Writing stories...

Discussion in 'Hobby/Travel Forum' started by ATeenageChristian, Jun 21, 2002.

  1. ATeenageChristian

    ATeenageChristian
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    I am writing a Christian Science Fiction book. It has a strong Christian message. I am wondering how many of you here are in the writers business...
     
  2. SaggyWoman

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    I like to write, but I am not into novels. I am more magazine stuff right now.
     
  3. Cindy

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    SaggyWoman,are you published? I would love some tips and advice.

    Elizabeth
     
  4. MissAbbyIFBaptist

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    I like to write Christian fiction, but I'm most definatly NOT published. Maybe after I graduate college and that sort of thing, I could get published. I see it as a way to get out the gospel to other people.
    I also like to wite poems. Sometimes I post them in the insperation section of the BB.
    The longest I thing I have written so far is about 100 something pages.
    Well good luck with ya'lls writing. If any people could do it, ya'll could.
    In our Saviour,
    Abby [​IMG]
     
  5. Cindy

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    Abby, I put a short story I wrote for teen girls on my website. Would you mind reading it? I had my 15 year old daughter read it and she liked it, but she's biased. Sign my guestbook while you're there,if you will.

    The site is http://www.crossspot.net/cindyswanson

    I have a lot of other stuff to put on the site, but a friend is teaching me how to do it by myself, and it's slow going. [​IMG]

    My dream is to have some stuff published, but I haven't tried yet...just haven't gotten up the courage, I guess.

    Abby,best wishes to you as you write and pursue your dream. [​IMG]

    Elizabeth
     
  6. MissAbbyIFBaptist

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    Cindy, I love your webpage! And your daughter was NOT biased! Your story is wonderful!! Keep writting for the Lord, Cindy. Give it to Him, and you may never believe what may come of it. It was wonderful to read about how Lacey grew in her Christian life trying to make the right choices and be a good testimony. Thank you for sharing it with me.
    In our Saviour,
    Abby [​IMG] :D
     
  7. SaggyWoman

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    Yes I am published, but it has been only 3 or 4 articles in my adult years.

    Suggestions? Submit suggestions for ideas on articles.

    I wrote one article from my heart and sent it in, and they published.
     
  8. Baptist Believer

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    I'm a writer by profession.
     
  9. Baptist Believer

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    I'm not Abby, but I decided to read it too.

    I like what you've done. I can tell how much work you've put into this! (I'm a professional writer and have worked as an editor of books and magazines. Currently I'm developing a novel and writing a children's series.)

    Only three suggestions (feel free to ignore all of them!):

    1.) Tell more of the story.

    You've got a good story going here with strong characters. There's all sorts of dramatic possibilities where you can show your characters succeeding, failing and growing in faith and grace. If you can possibly pick it up again, tell us more about these people before and after the events of this short story!

    2.) Try to show more and narrate less.

    This is the hardest thing to do in writing and I struggle with it everytime I do fiction. (I've never had any of my fiction published because I'm not good enough yet.) Everyone in my writer's group struggles with this. Even famous and gifted writers are notorious for this problem. Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer" is a classic case of over-narration even though it works despite the way it is told. But Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" is a much stronger work because you rarely hear the narrator's voice.

    3.) Join a writer's group if you aren't already in one.

    A writer's group is a place where you can meet people struggling with the same things you struggle with and can help you work out the kinks in your work. You will also have the opportunity to hear what other people are doing and learn from their experience, success and failures. Also, if you ever want to get published, you need to make as many connections as possible. The publishing world is all about connections -- knowing people who will give your work a chance.

    Thank you for having the courage to share your work with everyone! [​IMG]

    [ June 25, 2002, 01:49 AM: Message edited by: Baptist Believer ]
     
  10. Baptist Believer

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    Sorry, I double-posted! [​IMG]

    [ June 25, 2002, 01:50 AM: Message edited by: Baptist Believer ]
     
  11. Cindy

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    Dear Baptist Believer,

    Thank you SO MUCH for your comments and advice! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it! I'm going to print it out and keep it handy for reference.

    I would have liked to develop the story more, but one of the reasons I kept it bare bones is because while researching the market, I saw that most publications want VERY short stories. You just can't seem to do a lot of character and plot development with the word limits they seem to want. Any comments on that?

    I have written a romantic Christian story that's a good deal longer, but I'm wondering if there's any market for it.

    You've encouraged me with your post...thanks again!

    Elizabeth [​IMG]
     
  12. Baptist Believer

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    Yes, when I made that comment, I wasn't thinking of a magazine piece... perhaps a novella for teens. Short stories are tough... possibly the toughest form because of the restricted length. I am amazed by masters of the short story form. Have you ever read some of Flannery O'Conner's short stories?

    I don't know. I've never written directly for a Christian magazine or a Christian publisher. (Last year ghosted most of a magazine article for a friend who was having trouble meeting a deadline for a magazine published by the Southern Baptist Lifeway press, but that's my only experience in "Christian" publishing.)

    There's a couple of ways you can go with it. If you want to get it published, I recommend writing at least one more book in the same genre to demonstrate that you can produce more books if the first one catches on. Publishers hate to spend money promoting a book (really, they're promoting you as an author) only to have a problem getting a follow-up book to release while people still remember your name.

    Once you get two or three books, got back to each of them, in order and do one final rewrite. You'll discover how much your craft has improved (and how well you know your characters if you are writing a series) by the time you've finished two or three. Then start looking for a publisher.

    Submissions editors are busy people and see lots of queries each day. They are usually overworked, underpaid and are racing against a deadline to get their next three projects completed. If you want to write for a magazine, first read it for several issues to get a sense of the style and content that is typical for articles. Second, contact the magazine to obtain and editorial calendar (include a self-addressed large manila envelope with generous postage). Include a short introductory letter (one full page or less) and perhaps a sample of your previous work (something previously published if available). Be light and fresh but not goofy. If you don't have previously published work, you may want to take a stab at writing a very short piece (less than 500-750 words) that might be appropriate for the magazine. Also let the editor know you would be willing to write filler material for the magazine at short notice if required. (Editors usually have to write much of it themselves because freelancers usually consider themselves "too good" to write minor or anonymous copy. Editors will love you if you are willing to give them what they need. You'll build a relationship and will likely have opportunities to do the cover stories if you consistently provide quality material on-time with only a little hand-holding and no extensive rewrites.) Something else, deadlines are very real. Editors don't have time for sleep if they are behind when the deadlines approach. Good freelance writers know how to get things in (at least) on-time and don't call at the last minute making excuses about friends coming into town or a child being ill. Failure to meet deadlines will end your writing career.

    When submitting material to a potential publisher, you need to do something special to give yourself a little spark of professionalism in the submission packet. You could use the head shot you have on your website to demonstrate you're photogenic enough to appear on the jacket of a book (yes, it really makes a difference in this day of television interviews) and have someone design a simple, but somewhat understanding cover page for your manuscript. Also include an electronic version of the manuscript on CD-ROM in Microsoft Word or a Rich Text Format. (Don't use floppy disks! Much of the publishing industry uses Macintosh systems and new Macs don't come with floppy drives.) You may also want to submit your work in PDF form.

    You will get rejected.

    You will get rejected again.

    You will get rejected several more times.

    Eventually, if you don't give up, someone will give your work their attention and you might have an opportunity.

    If you're writing to get rich, you probably should give it up now. Keep your day job until you get a *good* contract. Write for your own pleasure and hope you can make some money on the side.

    I hope I haven't discouraged you... [​IMG]

    [ June 25, 2002, 09:28 PM: Message edited by: Baptist Believer ]
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    Looks like I killed this thread...
     
  14. MissAbbyIFBaptist

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    Elizabeth, yes there is a market for Christian Romance. That's all I read. I used to read secular books for teenagers, then I discovered Janette Oke, who writes Christian Romance. I started reading hers all the time. THen at the library I found a lot more authors writting Christian Romance. Now it's all I read! :D
    What's your story about? I so enjoyed you short story, and hope someday you add to it. But of course that's up to you. I have found that whatever we do, we need to give it to the Lord completely. IF He gave us a talent, and He wants to use it, then we must do it completely for His glory [​IMG]
    In our Saviour,
    Abby [​IMG] :cool: [​IMG] :D
     
  15. Cindy

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    Hi BaptistBeliever,
    No,you didn't kill this thread at all! I just didn't realize you had replied again.

    You haven't discouraged me...you have actually encouraged me! Your advice is excellent. It actually has given me the impetus to go on and try.

    SavedByGrace, my romance story is so long, it could almost be developed into a book. If I decide to put it on my site, I'll let you know. Your encouragement has also been wonderful, because you are my target audience! You are the type of person who would actually be buying something I wrote.

    BaptistBeliever, I will definitely keep my day job. One great thing about it,though, is the fact that I have my own weekly interview show, and I often get to interview authors.

    I've interviewed most of my favorite Christian authors, including Francine Rivers, Terri Blackstock,Lisa Samson,Judith Pella,Nancy Moser,Lori Wick and others. Dealing with publishing companies is part of my job too,for that reason. A couple of years ago I was even asked to preview a Nancy Moser book,and my comments appeared on the front and back of the book! Should I take advantage of the "in" I have with the publishing companies?

    Thanks again for taking time to advise me! I truly appreciate it.

    Elizabeth
     
  16. Baptist Believer

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    YES! You have a connection that few have. When it seems appropriate, ask them about their submission policy.

    Let me know if I can be of assistance to you in the future.
     
  17. TaterTot

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    I love to write, too. I have had one article published in a Lifeway (SBC) magazine and I am in the process of submitting another. I couldn't believe they accepted my article! I have so many ideas of things I want to write about. I am planning to submit my next article to several magazine editors, but I dont expect to be accepted right away. I also love to write/compose children's music, but I havent sent any in yet for possible publication. I am not really sure how to go about it.
    No, this thread isnt dead. I just found it!
     
  18. Cindy

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    saved by grace, my romance story is about Tara,who works in downtown Chicago and lives in a Victorian home that has been converted into apartments.

    At the beginning of the story,everything in her well-ordered life starts to crumble around her...starting with her successful, handsome, nonChristian boyfriend dumping her because she's too "religious."

    As everything around her falls apart, she is drawn to Scott,the young Christian man who has been her friend and confidante as well as her neighbor. Unfortunately,he is moving away. Will circumstances draw them together again? Will they end up being more than friends? You'll have to read it to find out! [​IMG]

    Elizabeth
     
  19. BrotherJesse

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    Sounds good Elizabeth! ;)
     
  20. MissAbbyIFBaptist

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    Sounds great, Elizabeth! Where do I "read more"? :D
    You interveiwed Lori Wick?! I read her books more than anyone else's. I read everything she has written so far, and am always at the bookstores when I hear a new one is coming out!
    Anyway, I don't know that much about writting, {espescialy spelling!}but I think both of your stories sound good.
    In our Savior, Abby [​IMG]
     

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