• Writerly Wednesdays

    The Oldest Myth: Storytelling Lessons From a 5000-Year-Old Writer

    The oldest story that has survived is about 4,725 years old. Yet, despite the passage of nearly five millennia, Gilgamesh still stands as the timeless benchmark for storytelling. Its enduring appeal lies in its ability to cater to the very essence of human storytelling. As a king, Gilgamesh was wild and untamed. The people, desperate for a change, prayed for help, and the gods responded by sending a man to wrestle with him until he learned to behave. In a twist of fate, they become best friends and embark on a series of adventures. However, tragedy strikes, and Gilgamesh is forced to confront his own mortality, leading him on a…

  • Writerly Wednesdays

    Writer, Keep the Faith: Courtly Love and Reading Trends

    On her Facebook fan site, Strong Readers, Angela Ruth Strong waxed philosophical when she asked a pressing question for writers. The news for writers today is troubling. Readership is down. Book purchases are down. Bestselling novels are a portion of what they used to be. Conferences and reading summits are closing. And what’s worse, the price of paper, pencils, and chocolate are up. In general, interest in books is falling, with it, sales and slots for authors to sell their books. Angela asked what’s next for the Christian market? I want to answer. The medieval world holds the answer. Yes! Kings, queens, nobles, King Arthur, courtly love, chivalry, guilds, and,…

  • Writerly Wednesdays

    The Writer’s Rendezvous: How to Get the Most From a Writer’s Conference

    Idahope Christian Writer’s Conference is on the horizon! All the behind-the-scenes work is about to come to fruition, and we’re so thankful to those dedicated to ICW who put on the conference so we writers can stumble from our caves and socialize for a short time. Even the most hardened writing hermit joins other scribes to fellowship and connect at conferences. I’m glad you’re going to be there with us. Here are a few tips writers have learned to maximize your conference experience over the years. Before You Go When You’re There After the Conference Writing conferences are an inspiring time for writers. I hope you enjoy Idahope’s conference as…

  • Writerly Wednesdays

    Generate Your Author Voice: The Wordsmith’s Feud

    At a writer’s conference, I spotted a famous author who had five minutes before attendees joined her at the dinner table. In her hands, she clutched an E-book reader. I peered over her shoulder and saw a vast array of titles. She snatched a few moments to read a couple of pages. I’m happy to report I didn’t interrupt her. However, she was reading her colleague’s work, her competition’s book. Interesting. At another conference, I sat at a table with famous authors whose combined sales were over 50 million copies. No, I didn’t dare speak. However, their conversation circled books they’ve read and writers who know their craft. All were…

  • Writerly Wednesdays

    Fuel the Writer: Confidence from a Conference

    I know someone who finished a manuscript and shared the premise with me. “Isn’t that the best book you’ve ever heard about?” I read the Optimist’s first chapter and, well…not so much. I know someone who finished a manuscript and shared the premise with me. “I know it’s not very good, but I wrote it and decided it would be a shame if no one read it, so could you maybe take a peek at the first chapter? You will probably loathe it, though. Detest it. Abhor it.” I read the walking Thesaurus’s entire manuscript and couldn’t put it down. Both kinds of people were looking for feedback, and both…

  • Writerly Wednesdays

    Build the Heart of a Writer

    On my property is a miniature barn. In the darkest corner, an old chest sits. If someone found the chest, the hinges would creak as they opened the lid. Inside are stacks of papers. Each document is covered in secret codes. Except they’re not codes. That’s my handwriting.  Those pages record the secret paths to publication and writing success, all the information I gathered from writing conferences. In hindsight, the research wasn’t a hidden path, and the information didn’t give me writing success. I needed the information for context and scope. Through the conferences, I learned the language of the publishers. So, what is the secret to publication? What is your journey…

  • Writerly Wednesdays

    The Truth About Authors’ Characters

    We’re writers, so, characters are important. In fact, our characters are so real that our spouses are jealous, parents are confused, children are impatient, and siblings avoid us in the hallway. Characters hold immense significance. However, it’s crucial not to overlook the absurdity of our situation. Our imaginary friends, while captivating, should not overshadow our real relationships, which are equally, if not more, important.  Here are a few practical tips for managing the coexistence of the real and imaginary worlds within your mind. Stay calm, especially when you’ve had a eureka moment for your character. Jumping up in a church missions meeting and yelling, “So that’s why your promiscuous behavior…

  • Writerly Wednesdays

    Real Cowboys Don’t Share

    In the early days of ICW, my first novel attempt included a scene where two cowboys met in a café. They each ordered coffee but decided they didn’t need a whole cinnamon roll, so they split one. Peter Leavell’s pithy reaction? Real cowboys don’t share cinnamon rolls!!! Years later, that line still makes me laugh. But there you have it—six words that explain why we writers need critique groups. Thanks to my husband’s job transfers, I’ve participated in several critique groups around the West. I’ve reviewed all kinds of raw writing and submitted my share. In the midst of the good, the bad and the ugly—my submissions included—I have learned…

  • Writerly Wednesdays

    Envy: Destroyer of Worlds

    The writer’s journey is an individual path. Comparing your career to other writers is dangerous because envy creeps into your heart and threatens to hold you back. Here are three warnings and three points of encouragement as you travel your writing path. Don’t:1.  Compare careers. Writing journeys vary. Your unique experience is yours alone, and your trials and circumstances show in your work, creating a work of passion that only one person could write—you. Comparisons are entirely fruitless, for if the experience is different, then the outcomes must be distinct. Of course, you will have different characters and stories, a unique book cover that doesn’t look like theirs, and various fans.…

  • Writerly Wednesdays

    Show and Tell in Your Novel

    In our novels, we share forbidden secrets and mists of the heart. How? My best friend from high school, Brandon, lived five miles from my house. He was considered a bit of a loose cannon, and his exploits are legendary in my family. His car, The Blue Beast, was as famous as he is. When he opened his car door (the lock didn’t need a key) and turned the ignition (which also didn’t need a key), we could hear the engine roar from our house. One night, I hosted a sleepover, and as young men are wont to do, we craved food at 2:00 AM. Brandon and my brother decided…