Tag Archive | American Christian Fiction Writers

Inquiring Minds Want to Know (Part 4 of 4)

This is my fourth post answering questions friends have posted on Facebook. Enjoy!

Steps are really popular these days- for example- 21 steps to becoming a super model. How many steps would you give the process of publishing?

That could be an entire blog post on its own. I think that the journey is unique for every author. But here’s my generic attempt.

1) Write, write and write some more. Whether devotionals, non-fiction, poetry, articles, short stories, flash fiction, novels, and no matter what age group you are writing for. Write.

2) Read. Read other books, read about writing. A writer can’t write well if they are not also a reader.

3) Revise, edit and have others read and critique your writing.

4) Connect with a writer’s group of some kind (I’m with ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers) for support, resources and networking.

5) Attend writer’s conferences You can network, meet others, learn and ask questions and to pitch your story to editors or agents.

6) Get into social networking even before you have a book written. It takes time to build an audience and people need to like you before they will buy your book. Agent and editors will check this.

7) Don’t quit. And remember that God uses the journey as part of your ministry and impact, not just a published novel. Don’t lose sight of the work he is doing because you are so focused on that one goal.

There are plenty of people out there who think or even say out loud, “I should write a book” and then don’t. What do you think the biggest obstacle to writing is, and how did you overcome it?

Most people will give the excuse of time, but I think the real reason most people don’t do it is fear. That’s why I’m a huge champion of National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) because it becomes a community endeavour and the encouragement of others it’s easier to take that step. That’s what got me started but I don’t need it now to write fast or complete a novel.

Do you have particular music that you listen to while you write?

Usually I listen to nothing. When I write the Regency time period I sometimes listen to classical. My last three novels the soundtrack was a compilation of songs by Burlap to Cashmere and Steven Delopoulos.

What’s your biggest pet peeve while editing?

Pet words: that, then, have, feel, look . . .I’m always having to reduce and eliminate those in my writing.

If you could only pick one, who would your favorite author be and why?

God. Only he could write a book filled with drama, romance, crime, poetry, imagery, parable, prophecy, history, biography and then combine them in sixty-six separate stories that are unified throughout the whole. I’ve read the Bible more than any other book.

It’s probably safe to say that most writers have goals and dreams. What’s your ultimate goal as a writer? When will you know when you’ve “reached” your goal?

I would sweet to sell a ton of books and have validation as a best-selling author. I would like it if I could support my family with my writing. But knowing that my stories encouraged someone, helped them when they needed it, or encouraged them to hold tight to their faith in difficult circumstances would be the sweetest thing. It’s an ephemeral goal at best, but when I get that kind of feedback it warms my heart.

How do you get your ideas on what to write about?

My God-given imagination and dreams while I sleep. Two stories in my Orchard Hill series sprung out of a real life (but majorly changed) situation I had read about.

That’s it! Any more questions that haven’t been answered – go ahead and ask and I’ll try to get to them again at a later date.

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Who’s Your Sam?

A few weeks back, I did a talk at our local ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) chapter and challenged my fellow writers with this final question: Who is your Sam?

Let me give you some background.

Life is tough. Duh. You already knew that, didn’t you?

Being a Christian can be a challenging road to walk. Oh, you knew that too? Sorry. Just wanting to establish the facts first.

We need to be immersed in God’s truth, studying His Word and listening to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides us. This communication however, can be disconnected because of sin. The remedy is simple. We repent, accept Christ’s forgiveness purchased for us at the cross and walk forward His power to accomplish the tasks He has given.

You with me so far?

Life is hard. We need God.

But that’s not all. We need others around us. Let me show you an example:

Now, if you are not familiar with J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, let me give you an overview. Frodo has a ring of power that needs to be destroyed in Mordor. He leaves home, the shire, with three other Hobbits. One is Sam. They end up in Rivendale and become a fellowship of nine all bent on completing this task of destroying the ring. Four hobbits, a wizard, two men, an elf and a dwarf. By the end of that first movie, the wizard is presumed killed and another man is dead and the fellowship is broken up. In spite of that, as the trilogy moves on, Sam is Frodo’s constant companion, protector and in many ways, his salvation. While there are many heroes in the story, it is Sam, a secondary character, who truly gives his all to his friend.

In the hard journey of life and the calling that God can place on our lives, we all need a few Sam’s around us. Some might be a little more distant and still helping us fight on toward our goal, with words of encouragement, a listening ear and prayer. And others will walk more closely, willing to tackle us when we are going to venture into sin and challenge us when we are lost in lies.

We also need to endeavor to be this for other people as well.

So . . . in the story God is writing in your life . . . who is your Sam? You really should have more than one. Frodo had eight who supported him on the journey and one died to protect him. The rest risked death time and again to see the goal accomplished and save Middle Earth.

On the flip side. Who are you a Sam for? Whose life are you speaking truth into, praying for, encouraging. For instance, how about our pastors? They are on the forefront of spiritual battle and need a fellowship of warriors behind them as much as we do if not more.

Let us not forget that God is writing a great story in your life and it is the gospel many people may read before they ever pick up the Bible. And we have some input into the journey by our choices, good or bad. Our mistakes, our failures as well as our successes and how we respond say a lot to others about our relationship wtih God. And much of that can depend on the strength and support of the Sam’s around us.

Tell me about a Sam in your life.