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The Blessings of Fall

Jean Matthew Hall founded Write2Ignite in 2008. For ten years she and I have encouraged one another in our writing and publishing pursuits. I was delighted when she received a contract for four picture books with Little Lamb Books; one for each season. The first  one, God’s Blessings of Fall in the Bountiful Blessings Series just came out in September; here’s a sneak peak into it with some of Jean’s words and some of Olya Badulina’s illustrations.

Sounds!

One of the first things I noticed about God’s Blessings of Fall are the sounds which Jean included. “A squirrel steps lightly, slightly on crisp leaves. Crackle. Crunch. He snatches fallen acorns nuts, and stuffs them into his chubby cheeks. His little nose twitches. His bushy tail swishes. His tiny feet leap and scamper to the top of the tallest tree.” Besides the onomatopoeia of the sounds of the leaves, do you hear the alliteration of chubby cheeks and tallest tree? How about the internal rhyme of lightly and slightly; twitches and swishes? Every spread includes one or more types of poetic language that will tickle the reader’s tongue and will keep a young reader’s attention.

Smells!

Not only are the sounds of fall represented, but also the smells, tastes, and textures. “Piles of leaves red, gold, and orange huddle around the roots of trees, then take to the sky! The rusty, dusty smell of musty leaves floats over fences and fields. Ah-choo!”  

Sights!

This sensory book includes some of the visual details one would expect in a book about fall such as geese flying in a V and owls hooting in a tree. But, there is also the unexpected prowling raccoon and spider hanging from dry cornstalks.

Tastes!

“Baskets sit piled high with apples ready for baking breaks and pies. Yellow apples, green ones with a sour thing, blushed ones that crunch with every bite. Some are shiny, red, and sweet. All so good to eat!”

Textures!

“Pumpkins rest at a cozy farmstand. Some fat and smooth as your skin. Some bumpy and warty, some tall and thin.”

This beautiful picture book will be a addition to your child’s or grandchild’s library; or as a classroom resource in a church library or Sunday School. For as the book concludes:

 

 

Look for two more books (probably winter and spring) next year. You’ll be sure to hear about both of them right here!

 

 

 

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Write 2 Ignite 2019 Wrap Up

We prepare, plan, and pray for a year and then quickly the conference is over! As a team, we are thankful for each attendee and presenter and are already looking forward to the 2020 conference on September 18-19. SAVE THE DATE! More details to follow.

If you weren’t able to attend, here are some snippets and photos.

“I took many notes via pen and paper. I have been looking over the notes and am excited about all the valuable wisdom the presenters shared. What a great conference!” Melissa Henderson

Melissa Henderson with Tony Snipes

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“My first-time experience with Write2Ignite2019 was supportive, inspirational and well worth my time.  Networking and meeting new friends is always a plus at writing conferences, and there is nothing a writer loves more than coming away with new ideas and fresh inspiration. I am thankful for the people I connected with who either shared similar interests or encouraged me to think outside my own box.” Linda Phillips

Linda Phillips, Karen Wallace, Vijaya Bodach

“Everybody was engaged when I spoke about writing a controversial book. It was gratifying to speak with several people privately about their own stories. I am going to develop it some more because it’s an important topic. It was a great conference and I love our shared vision.” Vijaya Bodach (See Vijaya’s blog post about the conference here.)

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“Once again our wonderful God has supplied our needs and multiplied our efforts. Through extra staff and volunteers, an amazing NGU college intern (Charissa Garcia), and His Spirit infusing grace, patience, and love, we saw an outpouring of enthusiasm for learning and practicing the disciplines and craft of writing and publishing. We have a growing list of writers and others asking to present at next year’s conference, from as far away as Australia!” 
Deborah DeCiantis working during the conference. (Did she ever stop working??)

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“Although not a writer by trade, I consider writing much the same as breathing in that I need to do it continuously to stay alive. The W2I conference afforded me the opportunity to confirm again and again how essential it is to show rather than tell stories to build bridges instead of walls within our relationships.

“Daniel Blackaby’s book beautifully illustrated by his wife, Sarah, Two Thankful Turtles, is a refreshing, other-worldly, look at differences among siblings that frames the strengths of each twin without using the more common hook of unfavorable comparisons (building bridges not walls).” Karen Wallace
Karen was excited to find this book for her grown son, Trevor.

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“As a first-time writing conference attendee, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, Write2Ignite went above and beyond my expectations from the first session on. The chance to talk and interact with authors and editors who were truly interested in me and who gave me advice or tips on pursuing my own career in writing was awesome. I really can’t say enough good things about Write2Ignite. I’m very thankful that I was able to attend this year and I hope to attend next year as well!” Charissa Garcia

 

Charissa Garcia, an English major at NGU and our college intern enjoyed the beautiful weather along with Olivia Rollins, a fantastic teen writer.

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“This year at Write2Ignite, I really enjoyed getting to listen to and socialize with different presenters. My favorite session was on learning about developing characters with Carol Baldwin. I also learned about persevering in a topic with Tessa Emily Hall.” Kathryn Dover

Carol Baldwin brainstorming a sensory fantasy world with the teens.

 

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“At this year’s Write2Ignite, I learned a great deal of information, including world-building, painless editing, and completing query letters. I gained valuable knowledge and wisdom from the presenters and especially loved meeting them in person. I also enjoyed getting the chance to talk with other aspiring authors about writing. Overall, I really enjoyed attending Write2Ignite and I can’t wait until next year!”  Olivia Kirkland
Olivia Kirkland with Tessa Emily Hall.

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“I was truly honored to receive the award. But the best part of the conference was connecting with and learning from everyone there, from the presenters to other first-time attendees. I hope to keep up with and see them again next year!”  Tina Hartig

Brenda Covert awards Tina Hartig with the Editor’s Choice Award made possible by Christian Book Proposals.

What did you learn at the conference? Leave a comment — we’d love to know!

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Do You Wish You Had Been There?

     THEN SAVE THE DATE FOR NEXT YEAR!

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Faculty Focus

Jean Hall is very excited about her debut picture book. We’re excited for her since she’s a Write2Ignite success story! We’ll feature a blog post about The Blessings of Fall in the fall along with a GIVEAWAY!

 

 

She’s also thrilled to be teaching about picture books at the 2019 conference. Watch her video here. If you haven’t already signed up to hear Jean and the rest of the faculty share what they are passionate about, here is the link.

If you have dreamed of writing a picture book and don’t know where to start, or have a beginning but don’t know how to finish it, join Jean Hall at Write2Ignite 2019.

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Decisions, Decisions

Here’s a sneak peek at conference presenters with descriptions in their own words. We’ll be posting a teaser page each  Monday. You still have time to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount.

Visit: https://write2ignite.com/registration-2019/

 

Kim Peterson – Deepen Your Middle Grade & Young Adult Novels

In this hands-on workshop, explore how to make your MG and YA novels more compelling. First, determine your novel’s theme and learn ways to reveal that message to the readers, making it memorable. Then, get to know your characters better by deepening characterization: explore your characters’ goals, what motivates them to pursue those goals, and how conflict grows your characters as they overcome obstacles. Finally, transport your readers into your
novel’s setting. Whether your characters visit the past, the present, the future, or a new land, learn how to create a place your readers want to visit often.

 

Nancy Lohr – Read Like a Writer

Just as athletes watch game tapes to study other athletes, writers need to analyze the work of other writers. You should read widely and read well both for inspiration and instruction. Whether intuitively or intentionally, writers need to read with a different focus and greater awareness than the average reader does. This workshop will examine various techniques for reading like a writer.

Attention Teens! Carol Baldwin – Creating a Sensory Setting

The Lord has given us five senses. So, why do we just describe things which our characters see? In this hands-on workshop we’ll touch, taste, hear, smell, AND see things that our characters may experience in different settings.

 

 

 

How I Turned a Facebook Page Into a Weekly Storytelling Medium.

I  give you a box with an “ON” switch in the palm of your hand.
I then tell you to close your eyes and think about a couple of those
publishing ideas you’ve been kicking around. While your eyes are still closed, I task you to choose one of those ideas…the one story you feel most people have the most excitement for.

You choose that one topic and then you open your eyes! Now you immediately flip the switch and you discover that what you’ve actually launched with that switch was…your own weekly magazine with content based on the idea you chose! This magazine you just published is full color, distributed all over the nation and has an audience that loving greats you each week, ready to consume more content related to your story.

If something like this is real, it simply couldn’t be free. And it’s not. What it costs is a little time, in exchange for your first 1,000 readers. Attend “How I Turned a Facebook Page Into a Weekly Storytelling Medium” and you will leave with a roadmap that reflects how Tony converted a Facebook business page into a weekly publication with an audience of readers from 0 to 5,000 people. No tricks or internet shortcuts, but proven steps applied to a modern reading platform.

Samantha Bell – Polishing Your Picture Book

You finally have the text of your picture book down on paper. You’ve heard every manuscript should be revised, but yours is only a few hundred words long. What more could it need? You’ll find out in Polishing Your Picture Book! In this workshop, attendees may bring along a copy of their works-in-progress. As a group, we’ll read as many as time allows. Then we’ll consider ways to polish the manuscript to get it ready for submission. Even if your story is still in the idea stage, you’ll learn valuable tips for writing your own picture book!  

 

 

Daniel Blackaby – Tolkien, Lewis, & Christian Imagination

Daniel Blackaby

How would you feel if your best friends called your book “almost worthless” or a “carelessly written jumble”? This was J. R. R. Tolkien’s review of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The two dear friends are forever linked together as fathers of Christian fiction and Art, but each had a radically different idea of what Christian fiction should be. Their greatest legacy was not to establish a narrow template for Christian writers to follow, but to demonstrate that there is no template. In this seminar, Daniel Blackaby will explore these two vastly different approaches and showcase the great freedom you have as a Christian writer. 

 

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Finally Friday AND TWO GIVEAWAYS!

Here’s a sneak peek at conference presenters with descriptions in their own words. We’ll be posting a teaser page each  Monday. You still have time to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount.

Visit: https://write2ignite.com/registration-2019/

Tony Snipes – 5 MORE Things I Learned in Corporate America

 

What do you and CBS have in common? You create stories for an audience to consume…and so do they. You try to grow your audience with those stories while staying true to your values…and so do they. You have a need to generate resources that support the creation of those stories…and so do they.

There are practices that corporate content creators have been putting in effect for decades that allow them to distribute their stories and generate a profit while they do it.

This workshop will give you access to an insider’s view of corporate
storytellers. Corporate storytellers such as The Greenville News and local CBS affiliate WSPA have a lot in common with you as a writer: the need to create stories and earn a living in the process.

In my workshop, “Five MORE Things I Learned from Corporate America that Help Your Writing Business Pay for Itself ” we’ll unpack what I learned from corporate America that help your writing business pay for itself.

 

Edie Melson – Love the World You Build

As fiction writers, we are world builders. It doesn’t matter what genre we pursue, we are still creating an imaginary place for readers to hang out and experience our stories. These worlds are limited only by our imagination. But just like in the physical world, there are rules we must follow—a lot of the time we get to make up the rules—but there are still rules.
In my workshop, “Love the World You Build,” I share how to build a consistent world that makes sense for your reader. We’ll discuss the power of language and invented words, research for places that have actually existed and how to make your setting an important character in the story you tell.

 

 

 

Linda Vigen Phillips – Using Verse to Get to the Heart of Your Story

                                       

Writing a verse novel may not be your intention or even your cup of tea, but writing in verse can be good for your writing health.  As writers, we all mine our past, and capturing difficult or sensitive memories in verse is a therapeutic exercise that can lead to strong story elements.  Suffering from writer’s block? Throw rules out the window and jot down whatever comes to mind in a free-verse format. Want to probe deeper into your characters?  Have them write their hearts out in verse. This method is particularly effective in capturing the depth and voice of a protagonist on a spiritual journey.  

In, “Using Verse to Get to the Heart of Your Story,” we will explore a variety of formats that authors have used successfully in their verse novels.  Participants will have the opportunity to turn an emotionally charged memory or idea into free verse, and to use a shape poem to show setting, action, or mood.   

 

Kenzi Nevins – An ILLUSTRATOR’S Market: Portfolio, Platform, and Proposals

 

Imagine walking into a bookstore and seeing a line of stuffed animals above the children’s book section…but these aren’t just any animals, they’re yours! The illustrations from your book, brought to life. What does it take to stand out in today’s increasingly freelance illustration market? What tools does an illustrator need once the drawings are finished to have kids, adults, and EDITORS begging for more? Come to “An Illustrator’s Market: Portfolio, Platform, and Proposals” to find out!

 

                     

Nancy Lohr – The Plot Thickens

 

An idea, an emotion, a hero or heroine (the protagonist) all are necessary elements to include in a novel for children, but none of these are suitable for a strong and compelling plot. My workshop. “The Plot Thickens” will look at a variety of ways to develop a plot that will hold a reader’s attention and deliver a satisfying forward-moving story.

 

 

                                     

                                      Attention Teens

Carol Baldwin – Let Your Characters Do the Heavy Work

 

Try this recipe for story success: Start with a memorable, authentic protagonist. Add a complicated, believable antagonist. Put them into a sensory setting and watch what conflicts ensue.  In this workshop, we’ll complete several writing exercises that will help you deepen your unforgettable, true-to-life characters.

 

                                                     

 

Two Giveaways

 

 

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Let’s Get the Juices Flowing!

 

Here’s a sneak peek at the Conference sessions, described by the presenters themselves. Watch for new “teaser” posts each Monday.

You still have time to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount.

See:  https://write2ignite.com/registration-2019/

 

                                                 

Todd Williams –  Engaging Pages

What does it take to truly communicate with your readers? Believe it or not, God’s Word gives us some extremely helpful insights about good, engaging writing. The term logos (translated “Word” in 1 John 1:1) is full of meaning and wisdom that can help us become more skilled in the creative use of words. Come ready to learn practical ways to understand the logic of communication guided by biblical concepts.

 

 

 

 

Lori Hatcher – (Practically) Painless Editing for the Grammatically-Challenged

 

Everyone loves to write, but few love to edit. If you want to rise to the top of the slush pile (or avoid it altogether), creative editing can make all the difference in the worldd wurld werld world. If parallelism sounds to you like a gymnastic event, the Oxford comma a dance you might do in the UK, and the singular “they” like a personality disorder, this is the workshop for you. We’ll laugh and learn our way through ten of the most common manuscript errors and have fun doing it in this hands-on, interactive workshop.

 

Vanessa Fortenberry – Importance of the 3R’s – WRiting, Research, and Revision

 

 

So you think you’re familiar with the three R’s. Be assured; it’s not the basic skills you learned in school. Of course, you remember reading, writing, and arithmetic. Who doesn’t? If you’re like most of us writers, fractions are not one of your strengths. Therefore, let’s change the equation a little. Instead, let’s take away the math; add a dash of Writing, a smidgen of Research and a pinch of Revision. Attend “Writing 101: The Importance of the 3 R’s (WRiting, Research, and Revision)” and walk away with a mixture of handy measurements for successful writing!

 

Jean Matthew Hall – What is a Picture Book?

 

A picture book illustrator needs to tell a story with pictures.

A picture book author needs to show the same story with words.

So, how are they woven together to make one compelling story?

In Jean Matthew Hall’s workshop, “What Is A Picture Book,” we’ll work together to decide what authors need to say, and NOT to say, in their picture book manuscripts, and leave everything else to the illustrators

Attention Teens!! (Teen Track – grades 6 – 12)

      You have a Warm-Up Session with Daniel Blackaby – “Worldbuilding”

Join Daniel from 3:15-3:55

Imagine that you suddenly were given the power to create the world from scratch. What sort of world would it be? Would there be endless summers? A purple sun? Do dragons dwell there? Can people fly?  If you’re a writer, then you do have this power. Great books teleport us into imaginative and exciting new worlds. Have you visited Narnia? Middle-Earth? Tatooine? Hogwarts? Panem? Oz? Westeros? Pandora? All the great books have well-crafted worlds. In this seminar, you will not only learn how to do worldbuilding, you will become a worldbuilder yourself! Join Daniel Blackaby and others in this fun and interactive experience and see what crazy world you can build together! 

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Teen Keynote with Daniel Blackaby

“Tolkien, Lewis, & Christian Imagination”

4:00-5:00

How would you feel if your best friends called your book “almost worthless” or a “carelessly written jumble”? This was J. R. R. Tolkien’s review of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The two dear friends are forever linked together as fathers of Christian fiction and Art, but each had a radically different idea of what Christian fiction should be. Their greatest legacy was not to establish a narrow template for Christian writers to follow, but to demonstrate that there is no template. In this seminar, Daniel Blackaby will explore these two vastly different approaches and showcase the great freedom you have as a Christian writer. 

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WE HAVE A WINNER!

After our five judges reviewed the entries, votes were tallied up and “The Costume Closet” by Carolyn Bennett Fraiser is the winner for our Picture Book Manuscript Contest. For her imaginative story, Carolyn wins free registration to our writers conference, an engraved plaque, and a free detailed critique of her winning entry.
 
Honorable mention goes to Michele Jones, who came in 2nd with her delightful barnyard story titled “Lady the Butterfly.”
 
We promised a writing webinar and will post details as soon as they are finalized!