Monday, February 25, 2013

Enrich Your Writing

A non-fiction versus fiction mentality puzzles me. Some folks won't pick up a novel, while others view non-fiction as boring.

Non-fiction is my first love, which is probably one of the reasons I adapted so well to the blogosphere. Yet, my efforts to get published didn't take off until I started using fiction techniques in my devotionals and other writings.

Recently, I picked up a book on the Firstborn Personality by Dr. Kevin Leman. You might recognize him as the guy who made birth order a household expression. It didn't take me long to figure out how this might be applied to fiction.

Think about it. Every novel has characters. Each one relates to family members, friends, and other people. If we're writing about a CEO of a major corporation, he/she is most likely a firstborn or only child. Did you know that most of our astronauts were firstborn or only children? I didn't. Fascinating.

Writers:  How do you apply fiction skills to non-fiction writing and vice versa?

Readers: If novelists put these principles into action, would you be more interested in fiction? Why?

Photo credit:  mazwebs

Friday, February 22, 2013

On My Nightstand - A Heart Out of Hiding by Jan Cline

Jan Cline is the Director of  the Inland NW Christian Writers Conference. She has a fabulous line-up of speakers for the two-day event. Check out the website.

Her book, A Heart Out of Hiding, gives both personal examples and insightful observations on how women play hide-and-seek. We often unwittingly play these games and then wonder why we lack fulfillment in life.
A Heart Out of Hiding

I recognized myself in some of her stories. Fears and lack of meaningful friendships as a child taught me how to hide. My hiding place of choice was reading every free moment. I could escape reality and live vicariously through the characters. A healthy activity became an excuse to avoid relationships.

Jan's willingness to share some very painful times and how she overcame her hiding ways will touch your heart. I hope you'll pick up a copy for yourself and one for a gift.

The book comes in both a print and Kindle version. If you click on the above link, it will take you to  Amazon. 

Everyone: What are some of the ways you hide from life?

Monday, February 18, 2013


Any experience can provide an idea for your writing. For example, 5 years ago I broke my elbow and fractured my cheekbone. While I wouldn't recommend seeking this type of situation, my writer brain filed it away for future reference.

What I learned:

1)  You can't put on a seatbelt with a broken left elbow. I know because I tried. My head hurt so bad from the fall that I didn't realize it was out of commission. If I'd been smart or more lucid, I probably should have asked someone to call an ambulance. Instead I drove the 5 miles home.

2)  An incapacitated limb swells. My fingers not only resembled fat sausage links, but also refused to work.

3)  Surgery, a plate, and a couple of screws put me back together, but I needed intense therapy for 3 months.


When my character injures her arm, I KNOW it must be a sprain. She has to drive a long distance to her home. Unless I want her to take on a Wonder Woman or other superhero personality, she cannot do this with a break or a fracture.

Even with a sprain, I know she's going to be one hurting puppy. I reflect that in the storyline, along with references to some minor physical therapy.

Writers: How have you applied a life experience to your characters?

Readers:  When a character performs superhuman feats, how does it affect your view of the story?

Photo Credit:  Twinmom

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Round-Up - #229

Laurel Garver, at Laurel's Leaves, gives tips on how to avoid the dreaded purple prose. She talks about revising our manuscripts and editing "bloat."

Writers: Devices like similes and metaphors are useful tools. What are your favorite methods to say a lot with minimal words?

Readers: What devices (like those above) get you crazy when used too much? What are your pet reading peeves?

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Whole New Level

"Mom, I'm scared to go to the new school."

Change can be daunting. As 6th graders, we were the seniors in our school, the kids who were selected as hall monitors and protectors of the younger students. Now, Junior High School loomed before us.

Instead of being in one classroom, we'd be traveling to 5 or 6 each day. Simple math gave way to the mysteries of Algebra 1, and homework descended on us like the recent Hurricane Sandy.

As time went by, we adjusted and got into a routine. We learned to prioritize, study, and juggle the many new tasks. By the time Christmas vacation arrived, we were old pros.

Writing and having novels published is a giant leap for me. Short devotionals, stories in compilations, and articles for Sunday School take-home papers were a taste of the publishing industry. Now, I'm entering a whole new phase of writing: authoring books.

I was thinking about all the changes the other day and quoting Scripture like mad to keep panic from taking over. This thought dropped into my heart: You'll be doing the same thing only on a larger scale. It gave me a new perspective on the situation.

Photo Credit:  snnellis

Question for you: Do you thrive on change or does it take time for you to wrap your head around new challenges?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Round-Up - #228

Amanda Luedeke, from MacGregor Literary, debunks the top 5 Facebook myths.

Writers & Readers: What kind of experience have you had with Facebook? Love it, hate it?

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Re-Learning Zone

Due to circumstances beyond our control, ten years passed since Mom and I baked Christmas cookies together. When our Women's Ministries Director announced a cookie swap, Mom decided we should make her favorite Italian confection, anginettes. It looks similar to the above picture, but has a flavored icing with sprinkles.

Even though we'd made these delicacies many times, we were a bit rusty. The scrap of paper with the recipe lacked key information, and Mom couldn't recall the details. So, like any good baker, we improvised. The first batch came out okay, but not up to our standards. We finally hit on the right combination of ingredients and technique.

Then, our first attempt at making the icing ended in disaster. It took forever to decorate all the cookies. With sugar, flour, and other ingredients covering the kitchen/dining area and us, we made Lucy and Ethel look like Food Network stars.

Writing sometimes takes a backseat to family responsibilities, illness, and other situations. When things settle down, we think we can continue where we left off. For some that may be true, but for others they enter, "THE RE-LEARNING ZONE."

Yes, folks, basic principles can evaporate into thin air with lack of use. Skills such as show, don't tell, dialogue, and deep point of view sound familiar, but executing them leaves us scratching our heads.

My resolution this year: I want to stay sharp by using both the baking and writing lessons I've learned in the past.

SPECIAL NOTE: My friend, Maria Morgan, has a new website. It will go live tomorrow (2/5/13)! She's also offering a FREE download of her devotional book, "God Speaking," to anyone who requests it. 

Writers: Have you experienced the Re-Learning Zone? Please share.

Readers/Others: What areas of life were once second nature, but now they're gathering dust in a closet or computer?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Contest!

My publisher, Helping Hands Press, is having a great contest! Pop over there and check out the Rafflecopter.

Friday, February 1, 2013

On My Nightstand - Soul's Gate by James L. Rubart

After years running from his destiny, Reece Roth finally relents and accepts God's direction. He handpicks a group of disciples to train in the art of battling for hurting souls. The very thought makes him tremble because of a ghastly experience.

He gathers the participants at a secluded ranch in Colorado. They discover a spiritual dimension foreign to all they've ever known. Will they press on or bail out of the training? More importantly, will Reece persevere and overcome his own haunting memories?

James L. Rubart, a best-selling author, once again proves himself a master of Christian Speculative Fiction. If you like books that delve into the spiritual world (not occult), this will fit the bill. I zipped through it in, "this is a great book time."

Soul's Gate is the first book in a series, but is a stand-alone novel. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Everyone: What are your thoughts/opinions on Christian Speculative Fiction?