Friday, September 23, 2011

Weekend Peek In #7

Welcome to Week 7 of my Share the Gift Double Kindle 3G Giveaway.

Ever dream of becoming an author? This week's reader's question might help you find the tools you need to make that dream come true!

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?

Read, read, read.

Study how successful writers do it. If you want to write fiction, examine how novelists craft plots, grow characters, and hook readers. How do they orchestrate character goals, motivation, and conflicts? Pay attention to how they structure sentences, paragraphs, scenes, chapters. Scrutinize their command of language. Do they limit the use of adverbs? Are their verbs powerful? Do they show, not tell? See how the pros handle it, and apply that to your own story in your own voice.

Learn, learn, learn.

Dozens of excellent books on writing are available at online or brick and mortar book stores. Those I've read include Getting into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn from Actors by Brandilyn Collins, Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass, and Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell.

You can also learn a heap of valuable information from the many blogs designed for writers. A few of my favorites are posted by author Camy Tang, leadership expert Michael Hyatt, Books & Such Literary Agency, and literary agent Rachelle Gardner.

One of the best ways to learn about writing is to join a writers organization and attend conferences. I belong to two: Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and American Christian Fiction Writers. At the CWG Writing for the Soul conference, I learned from experts like Brandilyn Collins, author of Seatbelt Suspense novels, and Jerry B. Jenkins, New York Times bestselling author of over 175 books, including the Left Behind series which has sold over 70 million copies.

I also gained inspiration from keynote speakers like Liz Curtis Higgs and Karen Kingsbury.

As this blog posts, I am joining about 700 writing professionals at the American Christian Fiction Writers annual conference, held this year in St. Louis. (Photo courtesy of John Craig.)

There, I'm learning from experts like Stanley Williams, international award-winning video producer, filmmaker, show creator, and author of The Moral Premise, and Randy Ingermanson, award-winning novelist/theoretical physicist who teaches his Snowflake Method of novel writing.

Writers conferences are packed with opportunities to hone your writing skills; to network with authors, agents, editors, and publishers; and to be inspired by keynote speakers and veteran authors.

Write, write, write.

The novel writing process can take months or years of planting yourself in a chair day after day, week after week, to plan, research, write, revise, edit, revise, rewrite, revise. Writing takes as much patience and perseverance as it does inspiration and talent. You must be willing to do the work.

Pray, pray, pray.

If you knew your novel would never become a bestseller, would you choose to write it anyway? If your answer is yes, the writing life might be for you. Praying and listening for God's direction will help you know for sure.

The path to publishing can be a long one. Once you complete your manuscript, you are only part way there. The traditional route to publishing includes querying agents, writing book proposals, and facing a host of other challenges that experts like Michael Hyatt and Rachelle Gardner can teach you how to conquer. No matter how hard you might work, it is important to remember that for every story of author success, there are dozens of stories of author disappointments. Author Kathryn Stockett's experience shows how difficult the journey to publishing can be. Stockett received sixty rejections before her novel The Help found a publishing home. Now, it is a wildly popular bestseller with a movie to match, but most published books never attain that status.

A recap of my advice? Read. Learn. Write. Pray. And not necessarily in that order. Mix and match and repeat as often as necessary until you are successful . . . and never, ever, EVER give up.

Whether you want to write or not, what goals have you worked hard to attain? What goals are you still striving for? How has prayer played a role in that? Please tell us about your journey in the comment section below because I'd love to know!

From the time I wrote the first sentence, I spent about six years reading, learning, writing, and praying before Tyndale published Delivery as part of the Digital First Initiative. To celebrate, I'm offering my Share the Gift Double Kindle 3G Giveaway. See details by clicking the "Contest" menu item above. Several motivated people are taking advantage of entering daily to earn more chances to win. Are you?


  1. Read, Learn,Write ,Pray sounds like the title of a great book, Diana. I wholeheartedly agree that these are the key ingredients for success as you have shown us all. And I love " don't ever give up" the most. Thanks for a great post.BTW, I'm working on my review of Delivery..I want to do it justice :-)

  2. Read, Learn, Write, Pray. Kathleen, you could use that as a title for a writer's memoir, perhaps your autobiography. :-) We need to work "Live" in there somewhere, since writers need those rich life experiences to craft rich stories. Thanks for your terrific contributions to Weekend Peek In, and thanks for your 5-star review of Delivery on Amazon! You're a blessing!