Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Challenges of a Writer Who’s ADHD (Always Diving Heavily into Detail)

by DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

A 12-step program for writers who struggle with
ADHD (Always Diving Heavily into Detail).
Are you an ADHD writer?

Are you Always Diving Heavily into Detail and seldom adding word count to a manuscript?

Has research has become a priority instead of the goal of powerful written communication?

Extra research is a necessity for accurate content, but continuous fact-finding doesn’t get a manuscript into submission form. While the writer is opening one more research book and one more website, the project awaits a distinct voice, technique, and treatment. Our readers are forced to wait for just the right piece to entertain, inspire, and encourage them.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tips to Turn Off Your Internal Editor

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Don't let your internal editor derail your first draft!
I’ve spoken with a lot of writers who have trouble disconnecting their INTERNAL EDITOR when they're working on an early draft of a manuscript. 

This overly helpful person lives inside most of us and comes in handy when we’re putting the finishing touches on our manuscript. But when we’re in the midst of a creative surge, that same person can short circuit our progress.

Today's post will give you the tips you need to turn off your internal editor.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Intro to Instagram, Part 2

by Bethany Jett @BetJett

Intro to Instagram, Part 2
Last month we opened our social media talk with an Introduction to Instagram. We covered usernames, how to create a stellar bio, privacy settings, how to pick a color scheme, tips on filters and so much more. 

Phew! We don’t mess around! Be sure to check out that article here, because today we’re jumping into content: what to post, how to post it, and why the Stories feature is actually a beautiful time investment instead of a time-waster.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Talking Circles Around Knowledge

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Talking Circles Around Knowledge
I’ve tried some of those idiot-proof tech products and you know what I’ve found? I’ve found that sometimes they grossly underestimate the power of a true tech-idiot. You have to be near genius level to even read the instructions on your average electronic device these days. And I’m talking about the instructions for the on/off switch. For a calculator. I’lm pretty sure I heard somewhere that genius in all areas is 99% perspiration and 62% wishing you had listened in math class. And I would add a pithy phrase about a circumference here—if I had a little more math knowledge.

Still, while I may not have listened all that well in math class, anytime I’m talking about the maths and sciences that I know nothing about, I’ve started using lots more “air quotes.” That way even if I’m saying something “stupid,” I still look incredibly “clever.”

Clever is as clever does (she said with flourishing finger quotes).

Doesn’t it seem that our culture presents new, bizarre ideas every day about what it means to be clever and what it is to be knowledgeable? People say “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” But I was watching TV the other day and it seems to me that a whole lot of foolishness is yet more dangerous. A knowledgeable person, one who is knowledgeable in the things that really count, is a rare and wonderful find. Proverbs 20:15 backs me up there: “There is gold and a multitude of jewels, but knowledgeable lips are a rare treasure,” (HCSB).

So how do we find that rare treasure? Proverbs 2:1-6 says, “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding,” (HCSB). Wisdom, knowledge, understanding—they’re all from the Lord.

It’s not, however, a passive pursuit. Our instructions in that Proverbs passage are especially verb-heavy. We’re told to accept words, store commands, listen and direct our hearts. Then we’re instructed to call out to insight and understanding, to seek and search for that kind of knowledge as we would passionately hunt for treasure. There’s a hefty percentage of perspiration there. Accepting, storing, listening, directing, calling, seeking and searching leads to knowing Him more.

Paul told the Christians in Colossae that he prayed this for them: “that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God,” (Colossians 1:9-10, HCSB).

The knowledge of His will results in walking worthy, pleasing Him, doing good works. More verbs! And these actions lead us to be—are you ready for this?—“growing in the knowledge of God.” Full circle! It’s like the most blessed circumference of knowledge. And it begins and ends with our powerful God.

Knowledge IS power! But only His knowledge. And all by His power. This I know in the most idiot-proof way. So this part is completely free of finger quotes. 

Talking circles around knowledge - @RhondaRhea on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist for lots of great magazines, including HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and more. She is the author of 10 nonfiction books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? and coauthors fiction with her daughter, Kaley Faith Rhea. She and her daughters host the TV show, That’s My Mom, for Christian Television Network’s KNLJ. Rhonda enjoys traveling the country speaking at all kinds of conferences and events. She and her pastor/hubs have five grown children and live in the St. Louis area.

Friday, April 21, 2017

What Indie Writers Can Learn From the Great British Baking Show

by Traci tyne Hilton @TraciTyneHilton

What Indie Writers Can Learn From the
Great British Baking Show
Have you fallen in love with The Great British Baking Show yet?

The hugely popular British baking competition is available on Netflix for our viewing and learning pleasure.

The premise of the show is simple: There are some great home bakers hiding in Great Britain. Let’s see who is the best!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

How to Green Thumb Your Social Media

by Molly Jo Realy @RealMoJo68

How to green thumb your social media.
It’s Spring. Or at least the calendar says so. Time to do some social media gardening, yes? Are you ready? This shouldn’t get your hands (too) dirty. Take these seeds, plant away, and let’s see what grows.

Your overall social media presence can be a beautiful garden, but only if you tend it properly. Think of each site as an individual plant needing care. This includes feeding, watering, and pruning. When everything is harvested in its time, you’ll have a variety of offerings for your (media) table.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Friends Don’t Let Friends Blog Alone

Friends don't let friends blog alone!
by Katy Kauffman 

Do you see blogging as an adventure? Although it’s a privilege to reach readers on a regular basis through a blog, the experience can be frustrating and solitary at times. It can be hard to pick our next topic and to find new readers. It can become lonely writing blog posts week after week. But it doesn’t have to be, especially if we have friends who blog.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

5 Ways to Embrace Your Next Writing Conference/Retreat

5 ways to embrace your next writing conference
by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Spring and Summer are prime seasons for Writing Conferences, so I hope you are able to take advantage of one in the coming months. There are so many benefits to gathering with other creative folk and learning from one another, especially while going deeper with God. While such events are an essential investment for your writing career, they do require energy, resources and time. 

How can you make the most of your next conference/retreat?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Another Milestone on the Blogging Road—Are You Marking Your Accomplishments?

by Edie Melson 

Today is another big milestone in the life of The Write Conversation, and in my own blogging life.

And truthfully, I think it would be a shame to let it slip by without acknowledging it. ESPECIALLY because it wouldn't have happened without you all (my readers) and without my amazing columnists.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What Pancakes Taught Me About Dead Dreams

What pancakes taught me about dead dreams
by Andy Lee

Have you tried to succeed at something and failed time and time again?

Did you finally throw in the towel with the disappointing yet relieving thought, “I guess I’m just not meant to do this. I will never be able to do it, so I’ll give up.”

Friday, April 14, 2017

Business Cards for Writers—13 Things You Need to Know

by Vonda Skelton 

In this digital world of technology-over-paper, business cards remain strong. After all, those tiny little cards are often the only things agents, editors, and event planners have to trigger their memory of you.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Can Self-editing Improve Your Writing?

by Cynthia Howerter

Can self-editing improve your writing? That depends: is your goal to simply write or is it to write to the very best of your ability? While the former can lend itself to mediocrity, the latter challenges us to improve our skill, learn what we do not know, and utilize our knowledge throughout everything we write. Self-editing, when done thoroughly, forces us to scrutinize our writing and find ways to improve it.  

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Writing How-To Articles—A Great Place to Start

by Linda Gilden 

Harriet had been in my writers group for years. She had tried and tried to get her children’s book published and still no success. She began a second children’s book. Harriet worked really hard and wanted so badly to see her words in print.

At one meeting we were encouraging Harriet to try something different. I suggested she keep working on her children’s books but try to write an article.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

5 Ways to Win at Writing

by Cindy Sproles 

Our lives are filled with firsts. First birthdays, first dates, first time driving. In the writing world, it’s first publication. It’s an innate desire for us as humans . . . to be competitive. To strive to win. But where does first come in our writing lives, and how do we achieve it?

It’s important to know that being first is not always a sign of success. For example, that first draft is neither a sign of success nor a first-place winner. It requires tweaking, editing, and massaging before it’s ready for the winner’s circle.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Blog Editing Checklist

by Edie Melson

Lately, I’ve notice more and more typos creeping into my blog posts. It’s not a fun thing to admit, but it’s because I’ve become complacent about editing. 

Oh I could blame it on being busy, or life getting crazy, but the truth is...I’ve gotten sloppy.

It’s easy to do. We’re a third of the way through the year, things are going well with my blog, and my concentration has been elsewhere. Still no excuse. 

So today I’m going back to the basics. I’m posting the checklist I use before I hit the publish/schedule button for a blog. It’s not a long involved process, but it will ensure those annoying typos become much less commonplace.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Who Do You Say I Am?

by Sarah Van Diest 

That question is simple, but incredibly complex, yes? You can answer with your name, your occupation, your position in a family or in society, etc. Some will answer with their sexual orientation. And we may all answer that question differently depending on who is asking and what the context is, but just because we offer different answers at different times or to different people doesn’t mean our identity changes, does it?

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Tongue-in-Cheek Look at How Writing Conferences May Have Started

by Bruce Brady

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (or maybe just down the lane), Mary, an aspiring novelist, sat down to lunch with friends. There was Nancy, a nonfiction author, and Jane, a blogger.

“Why don’t we get together once a month and share what we’re learning? I think this would help us improve our craft, increasing the chances of reaching our goals.” Nancy smiled.

“That’s a great idea!” Jane’s eyes sparkled.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Don't Overlook Valuable Writing Connections

by Lynn H Blackburn 

Last month I wrote about some of the things I wish I’d known when my writing journey began. Today, I want to share something else that may be beneficial, whether you’ve only dipped your toes in the writing waters or have been swimming along for a while now.

Here it is . . .

In my humble opinion, your fellow writers are at least as important and in many cases are more important to your success than any agent or editor.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Writing Productivity—Don't Be Your Own Worst Enemy

By Edie Melson 

There are a lot of tasks we must master as we make writing a priority. But with these additional tasks, our productivity may drop. 

Learning how to juggle this multi-tasking is part of becoming a professional writer. 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

3 Tips to Get the Most From Your Next Writing Conference

by Cynthia Owens 

Three tips? Surely there are more. There are, but I want us to focus on the ones that will make a real impact on your writing life. If you attend a conference and do just these three things, you’ll not only gain value from that event, you’ll be taking positive steps in advancing your writing career.

If you’ve decided to attend a writer’s conference, you probably already have a specific priority in mind. There’s a set of classes you want to take, a key editor or agent you need to meet, or an author you want to question for career advice. Each of these priorities highlights a different benefit of conferences. To gain the most value from your experience, it’s important to take advantage of all the benefit areas.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Social Media TMI—Finding Balance Between Professional & Personal Online

by Edie Melson 

For an author, building an online presence that’s both professional and personable can be a bit of a tightrope walk. After all, we’ve all cringed at some of the intimate details shared in ill-considered tweets and Facebook posts. We want to connect with our readers as honestly and as genuinely as possible. But we also want to present ourselves as the professionals we are. I’ve had a lot of writers ask for guidance on where to draw that line.

The good news is that there are some guidelines you can follows. The bad news is, there are exceptions to almost every rule. Each author relates differently in person and to be authentic, we must carry that personal bent into our online presence.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Resurrection Words

by Danetta Kellar

Then one of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: “Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!”

But the other answered, rebuking him: “Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.”

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”

And He said to him, “I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise." Luke 23:39-43

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Style Guides for Writers

by Tim Suddeth @TimSuddeth

You’ve finished writing your story and now it’s time to go back and edit. How do you know what the standards are before you make your changes?

All writers face this dilemma. Writing has so many suggestions, but few rules. Do you use a comma or semicolon? What about this thing called a serial comma?

It’s enough to make you miss a deadline.

That’s when you should turn to your bookcase and get out a style guide.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Ideas for Writers—April Holidays, Special Days & Downright Crazy Days

Ideas for Writers
by Edie Melson 

It’s time again for Calendar Days. These are just fun to read. They’re also a great way to jumpstart our creativity when looking for ideas for articles and blog posts. They’re also a fun writing prompt idea. 

In addition, calendar days are great conversation starters for social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This month is  especially fun for writers because of all the writing/reading related holidays. How many can you fine? Be sure to leave your guess in the comment section at the end of the post.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Avoid Facebook Scams by Following These Simple Steps

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Social media is big business these days. And like anything that involves large amounts of money, there are lots of unscrupulous people trying to cash in. 

While there is no reason to be afraid, we do need to educate ourselves. It’s important that we’re wise in our social media interactions. Today I’m going to share some of the most common scams and some you may not be as aware of.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Working With an Editor—3 Things I Learned

Edie here. Today I'm excited to have an author friend of mine, Leigh Ann Thomas, joining us today. Her newest book has just released — just in time for the wedding season! I persuaded her to stop by and share some of her own insights into publishing (and give me an opportunity to introduce her book). Be sure to give her a warm Write Conversation welcome!

3 Things I Learned Working With an Editor

by Leigh Ann Thomas 

We’ve attended a writers conference, met with a publisher, and garnered interest in our book idea. The proposal and manuscript is complete, polished, and sent. A contract is offered and joyfully signed.

Now what?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A Story is Worth a Thousand Words—A Word-count Primer for Authors

by Eva Marie Everson

It’s not unusual for me, as the president of Word Weavers International, to receive an email with a question about “lengths.”
  • How long should a chapter be?
  • How long should a section of a chapter be?
  • How long should my novel be?
  • How long should my work of nonfiction be?

The answers are as varying as the number of websites and Pinterest pins dedicated to writers and/or the art of writing.

So, let’s break it down a little.

As a writing coach, I typically suggest that chapters (whether in novels or works of nonfiction), hit only about 2,500 – 3,500. I find that once chapters hit over that length, the reader gets weary. Even if the writing is superb. I believe this is because we’re a generation of “hurry up.” Everything comes in snippets. Every few minutes, a commercial break. Every few blocks, a red light.
Case in point: Twitter—a force of social media—only allows 140 characters … and has its own style of storytelling called “twitterature.” Short. Fast. Easy.

Easy? Hardly.

“If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” This quote has been attributed to a number of famous writers from Mark Twain to George Tullie. No matter who said it, the truth lies in the line. It’s more difficult to write “short” than to write “long.”

Ask anyone who has written a short story (2,500 – 5,000 words / under 7500 words / 1,000 – 7,500 words*), or a short-short story (500 – 2,500 words), flash fiction (1,000 words), a dribble (50 words), a drabble (100 words), or—brace yourself—the six-word story.

As someone who writes (typically) long fiction (100,000 words), I thought when I was contracted to write a Christmas novella (God Bless Us Every One, Abingdon, 2016) that creating a story between 17,500 – 39,999 / 17,000 – 40,000 / 20,000 – 50,000 words would be a cinch.


I’m only grateful I wasn’t asked to write a novelette (7,000 – 25,000 words / 7,500 – 20,000 words / 7,500 – 17,499 words).

According to some lists, novels are divided into two- up to three-sections.
  • Paperback: 35,000 – 80,000 words
  • Hardback: 35,000 – 150,000 words
  • Novel (both paperback and hardback): 40,000+ / 50,000 – 110,000 words
  • Epics: 110,000+ words

As for children’s books, the breakdown of word count can be equally as complicated.

Some board books (books for very young children with cardboard “pages”) have as few as 16 pages and as many as 24 pages, while picture books can run from 32 to 48 pages. But, the most common answer you’ll find when it comes to the question of picture books is “32 pages.”

How does that translate to words? Again, there are a number of answers. Some references say 500 – 1,500 words, while others break it down further:
  • Ages 5 – 8: up to 1,000 words
  • Easy Readers (up to age 9): up to 2,500 words
  • Chapter Books (up to age 10): up to 12,000 words
  • Middle Grade Novels (up to age 12): up to 25,000 words
  • Young Adult Novels (ages 12 and up): up to 45,000 words / up to 80,000 words

Finally, for nonfiction writers, word count ranges (and boy does it range) from 20,000 – 200,00 words. (No, that’s not a typo). This broad scope is due to the wide range of subgenres within the nonfiction genre. Gift books, etc. will lean toward the fewer number words while biographies will lean toward the higher number word count.

A couple of years ago, while writing Five Brides for Tyndale, I realized I would easily go over the 120,000 words they’d designated for the novel. I panicked, called my editor, and waited for the “self-edit” lecture. Instead, she said, “Just write, Eva. We’ll figure it out from here.”

The book ended at 123,000 words and, by and large, they kept every word.

I was quickly reminded of when I’d written Waiting for Sunrise (Baker/Revell, 2011). My contract called for 85,000 words. I easily flew past the number, called my editor, waited for the “self-edit” lecture, but instead was told, “Just write. We’ll slice and dice.” I ended at 100,000 words, sent in the manuscript, and waited. A few weeks later my editor called and said, “We want more words!” The book ended at 110,000 words.

The moral of the story isn’t “just write,” although that’s a good one. The moral is, “every book calls for its own number of words” and “each publishing house is different.”

Use these figures as a guideline, but ultimately, you’ll want to ask your editor for their word-count guidelines.


*Word counts vary depending on the source.

Best-selling, award-winning author Eva Marie Everson is the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and the contest director for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. Her latest novel, The One True Love of Alice-Ann (Tyndale), releases April 1, 2017.