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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Writing Tips

Writers, there's a nice tip-sheet posted on the White Rose Publishing blog.

Tip Sheet for Romance Writing

Components of a story:

A Hero
A Heroine
Hero's internal conflict
Heroine’s internal conflict
An external conflict
The denouement

Hero/Heroine – These are the two main characters in a romance novel. They must embody the good characteristics of what a hero and heroine should be. One or both can be showcased in each of their own points-of-view, or you can use one POV throughout the story. White Rose prefers not to use any but those two POVs, although exceptions can be made.

Internal Conflict - The hero/heroine must have an internal conflict - These are compelling emotions: grieving, a heavy responsibility, anger, a feeling of entrapment, a feeling of being torn apart, fear, loneliness, agonizing over the death of a wife, or child.

External conflict – There must be an external conflict - the standard is an obligation or promise to fulfill, a debt that must be repaid, a man/woman/child to protect, a fight over something, land, a gold mine etc. External conflict can take place throughout the book. This can be a means to get the hero/heroine together – on opposite sides of the fence, of course. Towards the end of the book, the external conflict must tear your hero/heroine apart. It must be of staggering proportions, enough to make it seem there's no hope of resolving the problem.

The Denouement - The last few chapters must deal with resolving the conflict and sending your hero/heroine off into the sunset, white hat straight and honor intact. They must be together by the end of the book.

Cliffhangers - You must end each chapter with a mini-cliffhanger. What is your goal? Keep that reader reading! End the chapter just as something is about to happen.

Emotions and senses - Your people are living, breathing human beings. They have five senses and plenty of emotions. Use those emotions and senses in the narrative. Describe what they are feeling, touching, tasting, smelling, hearing, seeing or getting a hunch about.

Narrative - This is the descriptive part of the story. You can do a better narrative, which won't be an intrusion to the reader, if you mix it with the emotions and senses. An example:

"She edged her hand along the canyon wall, the rock face snagging at her dress, the whisper of the tearing fabric seeming loud in the nocturnal sounds of the night."

Creating your story should encompass all the components above as you take your readers into the world of credible fiction.

---Visit White Rose Publishing today!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


With the fight going on this weekend in DC, this seems so appropriate--


March 21, 2010

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought.
-- Jeremiah 17:7-8

Trust. Can we trust in God? Is the Lord really faithful? While we may wish to have been alive when Jesus walked the earth or when Jeremiah fearlessly spoke God's hard truth, we are especially blessed to be alive today. We stand at a moment in time where we can look back at an incredible stream of God's work. We can look at history and know the Father to be profoundly faithful to his people. We can launch out into the future with boldness because we know, through our faith, that God is already there!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Faith and Goodness


March 14, 2010

Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
-- 2 Peter 1:5-8

Wow! What a message. God wants us to be productive in our lives.
He wants us to have more than just head knowledge; he wants us to put it to work in our lives and be effective and productive with it. But for me, I've got to put out some effort and try to grow in these qualities. Peter is saying, "Okay folks, God wants you to get after it and make a difference through your life!" I'm ready! Let's begin today.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Feeling Blue?

Staying Mentally Fit: Writers and Depression

Writers seem to live in states of anticipation and dejection, interspersed with small moments of happiness. It’s the whole submit, rejection or acceptance cycle the publishing world casts on us and we accept, along with the title of “writer” and the reality of such a solitary pursuit.

It’s normal to be down for a day or two after a rejection or a hard-drive crash, but what about the writers who don’t seem to bounce back? Who lose their creative edge? Who just want to sleep? There are many aspects of mental health, but I want to focus on depression because it is so common and seems to affect so many of us. Depression is considered a “stress related disease” and varies from mild cases of “the blues” to full-blown, clinical depression. I was amazed at the number of writers who responded to my questions about their experiences. Both Christian and non-Christian writers responded, reminding me that Christians are as subject to bouts of sadness as anyone else. Just because we have hope, we don’t necessarily have happiness.

“Sadness is a big part of life and an integral part of joy. The Scriptures deal much more with the concept of joy than of happiness. Joy encompasses everything on our journey - the good and the bad. Joy is being one with Christ, experiencing his sufferings and participating in his glory and goodness.” --JL Young

Depression affects writers and their creativity in a variety of ways. I was surprised by the number of writers who revealed that negative feelings actually had a positive impact on their writing. E.A. Blackwell reports: “Maybe this is strange, but I actually find that being depressed or upset usually fuels my writing. There is, however, a line between ‘depressed and writing well’ and ‘depressed and wanting to throw oneself off a bridge.’ The latter is obviously counterproductive.” Other writers explain that some of their best scenes come from feelings of angst or despair, and the writing becomes therapeutic.

But for every writer who uses their discomfort to aid their work, there are two who feel apathetic, uninterested in working during these times. They find themselves unable to write, or if they do the work lacks emotion. Every project feels like a “mammoth task” looming on the horizon, and their prayer life suffers as well.

If you are experiencing blue feelings or ‘bouts of funk,’ as one writer described, home relaxation and pampering techniques might work. Try a new form of exercise, spend time outdoors, watch your diet, get a massage, get more sleep, visit a new church, pray in a new place, read something new, take up golf or martial arts, try aromatherapy –anything to add interest to your regular routine.

Writer Kevin Hill recommends the following:
“Learn to be thankful to God. At first force yourself to thank God out loud for at least 10 things everyday. Read the uplifting psalms out loud (Faith comes from hearing and hearing the word of God!) and when you need to "Encourage your soul." There may be time when there is no one else to encourage you. Force your self to pray and focus totally on Jesus Christ, not your problems.

Go and find someone more depressed than you and pray for them, encourage them and help them. This is hard to do but well worth it. God often sorts you out as you minister to another person. Get rid of the fairy tale notion that being a Christian is all wonderful and a bed of roses. There will be pains and troubles but don’t lose heart because Jesus has overcome the world!”

What if These Things Don’t Work?

So how does one know when it’s time to worry and seek help? If you lose interest in socializing and isolate yourself, if your sleeping patterns change or you wake early for no reason, you lose your ability to concentrate or focus, you experience feelings of hopelessness or feel a need to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, it’s time to seek help. Some writers put off treatment over fears that they will lose their creativity, especially if medication is recommended. Unfortunately they often become more depressed and don’t write anyway.

So please, if you believe you are facing more than ‘the blues,’ seek help and seek God—don’t suffer in silence.

Nikki Hootman summed it up well: ”How do I get over it? I don't. It's reality. What I do is learn to trust in God. I don't know everything, and I'm not big enough that I will ever understand the whys of the world. But as God asked Job, was he there when the world began? Was I? No. I turn to the bible and I take comfort in the fact that others have asked the same hard questions. . . Then when I get frustrated and depressed I can think, ‘Maybe I can't save the world, but I've done what I can. And I know the person who CAN save the world-- and already has.’”

The symptoms
 Can't make decisions
 Waking in the early morning
 Wanting to cry
 Lack of energy
 Loss of appetite
 Drinking too much
 Eating too much
 Loss of interest in sex
 Not caring about your appearance
 Becoming withdrawn
 Feeling you can't be bothered
 Suffering from poor self esteem
 Can't concentrate
 Lack of self confidence
 Feeling isolated or lonely
 Lacking purpose in your life

Links of Interest:

Writers and Depression:

Unholy Ghost: Writers on Depression (Hardcover)
by Nell Casey (Editor)

IVillageDepression & Bipolar Center|hco|tdepression|em|PPC5B9C|s&OVRAW=writers%20and%20depression&OVKEY=and%20depression&OVMTC=advanced&OVADID=4971998511&OVKWID=21604395511

Creativity and Depression

Famous Writers with Bipolar Disorders

writers and Depression

Understanding depression and its many causes

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Signs of Easter

I’m not really a flower person, maybe because I have a “black” thumb instead of green. Or maybe because today’s floral arrangements cost a small fortune and don’t last very long. But I do love the Easter Lily, the traditional sign of Easter, spring and renewed life. The lily has many legends associated with it, including ancient myths and symbols of Christianity.

In the early church, the lily was the sign of Annunciation and Resurrection. Relating to the creation story, legend says Eve’s tears grew lilies as she left Eden in disgrace. In the Garden of Gethsemane, lilies grew where Christ’s sweat fell and were deemed “white robed apostles of hope.”

Another legend says Mary’s tomb was found empty three days after her burial, filled only with white lilies. Another story said that lilies were always yellow in color until the virgin Mary stopped to pick one, and thereafter they were white. And white lilies bloomed in the locations that are dear to Christianity, not only Gethsemane but at the site of the Crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus.

Easter is the most holy time of year for Christians, and it’s rapidly approaching. What signs and symbols do you look for at Easter?

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Women on Writing. . . . Romance!

Women on Writing have a great feature on romance writing.

Are you in the mood for love? I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the month of February than exploring the fastest-growing genre out there—romance. Sweet, chocolate-covered culinary romance; sultry, suspenseful romance; hot-blooded, thrilling romance; otherworldly paranormal romance—it’s all delicious!

This is our third issue dedicated to romance, and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of all the subgenres it has to offer. That’s because it’s so flexible and ever evolving. But at the genre’s core is one thing that holds it together—love—the basis of any romance novel no matter what subgenre and most likely, a happy ending.

Who doesn’t want a little happiness and romance in their lives? According to book sales, it appears that readers do. More than ever, readers are hungry for romance and ready to fall in love with the next series from their favorite authors. So let’s dive into the genre by learning from the experts in this issue. I bet you’ll fall in love with them like I did!

Read more here.