Sunday, May 24, 2009

Deep Editing by Margie Lawson

I'm currently enrolled in the Deep Editing Class with Margie Lawson. I attended a one day workshop at an American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference a couple of years ago. Since that time, I have taken three more of her online courses.

In "Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors", I learned to recognize what habits were keeping me from writing.

In "Empowering Character's Emotions", I learned techniques for writing better characters.

With "Deep Editing", I'm learning to comb through my work for places where I could strengthen my story using her techniques. I took the course once before, but I fell behind because I was revising a manuscript. So I signed up again. Although the course is one month in length, I am working at my own pace so it will take me a little longer to finish.

I know I am learning as I recognize these techniques in the writings of others. I make suggestions on the work of my critique group. The next step is applying what I've learned to my writing.

I like the online courses because I can do the work any day at any time, and I can create files for the material to study again.

If you have the opportunity, sign up for one of Margie's courses or attend one of the many workshops she conducts across the country. You won't be sorry you did. Contact her at for a list of her courses and workshops.

At some point in the future, she may publish a book on these subjects. In the meantime, sign up for a course. Your writing will benefit.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Putting Your Passion into Print

Several months ago, I purchased the book "Putting Your Passion into Print" by Arielle Eckstut & David Henry Sterry. I had a stack to read, so this one was postponed. To be perfectly honest, I thought it was a book about adding more "passion" or emotion to your characters. I'm always looking for help in that department.

The book surprised me and decribed the pathway to publication from researching your original idea to selling your first book and beyond. I like the way the authors tell you what to say when you call an editor, whether a contract is good, and how to counter if it isn't, when and why you should have an agent. Another touch that heightened my interest was the many, many good quotes throughout the book.

As I gleaned the wisdom from the pages, my first thought was I'm glad I'll have this to go back and review when I get a contract. My next thought was I need to loan this to a good friend who recently received her first contract. On advice from Eckstut and Sterry, I decided to send a query about my latest WIP to two small presses that might be interested.

"Putting your Passion into Print" has found a place in my reference library, until I'm well on my way with several published books. I might even check back then.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Red Letter Questions: Meditations on the Questions Jesus Asked by Don Harris © 2007 Bridge-Logos.

I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but with the exception of a few literary masterpieces, my favorite book is usually the last one I read. I suppose because the plot and characters are fresh on my mind and I’m still embracing that warm, fuzzy happy ending feeling.

The book I recently finished will continue to be one of my favorites for many years to come. In fact, I’m likely to study it like a primer. The book is entitled The Red Letter Questions by Don Harris, a non-fiction that quite literally changed my life.

In the pages of The Red Letter Questions, Mr. Harris manages to turn the focus of Jesus’s questions off the scribes, Pharisees, and even the disciples and redirects them on the reader in the modern time. His approach makes a great deal of sense, if the Bible is indeed a relevant tool and living document.

Being a good rabbi, Jesus taught by asking questions, wording them in such a way so as to induce His followers to draw their own conclusions. Harris places his readers at the very feet of Jesus. Those dark, discerning eyes boring into our souls as He asks, “Why are you fearful?” “Why do you think of evil in your hearts?” “Why do you not believe Me?”

We might be tempted to hide behind the blood, worried that even entertaining such thoughts might upset our well appointed theological equation. I fear that a part of Jesus’s anquish on the cross was not only looking ahead two thousand years at the sin yet to be committed, added to the weight of transgression already on His shoulders. Surely He lamented for His children who would strive on in blind faith, afraid to trust their own spirits, who might even equate questions to a lack of faith.

If you’re hungry for some brain food and aren’t afraid to step out of the box, Don Harris’s The Red Letter Questions is the best choice on the menu. It is appetizingly well written. If I was Oprah, I’d buy a copy of this book for everyone I love.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pitch or Promote Like a Pro

Pitch or Promote Like a Pro by Terry Burns is a compilation of his presentations, dealing with how to overcome shyness in pitching to how-to-prepare the perfect proposal. I had the privilege of "lurking" in this class and even the greater privilege of receiving this e-book at the end of the course.

The first part of the book deals with being too shy to pitch. Terry describes his life and the problems he had with shyness. He then tells of a speech teacher who helped him develop a speaking persona. In the following chapters, he delves into how to overcome shyness.

On to the pitching...

Okay, now the book really heats up with more excellent content. For several chapters, we get an inside peek behind-the-scenes of a conference appointment from an agent's point-of-view. We learn what to say and what not to say while pitching to an editor/agent. Here's a question answered in the book: During your appointment, should you spend most of your time limit pitching your book? What does an agent think if you do?

The next chapters cover proposals, cover letters, sell sheets, marketing strategies, marketing comparables, writing a synopsis, and on top of all that Terry gives examples of everything needed to make a great proposal.

I've taken the class, read the book, and now I plan on printing out the information and reading it again only this time with a highlighter.

You can own this invaluable and inexpensive e-book for your own handy-dandy reference.

Here is the link:

Writing Tip of the Day