Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Debbie Fuller Thomas (Advice for Novelists, Part 113)

Here's another post in my Advice for Novelists series in which editors, authors, agents and publicists answer the question:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

I would stress the importance of meeting with a group of like-minded writers to stay encouraged, to read the best books on writing that they can find and to find a way to attend writer’s conferences each year.

--Debbie Fuller Thomas, author of Raising Rain & Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon. Visit her website for more info.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Because sometimes we just need to laugh...

Sometimes we just need to laugh, don't you think? Here are a few jokes about writers I've found that crack me up:

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"

"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."


An author comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.

“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is--”

“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”


A hungry lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree reading a book; the other was typing away on his typewriter.

The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him. Even the king of the jungle knows that readers digest and writers cramp.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dallas Jenkins & Stephen Baldwin on FOX News

Great clip here from filmmaker Dallas Jenkins and actor Stephen Baldwin on Hollywood and faith-based films. They talk briefly about The Blind Side and trends in faith-based filmmaking.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell

I've read countless books on the craft, but James Scott Bell's are permanently a part of my library. Writers, you need to get your hands on this book! Here's my official review:

The thing I love most about The Art of War for Writers is that every writer, from newbie to seasoned professional, can glean from its pages. You can pick it up at different stops on your journey and learn something new. It inspires even as it spurs you on in your writing career. And that’s really the focus of this book—how to develop a career in writing. Says Bell, “The writer must understand the essentials of success for a long-term writing career, and count the cost accordingly.” What does that take? How do you overcome the obstacles along the way? The book’s short, meaty chapters share real answers to these questions and more. And while there’s certainly some how-to advice on the craft within its pages, Bell has already covered craft techniques in his two noteworthy books Plot & Structure and Revision & Self Editing. The Art of War for Writers is more a battle plan on how to beat the enemies we all face in our writing pursuits. Let’s face it—writing is a fight. But in The Art of War we’re shown that with the proper attitude and tactics we can be victorious. That’s something every writer needs to hear.

You can pick up a copy at Amazon.com here. It'll be a ten spot well spent!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Poll for readers of Thicker than Blood

Hey, friends! I need your help. If you've read my novel Thicker than Blood, would you mind voting in this quick poll? It'll help me understand which characters you connected with, and which ones might get included in a future story! Thanks!

Monday, March 08, 2010

DiAnn Mills (Advice for Novelists, Part 112)

Today we enjoy another piece of advice from a bestselling author in my Advice for Novelists series in which editors, authors, agents and publicists answer the question. Take it away DiAnn:

"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"

Don’t give up.
Write everyday.
Read the books written in your genre.
Read and reread how-to books.
Attend conferences - yes, spend the money and work the conference
Actively participate in a writer’s group
Share what you know with other aspiring novelists

--Diann Mills, author of Breach of Trust, Sworn to Protect, A Woman Called Sage, and more. Visit her website.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Inspiration from Elizabeth Berg

The March/April issue of Writers Digest Magazine features an inspiring interview with author Elizabeth Berg by Jessica Strawser. In Q&A format she tackles some subjects that hit home for me at this stage of my writing. Perhaps they'll encourage you too. Here are a few of the questions. Pick up a copy of the magazine to read the complete interview, including her take on life after Oprah picking her book up as a selection and how it impacted her career.

Are you often surprised by where stories take you?

I am, and that's part of the mystery and the joy. I never want to know. To me, it would be like doing homework---it would be so boring---if I knew what was going to happen. So, I'm kind of like the reader every day. I go into my study, and I don't know what's going to happen. It's exciting, you know?

I love her enthusiasm here, and her emphasis on the joys of writing. So much is placed on the negative, and here she doesn't emphasize that.

A lot of your characters seem in some way empowering---do you ever set out to empower your readers?

In the most self-protective of ways, I don't think about the reader when I'm writing. I just think about the story. After it's done, I think a lot about the reader. But in the end, always, you need to write what's in your heart and soul, and let the chips fall where they may. Let's say you try to accommodate this imaginary reader, and you produce a work you're not particularly happy with. That will always stay with you, that you didn't write what was true for you. Whereas, if you do write what's true for you, and someone doesn't like it, well, you know, that stings for a minute, but it goes away.

Bravo, Elizabeth, for sharing these words! I totally agree---we must write first for ourselves, and let the chips fall. God puts particular stories in our hearts for a reason, and I need to be reminded of this every day.

So many successful writers talk about writing as agony.

Sometimes I think people say that to keep the competition down! We are in such need of fresh voices, and I worry sometimes that emerging writers pay a little too much attention to what other people say. If I could say anything to aspiring writers, it's to keep your own counsel, first and foremost. There's nothing wrong with listening to what other people have to say---I used to be one of your readers who would gaze longingly at those pictures of people who are published and think, Oh man, what must it be like? But there is something inside of a person that makes them be a writer in the first place. That's a strong and true thing. And you can have your head turned very easily by the business of writing. It's so important to keep it church and state---keep it separate. The process of writing and creating and answering that very unique call inside yourself has nothing to do with agents and sales and all that. And I can tell you as someone who's enjoyed a lot of success in my career that nothing matches the feeling you have when you get it right on the page, when you please yourself in that very intimate way---that's always the best thing, no matter what happens. For me it is, anyway.

This is advice I needed to hear. And it's so true! On this side of the journey, with my debut novel on shelves (and I have so far to go, I know), this advice rings true. We would be wise to heed it. Thank you, Ms. Berg, for sharing.