I see it: sometimes rules are made to be adhered to; sometimes rules are made to be broken. For example, I hear writerly people going on and on all the time about the cursed “semicolon.” To which I say, “If God hadn’t meant for us to use semicolons, He would not have invented them.” (Insert grin here.)

But, oh . . .  someone will say . . .  but they stop me in my tracks. Well then, buy new shoes. (More smiles inserted; I’m feeling cheeky today.)

Here’s another one: don’t use ellipses. Honey, Southern people speak and think in ellipses. Therefore, Southern writers have to use them. I’m not sure if that’s a rule, but I think it’s a law.

When we critique work, we must listen for voice. Voice is found within word choices and punctuation. Voice is found in style. Voice is what sets the writer apart from all other writers out there.

If, as a critiquer, you are unsure if the writer broke a rule on purpose, then simply ask, “Is this going to style?” I’m not suggesting that the writer will always know, especially if they are new to the craft. But many times they will.

Repeat Rule #1: Know the absolute rules (periods go at the end of sentences) and differentiate between rule and style. In doing so, you’ll help the writer find her voice.

TWEETABLES
First Rules of #Writing Critique—Rule Two - from @EvaMarieEverson on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Always, always know the #writing rules, then break the ones needed to make the work sing - @EvaMarieEverson (Click to Tweet)

Best-selling, award-winning author Eva Marie Everson is the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Her latest novel, The One True Love of Alice-Ann (Tyndale), releases April 1, 2017.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Shift in Social Media Relationships


by Bethany Jett @BetJett

Critics say that social media creates less personal face-to-face interaction. “Too often at events or parties, guests are attached to their smartphones tweeting or texting, but no one is truly engaging or interacting with the people around them” (Fowlkes, 2012).

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Holiday Games


by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Don’t you just love a food-covered holiday table that’s about as big as a football field? You’re juggling several buttered rolls and a plate full of tasty side dishes while you’re trying to score some major turkey. It’s a big play. You have to really scramble to hit the turkey before all those ravenous relatives leave you stuck with only dark meat. First down and gravy to go.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Gratitude for Writers


by Cathy Fyock @CathyFyock

I love Thanksgiving. Focusing on our many gifts and the people who support us is uplifting.

As writers, we have many to thank for the words we produce and the lives we impact.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Don’t Let Rejections Derail Your Writing Journey


by Lori Hatcher @LoriHatcher2

Here you go again. You click on the email from the publication or publishing house you’ve been dying to write for and find the all-too-familiar email: Thank you for your submission. Unfortunately, it doesn’t meet our editorial needs at this time.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

This Year I'm Changing My Please to Thanksgiving


I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

We live in the midst of a material world. Everywhere we turn, someone is trying to sell us on the idea that things and circumstances lead to happiness. If I just have the perfect, house, car, kids, husband, wife, agent, publishing contact, etc., then I’ll be content. The list just keeps getting longer. And If something gets crossed off, three more things take it’s place.

So often my prayer is a reflection of this. It’s a laundry list of things I desire.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How Many Times Did I Use That Word in My Writing?


by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

Last week I finished a book and sent it to my publisher. Celebration time! Relief and satisfaction soared through me for completing the writing project. As always it was difficult from the time I researched my story idea until the editing stage.

But if a project is easy to revise, how can it possibly be dynamic?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Writing Devotions that are Short and Deep!


by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel


I couldn’t believe the assignment was to write ten devotions, using only 250 words. I knew I couldn’t do it—why it takes me almost 250 words to say Hello!

But I did. I completed that assignment and was thrilled to see my entries in a compilation book that arrived in today’s mail – Just Breathe.”

Monday, November 20, 2017

Why Social Media Is So Much More Than Just Numbers


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson


On the surface, social media appears to be all about amassing numbers, increasing reach, and generating sales. Everywhere we look we’re being told how to get more hits on our blogs, generate new followers, and strengthen our web presence. After all, the higher our numbers, the more valuable we are. Right?

The truth is, that couldn’t be more of a perversion of the truth.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Three Blessings of Being a Writer


by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee

For years I’ve taught the importance of counting our blessings. I’ve written that thankfulness must be a lifestyle not just a one-day event. I know these things. I’ve practiced thankfulness. I know its life-giving power.

But lately I’ve been deep in the mire of studying (again) about platform and social media and all those things we nonfiction writers must constantly work on. And I confess, I’ve been a little conflicted.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Lessons for the Writer from Michelangelo


by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

When I first saw Michelangelo’s Pieta at the Vatican in Rome, I was filled with awe at the beauty and perfection of the marble image of the mother of our Lord holding the body of Christ just after his crucifixion. Michelangelo claimed that the block of Carrara marble he used to create this magnificent piece was the most perfect block he’d ever used. He would polish and refine this piece more than any other sculpture he created. When the artist’s work was complete, the clothing of the two figures looked less like stone and more like actual cloth because of natural-looking folds, curves, and deep recesses.

Friday, November 17, 2017

As a Writer, Whose Fame are you Seeking?


by Traci Tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

Almost ten years ago a woman got very famous very fast with her indie publishing. The name Amanda Hocking was on the lips of every indie in the country. Readers loved her and she made a million dollars on the ten books that had previously been gathering dust in her drawer.

Of course I’d trade my experience for hers. I’d be a fool not to. But as I started my own journey I watched her and was determined to do it a little differently. I didn’t want my name to be famous. I wanted my characters to be famous. I wanted people to be talking about Mitzy Neuhaus, not Traci Tyne Hilton.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Look for the “Lean” in Publishing


by Cyle Young @CyleYoung

The most arduous of being a published author is actually the “process” of becoming a published author. Aspiring writers have to jump through so many hoops—writing conferences, writing retreats, endless platform building, elevator pitches, critique groups, and workshops.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tips to Help Maximize Your First Five Pages


by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

One of your greatest marketing tools as an author is the first five pages of your book. Once a potential buyer looks at your title, cover, back cover copy, and Table of Contents, they’re likely to look at your first five pages. If the first paragraph wows them, they’ll keep reading. If the wow factor is missing, you may miss a possible sale.

So how do you maintain the “wow” factor of your first five pages and maximize the appeal of your book?  Here are five ways to keep the wow factor going.