Category: 2019 Updates

July 4: A Teen Track Historical Fiction Creative Writing Contest**

Photo credit: The National Archives  Teens and Tweens! In honor of the Fourth of July, this post is for you! Whether you’re a history buff or just someone who loves a challenge, here’s a holiday contest that will stump most adults in the U.S.! See entry details and rules after the questions to enter!

How many of us think about why we celebrate July 4 (also known as “Independence Day”)?

We may think of barbecues, picnics, sparklers, fireworks, or family trips. But how often do we remember the document which marked the start of a new nation?

Here are 10 Questions to test your knowledge of U.S. history and events connected with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. How many answers do you (and your family and friends) know?

Adults may help students find resources, but students should read information and write an original story, poem, or journal entry/entries in their own words. **Creative writing pieces must include specific answers to at least FOUR of the 10 questions, listing the source(s) where information/answers were found. Entries without sources will not be accepted.

  1. In what year was the Declaration of Independence written and signed?
  2. Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?
  3. Was the original version of the Declaration the one that was signed?
  4. How many men signed the Declaration?
  5. What was the name of the group/meeting where the Declaration was discussed and signed? In what city did the meeting take place?
  6. Was this a publicly announced meeting? Why or why not?
  7. How many colonies were represented?
  8. What were their main reasons for wanting independence? What country had authority over the colonies at this time? What was the name of the king?
  9. Name the first battle which preceded the Declaration and the war which resulted from the decision to declare independence.
  10. Was the Constitution of the United States, which was completed and signed September 17, 1787, the original document governing the newly established country?

Answers to these questions, as well as many other facts related to July 4/Revolutionary War history can be found at the following online sources:  and other pages of the National Archives

Original creative writing entries received by July 25 will be entered in a drawing to win a Teen Track scholarship to Write2Ignite Conference September 20-21, 2019! You must be a rising 6th through 12th grader or have just completed 12th grade this year to enter.

Three ways to submit your answers on the attached entry/submission form at

  1. Email your entry to by July 25,2019
  2. Mail your entry to Mrs. Cathy Biggerstaff, 410 Aydlotte Rd., Rutherfordton, NC 28139
  3. Bring your completed entry (on paper or saved on a digital device) to Art SLAM! Live /Write2Ignite Conference event July 20 from 2 to 5 pm at Haywood Mall, Greenville, SC

Include complete name and contact information on the entry form with your submission!

Drawing results [and answers to “10 Questions”] will be posted by July 27, 2019.

Writing, Service, and Witness

Biblical witness is relational and demonstrable. John’s gospel (1:6 -7) states that John the Baptist was “sent from God . . . to bear witness of the Light [Jesus], that all through him might believe.” Verses 14-18 name Jesus Christ the primary witness [the “Word became flesh”] who “declared” God, bringing access to “grace and truth.”

In Luke chapter 15, witness leads to searching, pursuit, sacrifice, and salvation. Service is a key component of this witness. The one that is lost becomes a higher priority than the 99.

Relentless love requires exertion. For example, an adult sheep weighs 110 to 120 pounds. The shepherd whose one sheep goes astray is not carrying a small lamb on his shoulders. Romans 5:8 (“while we were yet sinners”) similarly shows the difficulty of serving sacrificially: our status before salvation (enemies of God) required crucifixion. However, anguish changes to rejoicing when the one is saved and enters the family of God as an adopted child (in Luke 15, the son, having renounced his family connection, returns in the role of a suitor seeking acceptance in the role of a servant). The Father, celebrating and giving gifts, continues to serve the once-errant child.

Servant witness is other-directed. David’s claim in Psalm 40:9-10 (NKJV) demonstrates service as effort that can be witnessed by others: “I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness/In the great assembly. Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,/O Lord, You Yourself know./I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;/I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;/I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth/From the great assembly.” Proclaiming God’s goodness can be a joyous act, yet in this psalm David is emerging from difficult and painful times when he “waited patiently,” in a “horrible pit . . . miry clay . . .” Instead of quiet, restorative meditation, his service here requires public action, not in a small, intimate gathering but the greater community – perhaps including some who had not supported him in preceding trials (v. 13-14). It may also include public confession of sin, to which he alludes in v. 6 and 11-12.

I John 2:12-14 conveys the relational and generational nature of servant witness in familial terms. Notice the call to all ages – “little children,”  “fathers,” “young men,” “children,” “fathers (i.e., parents), and “young men” (i.e., young adults). Moreover, John explicitly connects these reminders to his role as a writer. “I write to you . . . ,” “I wrote to you, . . . ,“ “I have written to you . . . .” Changing tenses show the constant nature of his writing service to the believing community.

Some of us exercise these functions in blog or social media posts, in Sunday School lessons, devotionals, Bible stories, or articles. Do we also continually encourage, instruct, remind, and exhort in fictional stories? In plays or screenplays? In sidebars or nonfiction pieces about plants, animals, technology or history? Without explicit preaching or teaching in every work, does our writing serve (bear witness) through truthful, thought-provoking and memorable content?-

Witness leads to forgiveness, restoration, strengthening; it reunites divided minds, friendships, families, communities. God Himself bears witness through His Word, works, and Spirit – and believers participate in the witness of service as we seek to be like Him. He models the writer’s servant witness of priority and purpose.

The lost one does not deserve to be found, but God deserves worship. Our obedience in seeking others after we have been found and restored becomes a means of giving Him glory. How often have you read a vivid, striking story that stops you in your tracks – – or profound, memorable words that resonate with your spirit’s need for comfort or insight?

May our writing in every genre bring this witness of service to readers.

Deborah S. DeCiantis


 Debbie DeCiantis first connected with Write2Ignite Conference when she was called on to act as liaison between North Greenvile University and Write2Ignite in 2009. She accepted the role of acting director in 2016 and the role of director in 2017. Retired after more than 30 years of teaching on both college and K-12 levels, Debbie currently does freelance editing and critique writing. She enjoys living in the country and spending time with her husband, four adult children, six grandchildren, and too many dogs.

This and future discussions of biblical witness will be found in Author Resources.

Conference Schedule

Here’s our jam-packed conference schedule! Start planning NOW for two days of encouragement and education. Spring Blessings discount has been extended through June 15!  registration


Friday, September 20, 2019  *Please check final schedule and room assignment

12:00 – 2:00 PM   TEAM set-up in Craft-Hemphill (CH) and Hayes Ministry Center (HMC)

2:00 – 3:00 pm  Volunteer orientation in CH-110 Presenters/editors/agents/TEAM prayer and orientation – volunteers meet faculty/Team members [** Recording devices, handouts, attendance sheets info]

2:30 – 4:00 pm  Registration and Check-in (HMC Lobby); online appointment signups

Published authors consign books for sale (CH Lobby)

3:15 – 3:55      BONUS Session Options:

  1. Vanessa Fortenberry “Importance of the 3Rs . . . “ in CH 101
  2. TEEN TRACK Worldbuilding” workshop with Daniel Blackaby HMC
  3. Todd Williams “Engaging Pages” in CH 102
  4. Lori A. Hatcher “Practically Painless Editing “ in CH 108
  5. Jean Matthew Hall “What is a Picture Book?” in CH 109
  6. Book Browsing in Craft-Hemphill Lobby; Appointment sign-ups ONLINE

4:00 – 5:00 PM   Welcome and Warm-Ups

TEEN TRACK: KEYNOTE “Tolkien, Lewis, & Christian Imagination” Daniel Blackaby in HMC

Adults’ Welcome and Warm-Ups  – Two Mini-Sessions (CH 110)

 (A)  Editor-Agent Panel Q & A and (B) Author Panel

5:00 – 6:30 PM  Adults break for supper in the Todd Dining Hall (across from Craft-Hemphill)

(* Use tickets in registration packet – Gluten-free options available; please specify dietary restrictions at time of Registration)

TEEN TRACK Pizza Bash with presenters  (HMC)

Please specify at registration if you require Gluten-free pizza.

Dinner hour free time: Book Browsing, Sign up online/ editor/agent/author appointments

6:45 – 7:45 PM  ALL: Announcements & Introductions of Presenters; Praise & Worship (HMC)

7:45 – 8:45 PM  SESSION A: [please check Teens and/or Adults]

ADULTS only: Tony Snipes “5 MORE Things I learned In Corporate America  That Can Jumpstart Your Writing Business in Under 24 Hours” in HMC

ADULTS & Teens: Kenzi Nevins “An ILLUSTRATOR”S Market: Portfolio, platform, and Proposals” in CH 101

ADULTS ONLY Linda Vigen Phillips “Using Verse to Get to the Heart of Your Story” in CH 102

ADULTS & TEENS: Nancy Lohr “The Plot Thickens” in CH 108

ADULTS only Edie Melson “Love the World You Build” in CH 109

TEENS only: Carol Baldwin “Let Your Characters Do the Heavy Work”                                in CH 110

8:45 – 9:30 PM RECEPTION Coffee & Conversation w/ Presenters/Editors/Agents (HMC) All are invited!

Registered participants will be eligible to sign up online for TWO (2) individual appointments with authors, editors, or agents. Sign-up site will indicate specific location of the person you are meeting.

Book sales are in the Craft-Hemphill Lobby. Teen Pizza Bash and Adult Coffee & Conversation are in Hayes Ministry Center. Photo (Headshot) sessions will be in Craft-Hemphill room TBA). Sign up online.  

  Interactive Features for 2019:

  1. TBA
  2. A Photo Booth – Enjoy taking photos/selfies with our special writers’ props – share on social media!

Saturday, September 21, 2019* Please check final schedule and room assignment *  

7:45 – 8:15 AM       Late Check-in (HMC Lobby)   Please observe workshop status: Adults, Adults & Teens, or Teens only***

8:15 – 9:00 AM           SESSION B

TEENS Only Brenda Covert Poetry Writing: “Playing with Words”                                                                            in CH 110

ADULTS & Teens Tessa Emily Hall “How to Sell . . . to an Agent . . . “ in CH 101

ADULTS only Vijaya Bodach  “Writing Memoir for Kids (I): Techniques”                                              in CH-102

ADULTS only Lori Hatcher  “Ten Ways to Charm an Editor” in CH 108

ADULTS Kim Peterson “A Strong Supporting Cast of Secondary Characters” CH 109

9:15 – 10:15 AM   Adults & Teens Announcements  KEYNOTE                                          by NANCY LOHR :  “Truth-FULL Writing” in HMC

10:30- 11:15 SESSION C

ADULTS only Tony Snipes  “How I turned a Facebook Page into a Weekly Storytelling Medium” in HMC

ADULTS only Daniel Blackaby “Tolkien, Lewis, & Christian Imagination” CH 101

ADULTS only Samantha Bell     “Polishing Your Picture Book” in CH 102

ADULTS only Nancy Lohr        “Read Like a Writer” in        CH 108

ADULTS only Kim Peterson  “Deepen Your Middle Grades/YA Novel”  CH 109

Teens ONLY ** Carol Baldwin “Create a Sensory Setting” in CH 110;

 11:15 – 11:40 Teens remain in CH 110 for NGU Q & A, then proceed to lunch **

11:15 AM – 12:45 PM   ** LUNCH in Todd Dining Hall (Bring tickets in registration packets*)

12:45 – 1:30 PM Session D ADULTS only Edie Melson  “Writing for the YA Audience” in CH 101

ADULTS only Terri Kelly  “How to Write Devotions for Children” in HMC

ADULTS only Vijaya Bodach “Writing Memoir Part II: Being a Witness” in                              CH 102

ADULTS & TEENS Tessa Emily Hall “Create Book Buzz . . . with a Blog Tour” CH 108

ADULTS only Kim Peterson  “Selling Snappy Sidebars” in CH 109

ADULTS & TEENS Steve Hutson “Why You’re Not Getting Published”                                                                           in CH 110

1:45 – 2:30 PM  Book Sales (C-H Lobby) and Book Signing (C-H Comm Center – 110)

2:45 – 3:30 PM  Session E

ADULTS only Jean Matthew Hall “Writing Fiction Picture Books”                                                      in  HMC

ADULTS & Teens Steve Hutson “What NOT to Say to an Editor or Agent” in  CH 101

ADULTS Only Vijaya Bodach “Writing a Book That’s Controversial” in         CH 102

ADULTS Only Todd Williams “Connecting with Kids” in  CH 108

ADULTS Only Andrea Merrell “Turning Pain into Prose” in CH 109

TEEN TRACK Carol Baldwin “Out of This World Fiction & Fantasy” in                                                                      CH 110

3:45 – 4:45 PM   ALL: CLOSING KEYNOTE –  by Edie Melson  “The New Paradigm of Social Media” in HMC

4:45 – 5:00 PM  Writing Awards, Silent Auction results, Grand Door Prize, Closing Prayer  in HMC

Registered participants will be eligible to sign up online for TWO (2) individual appointments with authors, editors, or agents. See online signup for specific location of the person you are meeting.

Book sales in the Craft-Hemphill Lobby close at 2:30 pm Saturday.

Photo (Headshot) sessions in Craft-Hemphill room TBA by appointment; walk-ins may take open slots.

Interactive Features for 2019:

  1. TBA
  2. Photo Booth – Enjoy taking photos/selfies with our special writers’ props – share on social media!

* schedule subject to change

Who Needs a Write2Ignite Critique?

If you’re fairly new to the writing business or trying out a different genre, you may wonder whether you’re doing it right. Or maybe you have a story that you feel is almost—but not quite—working, and you’re not sure why. What’s a writer needing a professional opinion and guidance to do? Get a professional critique, of course!

We at Write2Ignite offer you two options, depending on the time of year:

  • Two-for-One Critiques are available from October 1 to June 15. The fee of $45 gets one story critiqued by two professional members of our faculty (see page limits at the bottom of this page).
  • Our Conference Critiques are available from June 1 to the beginning of September. (See “send by” dates in the chart below.) These are only for registered conferees and include a face-to-face fifteen-minute meeting at the Write2Ignite conference with a pro you chose to critique your work (see page limits at the bottom of this page). The fee is $35 per manuscript.

Each critique will give you a thorough review of the strengths and weaknesses of your writing, offer suggestions for improvement, and help you identify potential markets.

A key is included below the following chart to help you interpret abbreviations in the chart.

Check or Money Order:

If mailing a check or money order, make it payable to Write2Ignite. Please send the check to the address that will be given to you after you email your material to Brenda Covert.

Manuscript Format

Type all manuscripts in double-spaced, 12-pt. font, standard manuscript format. Include your name, the title of your piece, and the page number on each of your manuscript’s pages. (See page limit below.)

Please bring a copy of your material to the conference appointment!

Type of Manuscript

NOTE: All manuscripts should be 12 point type, Times New Roman, double-spaced (unless otherwise noted), with one-inch margins.

  • Young adult/middle grade novel—One page query or synopsis (single-spaced) and the first pages of the manuscript (double-spaced). Ten pages TOTAL.
  • Nonfiction book—Chapter outline, proposal and/or query letter (single-spaced) and the first pages of the manuscript (double-spaced). Ten pages TOTAL.
  • Picture book—Complete manuscript up to 1,000 words
  • Early reader/chapter book—First chapters up to 10 pages
  • Nonfiction article—1,200 word limit
  • Short story—1,200 word limit
  • Poetry—5 poems equal 1 critique; 40-line limit for each poem
  • Devotional—500-word limit each; up to 4 devotionals per paid critique
  • Curriculum-–A table of contents and 2–5 chapters; up to 10 pages
  • Activity book/pages—Up to 10 pages



Image by jppi

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén