A Writing Update and Conference Highlights

I AM FINISHED with the rough draft of my first novel! Let the editing begin — yes, that is my next step.

LCW’s Super Saturday one day writers’ conference went very well, and there were quite a few new attendees, including quite a few young people and one twelve-year-old boy. What a great thing to see!

There was a keynote address and four sessions. I attended a session presented by J.P. Robinson, who gave an information packed session on marketing!

I attended a great session on how to use setting to create strong emotional impact and suspense, which will be a great help as I edit my novel because describing and using my setting are weaknesses of mine, although I have improved from the start to the finish. I also attended an in-depth session on plot and character that had a great exercise to help understand the importance of really knowing your characters. Both of these sessions were presented by Ronie Kendig.

I also had a one-on-one appointment with Rita Gerlach who also writes historical romantic fiction. She read the first scene of my novel and gave me suggestions for two minor adjustments to improve it, but she really liked it and encouraged me in my writing. She also offered some advice on publishing.

Once again, a very valuable, worthwhile one-day LCW Super Saturday Writers’ Conference — Thank You, Jeanette Windle!

Join Me at Super Saturday Writer’s Conference

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If you are within a distance that allows you to travel to Lancaster, PA for a one-day writer’s conference, I hope you will register for this one and join me. I have been attending this one-day conference every year since 2013 and have not been disappointed. A writer’s conference is a great way to learn more about the writing craft, publishing, and marketing. It’s also a great way to meet other writers and connect with publishers.

If you want more information on this upcoming conference, check out the following links:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/16ow101gRjEFbsifps0KMzeBrtq9kX4oY/view

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1_WoGYW3MWsdeK-fnaLOhWjDZJb5m8msq/view

If you do attend, please be sure to stop me sometime during the day and say “Hi”. I hope to see you there!

It was a Super Saturday After All

Have you ever planned and paid to go somewhere and been really excited about it only to have your plans changed by unfortunate circumstances?

Well, that’s what happened to me for this year’s Lancaster Christian Writer’s Super Saturday Conference. There was a fantastic line-up of speakers planned with some great seminars on the schedule. I was extremely excited that there was to be a historical novelist in the lineup since that is what I write. I looked forward to scheduling an appointment with her. Well, before I had even sent in my registration, she had to withdraw from the line-up due to a family emergency. I was disappointed but prayed that her family would be all right.

Then I registered, still looking forward to several of the scheduled seminars, and just days before the conference, another speaker, who was going to give one of the two seminars I was most interested in, had to drop out due to a health crisis. I prayed that the Lord would bring strength and healing to this speaker.

I began to wonder if I would get anything out of the conference. There was only one seminar left that I was looking forward to. Would it be worth the cost and time?

So, I prayed that God would direct me in which seminars to attend, in addition to the one I knew I would attend, and trusted that He would make it all worth it. Then this past Saturday, I drove to the conference not knowing what to expect, and found blessing in just seeing some of my wonderful writing friends that I hadn’t seen in a while.

When the conference began, one of my dear writing friends, Shelleen, sang a humorous song, to the tune of “Jingle Bells”, that she had written about the writing life, making us all laugh. Then the keynote speaker spoke, and I knew God was going to bless this day. The keynote, Pierre Eade, gave us such an inspiring and encouraging message to begin our day, and as I looked over the schedule, I seemed to know exactly which seminars I was to attend.

The day was indeed blessed, even as one speaker made me groan as she spoke of threading our backstory throughout our novel and I realized that I had begun to do that and somewhere along the line had dropped the thread. Now I have just seven chapters to finish the novel’s first draft, so I now know my revision and edit will be in depth and somewhat time consuming–more than I had anticipated. But that is why I attend these conferences — to learn more about how to write to the best of my ability so that I can produce the best novel that I am capable of producing. So, thank you Gayle Roper, who also taught another wonderful seminar I attended, providing valuable information and encouragement, as well as strong examples to read. As a matter of fact, after the second seminar she taught, I rushed back to the bookstore to purchase a book she mentioned that I remembered seeing in the book store when I had shopped earlier!

I have found that writing in Deep POV, (Deep Point of View), really does draw a reader deeper into the characters of a story and makes the book harder to put down, so I have been trying to master writing Deep POV in my own writing. However, I still had doubts that I really understood it and was actually accomplishing it, so I attended a seminar that was all about writing in Deep POV. I left that seminar affirmed and encouraged that I truly did understand Deep POV and had become fairly good at using it in my own writing — thank you, Donna Brennan.

Finally, the last seminar I attended, I simply attended out of curiosity. Shawn Smucker spoke about Speculative Fiction. I haven’t been a big Speculative Fiction reader in the past, but have been reading more of the Fantasy genre and Fractured Fairy Tales, (retellings of Fairy Tales), that fall under the Speculative Fiction umbrella. Therefore, I decided to attend this seminar simply to learn more about this group of genres. It was a great seminar as I feel like I now have a greater understanding of what Speculative Fiction is, and because Shawn shared some of his knowledge and experience with both traditional and indie publishing.

I love it when something that looks like it’s falling apart is blessed by God to make it something so valuable.

LCW Super Saturday is Coming!

If you are a writer, or want to be a writer, and you live in or near, or can travel to Lancaster County, PA, I highly recommend this one-day writers’ conference, and this year’s promises to be the best yet, just look at the line-up:

LCW SUPER SATURDAY 2018  April 7, 2018  (8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

WORKSHOP DESCRIPTIONS/FACULTY BIOS

MARLENE BAGNULL— Conference speaker and director Greater Philly and
Colorado Christian Writers Conference; author, Write His Answer; editor and
publisher, Ampelos Press

WORKSHOP: Hook ‘em from the Get-go and Hold ‘em to the End. With
over 1,000 sales to Christian periodicals, Marlene Bagnull has developed a
checklist to help you create, rewrite, and edit your articles so that you can be
certain you’ll hook ’em from the get-go and hold ’em to the end.

DONNA BRENNAN—magazine and technical writer with
numerous short stories, interviews, and nonfiction articles published online and
in print magazines including Thriving Family, Encounter, Splickity, and
Christian Fiction Online Magazine. A member of American Christian Fiction
Writers (ACFW) and the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG),
Donna has served in various capacities on the GLVWG board, including several
terms as Conference Chair.

WORKSHOP: Make It Personal: Mastering Deep Point of View: What is
meant by “deep point of view” and how does it affect your writing or your
reader? Can you only attain deep point of view in first person writing, or is it
possible in third person? In this interactive session, we’ll discuss what is and
isn’t deep point of view and study examples. And then we’ll all try our hand at improving several
samples of writing by going deeper with the point of view.

PIERRE EADE—pastor, conference speaker, and author of Born to
Grow and Our Good Father. Pierre’s personal mission is to inspire,
educate and empower people to grow. Pierre enjoys writing on the
topic of spiritual growth on his website and blog. In both his writing
and speaking, Pierre is a gifted communicator who uses the power of
personal story and humor to bring the Bible to life.

WORKSHOP: The Power of Story: Using Personal Anecdote and
Humor to Write Compelling Non-Fiction. “Then I witnessed the most
amazing thing happen with my dog!” Capturing your audience’s
attention. Bringing a smile to their face. Landing your message with a
powerful punch. All of this is possible through the power of story. In
this workshop, you will not only learn the why and how of creative storytelling but get a chance
to put it into action. And maybe hear the astonishing true story of how Pierre Eade’s dog was
healed through the power of—peanut butter?!

LYNN EIB—award-winning newspaper reporter-turned-award-winning
author with six titles published by Tyndale House, including bestselling
When God & Cancer Meet and Peace in the Face of Cancer, 2017 Golden
Scroll Nonfiction Book of the Year. Her journalism career includes awardwinning
reporting stints on The Cleveland Plain Dealer and The York Daily
Record, as well as many published articles in both secular and religious
magazines. As a longtime cancer survivor and patient advocate, she has
provided emotional and spiritual support to tens of thousands of cancer
patients and caregivers around the world. Lynn is also founder of The
Cancer Prayer Support Group, the country’s oldest such faith-based group.

WORKSHOP: Faith-Based Writing Both Believers and Seekers Will
Read. Do you want your writing to not only encourage believers, but also
draw those seeking God closer to true faith? If so, you need to write so
those readers will read and can understand your message. Learn to think
like those readers think, appropriately choose a title/book cover, avoid
Christian terminology, and use Scripture powerfully, yet wisely. If you have a heart for your
work to be an evangelistic tool, you will want to attend this workshop.

GAYLE ROPER–Has been in love with story as long as she can remember, whether reading or writing one. She has authored more than fifty books and won numerous awards including RITA Award, Carol Award, and Golden Scroll. Romantic Times Book Report has given her the Lifetime Achievement Award. Christian Writers’ Conferences including Mount Hermon CWC, Florida CWC, and Greater Philadelphia CWC have cited her contributions to the training of writers. She lives in Southeastern PA and can be contacted at gayle@gayleroper.com; http://www.gayleroper.com.

WORKSHOP:  But I Love Her! Making Your Characters Live. What makes a character on paper more real than the person sitting next to you? Characters your reader cares for and knows are the keys to successful fiction, whether plot driven or character driven. We will discuss personalities, markers, layering, and consistency.

WORKSHOP:  Before You Write–Theology and Philosophy of Christian Fiction. You can’t wait to write your story. You have a great plot and wonderful characters. But who are you writing for? What’s your world view? What about pattern and principle? Verities vs. distinctives? You should know so you can write from a solid base.

LOREE LOUGH— Bestselling author of more than a hundred books
that have earned countless industry and Readers’ Choice awards,
including fiction and non-fiction for kids and adults, with nearly seven
million copies in circulation and seven books optioned for movies. Loree
also has 68 short stories, and 2500+ articles in print. An oft-invited guest
of writers’ organizations, colleges and universities, corporate and
government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, Loree loves sharing
learned-the-hard-way lessons about the craft and the industry.

WORKSHOP: Don’t Waste That Research: Turning Your Extra Data into Writing Income.
Whether writing fiction or nonfiction, writers spend countless hours reading and interviewing in preparation for a well-researched article or novel. In this fun and practical workshop, Loree will show you, step by step, how to turn that research into extra dollars. Now, doesn’t that make “cents”’!

SHAWN SMUCKER— Co-writer of many nonfiction titles and author
of YA speculative novels The Edge of Over There and The Day the
Angels Fell, 2018 winner of Christianity Today’s Book Award in
Children and Youth category. He lives in Lancaster, PA, with his wife
and six children.

WORKSHOP: Writing Out of This World: A Practical Guide to
Speculative Fiction from Concept to Publication. Are you thinking of
diving into the emerging genre of speculative fiction? Does your new
book idea involve elements of supernatural realism? Join Shawn
Smucker, recipient of Christianity Today’s 2018 Book Award for his
YA speculative novel The Day the Angels Fell, as he explores the
process of moving your “out of this world” story idea from concept to
successful publication.

JEANETTE WINDLE—president, Lancaster Christian Writers,
investigative journalist, freelance editor, award-winning author
of 21 fiction and non-fiction titles, including Forgiven, 2016
Christian Retailing Best Award and ECPA Christian Book
Award finalist, and All Saints, also a Sony film.

WORKSHOP: Life’s Good, Bad and Ugly: Making Fiction
Ring True. Writers can only breathe reality into their words if
they know intimately of what they are writing. From an author
who has been there and done that, learn how to use the good,
bad, and ugly of your life experience to give your fiction the
touch that will grab editors’ attention and make your story ring
true to readers.

Now hurry over to: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JMRwT9RXQ46IzkN9v3GNEPhWnwgID9fT/view

and register! I hope to see you there!

Review of a Writers Conference

Saturday I attended the 1-Day Intensive Writers Conference  with suspense author Mike Dellosso that I posted about a few weeks ago. It took place in Harrisburg, PA. When we arrived, Mike had a custom-made notebook for us to take notes on all of the topics he covered for the day. It is a very attractive notebook and was extremely helpful for note-taking, with the topic titles and a few main sentences listed.

There was a small attendance, and I have to say that I had never attended a conference that had a single speaker so I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, due to the small group, it was a wonderful opportunity to not just hear what Mike had to present, but also to ask questions.

It was a wonderful experience to learn more about the writing craft as well as the publishing options and marketing ideas. Since Mike has both Traditionally and Indie published, and has worked with an agent, he was a wealth of experiential information. Also, because Mike is very open and honest and has a good sense of humor, not only was the conference educational, but it was also lot of fun.

My favorite thing is that, because Mike speaks from personal experience that comes from nine years in the writing and publishing world, some of what he shares is unique compared to many things I have heard over and over again, that I question. For instance, I’ve been told many times that I should read mostly or only the genre I want to write. I have issues with that because I love many genres. Therefore, when Mike said, “Read in a variety of genres and read to learn, not just to be entertained,” that made sense to me because even though I’ve been told to read mostly or only the genre I want to write, I have continued to read many different genres and I learn something from each one, which is also quite helpful in my editing business because it allows me to be familiar with how different genres are done and allows me to be more effective in my editing.

Mike’s writing tips and advice make a lot of sense and are helpful no matter where you’re at in your writing journey. I have been active in the writing world for four years, even though I’ve been writing since I was in junior high school, and I learned something about how to really find my writing voice, how to be sure each of my characters has their own voice, and how to improve on how I create my setting and mood, which is one of my weaknesses.

Mike has two books coming out in March of 2018. These will be books 14 and 15 of his, not counting the ebooks he has on writing. He’s known for his suspense novels, and one of the upcoming releases will be a suspense novel. He has also written one Southern Fiction story in the past under the pen name Michael King, and one of his upcoming releases will be a Southern Fiction novel, but this time he will use his real name, Mike Dellosso, for this book as well.

If you ever get a chance to attend one of Mike’s workshops or conferences, I highly recommend it. I have heard him several times over the past four years, and I always learn something from him. I appreciate his openness and honesty.

An Upcoming Writers’ Conference

I know, if you follow me on Facebook and Twitter, you will be seeing this as a repeat of a Facebook post and a Tweet I shared last week. However, for those of you who follow my blog but not my Facebook or Twitter, I don’t want you to miss out on this news. There is a one-day Writers’ Conference coming to Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, October 21,2017. Mike Dellosso, who is a wonderful writer will be teaching some great workshops. I would love to meet some of your fellow bloggers/writers at the conference. Find out more about it, by clicking “Creative Writing for Everyone”.

I will definitely be there, so if you can attend, please be sure to introduce yourself to me and let me know you follow my blog.

If you want to know more about Mike, I did an interview with him here on this blog two years ago: “Meet Author, Mike Dellosso”.  I’ve also done some reviews on books he’s written. You can find them by clicking the following titles: Centralia, and A Thousand Sleepless Nights, which he wrote under his pen name, Michael King.

I’ve heard Mike speak at conferences as a keynote speaker and as a workshop teacher and he always inspires me. I look forward to attending this workshop and hope to meet you there.

A Great Adventure at the Writer’s Conference

Well, I prayed about the Greater Philly Writer’s Conference for two weeks after I found out I would be going. I wanted to go with God, allowing Him to lead me and show me why He had provided for me to go, and boy, did He!

We arrived last Wednesday afternoon and by Thursday evening I was feeling a bit discouraged. I’ve never been real strong on patience in certain areas of my life — namely the areas that have to do with things I want, and I hadn’t seen any sign of why God had led me to the conference by Thursday evening. At least I didn’t think I did.

However, I did feel a need for time with God Thursday evening because, as mentioned above, I had been spending time with Him daily for two weeks prior to this, and Wednesday and Thursday had been so busy I hadn’t taken the time to spend in prayer and waiting for Him to speak to me. (No, He doesn’t speak to me in an audible voice, but I do receive His messages within my spirit, and not every time I pray.) So before going to sleep Thursday night, I sat in my bed and prayed and listened. He reminded me to trust Him.

Friday, God made it crystal clear as to why He had led me to that conference — for more than I could have imagined. Prior to the conference, I had scheduled one-on-one appointments with just two people — a publisher and an editor. Thursday afternoon, I had asked about an appointment with an indie published author and was given one, so now I had three appointments scheduled for Friday.

First I met with the publisher; one sheet, synopsis of my novel, and first three chapters in my hand. I sat down and told her a bit about my story. (I still need a lot of work on giving a good pitch.) We talked about the fact that my main character is a Pony Express rider, but he’s twenty-five and Pony Express riders were preferred to be eighteen and under, and most were. I explained how my audience is adult women, therefore, my main character had to be over eighteen. She began to look at my chapters and noticed that I addressed the age issue right at the start, so she was satisfied with that.

As she continued to look through my paperwork, I became more nervous. Then she asked me if I had had an editor look at the story already. I told her I had not. Only my three critique groups had seen it and I had made changes based on many of their suggestions. She then told me that “my writing is good and clean, I use strong verbs, and I have no wasted words”. Now for the heartbreak — I told her the novel isn’t finished yet, and she said, “That’s a problem.” Bottom line: she would have taken my paperwork back to her boss if I had a completed manuscript, but since I don’t, she said her boss wouldn’t even look at it if he knew it wasn’t finished. I took a deep breath and asked if I could send it to her when it is finished. She pulled out a business card, handed it to me, and said, “Yes”. Just a few minutes later, I saw her in the bookstore and she patted my arm and said, “Keep doing what you’re doing.”

A little while after that I met with an editor. I gave him my first chapter, told him I’d like him to look at it and then answer some questions I had about editing. He began reading my chapter, pen in hand. When he got to the first page break, three-and-a-half pages into the chapter, he stopped and had not made a single mark on the pages. He looked at me and asked, “Do you want me to read the whole chapter?” I replied, “Not if you don’t think you have to.”

He didn’t read any farther. Instead he said, “Your writing is good and clean. You captured my attention right from the start. I knew your character was going to lie about his age. I knew what time frame and where, in the world, I was. When I got to the page break, you had built enough tension that I wanted to keep reading, but not because I had to as an editor. I simply wanted to as a reader.”

Can I just say that now I was over the moon with happiness? Next I attended an agent panel, where agents introduced themselves and the agencies they represent. Then we could ask questions. At the end I approached one of them and asked about appointments. She said she was open at that very moment and took me to a little lobby sitting area. We sat down and, because I had been caught off guard that this meeting was happening immediately, I completely forgot to “pitch my story”. I simply handed her my paperwork and told her a publisher was already interested and that the book wasn’t finished. She gave me her business card and had me write specific directions on the back of it. Basically, she told me to go home, write a book proposal and send it to the agency.

My one-on-one with the indie published author was not as much fun. I sat down and told her I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to talk to her about. I told her I had come to the conference intending to indie publish, but that God had led me in a different direction. She was a bit rude, and when I told her a publisher and agent were interested in my work, she said, “If a publisher is interested in your work, that tells me you have something good.” She advised me to go home and finish the book and said if I have a traditional publisher interested, I should try that before going indie.

In addition, we had the most powerful keynote speakers throughout the three-and-a-half days. Several things I heard from these speakers were: Trust God, Be Courageous, Obey God — Say “Yes” to His assignment for me; follow His leading in my writing. These messages challenged, encouraged and inspired me.

So, I left the conference full of excitement, amazement, and encouragement — praising God for opening so many doors, even though I know none of them are guarantees, I am so much farther then when I left for the conference. I left the conference with some information and ideas for writing more than just novel length books, and how to market my book using social media and other things. I also left the conference with some new friends who are wonderful people whom I will be continuing to keep in contact with, thanks to the wonders of current technology. I also left the conference with the knowledge that seeking God and following His leading is something I don’t want to stop doing, and the most surprising thing I left the conference with, is the fact that my plan is not God’s plan, and instead of indie publishing, I will be trying traditional publishing first.

Now I need to write, write, write! So, now I pray that God gives me the time to write, in addition to schooling my last school age son and taking care of my household.

What journey are you on?