One-Day Super Saturday Writers’ Conference

A writers’ conference is a great place to learn more about writing techniques and marketing and publishing opportunities and possibilities.  It is also a great place to meet other writers and make connections and form bonds, which is a wonderful thing since writing is a lonely business.  You can make lifelong friends who can help and encourage you and you can do the same for them as you walk your writing journey.  I attended this event last year, and cannot wait to attend this Saturday.  If you are anywhere near Lancaster County, I invite you to come and see what this one-day conference has to offer, and if you like, I can meet you face-to-face if you let me know you are coming so we can connect.


For a bargain of excellence and price, no writer, whether beginning or advanced, within driving radius will want to miss Lancaster Christian Writers’ Super Saturday 2015!! to be held April 11th, 2015, from 8:30am.-4:30pm at Lancaster Bible College, 901 Eden Road, Lancaster, PA 17601.

This one-day writers conference offers a full slate of workshops taught by top industry professionals in both fiction and non-fiction fields. An early registration price of $50 is due by Wednesday, April 8, and includes soup/sandwich buffet lunch (think Panini!) and LCW membership. Registrations after April 9 and walk-ins day of the conference are $60.

A fiction track will be taught by award-winning novelists Dina Sleiman and Kelly Long along with children’s author Brenda Hendricks. Non-fiction faculty include TV/radio speaker, marketing expert, award-winning author of 19 books Karen Whiting, professional memoir and ghostwriter Shawn Smucker, journalist/social media experts Lisa Bartelt and Alison McLennan.

Keynoting the opening session will be linguist, missionary, and author Grace Fabian. Workshops cover such topics as: 

Market Yourself Now! Learn Tools to Develop Press Kit, Bio, Website, and Other PR Products.

Writing Blockbuster Scenes: How To Keep Readers Flipping Pages and Asking For More.

 Transformed Manuscripts: Repackaging Your Ideas (Sold or Rejected) to Expand Marketability.

 The Unfortunate Truth in Fiction: Addressing Hard Issues Without Pulling Down Your Story.

 A Story To Tell: Surefire Do’s and Don’ts to Write a Gripping True Life Story or Memoir.

 Myers-Briggs for Your Protagonist: Applying Personality Types to Create Characters with Distinctive Qualities, Motivations, and Voices.

 Let’s Ride the Seesaw: Recruiting Your Inner Child to Communicate with Young Readers.

 100% Guaranteed (Oh, Yeah?) Secret to Blogging Success Beyond Your Wildest Dreams!

A conference bookstore will offer a wide variety of writer resources and faculty titles. Conference attendees can get personal consultations with faculty on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lancaster Christian Writers welcomes writers of all churches and denominations, all levels and genres. Monthly meetings offer opportunities for manuscript critique, networking with other writers, workshops and guest authors.

My Writing Process

1) & 2)  What am I working on and how do I write what I write?

I currently have two works in progress (WIP).  I have been working on an outline and character questionnaires for a story and am still working on that.  However, that doesn’t seem to quench my need to be creative.  I guess I am just too used to writing “by the seat of my pants” (pantser), which is how I have written stories ever since I started writing way back when I was in junior high school, (what many places now call “middle school”).  I do not want to give up on the one that I am working on with an outline and character questionnaires, though, because I want to see what really does work better for me — “pantsing” or “planning”, or maybe I’ll be able to find something in between.  Any suggestions for something in between?

You may be wondering, “doesn’t pantsing require extra editing”?  All I can say is “not for me”.  You see, the way that I write, I simply sit down and begin writing and let the characters introduce themselves to me, and I let the characters tell the story.  I just type.  The next time I sit down to write, (which should be everyday, but, sadly, is not), I reread all that I have typed; and, yes, I do this each and every time I sit down to work on the story I am pantsing.  Isn’t that time consuming, you may ask.  Yes, it is.  However, it serves three wonderful purposes to me.  It refreshes my mind about the story, I change things and make edits on what I’ve written each and every time I sit down and reread, and it gets ideas flowing and awakens the characters, and they continue telling me the story.  That way, if I write a scene that I feel is lame or that doesn’t fit or advance the story, I can get rid of it the next day.  I just wrote such a scene last night, and the more I thought about it after walking away from my writing, the more I decided it does nothing to advance the plot.  Therefore, when I sit down to write again, be it today or tomorrow, I will get rid of that scene.  So, yes, I also spend time thinking about my stories and characters while I am not writing, which also helps my writing process for the next time I sit down to write.

3)  How does my book differ from others in its genre?

The only answer I have for this, is that it is written by me, in my voice, with characters I created in their own circumstances.  I hope that their circumstances and the plot is something fresh and new to the genre.  I hope that my characters are characters that you come to care about quickly and that you come to love and will not want to say goodbye to at the end of the story.  I hope there is an underlying Christian theme/message that will inspire you and touch your heart.

4)  Why do I write what I write?

Because I have to.  I have a need to get these stories on paper (or computer) because they will not let me rest if I do not.  I also write the kinds of stories that I love to read, and I may be writing more than one genre eventually because I have a story idea burning inside me that was born of helping my son with one of his writing assignments for his homeschool writers’ club.  It introduced me to a new genre that I never tried writing before and didn’t think I’d want to write, but I had so much fun helping him, that I just might give it a shot when I finish the two WsIP I am currently spending my time on.

5)  How does my writing process work?

I described my writing process near the top of this post, and when I did, I alluded to the answer to this question.  I haven’t reached a definite decision which writing process works best for me yet, but I do still enjoy writing as a pantser much more than as a planner.  However, because I haven’t yet had a story published, I can’t really say that my writing process definitely works, but I do believe that whatever writing process I (or you) are most comfortable with will be the one that will work in the end because if I am (or you are) using a process that I am (or you are) comfortable with, I believe I (or you) will be more productive and produce good, if not great, work.

What is your writing process?  Is it working well for you?  Leave a comment and let me and my readers know.

Character Questionnaires

As I mentioned before, I am not participating in NaNoWriMo this year.  However, I am working on a story.  Well, actually I am working on the pre-writing of a story.  I have learned the value of an outline and the “Character Questionnaire”.  Since characters are what attract your readers and keep them reading, along with a good plot line, it is important to create rich, memorable characters, and the best way to do that is by knowing your characters inside and out.  That is the purpose of a “Character Questionnaire”.

A Character Questionnaire asks questions about your character(s).  I intend to fill out a Character Questionnaire for each of my protagonist, my antagonist, and a few other characters that I feel I need to know well because they will be doing quite a bit of interacting with the protagonist.

You can find lots of character questionnaires online, simply by googling “Character Questionnaire”.  There is even a NaNoWriMo character questionnaire at  There are 46 questions on this character questionnaire.

The character questionnaire that I am using comes from an E-book that I got free from K.M. Weiland at  It’s very in-depth and it’s really helping me to flesh out my character, to the point where she is becoming real to me, so I know I’ll be able to write her well.  Not only do I have to know what she looks like physically, I have to know what her idiosyncrasies are, what cheers her up or annoys her, what are her hopes and dreams, does she have a secret, where and when was she born, and so much more.  (I used “her” and “she” because the character I am working on is a female.

I am enjoying creating my character with the help of a character questionnaire.

How about you?  Do you use a Character Questionnaire to help you create your characters?

A New Direction in my Writing Journey

So, I have a short, short story started that I was planning on putting on this website, but I got stuck.  I also have a novel begun and I’m feeling a bit stuck.  I’m at a place where I just don’t know what genre I should write; which one I would write best.

Therefore, I have stopped writing for a little while, aside from my blog posts.  But, our local library had a huge book sale last weekend and the beginning of this week, and my sons and I were standing in one of the rooms near boxes of books, when I asked my oldest son if he had seen any books on writing.  He said, “No.”  Then, “Wait, what’s this?”  He handed me this book:


I purchased the book and took it home and began to read it.  I am reading about some of my favorite Christian authors and how they began their writing journeys; authors like:  Janette Oke, Terri Blackstock, Francine Rivers, Randy Alcorn, Bodie Thoene and many more.  I love reading of their experiences, both struggles and successes.  I was surprised to read how some of them began with the New York publishing houses and were writing things that they are not proud of now, but how God led them to change that.

The most important message I am learning through reading this book is that, as a Christian author, the most important thing to do is to take your desire for writing to the Lord.  I have learned that I need to make my writing a matter of prayer and seek God’s direction for it.  If I give it up to Him, He will show me what he wants me to write and He will help me write it.   I began praying and asking God to show me what kind of story He wants me to write and for whom, and I believe He has already shown me my mission.  Now I continue to pray and wait believing that He will lead me and open the doors for me, as He knows I have had a desire to write fiction for a very long time, but now I have decided it to give it to Him.  I want to write stories that will be pleasing to Him and that will bring Him glory and, hopefully, allow people to see how much they need Him in their lives.

I do not plan to write anything until I finish reading this book, and I will continue to pray.  I will also continue to attend my Writers’ Group meetings.  If you’ve been reading here for a while, you’re aware that I have joined a writer’s group that meets monthly.  They began their season last month and that’s the meeting I attended.  You can read more about it on one of my previous posts.  Anyway, tomorrow is the next meeting, and I am so excited about this meeting.  Our guest speaker will be an author speaking on creating characters.  I look forward to hearing her and learning from her.

As I continue to pray and learn, I believe God is preparing me for His work in the fiction world and I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do through me.