Category Archives: Writing

Thoughts on Chapter Three.

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Ok, I admit it.  It’s been rough posting a chapter a week.  And it’s only been three weeks!

Not only do I want everything to be perfect, I also have these sweet little boys who want every ounce of my attention every second of the day.

But, how do I write a chapter a week and still maintain a semblance of a balanced lifestyle?

Well, I’m so glad you asked!  :)

First, a little background.

God nudged me to write Wisdom and Folly while I was praying for direction for my website.

I already had a few chapters, a rough outline, and a massive brainstorm going, but all of those got put aside while I pursued writing other books of mine.

My first thought was, “Absolutely.  Yes!  Excellent idea, God!” followed closely by “But someone might steal my idea!  I want a traditional publisher.  I want to get paid eventually!”

But, of course, God knows exactly what He’s talking about.

So this is my leap of faith.

My Process

First of all, most of my writing gets done after my little ones are in bed, so that only leaves a couple of hours four or five nights a week for writing.

Second, my family is my number one priority after God.  Which means I have to get enough sleep so I’m not a bear (or a zombie) the next day.

That cuts into my writing time just a wee bit.  It would be SO much easier if I just didn’t need sleep!

I have to schedule, organize, and create time to write, or it just ain’t gonna get done.

Here is my schedule for writing one chapter a week.

  • Saturday:  Brainstorm and Rough Outline.
  • Sunday:  I post to my blog on this day, so not much else gets done.
  • Monday:  Write, write, write.  Anything, everything–I can’t edit something I haven’t written!
  • Tuesday:  Light edit; fill in any gaps.  Write down new ideas or changes.  Edit some more.
  • Wednesday:  This is the day, after heavy editing, I try to get someone else to read it.
  • Thursday:  After the kids are in bed, I do a final read over, my husband reads it, then I post it between 10pm and midnight.
  • Friday:  I take a BREAK!  It’s a lot of work to get something ready for public viewing!  :)

So there you have it!  My trial and error process for writing and posting one chapter per week.

I’m having a blast using this precious gift God gave me!

To HIM be all the glory!

In Him,

Michele

Oh yes, one more thing.  Images.

One of the things I have read while studying about creating a blog is the importance of vibrant, come-alive images.

I found these angel pictures while searching Google, and I’ve searched and searched and searched for the original artist.

I finally sent them to IMA (Indianapolis Museum of Art) to, #1, find the artist and, #2, ask their legal department about copyright laws.

I was directed to post “Unidentified Artist” or link back to the source of the image.

I choose not to link back to the free wallpaper sites due to some rather, ahem, unsavory other images.

(But I have those on file in case you want to know where I got them!)

Right now I am reaching out to several artists to showcase their work on my site in exchange for whatever publicity I can bring them.

I am praying this works out, because I would much rather give someone credit for these gorgeous paintings.

So, if you happen to come across the original artist of these incredible works, please let me know right away!

P.S.  I have since found the artist of my original Chapter Three header, and have not yet received her permission to use her artwork due to some insane difficulty of being able to contact her.  I’ve changed the headers on this post and on Chapter Three of my Wisdom and Folly story, but I simply cannot wait to be able to speak with her.  The picture of the angel looking over her shoulder is most definitely my favorite so far!  Until then, enjoy my own personal photographs, or the many samplings of the incredible artists who have given their permission from deviantART.  God bless!

Hugs!

Writing Tips From a Master

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Wow, just, wow.

When Joyce and Janet, the leaders of my writing group, said with hushed voices and dreamy expressions, “If you can ever take a class of Dr. Dennis Hensley’s, do it,” I thought, Ok, sure.  I’ll keep that in mind.  Maybe.

Um, yeah.  As usual, they were right.

In March, I was privileged to take a writing intensive class with Dr. Hensley and Holly Miller, faculty of the Midwest Writers’ Workshop.  They edited and critiqued the first ten pages of my manuscript, as well as a synopsis and personal bio.  Invaluable information, I’m telling you.

But recently, I took one of the most amazing classes I have taken in my life.

Of course I have to share what I learned.

Dr. Hensley taught a one-day writing seminar through Taylor University.  The focus was Taylor’s Professional Writing degree.  (online.taylor.edu)  I had looked into Creative Writing degrees but not professional, and I wanted to know the difference, and which was better.

The answer?  Professional writing teaches the ins and outs of the industry and makes sure you are well-versed in the many different kinds of writing, whereas creative writing tends to focus on crafting words and manipulating language only.

Dr. Hensley stressed the importance of intimately knowing the industry that writers want so badly to be a part of.

Taylor offers an Associate’s degree online, and a Bachelor’s through their campus in Fort Wayne.

Oh, how I want to go back to school so badly!  Especially now that I finally know what I want to do when I grow up.  :)

The more Dr. Hensley taught, the more I did not want to leave.

He kept the entire class enthralled, on the edge of their seats, just waiting to hear what he would say next.  I am in awe of the number of things he can quote from memory.

He also shared 18 steps to becoming a successful writer, and I want to share them with you.

  1. Prefer plain words to fancy words.
  2. Prefer familiar words to unfamiliar.
  3. Use picture nouns and action verbs.  Not more words, better words.
  4. Avoid clichés, or worn-out expressions you have heard over and over again.
  5. Never use long words when a short word will suffice.
  6. Master the simple, declarative sentence.
  7. Vary the lengths of your sentences.
  8. Keep paragraphs short.
  9. Put key words you want emphasized at the beginning or end of your sentence.
  10. Use active rather than passive voice.
  11. Cut needless words, sentences, and paragraphs.
  12. Write like you talk.
  13. Avoid imitation.  No one wants to read your bad reproduction of Harry Potter.  (Bwahahahaha!!!)
  14. Think clearly and you will write clearly.
  15. Avoid gobbledygook, shop talk, and jargon.  Speak plainly and clearly.
  16. Write to be understood, not to impress.
  17. Beware of the temptation to overuse any one point of punctuation.  (This clearly does not apply to me!!!)  :)
  18. Revise with time.  Leave it alone for a while, then edit.

These are from my notes, and I apologize if I messed up anything he was trying to say!

He shared many other incredible writing tips, and if you would like to read more, please go to his website.  (www.dochensley.com)

I have just one, teeny, tiny, small bit of advice for you.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Dr. Hensley speak, DO IT.

As in, buy a plane ticket if necessary.

He’s that good.

Write away, dear friends!  :)

In Him,

Michele

Wisdom and Folly. Chapter One.

Whew!  I made it!  I barely got the first chapter posted before midnight!  :)

Wisdom and Folly, Chapter One, officially has its own page as of 5/15/14, and I am so excited I could just explode all over the place!

But I won’t.  Cause that’d be gross.

It is just so exciting and nerve-wracking and exhilarating and scary and wonderful to post your own work for others to read for the first time.

If you like it, let me know!  If you don’t, well, I’d like to say, “Don’t you DARE tell me!!!” but that wouldn’t be any good, would it?

So, yeah, if you don’t like it, I want to know why.  Be kind, and nice, and think of me with a tissue in hand.

Have a marvelous day!

Praying harder than I ever have in my life,

Michele

What is my book about? Well, let me tell you :)

Here is a brief summary of my book.  :)

This is taken from thousands upon thousands of query letter drafts.  Sigh.  Queries are challenging.  Understatement of the year.

 

I, Candace Marshall, detest, abhor, loathe–you get the idea–scary movies, especially if they include zombies.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when my boyfriend surprised me with advanced screening tickets to the latest horror zombie flick, teeming with the movie industry’s hottest interactive features.

I was not the only one to walk out of the theater that day.  Gavin Bailey–only the world’s greatest actor (in my opinion), present as a favor to a filmmaking friend–followed me, although I’m certain we had completely different reasons for leaving.  Zombies jumping out at me as part of the “zombie movie experience” was not my idea of a good time.  But I think we can both agree that we were thankful we left.

An experimental drug, created to enhance the viewer’s perspective of the film, turned my sleepy town into a slathering mess of real, honest-to-goodness, live–er, I mean, dead–zombies.

Days turned into weeks, and I had to face my biggest fear, over and over again.  As in, face-to-face.  Not fun.

We teamed up with a small group of survivors and traveled in search of answers and, ultimately, a cure.

Gavin Bailey’s presence of mind and sacrificial actions quite nearly swept me off my feet, until he showed me he returned my secret feelings.  Then he definitely swept me off my feet.

This is my story–how I got the biggest surprise of my life, just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse than zombies.

 

Ta-dah!  There you have it, folks!  I know I can’t do a query in first person, like the book is written, but, hey, this is my blog, and I can do what I want!  lol.

Happy reading!  (In whatever book you are reading, if you are reading a book, that is…shout-out to Brian Regan.  Take luck!)

In Him,

Michele

I did it! I submitted my manuscript!

My eyes are burning, I can barely see the computer screen through my squinty eyes, and I can’t believe how late it is.

But it doesn’t matter.

I did it.

I submitted my manuscript to Writer’s Edge.

Big Christian publishers, such as Bethany House, Thomas Nelson, Revell, and Tyndale, only accept manuscripts through agents.  Something I don’t have.  Yet.  But Writer’s Edge submits your work directly to those publishers and many more.  So now I’m waiting for the stampede to begin.  :)

If I get approved, that it.

I appreciate your prayers and emotional support!  This is where the sweat comes in, while I’m waiting on the tears or happy dance options.

I think the kids might very well be watching a movie tomorrow so I can rest.

If I ever get off this high cloud I’m on.  :)

Ahhhhhhhhhh!

Michele

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