Friday, October 28, 2016

HEROES AND HEROINES | CREATING COMPELLING LEAD CHARACTERS




"There are different kinds of working,
but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work."


(I Corinthians 12:6)






What makes a hero and heroine compelling to readers? Often it's the fire and ice relationships that make for an interesting read. In the world of fiction, as well as real life, opposites seem to attract. When creating lead characters, writers often choose unlikely combinations. A backwoodsman and a city girl. A rich heiress and a jewel thief. Why is that? What makes unusual relationships more appealing to readers? I can think of 4 compelling reasons.

It's Unexpected - Fairytales are full of princes and princesses who fall in love and live happily ever after. But today's readers like a challenge. They would much rather read about an international spy who falls for the woman he's sent to investigate. Unexpected relationships tend to...

Pique Interest - Readers seem to enjoy the back and forth dance unusual love relationships inspire. They keep turning pages, wondering how the author will draw these two unique love interests together. To succeed in this, writers must...

Create tension - A story wields a lot more power and intrigue when the leads have to battle insurmountable odds to find true love. In Romeo and Juliet, true love is hindered by family conflict. In The Westside Story, it's opposing gangs that bar the starry-eyed youths from happiness. Differences spark conflict and fuel...

Intriguing Plots - The greater the challenge presented in drawing lead characters together, the more intriguing the plot. Compelling characters demand creativity on the part of writers. But in the end, it's still the happily-ever-after that gives readers the greatest sense of satisfaction.

As a reader, what do you find compelling in the lead characters? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Read more of Cynthia’s writing at: http://puttingonthenew.com/author/cynthiaroemer/

View Cynthia's full website at: http://cynthiaroemer.weebly.com/


Or follow her on: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCynthiaRoemer/     
                             https://twitter.com/cynthiaroemer






Friday, October 21, 2016

INTERVIEW WITH MISTY M. BELLER - INSPIRATIONAL HISTORICAL ROMANCE AUTHOR

Today I'm thrilled to welcome inspirational, historical romance author, Misty M. Beller to share about her writing journey.


How long have you been writing, Misty?

All my life, I've been a true book lover. Give me a good novel, and you probably won't see me again until it's finished. I've also always enjoyed writing, and tend to express myself best through my written correspondence. In high school, I had a poem published in a commercial poetry compilation book. But I never seriously thought about writing a novel, until about four years ago.

What/who inspired you to write?

I was putting together my bucket list, and realized that I really did want to write a novel. So, "Write a novel that's published" made it near the top! I decided, it's now or never, and made the commitment to do it. So, I had a general idea that I wanted it to be a Christian western romance. But where to start? I finally decided I needed to find a good book to help me plan. I stumbled upon (a.k.a. God led me to) the best possible book to help me get started with a great plan: Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. For all you writers out there, I can't recommend it highly enough!

From there, I've soaked in every bit of writing instruction I can from some amazing groups and individuals. And I've spent countless hours sitting with my laptop pouring out words onto the screen. The Lady and the Mountain Man is my first release, but the second novel I wrote. My first novel is under contract with Prism Book Group to release in 2015. Writing is in my blood. It's my passion. A true gift from my Heavenly Father, and I pray daily that he uses the words for His purpose.
You write Historical Romance.

What is your favorite time period to write about? What interests you about this time period?

I tend to be a bit of a sentimentalist, so Historical Romance is perfect for me! My favorite period is between 1860 - 1880, when the cowboy days were really ramping up. I love the simpler life, where there's no rat race. Just hard work, plenty of alone time (can you tell I'm an introvert?), and a strong family unit. My stories usually center around horses and ranching, which comes from my love for the animals. I was completely horse crazy growing up, and actually trained and showed horses professionally for a couple years after high school.

Your debut novel, The Lady and the Mountain Man came out in September, 2014. How’s that going? Can you share with us your experience thus far? Who is your favorite character? Why?

It's been such a blessing to see how God is using The Lady and the Mountain Man. Every book is a journey, and God used a series of closed doors to make it clear which publishing direction he wanted me to go with this book. I'm so thankful for the way he's blessing it!

I have to say my favorite character is Gideon, the handsome, quiet cowboy hero. He reminds me so much of my older brother, David! My brother was my best friend through my growing up years. When I started brainstorming Gideon's character, I kept coming back to David's personality. Maybe because I know him so well, I felt like I understood what made him tick. So, David, this one's for you…

You have a book coming out in December. Can you tell us a little about what we have to look forward to?

My next release, A Pony Express Romance, releases December 27th. Here's the blurb:

After growing up as an orphan, Josiah English wants nothing more than to have his own ranch and raise Arabian horses. Riding for the Pony Express seems like the ticket to his dream. And when he meets the stationmaster’s beautiful sister, it seems he may be within reach of the happy life he craves.
Mara Reid is thrilled to finally meet the man of her dreams, and the fact that they both want to raise horses in the Sweetwater River valley seems like confirmation straight from God. But when the Express shuts down and Mara's family home is in peril, the danger looming over Mara's life may not be half as destructive as that threatening her heart.

That sounds great. We'll definitely look forward to it! Thanks for joining us, Misty!

Connect with Misty at: www.mistymbeller.com or on Facebook & Twitter.




Friday, October 14, 2016

WRITING AT ITS BEST | THE POWER OF EDITING




"If any of you lacks wisdom,
you should ask God,
who gives generously to all
without finding fault,
and it will be given to you."
(James 1:5)



So you've written a novel. You've polished it until it shines, and are ready to submit to an agent or editor--at least you think you are. Then you take another glance and find you've overused a word or your sentence structure is too similar in places. No matter how many times you read over your work, there always seems room for improvement.

Sound familiar? Maybe, like me, you're wondering, will I ever "arrive" as a writer? Will I ever have my novel so fine-tuned no one will find anything to correct?

Editing is a necessary, often grueling task that requires time and skill. Yet, is there such a thing as over-editing? How do you know when enough is enough? There seems to be no end to it. Following are five suggestions to make edits a little less taxing as you ready your manuscript for submission.

Read - One of the best ways to stay abreast with today's fiction is to become an avid reader. Choose not only popular books, but ones in your genre that capture your interest. There's nothing like ingesting a well-written book to help refine your skills.

Have a Teachable Spirit - Always be learning. Read books that skillfully teach the craft of writing. Attend writers' conferences as able. The more knowledge you gain about writing, the easier it will be to put that wisdom into practice.

Get Connected - Get plugged into a writer's group or with critique partners. The ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) offers a vast variety of ways to hone writing skills and meet like-minded people. Seek out knowledgeable, skilled authors and form relationships. Most are more than willing to share their insights and experiences.

Seek Quality Not Perfection - When it comes to edits, it's important to remember no manuscript will ever reach perfection. You could approach dozens of noteworthy writers/editors and each would tell you something different. There comes a time when you just have to take that step forward and trust God to get you where you need to be.

Pray for Wisdom - Most importantly, pray for God's guidance as you write and as you make decisions in your writing journey. If He has placed it on your heart to write, He'll be faithful to take you down the path He wishes you to go. It's our job to be obedient to His calling.

What helps you improve your writing skills? I'd love to here your suggestions. May the Lord bless your journey!

Read more of Cynthia’s writing at: http://puttingonthenew.com/author/cynthiaroemer/

View Cynthia's full website at: http://cynthiaroemer.weebly.com/


                         https://twitter.com/cynthiaroemer



Friday, October 7, 2016

WAITING ON GOD'S TIMING AS WRITERS By Guest Blogger Sharon Rene


Sharon Rene joins us today with an important message for writers--the value of waiting on God's timing.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time in the “wait land.” Waiting for magazines to post their latest theme list, waiting for an editor or agent to read my submission and respond, waiting for the next great idea.

If you’re a writer you can relate, but I think everyone lives in the wait land. Students wait for grades to be posted, employees wait for raises and promotions, parents wait for the children to grow up, and grandparents wait for the little ones to visit. Waiting isn’t fun, and it’s not easy. Especially when we’re waiting for something life altering, such as a new job or the results of a CT scan.

Why does God make us wait? Romans 8:28 tells us that God works for our good, so He must have an important reason. The wait land is a good teacher. Delays, setbacks and disappointments build our hope, patience and faith. They draw us closer to God, and we depend on Him more and more.

What should we do while we’re waiting?

Be happy and celebrate with others. When a friend wins a writing contest, a critique partner gets published or finds an agent, cheer them on. Share in their victories with genuine joy. God says that love is not jealous.

God is not limited in the number of blessings He can bestow. Just because your friend is blessed by winning a contest doesn’t mean that’s one less blessing you’ll receive. We should never underestimate God.

We also need to explore other areas of writing. For example, if you only write fiction try a little non-fiction. Chicken Soup for the Soul’s website lists the types of articles they’re looking for, and this is a good way for writers to develop their skills and share inspiring stories with others.

If you typically write novels start writing short stories too. Short stories are fun and challenging, but can be written while you keep working on your full-length novel. I recently wrote a few flash fiction pieces, and one will be published in Splickity Love’s November issue.

Try blogging, twitter and Facebook pages. Attend conferences and workshops. Take advantage of the classes taught monthly on the ACFW loop, and never stop learning and growing as a writer and a Christian.

As rewarding as writing may be, nothing is as wonderful as a relationship with Jesus Christ. We need to rest in Jesus’s arms. It’s hard for me to rest and let God lead and direct, but I’ve learned through the years that things work much better when I let go.

I have to trust God to open the right doors and close the wrong doors. I have to believe that He has a perfect plan and a perfect will. Life in the wait land teaches us to count on God’s strength, not ours. His creative spirit, His desires, His purposes and His will for our lives are revealed in the wait land.

Life in the wait land is not so bad after all.



Sharon Rene loves to write speculative young adult fiction, children’s short stories, flash fiction, and devotions. Her short story StageFRIGHT was published in the September 2015 edition of the Kid’s Ark Magazine. The Sherriff’s Surprise will be published in the November 2016 issue of Splickety Love.  She is a member of ACFW and works as a legal assistant at a large corporation. Her Facebook page is entitled Creative Grace with Sharon Rene.
www.facebook.com/creativegraceSRD