The Christian Author – Excellence in Writing: What to do With Your Ideas

Every story starts with an idea. Sometimes it takes effort to put an idea together. Other ideas seem to pop into place more or less fully formed. My ideas often come to me at inconvenient times (i.e., middle of the night, in the shower, when I’m busy at work), and it can be a struggle to get the minimum necessary information written down somewhere so I can go back to the idea later. But this post isn’t so much about how to foster ideas or jumpstart your creativity if you’re going through a dry spell. What I’m after is the “should”. “Should I pursue this idea?” While my own personal standards will undoubtedly be reflected in this post, I don’t want to approach this topic in a legalistic fashion. If I can’t conclusively prove from Scripture that my standard is the biblical requirement, it’s okay for you to have a … Keep reading!

New Series: The Christian Author – Excellence in Writing

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Christian fiction”? One image that comes immediately to my mind is “Amish romance novels”. I think that’s kinda sad, considering that I co-authored a series of six Christian fiction books with my friend, Tim Chaffey. Other thoughts that filter through my mind are “low-quality”, “cliché”, and “childish”. Sadly, the advent of self-publishing has not, in my experience, done much to change my mind. It seems that everyone wants to be a writer (hey, so do I!), but I have seen numerous books come through that were poorly planned, poorly edited, and downright poorly written. I am working through a book right now that I hope to finish soon so I can properly review it, and without wanting to bash the author, it seems that this book was put to press before sufficient drafting and editing had taken place. I hate … Keep reading!

Book Review: Book Review Banzai

Title: Book Review Banzai: The Unknown Author’s Ultimate Guide to Getting Amazon Reviews Author: Jason Ladd Publisher: Boone Shepherd (June 7, 2017) Language: English Formats: Kindle Pages: 55 If you’re an author looking to generate sales on Amazon, you need reviews. Without reviews, few people are going to take a chance on your book, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter how good your book is, time and money are precious commodities, and spending either on an unknown author is a risky prospect. Here’s where a shot in the arm is needed, and Jason Ladd’s Book Review Banzai yields insight into the necessary steps to generating large numbers of reviews on or around launch day for your product. I appreciate that Ladd is honest about the effort you will need to put into your own banzai to see results. This is not a magic bullet or get-rich-quick scheme. As he puts it, you will … Keep reading!

Driving your story along…

A story has to have something happening in order for it to go anywhere. Seems simple enough, right? Events A, B, C, and so on carry us from cover to cover. What else could I say on the subject? As it turns out, I could say quite a bit. Good stories do not hum along at a consistent pace with only nice circumstances. Something difficult or even bad must happen, forcing our main character (or characters) to shift directions. This is called conflict, and it should be present in any tale you spin. In fact, you will likely find many instances to introduce conflict as you write. Your primary source of conflict is going to be the event that motivates your hero into action. However, he or she will not face a straight path to victory. Obstacles will pop up, creating the potential for more conflict and even subplots. Keep … Keep reading!

Making technology work FOR you…

Most of us have gaps of time in our days that we more or less waste (I want to say “all” instead of “most”, but there are some individuals who at least claim to be so highly structured with their time that every moment is accounted for; I am not going to dispute their claims, even though I find them difficult to believe). I am not saying that we do not need periodic breaks; in fact, I would suggest everyone make time to stop what they are doing for a few minutes to allow for clear minds and increased mental capacity. Yet there are many moments that we lose each day, moments that could make the difference between being a successful, productive writer and never finishing anything. Riding the bus or carpooling to work; waiting for the oven timer to go off; commercial breaks during the TV shows you allow … Keep reading!

The essential distractions…

If I were still a single man, I could get so much more writing done. With no wife or children demanding my attention (yeah, they’re selfish like that), I could spend hours at my computer churning out books one masterpiece at a time. I would be so successful that I would no longer need a separate job and could survive on whatever food can be ordered online and delivered right to my door. I am, of course, being facetious. Family is a gift from God and not a gift to be neglected or taken for granted. It is important that you spend time with your family every day. I would go so far as to say you should schedule time with your family: block out an hour each day (more on weekends) when you turn off all of your electronics and do something with your spouse and kids. Make this … Keep reading!

Let’s get the job done…

There are a lot of distractions out there. Facebook, e-mail, and YouTube are three common black holes in which time disappears, never to return. But there are other barriers to productivity, barriers that keep you from writing but are nonetheless important: preparing and eating food; sleep; work; family. If you think about it, I’m sure you can identify other hindrances to successful writing sessions. The first step, as in many areas of life, is identifying the problem (or problems). Then you can move on to making the necessary adjustments to put those distractions behind you. An interesting quote I found while preparing to write this post is, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” If you have been frustrated by your lack of productivity, I trust that this post will give you some hope and some practical suggestions to getting out of your slump. Let’s talk first about the Internet and Internet-related distractions. … Keep reading!

Editing, or “What to do now that your draft is finished”

So you’ve finished your manuscript? Congratulations! But now what? It’s perfect, right? Unfortunately, unless you are some sort of prodigy the world has never seen before, taking your story from start to finish is not the end of the process. Now your story needs to be edited. If you have a contract with a publisher, this is a service they will probably provide. However, if you are self-publishing, you will need to find an editor on your own. (If you would like to contact me about editing your manuscript, you can find more information about my services here. I am newer to the world of editing, so my fees are low, but I will still do the best job possible.) No matter which route you take, I cannot stress enough the importance of an editor. Having a fresh pair of eyes examine your writing will catch mistakes you probably have glossed … Keep reading!