Accepted by Writer’s Edge!

Oh my goodness, I’ve been so busy writing a chapter a week for Wisdom and Folly that I haven’t even been blogging on Sundays!

I didn’t realize it until today.  When I opened my email, I saw a message from Writer’s Edge staring me in the face.

“Congratulations! The Writer’s Edge has reviewed your manuscript proposal, and we are happy to inform you…”  They accepted my manuscript!!!

My son was fast asleep in my lap when I got the email, so I couldn’t scream until he woke up.  One hour later.  It was excruciating.  :)

What this means…

They are including my information on a list they send bi-monthly to 75 Christian publishers.  This includes Bethany House (swoon), Harper Collins, Random House, Revell, Tyndale, and Zondervan among the many!

The publishers, if they like what they see, will in turn contact me, and negotiations will commence!

Happy dance!

The editor who looked over my proposal gave me the best encouragement in the world.

“This was fun! I haven’t been able to get this quirky story out of my head. It has all the makings of a fun summer read.”

Had to do a lap around my chair for that one.  Who needs workout equipment when you have good news?

The editor also gave me some very amazing tips, such as “Don’t overwrite, show not tell, trim description, and kill adverbs.”

(And I thought I HAD done all of that!  I’m telling you, hiring an editor for your manuscript is probably the best thing you can do.  It’s so hard to see your own mistakes!)

Also, this past week, I entered my story into a contest with CrowdScribed and Jerry B. Jenkins.

Winner receives a $5,000 publishing package which includes:

  • One-on one mentoring of your choice of Celebrity Mentor (Jerry B. Jenkins)
  • Editorial review and treatment of your manuscript
  • Professional cover design and interior
  • Personal marketing representative
  • A publishing contract with CrowdScribed

Contestants get friends to vote daily, and the book with the most votes wins.  It ends 6/14/14.  (https://www.crowdscribed.com/challenges/73)

I have been fighting for second place with the current second place holder, who finally bumped me down to third.  Not upset.  Not at all.

But I have been feeling terrible about my “vote for me daily” campaign on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

It’s hard to shove yourself into people’s faces with whom you have only been social to this point.  And I would much rather keep friends than get my book published.

But I have also had some of the best support and encouragement through this.  I have some wonderful friends!  :)  Thanks, guys!

Ok, I think that’s it.

There you have it.

On my journey to publication, I have submitted my book to Writer’s Edge, been accepted, and entered my book to a writing contest through CrowdScribed.com.

Next, write a smashing proposal.  Tighten my manuscript.

(Oh yes!  I need help with the best title!  Originally Zombie Movie Date, it has morphed into A Zombie Tale for Writer’s Edge, and Zombie Takeover for Jerry B. Jenkins.  But that’s for another post.)  :)

Happy reading!

In Him,

Michele

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

Get some direction for that there blog

As many of you know, this whole blogging thing is completely new to me.  So, yeah, my site needs direction.

What does a fiction writer blog about?

Fortunately for me (and all of you!) I’ve been studying up on this.  I’ve been reading the ebook How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul) by Ruth Soukup and wow has it been helpful.

First of all, she says to blog consistently, whether that’s once a week, two times a week, or three times a week.

I’m going to try to blog on Sunday and/or Thursday evenings only, so I don’t flood your inbox or go missing for a couple of months.

Second–and this idea was from Joyce Long (www.JoyceLong.com) who taught the writer’s class at Karitos Indy–I’ll write a story and post it chapter by chapter on my blog.

What do you guys think?

I welcome any and all feedback, and I want you to be brutally honest with any story critiques.  It’s the only way I’ll learn and grow!

Can we make this blog something to be proud of?  :)

This baby’s about to take off and grow like crazy!

In Him,

Michele

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