6 Tasks to Accomplish with Act 1 of Your Novel – Part 4

You want to write a best seller. What writer doesn’t?

First you’ve got to come up with a good story idea. Then you’ve got to get that idea from Point A to Point Z and figure out everything in between. (That’s my hardest struggle — plotting.)

You’ve got to hook your reader —  and keep them reading.

Or your chance at that best seller list gets fried like a fly on bug zapper.

The truth is debut novels usually don’t make the best seller lists, but that’s no reason not to put your best effort into every book you write.

If you’ve been following this series, you’ve learned ways to write a stronger story and thus increase your chances at getting published and selling lots of books.

Here’s what I’ve discussed so far in 6 tasks to accomplish in Act 1: [Read more…]

Coming soon to an e-reader near you

It’s done.

I hit the send key last Friday.

After two years of fighting with myself and the manuscript — and spiritual forces of darkness — the revised second edition of my book, titled Carried by Grace, is now with the publisher ready for her to work her layout magic.

Help! My Husband Has Sexually Abused our Daughter: A Devotional Guide for Mothers of Victims was my first book. I knew nothing about the publishing world and did a lot of things wrong in my efforts to find a publisher. No one really wanted to touch the topic, especially from an ignorant newbie author who didn’t have anything else in the works.

So I went the POD publishing route. And marketed the book to Focus on the Family. The book made their approved list, was carried in their online bookstore, and placed on the list for their counselors to send out to those who needed help.

When my publishing contract came up for renewal five years later, I decided not to renew. I had learned a lot about writing in those intervening years and decided to revise the book, make it better. Several times since taking it off the shelves, the counselors at Focus on the Family have asked me when it will be available again. They sent it out regularly to hurting moms facing that situation.

That’s what writing is all about for me — ministering the hope of God to others and offering them encouragement for wherever they are in life.

Many writers have a similar purpose that drives them to write. They’re passionate about helping others, whether it’s through writing nonfiction or fiction.

I want to encourage you.

Keep plugging away at that manuscript.

Learn all you can about the craft and write, write, write.

Be diligent at finding a publisher or to research self-publishing options.

Persevere to reach your dreams as a writer.

I’d like to share a quote from Carried by Grace and reveal the new cover.

Carried by Grace book cover“I sat that August morning in the living room staring out the front window. A few days earlier my daughter had threatened suicide and been admitted to a local psychiatric hospital. My husband sat in jail, arrested for sexually abusing her. My eyes burned from a night of tears and fitful sleep. The rosy hues of sunrise promised a warm Colorado summer day, but as I pulled my knees tightly to my chest I felt swallowed by darkness — like Jonah in the belly of the whale. Grief consumed me and fear of what was ahead nearly paralyzed me.”

How do you hope to minister to the wounds and hurts of others? Share your desires in the comments below.

Is it ever okay to use passive voice?

Congratulations, Dawn Peacock. You are the winner of last Friday’s author interview contest. You’ve won a copy of Finding Beth by Linnette Mullin.

Is it ever okay to use passive voice? [Read more…]

Please Excuse the Growing Pains

I’m sure you’ve noticed over the last several months the many visual changes taking place lately here at DebraLButterfield.com.

Growing pains

Thank you for your patience with our growing pains.

Visual changes don’t impact how you interact with the site. But other changes, such as navigation, do.

This week I changed my email marketing provider. That meant I also had to transfer my existing subscribers. They each got an email they weren’t expecting and had to once again confirm they wanted to receive emails from me. I apologize for that inconvenience.

As the weeks and months progress, [Read more…]

5 Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

writer educationAs writers, we must continually seek to improve our writing skills. It is an ongoing process that can be accomplished in a number of ways to fit anyone’s budget.

Here are several options:

Participate in a critique group—it’s much easier to see someone else’s weak spots than your own.

Read writer blogs and the many free products they offer

Subscribe to writer magazines or read them at the library. Writer’s Digest and The Writer are two I recommend, but I’m sure there are others. 

Read books on writing. Find them at the library. Be sure to ask about inter-library loan or for your library to purchase the book if they don’t have it. I recommend:

  • Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham
  • Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress

by James Scott Bell

  • Plot and Structure
  • The Art of War for Writers
  • Conflict and Suspense

The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr.

Take a writing course.

What have you done to improve your writing skills? Do you have a book, course, or professional organization you recommend?

Snag a Publisher!

Looking for a publisher? Then be sure to get 5 Tips to Snag a Publisher with Your Manuscript Submission. Sign up below for your free download.

Get Published!

Looking for a publisher? Then be sure to get 5 Things Every Writer Needs to Do When Submitting a Manuscript (make sure you avoid these common mistakes). Sign up below for your free download.
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