They are a writer’s tools, fuel, paintbrush, sustenance, building blocks, joy, co-conspirators…and often, worst enemy.
Have you ever known someone who starts sharing an exciting event with you, but fills the story with so many details you forget why you wanted to hear it in the first place?
The right words can make a reader laugh, cry, thrust a triumphal fist in the air, start a revolution, or sigh in bliss. Toss too many words into a story, however, and all the reader will feel is frustration. If, that is, the story even has any readers.
How do I know? Well, that tale would require too many words.
So, since I’m knee-deep in the task of removing thousands of words from the novel I’m trying to get published, I’ll let Dr. Seuss finish this blog post for me. Continue reading →
Readers of this blog likely have noticed a difference between my writing voice and Rebecca’s. While I may write blog posts in the form of a story or take a straightforward, almost academic approach, Rebecca’s style is more laid-back, conversational, and often humorous. Our voices as novelists are even further varied.
In this segment, we will explore several factors which determine the voice behind any work of fiction, memoir, or narrative nonfiction. Continue reading →
One of the most sought-after attributes of fiction and its writers, according to agents and editors, is a unique voice. Readers, too, look for this elusive quality in books, though many don’t realize they are doing so.
What is a writer’s voice? Perhaps more importantly, how can authors find or develop theirs?
What’s my purpose? Have I been called to do something great? Is there even one big thing I’m supposed to do in life that will reach beyond my own little world?
These are questions we all ask at one time or another. Still, most days, our minds are filled with far less grand concerns.
What will I make for dinner? Do I have enough in the bank to pay the bills? How will I pass this math test? Where will I find ideas for my next blog post….
The list goes on.
Have you ever stopped to think, though, that in the midst of the day-to-day rut, this hour, this moment, you could be in this place for a reason that has little or nothing to do with your concerns—the grand ones or the mundane?
What if…for that tiny space of time, you are someone else’s answer to prayer? Continue reading →
Some stories are like magical portals, vacuum cleaners, or black holes…They grab onto the reader (or editor/agent) and just suck her in, trapping her within a new world, a grand adventure, or the chaotic mind of a person she’s never met. And the reader has no desire to escape.
At a recent meeting of MN N.I.C.E., Minnesota’s chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), I had the privilege of hearing Bethany House Publishers fiction editor Karen Schurrer speak. Karen has edited such bestselling authors as Tamera Alexander, Kristen Heitzmann, Karen Hancock, Patrick Carr, Karen Witemeyer, Minnesota’s own Julie Klassen, and others.
During her presentation, Karen revealed the six elements she looks for in a novel. So, how does a book catch an editor’s eye? Continue reading →
What do you do when you search for a spark of inspiration, and find only cold ashes?
Photo Credit: Kawan Powers
That’s exactly what happened to me this morning as I awoke with thoughts of the next blog post and chapters of novel revisions awaiting me. No sudden burst of light filled my mind. No warm flood of insight, no spontaneous combustion of ideas, just a bunch of dry, grey dust clogging my brain.
Though my fellow writers are likely nodding in empathy right now, this snuffing of inspiration doesn’t just plague wielders of the pen. Musicians, artists, business owners, marketers, parents, people of faith who’ve fallen into a spiritual rut—in short, everyone–will experience a slump in inspiration at some point.
Well then, what do we do about it?
The answers to that may be as varied as the individual flames in a fire, but let’s try to find a few of them together. Continue reading →
What happens when light shines through a gemstone? All its hidden facets and colors are revealed.
Earlier this year, the Scribes’ friend and fellow author Drew Clapp posted this photo of a fire opal with a mini-devotional on Facebook. He has kindly offered to share those encouraging words with us here. Continue reading →
Once upon a time, a little boy received a wonderful gift. It was a wooden box with a locking lid and key. In it, he stored all his favorite things, a list of dreams for his future, and a picture of his family. He called it his box of secrets.
One day, the box went missing from its place of honor on his bedroom shelf. The boy sought help from the wise Finder of All Things, his mom. She set out to interrogate every family member or friend who had been inside the house since the box was last seen. Mom asked one crucial question that was guaranteed to get results… Continue reading →