Forty years into my writing career, and with more than 185 published books behind me, you can imagine how rare it is for me to get excited about a new idea. One that appeals to me may not benefit enough …
I don’t make a habit of reading email during church, but as I was following the biblical text on my phone on Sunday, July 6, I was alerted to a message from Eva Marie Everson, a novelist from Florida. Okay, I peeked.
I wouldn’t call it an epiphany. Just a glimpse of grace. You stumble onto such things in unlikely places. For me it was at Washington’s National Airport years ago, before it became Ronald Reagan National.
It wasn’t until I had been an adult for several years that I learned that loving Christmas was not universal, even among Christians. I was shocked to learn that many people find Christmas and New Year’s the most depressing holidays on the calendar.
Just for you, the first two chapters of I, Saul. Click on the chapters to read them now, and see if you don’t agree the novel might be the perfect Christmas gift for that hard-to-buy-for loved one. If you do …
One of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave me was a subscription to Sports Illustrated. I’ve read it religiously for decades. You’ll find in S.I. some of the best writing published. I couldn’t have asked for better …
On vacation shortly before tackling a deadline, I took Fiction Writing Demystified with me and nearly beat it to death. The cover is curled; chlorine from the pool stains the pages whose dog-eared corners mark many aha! moments.
Character is the foundation for fiction. Put interesting characters in difficult situations and you’ll find your plot emerging. The operative words are interesting and difficult. If you wonder why a scene lies flat, examine it for interesting characters and a difficult situation.
We are trying to make the same kinds of points that preachers do. But no one complains that his preacher is too preachy. That would be like saying a ballerina is too dancy. But preachiness on paper offends readers’ sensibilities.
About half the novelists I know are outliners, and half are not. Some need the safety net of an outline. Some outline so completely that the writing becomes filling in the blanks, yet somehow it works.
Write for the joy of it, to see your name in print, even if you’re giving your work away or being paid in copies. You need to work countless clichés out of your system, tone writing muscles and learn both the business and the craft.
Writing is tough. People who don’t, can’t, or won’t write have no idea how difficult it is to consistently put coherent words together. If you hope to one day become a real author, you need to get past the idea that writing is a hobby—something you do in your spare time. It’s a calling and it’s work.
I hope you’re planning to come to the Christian Writers Guild’s Writing For the Soul™ conference in Colorado Springs this February (for all the details visit http://www.ChristianWritersGuild.com/conference); but regardless where you go, you’ll be happier and more productive if you follow a few simple guidelines.
Whenever I’m on deadline, I like to be reading another book at the same time. It’s seldom a novel, as I look for something wholly aside from what I’m immersed in writing. The reading allows an escape from the 24-hour-a-day obsession with my own story without throwing me off track.