Category Archives: MoGo7000

I Hate Outlines! And Kudos & MoGo7000 Successes

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Welcome to the 2nd Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den! Today we’re celebrating our friends’ successes, but first, let me tell you that I hate outlines!

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I Hate Outlines!

I do. I hate them with a passion. The dislike (And yes, I would click the thumb down button here if there was one!) begins with the very premise of an outline.

You want me to put things in order? Line them up correctly? Stick to a pattern? FOLLOW THE RULES?

What about creativity? What about the muse?

Arrgghhhhh! (Did I tell you I don’t like outlines?)

When I sat down to write my first novel, I tried to make an outline. I really did. After all, that’s what writers do, right? I gathered all my writerly stuff, including a dictionary, a thesaurus, and my college English textbook (this was before the development of online resources), put a sheet of paper into my electric typewriter, and pecked out a few words. Then I stared. A long time. Apparently it wasn’t a good outline.

I ripped out that paper, threw it in the trash and tried again with a fresh, clean sheet. I wrote a few words . . . and stared. A long time. Ripped out the paper and started again. Over and over the process repeated. Paper. Trash. Paper. Trash.

Finally I admitted defeat. Outlining just didn’t work for me. I must be a seat-of-the-pants writer, reasoned. I just needed freedom!

I rolled a new piece of paper into the typewriter and wrote a brilliant first line—14 times. I’d heard that getting published was really hard work, so I knew that first line had to be perfect. And after 14 tries, it was!

I hit the return, twice. (Remember this was before word processing.) After all, I had read an issue of Writer’s Digest Magazine from cover to cover. I knew the manuscript was supposed to be double-spaced. I stared at the brilliant first line, and then down to the blank one. And stared. A long time.

Three days later, I had one just-about-as-perfect-as-you-can-get-it double-spaced page of setting, dialogue, and plot.

But hard as I tried, I couldn’t move ahead. I had no idea what was happening next—and on top of that, it had to be perfect!

This was never going to work! Enter: the narrative outline. But not just any kind of narrative outline—the Vonda Skelton style of narrative outline.

I simply started writing plot points, stuff I knew about the characters, and what happened next—all single spaced with no dialogue, no setting, no paragraphs, no spell check, no grammar correction. On and on it went, page after page after page.  I realized that for me, the key was to trick myself into thinking I wasn’t writing a book at this point. I had to give myself permission to make it sloppy and ugly, and in order to do that, I had to single space, leave out dialogue, and forget any rules. Here’s a sample from the Bitsy and the Mystery at Hilton Head Island narrative outline:

Bitsy goes to Hilton Head Island w/her baseball team (she’s the only girl). I’m not sure why they’re going, maybe they’re in a baseball tournament. I’m not sure what kind of league they’re in, but it can’t be an official league because the rules won’t work. Since she’s the only girl, she can only go because the coach’s wife and daughter are going. But while they’re traveling something happens—car trouble? Sickness? Lost? but the mom and daughter have to go back home and B has to stay with another team at their house since there won’t be a woman with her team. She begs coach to let her stay with them but he won’t. their team is poor—no matching uniforms/in dilapidated van, but the team she has to stay with is rich. Her team is staying in an old dirty beach house but the team B’s with stays in a fancy house. Somewhere along the way—I don’t know what’ll happen to make it happen, but she’s gonna start telling lies in order to try to fit in and act like she’s rich. The Paris Mountain lie. Daddy in oilebusiness. She’s a good baseball player and they need her. There are 5 good players and 5 bad ones. The team has to be outside late at night—I don’t know what they’ll do, but they have to be out late at night so they can find a dead loggerhead turtle. Maybe she blames Ian or maybe somebody else does, but somebody thinks he did it.

And on and on it goes to the end. That’s my personal version of the Narrative Outline, and that outline has worked for me through all three of my published novels and my women’s non-fiction.

The key for is that I have to trick myself into seeing it as a long, fragmented note, NOT a book or an outline. That’s the only way I can be creative and I can turn off the internal editor at the same time!

So, are you having trouble moving ahead with your outline or your first draft? Then maybe you’ll want to consider a Skelton Narrative Outline for your book!

And the best part is, it’s FREE!

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Let’s Celebrate Kudos With Our Christian Writer’s Den Friends!

What a joy to see writers working hard and being successful. Here’s the good news for this month:

1.  Marilyn Nutter (SC): My article, “Rock Collecting,” was published on A Widow’s Might/A New Season on August 27, 2016.

2.  Amanda Everett (VA): I was able to have a blog post, What I Wish I Knew in College published on The Rising!

3.  Tracy Crump (MS): 1)Chicken Soup for the Soul chose two of my stories to publish in their Joy of Christmas book that comes out in October. 2)My story, “Holey Memories,” was a finalist in Southern Writers Magazine’s Short Story Contest and published in their Best Short Stories 2016 issue. 3)And I have a new writer’s website! (No more pitiful homemade site.)

4.  Sandy Kirby Quandt (TX): My entry, Not All Heroes Come Back, was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Children’s/Young Adult Fiction category of the 85th Annual Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. (Vonda here: For those who aren’t familiar with Writer’s Digest Competitions, they receive thousands of entries for every competition they hold. Honorable Mention is highly honorable!)

Aren’t these inspiring reports? And I have a feeling that if you asked each of these writers how long it took to begin seeing results, they’ll tell you it was a long, hard journey that required lots of perseverance. So don’t give up. Success or failure isn’t measured by acceptances and rejections. I received 63 rejections before I ever had anything published! I often wonder how different my life would be if I had never submitted that 64th query.

As the late Gary Provost personally told me, “The only way to fail is to not write.” In other words,

The only way to fail is to quit.

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Who MoGo’d in August and Earned Another Chance for $100?

These writers wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in August:

#17:  Susan Baganz – 33,356 words
#18:  KathryneAnn – 13,357 words

Congratulations, Susan and KathryneAnn! So proud of your hard work and many words! I’m looking forward to Na-No-Wri-Mo in November. Hope to see lots of CWD writers there!

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Well, that does it for another 2nd Tuesday. Didn’t see your name in the list of successes? Don’t worry! Just be sure to return next week when I’ll be posting a list of writing opportunities, contests, and conferences just for you!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

Image courtesy of StuartMiles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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7 Steps to a Quality Speaker Website & Call-Outs for Kudos and MoGo7000

www key PixabayIt’s the first Tuesday of September, so that means it’s time to learn and to ask for your kudos and MoGo7000 results. Let’s start with learning 7 Steps to a Quality Speaker Website…

One of the most important tools for any speaker is the internet home. It can be a blog, a website, or a combination of both, but you must have some sort of presence on the World Wide Web. It’s the minimum event planners expect. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a huge, expensive site, but it does need to be a good representation of you.

Here are 7 steps to a website that will serve you well without breaking your budget.

1. A welcome on the front page. With millions of websites now on the internet, we can’t take a single visit for granted. For that reason, we should be sure to welcome each visitor on the homepage.
2.  An About page. Visitors want to know a little about you, your experience, your life, and your family.
3.  A list of speaking topics and printable one-sheet. Be sure to check out my earlier post at Christian Communicators, The Speaker One-Sheet is NOT Dead. But don’t stop with a one-sheet. Your topics should also be listed with a short blurb giving the reader a glimpse of what they will learn.
4.  A Contact page. Make it easy for your visitor to get in touch with you. Small Contact Buttons at the top or bottom of the pages require too much effort to locate.
5.  Photos throughout. As with many other digital tools in today’s world, websites need a variety of casual and professional photos scattered throughout.
6.  Easy to follow tabs and links. Make it as easy as possible for visitors to move from one page to another without having to go back, if possible. I know my website (www.VondaSkelton.com) isn’t perfect by any means, but I do think it’s a good example of locating info with ease on a speaker website. Of course, it does NOT have to be that big, I’m primarily talking about the ease of the visitors finding the information they need. Note the cross-referencing between pages with direct links. That helps a lot!
7.  Include good video, if possible. Here’s a post on my funny YouTube video, but it could apply to any video that promotes your ministry: You Oughta Be in Pictures. But please realize that no video is better than bad video.

Of course, there will always be many more options you can utilize for a more encompassing website, but these 7 steps will help you create a budget-minded website that will introduce you and your ministry to the world.

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Calling All Kudos!

Free photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Free photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, friends, it’s time for us to celebrate YOU and celebrate EACH OTHER! After all, that’s the goal of The Christian Writer’s Den–-to encourage and instruct writers.

In order to do that, I need to hear from you. It doesn’t matter how small it may seem to you or how recently it’s been, every step forward is a step that leads to the next one.

So I want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you. Everybody’s welcome to share.

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

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mogoWho Worked on Their MoGo7000 in August?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in August, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your August results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in August. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2016 Challenge continues! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Reach the goal one month and you’ll have one entry. Just starting out? Don’t worry! Meet it the next 4 months and you’ll have 4 entries!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

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Well, that does it for another first Tuesday at the Christian Writer’s Den. I hope you learned something or were encouraged by something today. That is certainly my goal for you and me!

I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,

Vonda

 

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All the World is a Writer’s Stage, Call-Outs, and Who Won Cheryl Barker’s Book?

Cole and Mallory in CherokeeWow–how did it get to be the 1st Tuesday in August already? Today we’ll announce call-outs and see who won a free book, but first, let’s talk about a writer’s stage . . .

Several years ago, I had a one-day job at the Cherokee Indian Museum where I also took the time to learn about my own Cherokee heritage. After that visit, I knew I wanted to go back, take our younger grandchildren, and learn more together. A few weeks later, we did. It was an amazing experience.

But on my way home that day, I realized I did more than simply learn dates and historical events. I began to write about it, at least in my mind.

Isn’t that the way we writers are? We go on a simple vacation or go shopping or read a current event and before we know it, we’re contemplating characters, mapping out plots, scouting locations, capturing events, and creating a world inside our heads.

In As You Like It, William Shakespeare wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players . . . .” Today I realize how true that statement is.

Little did I know those events in life would prepare a stage for my characters–-real or imagined–-to enter and exit. After all, I didn’t set out to find locations for children’s books. I simply found myself there . . . and the characters and their stories began.

Now I’m already looking forward to doing something with these nuggets of Cherokee ideas, even though it won’t be right now. After all, I went to Tybee Island in 1961, but it was well over 30 years later that I began to write about it.

I have a feeling I’m not alone in this phenomenon. What about you? Have you experienced anything similar? If so, would you share it with us here at The Christian Writers Den? It could be fun to see where our stories–-whether published or not, whether written or not–-originated.celebration - Morguefile

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Calling All Kudos!

Okay, friends, it’s time for us to celebrate YOU and celebrate EACH OTHER! After all, that’s the goal of The Christian Writer’s Den–-to encourage and instruct writers.

In order to do that, I need to hear from you. It doesn’t matter how small it may seem to you or how recently it’s been, every step forward is a step that leads to the next one.

So I want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you. Everybody’s welcome to share.

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

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mogoWho Worked on Their MoGo7000 in July?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in July, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your July results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in July. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2016 Challenge continues! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. Reach the goal one month and you’ll have one entry. Just starting out? Don’t worry! Meet it the next 5 months and you’ll have 5 entries!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Cheryl Barker book cover

And the winner of Cheryl Barker’s Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride is . . .

Kristi Woods!

Congratulations, Kristi! To claim your free book, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Cheryl will get your book right out to you!

And for those who didn’t win, you can get your own copy of Mother of the Bride with this direct Amazon link.

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Well, that does it for another Tuesday. Don’t forget to share your insights about finding your stories from life!

I’d love to hear from you!

Happy writing…

Vonda

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8 Tips for Writing a Synopsis: Short & Sweet and Kudos & MoGo7000 Results

Writer morguefileToday I’ll start by sharing 8 Tips for Writing a Synopsis – Short and Sweet

You’ve just completed the Great American Novel. You’ve done everything you’ve been told to do. You’ve created compelling characters and plopped them right smack in the middle of emotional/physical conflict. You’ve engaged the reader with your perfectly executed plot and subplots. You’ve edited and proofed and allowed your baby to be critiqued by your writer’s group.

Now it’s time to share the pictures and see if anyone wants to hold her. So you register for another writers conference where editors, agents, critiquers, and contest judges may ask for a synopsis.

A what?

Although you’ll find varying guidelines depending on the organization, here are 8 tips to creating a great synopsis:

1.    The synopsis is a summary of the plot of your book that gives the reader a chance to see if it warrants a closer look.

2.    It’s often limited to 1-3 pages, but in a few cases, the page limit is much higher. Be sure to follow the guidelines of the organization you’re submitting to.

3.    It’s usually single-spaced with an extra space between paragraphs and 1-inch margins on all sides.

4.    Print it in black ink, on white paper, using a standard font (Times New Roman is most often used).

5.    It is written in present tense, third person.

6.    The synopsis must tell the ending of the story, even if the book is a mystery, thriller, or suspense novel. This is not the time to leave the editor/agent/judge/critiquer hanging and hope he or she will beg you to tell the ending. I’ve actually read a synopsis where the writer said something like, “I can’t give away the ending because it’s so unusual, but believe me, it’s a real twist!” Hmmm. Not a good idea.

7.    You can’t cover all the points of the book, but you’ll want to include the major plots points that move the story along to a satisfactory ending.

8.    Give enough detail that the reader is engaged, but–with a limit of 2-3 pages–you’ll have to carefully decide what earns a place in the synopsis.

So, there you have it–8 tips to writing a synopsis. Remember, it’s the short and the sweet of your story!

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And kudos to these talented Christian Writer’s Den friends!

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere www.FreeDigitalPhotos.com

These CWD writers are doing the work, and finding success. Let’s celebrate with them!

1.  Cheryl Barker (KS): My book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride was officially released by BroadStreet Publishing on July 1st.

2.  Sandy Quandt (TX): Sandy has THREE things to share this month! 1)1st place award in the unpublished Children’s Lit at Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference; 2)Contracted to write 20 devotions for Worthy Inspire’s Seeing God in Nature devotional; and 3)Article on “How to Write a Devotion” published on WOW! Women on Writing.

Books and articles and awards, oh my! Congrats, Cheryl and Sandy. We’re proud of you!

And friends, if you didn’t find your name on this list, be sure to check back next week where I’ll have a collection of opportunities just for you!

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mogoNext up…Who earned another entry into the MoGo7000 drawing for $100?

#15: Susan Baganz – 11,114 words
#16: Amanda Everett – 7,019 words

Congratulations, Susan and Amanda! And friends, if you’d like an opportunity to win $100, just check out the MoGo700 Challenge guidelines here. It’s all free!

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Well, that’s does it for today. I hope you’ve learned something and been inspired to keep writing. After all, writing isn’t a race to the finish line. The finish line is whenever we pass into glory. And the only way to lose at writing is to quit.

Keep writing!

Vonda

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Belated 4th of July Greetings, Call-Outs, & Who Won Felicia Bridges’ Free Book?

American flags

Hello CWD friends! Can you believe it’s already another 1st Tuesday? Let’s start with an oldie but goodie 4th of July tribute to America and offer thanks to our Father for the privilege of living here.

 

Here is a live official Opry version of Lee Greenwood singing “God Bless the USA” at the Grand Ol’ Opry. It still gives me cold chills, even after all these years! Please join me in asking God to continue to bless the USA, but more importantly, that America will turn back to the Father Who has blessed her all these years.

YouTube Preview Image

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It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)mogo

PLEASE let me hear from you. We want to celebrate your successes!

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Who MoGo’d in June?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in June, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your June results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in June. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

The year is now half over for this money-winning writing challenge, but don’t worry, the 2016 challenge still has SIX monthly opportunities left for you to enter. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

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CzechMate Cover Felicia BridgesAnd who won a free copy of Felicia Bridges book, CzechMate?

Random.org selected as the winner…

Judy C. Taylor!

Congrats, Judy! Simply contact me with your snail mail address and preferred email address and the Felicia will get your book right out to you!

And for those friends who didn’t win, I know you’ll want your own copy! Here are the direct Amazon paperback and Kindle links to CzechMate!

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Well, that does it for the July installment of 1st Tuesday and Happy Birthday to our beloved America. Please join me in praying that our country would turn back to God so we can continued to be blessed. Thanks for joining me today!

Happy writing, my friends…

Vonda

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Writer’s Headlines: Kudos to YOU and MoGo7000 Totals

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

FreeDigitalPhotos/Iosphere

Today’s a day to celebrate YOU! Let’s start with the successes of these Christian Writer’s Den friends…

1.  Amanda Everett (VA): My first article, “Me Before You and the Culture of Love,” was published on The Rising blog!

2.  Andrea Merrell (SC): My short story, “The Strange Visitor,” won third place at the BRMCWC last month. I was also a finalist for the Editor of the Year award and offered a contract on one of my novels. It was an exciting conference!

3.  Nan Jones (NC): My book, The Perils of a Pastor’s Wife, was a 2016 Selah finalist at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference! Also, I am a monthly contributor to Inspire a Fire inspirational
blog.

4.  Ellen Andersen (SC): I have two successes this month! I had a devotion accepted by Christian
Devotions that will be posted June 29. And I had a story accepted for the Loving Moments anthology, coming out in 2017. I’m so excited!

5.  Bonita Bandaries (LA): I celebrated Cinco de Mayo speaking to Cedar Hills Senior Living Book Club, reading excerpts on Prayer from my book, A Promise Kept and Una Promesa Cumplida, the Spanish translation.

6.  Marilyn Nutter (SC): My article, “The Puzzling Path of Grief,” was published in the June/July/August
issue of Reach Out Columbia.

Congratulations to all our Christian Writer’s Den friends who are working hard and seeing the results of their work! I know there were lots of CWD friends who won awards at Blue Ridge. I hope you’ll remember to share your award with us next month!

And if you weren’t able to send a success for the kudos, be sure to come back next week and I’ll have a whole new list of writing opportunities, conferences, and contests for you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo

Next up…Who earned another entry into the MoGo7000 drawing for $100?

And congrats to these writers who wrote at least 7000 NEW words on a book-writing project during May:

#11 – Susan Baganz – 11,271 words
#12 – Nan Jones – 8,103 words
#13 – Diana Leagh Matthews – 8,695 words
#14 – Amanda Everett – 7,856 words

Awesome, friends! I can’t wait to see who wins in January! If you haven’t started on the MoGo7000 Challenge, don’t worry, there are still 7 months this year to reach 7000 new words in a month. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge details. And don’t worry–it doesn’t cost you a cent!

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Well, that does it for a 2nd Tuesday. Be sure to return next Tuesday when I’ll have a new list of writing opportunities collected just for you!

Blessings on all your projects!

Vonda

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Christian Writer’s Den Kudos & MoGo7000 Successes and Christian Communicators Waiting List is Open!

Fireworks Pixabay 2It’s the 2nd Tuesday–Time to celebrate our own Christian Writer’s Den friends! Let’s start with Kudos…

So who’s been hard at work and found success in their writing?

1.  Beth Fortune (SC): Beth had a devotion, Busted, accepted by Christian Devotions.us and posted on April 26, 2016

2.  Lori Hatcher (SC): My devotional book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women was chosen as the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year in the Gift Book category. The winners of this award are chosen based on reader votes, and I suspect some of my Christian Ccommunicators sisters deserve credit for helping Hungry for God achieve this honor. Many thanks. May God be glorified.

3.  Marilyn Nutter (SC): I’ve had three new publications: 1)Don’t CryChristiandDevotions.us; 2)Mourning Glory — Red Chair Moments; 3)Mourning Call on Jennifer Hallmark’s Acts of Kindness–this one due to the call our on Vonda’s site:)

Congratulations, writers! I’m happy to say that South Carolina is certainly represented well in this kudos this month, but I know we have many more writers around the nation who are also working hard and finding success. I hope to hear from you next month!

And be sure to return next week for a new list of writing opportunities.mogo7000 logo

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Who MoGo’d in April?

#10: Diana Leagh Matthews – 7,134 words

Congratulations, Diana! Friends, if you’re working on a book but not participating in MoGo7000, you’re missing monthly opportunities to win $100 at the end of the year! You can join in the fun–and it’s free! Just check out the MoGo7000 Challenge here.

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ccclogosmallThe Christian Communicators waiting list is now open!

Were you considering Christian Communicators, but found out it’s full? No problem! The waiting list is open–there’s no commitment and it doesn’t cost a cent to get on the list!

Simply contact Conference Coordinator Cynthia Owens at Cynthia [@] TheEfficiencyAddict [dot] com and she’ll be happy to add you to the list. If an opening becomes available, Cynthia will go down the list in order.

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That’s it for another 2nd Tuesday. Be sure to return next week and I’ll share lots of writing conferences, contests, and opportunities to help you on your journey to success!

Blessings,

Vonda

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Sustainable Writing: Research, Redo & Reuse, by Edie Melson – Call Out for Kudos & MoGo7000 – And Book Winner!

Recycle 3R PixabayVonda here: I admit, I’m not a great recycler. We don’t have recycle capability with our garbage pick up, so it’s not easy to make the best use of this worthwhile endeavor.

But garbage recycling isn’t the only thing I miss the mark on. I could do a much better job of recycling my words. Edie Melson is here today to show us the benefit of Sustainable Writing. Welcome, Edie!

Sustainable Writing: Research, Redo and Reuse

Sustainable Writing is the way I describe writing for a living. Having a regular income as a freelance writer requires multiple streams of income. Managing those streams and keeping them afloat is where the sustainable part happens. Just like the environment, we have to be good stewards of our time and resources as writers and business owners.

As a matter of fact, there is a lot we, as writers, can learn from the environmental awareness movement. If you don’t believe me, just substitute the word TIME for the word ENVIRONMENT and you’ll be surprised what becomes applicable.

When we think about sustainable writing, we need to have a recycling mindset. We should never waste anything. Say you’re doing research for an article titled, Remodel Your Kitchen. If you pay attention, you’ll find material to write several dozen articles. How about one called New Trends in Lighting Your Kitchen or Using Kitchen Cabinets in the Bathroom. Once you know where to look, the possibilities are endless.

This works with more than just research, you can repurpose articles–change them by 50 percent–and sell them as a new article to another source. Or, don’t change them at all and sell the reprint rights.

Here are some ways to apply this attitude to your writing.

  • Research – When you research a topic or person for an article or book, keep all your notes. I keep all mine in a single computer file. Within that file it’s important to have a document that lists all the websites you’ve visited to get your information. I’ve gotten in the habit of copying and pasting the web address into this document the first time I determine the importance of the webpage I visit. I also keep a transcript and/or notes from any interviews I conduct on the subject.
  • Rough Drafts – Many times when I’m writing an article it will start off way over the word count I need. I keep a copy of that first draft in my file before I start cutting it and revising it. Often I’ve come back to it and pulled parts out for a brand new article.
  • Related Subjects – I’ve also learned to make a list of possible related subjects while I’m working on an article. Frequently, when I’m writing an article, ideas for other articles will come to mind. When that happens I’ve learned to immediately make a note of my thought. If I wait, the idea often disappears.

So don’t waste your time starting from scratch with every article, and then using it only once. Research, redo, and reuse and you’ll be able to get much more mileage our of your words. Edie Melson, crop, high res

Edie Melson—author, editor and blogger—is a leading professional within the writing industry, as well as a popular instructor and mentor. Her heart to help others define and reach their dreams has connected her with writers across the country.

She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and a prolific writer, with numerous books and thousands of articles. Her popular writing blog, The Write Conversation, is a well known resource. Edie is the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, senior editor for Novel Rocket, and the social media mentor for My Book Therapy websites. She’s also the military family blogger for Guideposts.org. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

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It’s Time to Share Kudos of YOUR Successes!

Hey there, writing friends. We want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you!

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

PLEASE let me hear from you. We want to celebrate your successes!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo

Who MoGo’d in April?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in April, you can receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your April results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in April. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2016 challenge has lots of opportunities left for you. Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

Get started now and you could have and extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~A Stranger On My Land cover Sandra Hart

And who won Sandra Hart’s book?

The winner is…

Ruth Allender!

Congrats, Ruth! Simply contact me with your email and snail mail addresses and Sandra will get your book right out to you!

And readers, since I know you want you own copy of Sandra Merville Hart’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award Finalist, here’s your direct Amazon link to A Stranger on My Land Kindle. And as I write this, it’s only $1.99!

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ccclogosmallOnly one more opening for Christian Communicators Conference at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in August!

Ladies, do you feel God is calling you to be a speaker? Or perhaps you already have a speaking ministry, but want to take it to the next level. If either of those are true, you’ll want to check out Christian Communicators Conference!

Could this last spot be for YOU?

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Another happy Tuesday to you! Be sure to come back next week to enjoy another teaching post and celebrate you and your friends’ successes!

Never give up!

Vonda

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Scriptwriting: Biblical Truth From the Stage and Let’s Celebrate Kudos & MoGo7000 Successes

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I love drama. I love how it visually projects truth in a non-confrontational way. I love how it can have us laughing one moment and contemplating the complex issues of life the next.

Jesus loved drama, too. His parables are truth presented in a visual, non-confrontational way. They have us laughing one moment (I mean, a camel going through the eye of a needle? Someone carrying around a log in his eye?) and contemplating the weight of sin the next.

Here are some things to consider if you feel called to write drama, whether for your church or for publication:

  1. What message do you want to get across? Just as with other kinds of writing, there must be a take-away. Do you want your audience to consider their choices? See Christ in a different way? See themselves as others see them?
  2. Use common events, actions, thoughts the audience can identify with. Jesus used equipment, people, careers, and needs common to the time and place.
  3. Create believable dialog. One of the biggest mistakes I see is addressing characters by name too often. Think about your own conversations. Do you repeat the other person’s name over and over in real conversation? No. And you shouldn’t in a script, either.
  4. Consider stage limitations. Consider stage space, mics, props, costumes, and casting. The more complex the needs, the less opportunity for others to use your script.
  5. Be sure to include a “Wow factor.” I often read scripts that are simply a retelling of events: this happened, then this happened, then this happened. That’s fine if you’re simply demonstrating a Bible story, but it’s not going to be enough if you’re creating a new story. There needs to be something that takes the common situation and creates an uncommon turn of events. Humor, absurdity, or shock; an unusual character or story development; and a surprise twist are all compelling “Wow factors” that can take your script from interesting to memorable.

Do you desire to write compelling drama that will draw others to Him? If so, I hope these guidelines will help you take the first steps to writing biblical truth that can be shared from the stage.

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Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s celebrate with our friends!

Congratulations to the following Christian Writer’s Den friends who’ve been doing the work and finding success!

1. Kristi Woods (OK): Chicken Soup for the Soul highlighted my story, Tested, Not Arrested, on a recent Motivational Monday. To God be all the glory

2. Bonita Bandaries (LA): I have a feature article, Refresh Your Heart, Wellness Self-care Tips for Family Caregivers in The Minute Magazine, March-April edition

3. Susan M. Baganz (WI): Released my second novel at the end of January, Salsa & Speed Bumps, a romantic suspense. I have a novella due out in August and another novel (book #3 in this series) due out in September. Praying I might squeak a third in by the end of the year!

4. Gail Cartee (SC): I had a devo poem and two ideas for kids published last month. The poem was published by Refresh Bible Study Magazine. The kids ideas were published by DevoKids.

Congrats, writers!

And friends, if you didn’t have anything to share in our Kudos this month, be sure to check out the writing opportunities next week!

mogo~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Who MoGo’d in March?

#8: Diana Leagh Matthews – 8,504 words
#9: Amanda Everett – 8,496 words

Way to go, Diana and Amanda! And readers, if you want to join in the fun and have a bunch of chances to win $100 at the end of the year, check out the MoGo7000 Challenge. It’s free!

 

Well, that does it for the 2nd Tuesday of the month. Be sure to return next week for another list of writing opportunities and conferences!

Happy writing,

Vonda

 

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Call for Kudos & MoGo7000 Totals and Who Won Ramona Richards’ Book?

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s the 1st Tuesday of April & time to gather your good news for Kudos & MoGo7000, and to announce the reader who won Ramona’s book!

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Call for Kudos!

Okay, friends, it’s time for us to celebrate YOU and celebrate EACH OTHER! After all, that’s the goal of The Christian Writer’s Den–to encourage and instruct writers.

In order to do that, I need to hear from you! It doesn’t matter how small it may seem to you or how recently it’s been, every step forward is a step that leads to the next one.

So I want to know what you’ve been up to. Have you had something exciting happen recently in your writing or speaking life? Maybe you’ve had an article published, signed a book contract, released a new book, got an agent, or started a new blog. If so, we want to hear from you. Everybody’s welcome to share.

It’s really simple, but I do ask that you contact me with the info in this format and order ONLY:

**Your name
**Your state in two-letter abbreviation
**Link to your website or blog
**Your good news
**Link to your good news, if online (online bookstore, online article, etc)

I can’t wait for us to celebrate with you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~mogo

Who Worked on Their MoGo7000 in March?

If you wrote at least 7000 new words on a book project in March, you’ll receive an entry in the drawing for the 2016 MoGo7000 $100 cash prize! It’s open to everyone who qualifies.

To report your March results, please leave a comment below with your total new words written on a book project in March. (Please do not send your totals by email or through the Contact page. Totals must be left as a comment here by next Sunday). 

If you missed out on last year’s money-winning writing challenge, don’t worry, the 2016 Challenge continues! Here are the MoGo7000 Challenge rules. All you have to do is write at least 7000 NEW words on a book project in any month and you’ll receive an entry into the end-of-the-year drawing for $100.

Each month that you qualify with 7000 new words, your name goes in the “hat” for the drawing. (Actually, Random.org selects the winner.) Reach the goal one month and you’ll have one entry. Just starting out? Don’t worry! Meet it the next 9 months and you’ll have 9 entries!

So what are you waiting for? Get started now and you could have an extra $100 next year. And it doesn’t cost you a cent. :-)

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Ramona Richards My Mother's Quilts coverAnd who won Ramona Richards’ book, My Mother’s Quilts: Devotions From a Legacy of Needlework

And the winner is…

Judy Taylor!

Congratulations, Judy! To receive your free copy of Ramona’s book, simply contact me with your snail mail address and Ramona will get the book right out to you!And for those who didn’t win, here’s a direct Amazon link to My Mother’s Quilts. It would make a perfect Mother’s Day gift! Don’t tell my moms, but they’re both getting a copy!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I pray God’s blessing on the work of your hands and your hearts,Vonda

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