Why Should I Attend the Asheville Christian Writers’ Conference? Make the Most of Your 15-Minute Conference Appointments – Cindy Sproles 7 Things to Do NOW to be Ready When Writing Inspiration Strikes – Edie Melson You Need a Platform – Living A Story- Assignment 3 Redundancy: An Excessive, Oppressive, Pervasive Disease The One Sheet The Bio – The Fragrance of Who You Are Over-Edit? Imagery–When This is Like That Basic Writing and Editing Tips Blog or Website—Which One Does a Writer Really Need? – Edie Melson A Blog about Blogging My Blogging Affair – Terri Webster My GPS Writing Life: “Recalculating” – Elva Cobb Martin Is Your Blog Healthy? Conferences – Finding Direction Navigating Your Writing Success Why Your Writer’s Bio is Valuable Real Estate Rejection – Before You Blow Your Stack Evaluate Your Progress on the Writing Path – Edie Melson So You Were Asked to be a Beta Reader Writing the Perfect Bio Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul 2014 Cleaning Guide for Writers (Critiques) Pray Uniquely Write Right – A Christian Writing Career Writers ADVANCE! Boot Camp 2015 Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul The Conference is Over – Awe, Man! Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas in Canada 15 Minute Appointments – Cindy Sproles Break Out of Your Writer’s Cell – Denise Loock Writers Call Out Assignment 3 – Conflict in Every Scene? Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul Assignment 2 – Gaining Word Count Assignment 1 – Picture Perfect Bio Writing as a Ministry Titles – Terrible or Terrific? How 5 Simple Tips Can Change Everything Rejection – Before You Blow Your Stack 10 Reasons NOT to Become a Novelist Commas – Bethany Kaczmarek Compounds Are Not that Complex – Bethany Kaczmarek Divorce My Words…Never! Get Your Grammar Fix (ed) – What Kind of Mood Are You In, Verb? Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Forms of Dementia Find Your Blog’s Subscriber List and Schedule Email Notifications with Feedburner Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life And Objective Look at Subjectivity My Take on…Creating Villians – Part 2 Mike Dellosso My Take On . . . Villains, Part 1 – Mike Dellosso Chicken Soup for the Soul – Writers Call Out Touching the Spirit of Our Readers Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home First in Fiction – Characters – Aaron Gansky Critiques – No Pain, No Gain Making Time to Rest Writers Call Out The End – Saying Goodbye to a Story Writing’s Circle of Life Here a Tweak, There a Tweak, Everywhere a Tweak, Tweak What’s So Wrong with Waiting? Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup Books Emotion – Moving the Reader from Common to Uncommon Writers Call Out – Chicken Soup for the Soul Writing the Best You Can Bringing Security Blankets to Conferences—Tips for the Linus-Writers “Who Wants to Write a Story With Me?” CONTEST! – Mike Dellosso How to Get Amazon Reviews – Eddie Jones Freedom as a Holy Ghost Writer – Edie Melson My Worth Is NOT Determined by My Numbers – Edie Melson An Author’s Responsibilty – Cindy Sproles Call Out for Writers Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers – Author Edie Melson Carolina Christian Writers Conference Chicken Soup Writing Opportunity The Tweet Life, Why Bother with Twitter? Angels, Miracles, and Heavenly Encounters – Writing Op How Writing an Article is Like Feeding a Baby – Edie Melson After the Conference…then what? Assignment 5 – Characteristics of a Lazy Writer Assignment 4 – TickyToes@urggggmail.com Assignment 3 – Pack a Punch When You Write Top Ten Authors Southern Writers Awards Boot Camp Free Subscriptions Assignment 2 – Vonda Skelton How to Make an Appointment Why I Should Make an Appointment Keep Your Image Current Top Five Blogspots Be an Encourager – Cindy Sproles Learning the Lingo – Part 4 – Appointment Etiquette with Agents/Editors Learning the Lingo – Part 3 – Publishing Terms Learn the Lingo – Critique Groups – Part 2 Learning the Lingo – Steps to Understand the Art of Writing and Publishing – Part 1 Preparing to Attend a Writers Conference Writing the Perfect Bio Don’t Forget! Writing Opportunity – Zookeepers Ministry Is SEO Dead? – Edie Melson What’s Holding You Back?

Learning the Lingo – Steps to Understand the Art of Writing and Publishing – Part 1

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Learn the Lingo

Steps to Understand the Art of Writing and Publishing 

By Cindy Sproles

Every profession has a learning curve. In the world of writing and publishing, it’s the lingo. When you attend a conference, authors throw initials and phrases like a pitcher at a ballgame. It’s “assumed” everyone knows and understands what they hear when, in fact, they do not. There are procedures, proposals, and queries, not to mention etiquette. At my first conference I spent the bulk of my time writing letters and words on my palm then searching for someone, pointing to my hand and asking, “What does this mean?”

This booklet is set up to help shine the light on some of the most common things a first-time writer needs to know. Here you will find a few basic guidelines to familiarize you with lingo, etiquette, and a few directions for formatting a proposal. We’ll talk about what to do with the fifteen valuable minutes in front of an agent/editor and what to expect. Keep in mind, the industry varies from year to year, so staying abreast of the industry by studying always behooves the writer.

As you glean through you’ll note some of the lingo is noted by abbreviation while others remain what they are…terms. Either way, every writer needs to know and understand these terms, so pay attention. Take notes. And if you have questions, drop an email to a writing mentor or friend, attend writers’ conferences, read popular industry magazines and blogs, and stay connected by utilizing writing groups and email loops. The point is—learn.

If you don’t understand a term, ask someone. Most published authors are accessible via their websites and blogs and you’ll find an amazing number of well-versed writers who spend a good amount of time writing articles and blogs for your education. The information is available. Simply surf the Internet for reputable publishing magazines and writers who can supply you the answers you need. You can contact me at mountainbreezeministries@gmail.com

Let’s Talk Critique/Writing Groups

Let’s begin with information on Critique/Writing Groups and their lingo. This language in itself can be confusing. However, once you see the method behind the madness, it becomes simple. Remember this… what you learn, share. Teach others so they might teach as well. Continue the cycle of helping one another so everyone has the opportunity to pen the words God has given them. There is room for us all and when you exhibit the example of Christ and share in love, God will bless you.

Critique groups are their own animal. They have their own language. Some things are distinctly unique to each group but all have the basics in common. We’ll run through the lingo first then we’ll discuss when to be part of a critique group and how to find the right one for you.

In critique groups the use of initials and abbreviations help sculpt the writer’s manuscript. All of the lingo does not require example or explanation to clarify, but those that do, have samples. Here are a few of the simple terms used.

*RUE—Resist the urge to explain.
Many times a writer will get a critique with these three letters scribbled next to a paragraph or sentence. Often, as new writers, we tend to feel our reader doesn’t “get” what we’re saying, thus we begin a long paragraph of explanation. It’s our own lack of confidence as a new writer to: 1) Believe in our own writing enough to assume the reader can understand what we’re saying; 2) Learn to hone our sentences to say what we mean.

Resisting the urge to over explain scenes makes the editing process easier. In order to fix RUE, ask yourself this question: Does this explanation move the story ahead? If it’s pertinent to the scene then leave it. If it’s you, the writer, trying to over explain an action or scene that can be made clearer in one or two sentences, then lose it.

Example of RUE:
Mary loved her sister. She never thought her sister, Susan, would ever understand why she was so afraid to sleep without the light. It was too painful to explain the nights that their uncle crept into the room and ran his hand up her nightgown. How could she possibly explain that to Susan? Books lined the shelves. She loved to read. Maybe she could read the incident into the story. Mary’s mother always told them stories. But how could she tell Susan how she crawled into the closet in hopes her uncle not find her? She shook in her bed, afraid to tell Susan not to shut off the light.

Explanation:
Ask the question: Does this paragraph move the story ahead? The answer is no. Not at this point. The author rabbit trails in three different directions that really have nothing to do with the issue at hand. The reader doesn’t need the deep details of the sexual abuse Mary endured or that Mary’s mother read stories to them. They simply need to know Mary didn’t think her sister would understand. In this case, we simply say what we mean.

The FIX for RUE:
The light glowed yellow, lighting the darkened room. Silhouettes of books lined the shelves. Memories. So many memories. Mary loved her sister, but in that deep love she wondered if Susan would understand the years of sexual abuse she’d suffered.

This gives the reader enough information to keep them involved. The writing is tighter and the point is clear. The details can be saved for a scene where they are warranted.

*GWS – Goes Without Saying
Another familiar critique group marking is GWS or Goes Without Saying. Writers easily fall into the GWS syndrome without realizing it but once you understand it, you’re aware and quickly find the flaws yourself.

The best way to describe GWS is in its simplest form. From this you’ll figure out the less obvious ones. The key word here is obvious. It is obvious to a reader that when a character stands, they stand UP. Or when a character sits, he or she sits DOWN. The same is true about a character who turns AROUND. When the verb accurately describes the action, there’s no need to add the preposition.

Example of GWS
John sat down. He looked around to see if Amy was nearby. He reached down to tie his shoe then walked over to the door.

The sentences above are loaded with examples of GWS. Now look at the fix.

GWS FIX
John bent to tie his shoe. He scanned the room looking for Amy. Nothing. She was nowhere to be found so he walked to the door.

*POV – Point of View (Whose head are you in?)
Point of view, simply put, is whose head are you in? The reader sees the action through the eyes of the primary character in a chapter. Point of view can be told in three ways: first person, third person, omniscient.

The Christian Book Association prefers each chapter to be confined to one POV, though in secular books, readers will see “head hopping” (when the action is seen through multiple characters). This can be done but it’s usually left up to the more experienced writers. Most publishers would rather not see head hopping. Unless a writer is very experienced in using multiple POVs, the reader can become confused. Confused readers lead to boredom and boredom to unfinished books.

One easy way to help you stay in the primary character’s POV is to imagine that character looking through a camera lens. Everything that is seen through that lens by the character is in his POV. A character cannot see inside another character’s head. He can’t feel for another character, see through their eyes, or hear their thoughts.

Once you understand Point of View, it’s easy to see.

Deep POV
Taking an action such as “She thought,” and deepening the thought of the character.

The Fix
She rubbed her palm against her forehead. Was this the end? Never.

Here we’ve taken a simple “she thought” and deepened the character’s point of view. This engages the reader, draws them in, and allows them to feel the character’s emotion and movement rather than being told.

*MOO (and no, it’s not a cow) – My Own Opinion
Many times critique partners will write MOO next to a line. It’s simply a suggestion… someone’s own opinion.

*WIP – Work in Progress
A writer’s current piece of work.

*MS – Manuscript
Simply an abbreviation for manuscript.

*TTW – Tighten the Writing
This is the place in the WIP that could be trimmed and tightened. Perhaps there’s some RUE there. (Are you catching on now?)

*FW – Filter Words.
Words such as that, thought, felt, just, realized. Hone the craft and learn to rephrase and leave them out, or offer deep point of view.

*Antagonist
The person or force that is against the hero or main character of a story: A.K.A. The Bad Guy

*Protagonist
The hero.
Foreshadowing A technique that gives a subtle hint of an important event that will occur later in the story.
Backstory Everything that happened before your story begins.
Cliché A word or phrase that has become trite through repetition.

*Conflict
The reason your hero can’t have what he wants.

This is a start. Study and familiarize  yourself with these terms. Make them part of your writing vocabulary. In Part Two, we’ll look at the Publishing Industry.

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