Autumn Brings Out the Best In Me

It’s that time of year when the trees are brilliant colors and the fall air is cool and delicious with the smell of leaves. It’s my most favorite season. I watch for the leaves to change day by day, and I find myself outdoors with my kids more. The windows are opened almost every morning to allow the breeze to flutter through my house. I even seem to find more inspiration to write.

This fall seemed to come earlier with the colder temperatures, yet the leaves refused to turn. As I usually do, I watched for them each morning. But this fall I found myself fighting disappointment. Why haven’t the usual signs begun to show? Why isn’t my lawn littered with beautiful red and yellow leaves yet?
The anticipation has been killing me. Then today I noticed all of a sudden the street is lined with reds, oranges, yellows, and even purples as the season comes into full bloom. My hands raised to the heavens in thankfulness to our Savior for knowing when the right time was. It reminded me of other things I’ve been waiting on, one of which is whether or not to start my next manuscript. The idea hasn’t come to me as it usually does. I figured it was because I’m in the midst of a lot of change, including a move in two weeks. But perhaps it’s because it isn’t time yet.

I’m reminded to look to God today. To wait on Him for His time when I can set forth on a new and wonderful journey with the next novel from my imagination. Or maybe to rework one of my other manuscripts and get it out to the agents.

Happy Harvest Time dear readers. May your weekend be filled with the wonder of this picturesque season. 
 

The Christian Writing World: It’s Big

Writing Christian fiction has opened my eyes to the enormity of the writing world. As a writer, there are so many avenues to learn the craft, meet other authors who struggle as we do, and to work toward getting published.

I’d been writing for a couple years before I found the community of authors I now know. It’s a lonely world out there without them. I didn’t realize how much I needed them to become the writer I am today. It’s that connection that we all need in this tough world. They’ve been there to encourage and edify me. They were there when I needed help composing a proposal for the first time. And, they were there when I started looking for an agent.

With the internet, it’s so much easier to find groups and others like ourselves. It’s amazing how God can connect someone from across the country to us in a very personal way. We should utilize these associations to help us continue forward. There are others ways to join that world.

  • As hard as blogging and social media can be, it’s a vital tool to hook us up to our audience, whether that’s your readers or support for writers. Start one if you haven’t already, and stick to it.

  • Local writing groups are a great way to meet people face to face who have a common goal. I loved it when I got a chance to attend a meeting with one of my friends recently. I left refreshed and ready to get back to my computer to get some work done.

  • Book signings are also a great way to meet authors and to make new connections. Authors love to share their journey, and many are eager to help fellow writers.

Step out and create some new connections. You’ll gain more than advice or education, you’ll gain new friends and relationships that can move you forward in your writing journey.

Show Me Don’t Tell Me

I’ve learned a lot since I had my first book published. The writing journey is an amazing one. When writers decide to buckle down and finish that first manuscript, reality hits. It’s hard. And it’s a lot of work. There’s all these rules you don’t know about until your work gets in front of an agent or editor or you join a writing group.

When I joined ACFW, a Christian writing group, my eyes were opened to a whole new universe. They had lots of workshops and online classes to help strengthen my work. That’s when I started to hear the buzz about showing versus telling in writing. My first instinct was to check out some of the best sellers out there to see how they did it. I was surprised by the impact a book had when the author showed their story.

Always show instead of tell to bring your story alive. Here are some examples to give you a clear idea what the difference is between the two.

  • Telling: She was mad.
  • Showing: Kira reared back and put her hands on her hips.

  • Telling: He felt upset.
  • Showing: He closed his eyes and lowered his head into his hands.

  • Telling: Embarrassment ran through Sabrina.
  • Showing: Heat climbed up Sabrina’s face and her shoulders slumped.

‘Was’ is a very common word that will tell instead of show. Erase that word too when at all possible.

Odds are if you have to use the word ‘felt’, you’re probably telling and not showing in most cases. So go back through those manuscripts and annihilate that word. Work on the best way to show your characters’ feelings through actions.

Telling an emotion, as in the third example, is a good sign you need to rework a sentence.

Once you’ve taken the time to turn your telling into action, your book will come alive to your readers. It adds a whole new dimension to your story and keeps readers turning the pages. What are some common ‘telling’ words you find yourself using? Send them to me. I’d love to hear from you.

Embrace the Killer Romance