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Give the Gift of Writing

Do you know a teen or tween who dreams of writing a book? Or, perhaps your spouse or best friend is a budding poet. Either way, Write2Ignite has the perfect gift opportunity!

Starting in January, team members Brenda Covert and Carol Baldwin will be giving writing workshops at area Hobby Lobby stores.

The cost for each two-hour workshop is $25.00. But, if you purchase a workshop by December 31, it is only $20.00.

From the Heart: The Gift of Poetry 

Date and Time: January 25, 1:30- 3:30

Location:  Hobby Lobby, 7816 Charlotte Hwy, Indian Land, SC 29707

Supplies: Notebook and pen, laptop, tablet, or whatever you’re most comfortable writing on.  Or, use a journal from Hobby Lobby and a special set of colored pens.

Description: This poetry writing workshop is for teens and adults who want to craft the perfect poem for Valentine’s Day. Brenda Covert, author of a teen poetry curriculum, will help you find your poetic voice so that you have a poem suitable for framing and gift-giving. A gift from your heart is the best gift of all!

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Date and Time: February 1,  3:30-5:30

Location: Hobby Lobby, 6007 Wade Hampton Blvd, Taylors, SC 29687

Supplies: Notebook and pen, laptop, tablet, or whatever you’re most comfortable writing on.  Or, use a journal from Hobby Lobby and a special set of colored pens.

Description: This poetry writing workshop is for teens and adults who want to craft the perfect poem for Valentine’s Day. Brenda Covert, author of a teen poetry curriculum, will help you find your poetic voice so that you have a poem suitable for framing and gift-giving. A gift from your heart is the best gift of all!

Cracking the Core of Fiction Writing: Character and Conflict for Teens and Tweens

Date and Time: January 11, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

Location: Hobby Lobby, 1511 Woodruff Rd, Greenville, SC 29607

Supplies: Notebook and a pen. Or, use a journal from Hobby Lobby and a special set of colored pens!

Description: If you’re between the ages of 11-17 and love creating stories, then this is the workshop for you. Join North Carolina author, Carol Baldwin, for a fun and informative workshop that will help you create memorable characters with conflict—the driving force of a riveting story. Whether you’re writing fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, or a contemporary story, the principles you’ll acquire will move you forward on your writing journey.

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Date and Time: January 18, 1:00 PM-3:00 PM

Location: Hobby Lobby, 7816 Charlotte Hwy, Indian Land, SC 29707

Supplies: Notebook and a pen. Or, use a journal from Hobby Lobby and a special set of colored pens!

Description: If you’re between the ages of 11-17 and love creating stories, then this is the workshop for you. Join North Carolina author, Carol Baldwin, for a fun and informative workshop that will help you create memorable characters with conflict—the driving force of a riveting story. Whether you’re writing fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, or a contemporary story, the principles you’ll acquire will move you forward on your writing journey.

TO PURCHASE A WORKSHOP AND REGISTER

Email Cathy Biggerstaff at Write2ignite.Cathy@gmail.com.  Let her know which workshop you are purchasing and who will be attending. She will then send you a PayPal invoice. DEADLINE for the discount is 12/31/19 but participants can also pay when they come. Checks should be made out to Write2Ignite. Questions? Contact Carol Baldwin or Brenda Covert.

Coming in March: Self-Publishing with Sandra Warren and Gretchen Griffith in Hickory, NC.

Date to be announced.

 

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An Idea for Those Who Didn’t (or Couldn’t) Tackle NaNoWriMo This Month by Brenda Covert

Have you seen the social media posts from NaNoWriMo writers beating themselves up because they failed to meet their daily writing goals and pen a 50,000 word novel in November? Or they reached their goal but nearly lost their minds in the process? IMHO, those who wrote any amount this month deserve a pat on the back and a hearty handshake, not a load of guilt.

Though I wrote a novel in the past (not during NaNoWriMo, and it took me 5 years to complete), I now prefer to focus on children’s writing. Picture books in particular appeal to me. Wondering whether NaNoWriMo had a kidlit counterpart, I discovered a blogger who tried to get PicBoWriMo going, but it didn’t catch on. Neither did PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month), which in 2016 became Storystorm and moved to January – a challenge to create 30 story ideas in 31 days. That’s a great idea worth pursuing, but it’s not the same as writing actual stories!

After stumbling across a contest for 100-word stories, I recognized an idea even the busiest among us could tackle. You could write just 4 words a day and have a story in a month, but hopefully you could do this in a couple of days. Here are the particulars:

  • Write a story with no more than 100 words. Fewer is fine.
  • Your story should appeal to kids age 12 or under (although you could also write for adults).
  • There should be a main character and story arc; descriptive or mood pieces don’t count.
  • It can be a story poem, or it can be prose. (I tend to use fewer words in poem stories.)

There are several good reasons to attempt such short-story writing. First, publishers appreciate picture books that are light on words because that means more room for illustrations. Second, telling stories in 100 words is a lesson in succinctness; you learn what matters and what isn’t really necessary. And third, if writer’s block interferes with your writing goals, switching to a 100-word story can get your creative juices flowing again.

If you find yourself with some free time around Thanksgiving or Christmas, see how far you can get with a holiday-themed 100-word story. If you finish and feel like sharing in the comments below, please do! We would love to see what you come up with and encourage your efforts!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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Brenda Covert, a member of the Write2Ignite team,  has been editing since 2002, first in the educational field and then in the Christian/family-friendly market. Her editing experience goes from picture books to chapter books—including Johanna’s Journey: Call to Freedom (a finalist for the 2015 Selah Award)—to YA novels and adult fiction and nonfiction, including inspirational books and Bible studies.

Brenda has two grown children, a new grandchild, two blogs that she promises to devote more attention to, and more cats than an allergic woman should have! (Want one?)

You can find Brenda online at BrendaCovert.blogspot.com. If you’re especially fond of Christmas, you’ll enjoy her blog at ChristmaswithBrenda.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter, where she’s  @TheBrendaCovert.

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Faculty Focus

This is Brenda Covert’s 5th year with W2I. In the past she participated as an editor and taught a poetry workshop for the Teen Track. Now she is the critiques coordinator and manages W2I’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. She  loves teen authors since they are some of the most creative, imaginative, quirky people in the world! Brenda says, “There is little in life more satisfying than witnessing a quiet teen author enthusiastically sharing ideas and poetry during my workshop!” Social media is her guilty pleasure. 🤓

 

 

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“Writing a Book Can Be Easy”

http://intro2res2014.blogspot.com/2014/10/scientific-writing.html

Increasingly writers are bombarded with advertisements for writing courses or programs claiming to help them produce a book in timeframes as short as 24 hours or a few weeks.

Anyone can come up with ideas that can be copied into sentence-generating templates or outlines and compiled as a “book” – but is this really writing?

At W2I our vision includes fostering in Christian writers (and ourselves) excellent writing skills that will glorify the Lord. We believe that writing is intentional, crafted, and produced through a deliberate creative process:

  • finding, researching, ordering, and developing subject material
  • writing a draft
  • obtaining feedback from trustworthy readers (editors, critique partners, coaches)
  • diligent revision and editing
  • finally, pursuing publishing, if the writing is intended for wider distribution among a group or market.

We asked several W2I presenters for professional opinions on these proliferating speed-writing systems. Here are their replies:

Lori Hatcher

Author of the 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year winner, Hungry for God … Starving for Time.

The process of writing a book is so much more than putting words on a page, more than filling up chapters, more than writing a table of contents and an epilogue. It’s honing your craft, finding your voice, connecting with your potential readers and fellow writers, and growing spiritually. These things can’t be rushed or squeezed into a template or 6 weeks. For the Christian writer, it’s about partnering with God to create and publish your book “in the fullness of time.” This fullness is as much about the work He’s doing in you than the work he’s doing through you in your writing. There’s no formula or short cut for this, only hard work and patient persistence. And a whole lot of Holy Spirit leadership.

 

Brenda Covert

Freelance Author, Editor

I don’t understand the appeal of speed-writing. When I’m working out a plot, a scene, or a section of dialogue, I need time to mull over the possibilities and consider the consequences for the characters. I love the creative process. It can’t be rushed! I can’t imagine anything truly meaningful coming out of a formula or generator.

Jean Hall

Picture book writer, Blogger

Many Christians dream of having a book in print (or on an e-screen). I’m concerned that we are confusing our dreams with God’s call to write for publication. They are not the same thing. Following God’s call for anything means preparation, study, paying our dues and the blood, sweat and tears of hard work.

Shortcuts bypass those necessary ingredients.

I used to tell new writers that it is not a publisher’s job to make my dreams come true. But lately I see many “dream-makers” creating all sorts of shortcuts for people with the dream of publication. Shortcuts seldom create enduring works that change lives.

Carol Baldwin

Author, Blogger, Writing Instructor

There’s no two ways about it: writing takes time, energy, and work. Formulaic writing does not result in rich, layered stories.

As I’ve worked on HALF-TRUTHS, my young adult novel, for over twelve years, I often thought that I was writing from the inside out. I had the kernel of the story even before I thought it was a YA novel (It actually started out as a picture book and then grew—but that’s another story.) Yes, I read books on writing (like Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas);  learned about The Blake Snyder Beat Sheet (of Save the Cat fame), and went to writers conferences where I learned about the Hero’s Journey. But these were tools to help me plan, develop, write, and rewrite. Each time I re-wrote my book, I drew closer to my characters’ motivation and goals; as well as to a deeper understanding of what I was trying to communicate to my readers. Each critique I received offered me insight into my story and the writing process. Over time I added layers of meaning to the characters’ relationship and personal stories.

That couldn’t have happened in a week, a month, or even in a year.

HALF-TRUTHS is richer as a result; and I’m a better (albeit older!) writer.

 

Deborah DeCiantis

Write2Ignite Director, Retired English Professor, Freelance Editor

The idea that writers would simply plug content into a basic template instead of crafting creations carefully designed for specific audiences and situations (God’s method from the first day of Creation), doesn’t fit the pattern of God’s interactions and relationships with individuals. Jesus didn’t tell just the same basic format for every parable, even though the genre is fairly straightforward and specific. There’s always symbolism and a kind of punch line/revelation, but also significant variety in tone.

Here’s an assessment of the Al Text Generator at The Verge, a generator that will help you “write stories, poems, news articles and more: “…you’ll soon see that, at a fundamental level, the system doesn’t understand language or the world at large. The text it generates has surface-level coherence but no long-term structure. When it writes stories, for example, characters appear and disappear at random, with no consistency in their needs or actions. When it generates dialogue, conversations drift aimlessly from topic to topic. If it gets more than a few responses, it seems like good luck, not skill.”

A really good writer who takes shortcuts is going to risk loss of quality and reputation. There  is no way to equate the quality of workmanship with that of someone who fills in the blanks.

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Part 1: What are YOU looking forward to at Write2Ignite 2019?

With so many great workshops to pick from, I thought we’d share what our team is excited about. But don’t limit your choices to ours, you have many more to consider!

 

 

Brenda Covert

I’m torn between the workshop about “Connecting with Kids” by editor-in-chief Todd Williams of Union Gospel Press, and the workshop called “Ten Ways to Charm an Editor” by magazine editor and freelance writer Lori Hatcher. Then there is the always entertaining Tony Snipes bringing his creative flare with “How I Turned a Facebook Page into a Weekly Storytelling Medium.” I love that Write2ignite offers workshops on writing, editing, marketing, and the use of social media!

 

 

Gail Cartee

Since I’m scheduling the teaser posts, I get to read everybody’s first. Every time a new one comes in I think, “Oooooo, I’d like to hear that.”My favorite genres are historical fiction and science for kids. I’d love to hear Vanessa Fortenberry and learn how she organizes her research. I love verse and its rhythm. Linda Vigen Phillips “Using Verse to Get to the Heart of Your Story” is also one of my top choices. Vijaya Bodach’s workshop on Writing Memoir for Kids strikes a note with me. I used to think my grandma really had a lot to share because she was so old (102) but I’ve had some experiences too I’d like to know how to share in interesting ways. I’d like to up the influence of my blog. I think if I can make it to another workshop I’d love Tessa Emily Hall’s “Create Book Buzz by Coordinating a Blog Tour.” Of course, the keynotes are the icing on the cake that pulls everything together. Can’t wait to learn all the great ways to grow as a writer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diane Buie

I am super excited to hear Edie Melson when she arrives at the conference. I had the pleasure of participating, online, with a Bible study called, “Soul Care for Writers.” It was fantastic, refreshing, real, and deeply encouraging. I would listen to whatever she had to offer to those of us who calls ourselves, “creatives, writers, illustrators, etc.” Edie has a voice of wisdom I would always take note of.

 

Deborah DeCiantis

Of course, I’m looking forward to Nancy Lohr’s keynote on Truth-FULL writing, because I’m eager to see how she will illustrate this principle with examples from various writers, and Edie Melson’s keynote on “The New Paradigm of Social Media” because it’s hard to keep up with all the changes, and I know she will have a lot of tips for maximizing our platforms (as individual writers) and effective communication in different media. She usually includes tips to help save time as we work in these different media. For workshops, as a Tolkien and Lewis fan, I want to hear Daniel Blackaby’s discussion of Christian imagination in their works and others’, but I am also fascinated by Linda Vigen Phillips’ free verse novels (I am reading the second one now), and learning how she refined this technique for her books. So many choices – I don’t know how many I will be able to take in, but if I make it to a third workshop, it will probably be Vijaya Bodach’s talk on tackling controversial subjects in YA literature.

Carol Baldwin

One of the things I enjoy about Write2Ignite is the atmosphere. Yes, you heard me right. I’ve been to lots of writing conferences and the spirit of Write2Ignite is encouragement and helpfulness. We are all in this process of writing and publishing together–and the team and presenters reflect that.

Secondly, I’m excited to sit in on Daniel Blackaby’s “World Building” workshop for teens and to hear his presentation on Christian Imagination. I’m also looking forward to Lori Hatcher’s presentation on “A Strong Supporting Cast of Secondary Characters” and Nancy Lohr’s keynote on “Truth-Full Writing.” If I can, I’d like to catch Vijaya Bodach’s presentation on “Writing A Memoir Part II–Being a Witness.”

Next week some of our attendees will share what they are looking forward to attending. It’s going to be an exciting, jam-packed weekend! We hope you will join us!

 

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An Inside Look Into A Freelance Editor’s Work

Check out these bookshelves!  These are just some of the books which Write2Ignite team member, Brenda Covert, has edited. (She edited all of the books on the second shelf and about half on the top shelf.)

Brenda took time out of her busy writing, editing, and grandparenting schedule to answer some questions about what she does and the common mistakes writers make.

CAROL: Do you specialize in editing certain types of manuscripts?

BRENDA: I specialize in editing Christian or family-friendly works for any age. I’ve edited everything from picture books to adult novels, both fiction and nonfiction, and that includes a cookbook or two! I avoid horror and erotica. I don’t read them, so they wouldn’t be a good fit for my editing skills.

CAROL: What are the five most common mistakes you find in manuscripts?

BRENDA: 1) A common mistake new authors make is trying to tell the entire backstory before diving into the story the readers were promised. Don’t waste time doing that. Bring on the drama! Bring on the conflict!

2) This doesn’t happen often, but if an author doesn’t create a timeline of events for themselves, there may be a character who does something unexpected, such as going back to work a few days after dying. Quite entertaining, to be honest, but I’m going to ask the author to fix it.

3) Comma mis-usage. They may be sprinkled indiscriminately throughout the manuscript like pepper, or used too sparingly, but not being sure of comma rules is normal. After all, there are 47 comma rules, and they represent job security for editors!

4) Plagiarism is a problem I’ve seen with poetry, borrowed anecdotes, and occasionally news articles. Just because something is on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s in the public domain and free to copy. Do your research and know copyright law!

5) Including lyrics (because they are meaningful). Even when you give proper credit, you stand a chance of being sued by the owner of the copyright, so always request permission to use, even if you only want to use a line or two! (You will likely have to pay a fee for use.) Otherwise, I tell my authors to use only the song title and share why the song is meaningful without quoting from it.

CAROL: What is the most common advice you end up giving writers?

BRENDA: Make sure to include as many of the 5 senses in your scenes as you can. Make your readers feel like they are there, wherever there happens to be!

CAROL: If you had a HUGE platform to shout out what you want writers to know, what would you say?

BRENDA: First impressions matter! Whether you intend to self-publish or hope to land a contract with a traditional publishing house, you’ll want to take your time to polish your manuscript. Definitely don’t rush to self-publish. If you want readers to clamor for your second, third, or fourth book, your first book has to shine, leaving them wanting more.

CAROL: How did you become an editor?

BRENDA: I started young, grading classmates’ spelling tests! English was always my favorite subject. Every employer I worked for after graduating from university ended up asking me to proofread documents. Once I began writing educational teaching materials for children in 2002, I received on-the-job training to be an editor as well. I moved on to work for a publishing house in 2011. Of all the resources that line an editor’s office, The Chicago Manual of Style is the single most vital tool!

CAROL: What is your favorite part of being an editor? Any success stories you’d like to share?

BRENDA: I love helping authors polish their manuscripts so they can present their best to their readership. I delight in those “a-ha” moments when I’ve offered a suggestion for solving a problem, and the author gets excited about the re-write! As an editor for Ambassador International, I saw a huge number of manuscripts become books, and many of them line my shelves today.

 

Freelance author and editor Brenda Covert was first published for pay in 1999 with an article in the May/June issue of Today’s Christian Woman and a Thanksgiving poem in Clubhouse Jr. Since 2002, Brenda has written more than four hundred short children’s stories for Union Gospel Press’s Sunday school curriculum. Her stories, most of which are written for the nine-to-eleven age group, entertain as well as offer a lesson on living for our Savior. She also published numerous scripts for use in schools, the two most popular being K.C.’s Dream and The Constitutional Convention. Additionally, she has written poetry for the Adult Bible Study published by Union Gospel Press.

Brenda has been editing since 2002, first in the educational field and then in the Christian/family-friendly market. Her editing experience goes from picture books to chapter books—including Johanna’s Journey: Call to Freedom (a finalist for the 2015 Selah Award)—to YA novels and adult fiction and nonfiction, including inspirational books and Bible studies.

Brenda has two grown children, a new grandchild, two blogs that she promises to devote more attention to, and more cats than an allergic woman should have! (Want one?)

You can find Brenda online at BrendaCovert.blogspot.com. If you’re especially fond of Christmas, you’ll enjoy her blog at ChristmaswithBrenda.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter, where she’s  @TheBrendaCovert.

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Sneak Peek: Brenda Covert’s Presentation for W2I 2018

As a child, I penned a collection of Christmas poems. Little booklets of the poems became gifts tucked under Christmas trees. I loved creative writing and often wrote stories that I never finished, but I could always finish a poem. (Just don’t ask to see one of those early Christmas pieces!)

Puzzles have always intrigued me. Poems are like puzzles, and words are the puzzle pieces. When the words fit together perfectly, the result is a delightfully creative word picture. But if the wrong word has been hammered into place and forced to fit where it doesn’t belong, a disjointed picture emerges. Part of the fun of poetry is fitting the perfect words into place!

Poetry that honors our Heavenly Father has the power to inspire, encourage, convict, and motivate others in their walk. In my 2018 Write2Ignite Teen Track workshop, “Writing Poetry with Meter and Rhyme,” we’re going to look at “The Pilgrim,” a twenty-four-line poem by John Bunyan, and use it as a template for crafting our own poems. Then we’ll switch gears and work on two other types of poetry—life poetry and picture poetry—and have fun doing it! By the end of the workshop, we’ll have written three different types of poetry!

Can’t wait to see you in September!

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Freelance author and editor Brenda Covert was first published for pay in 1999 with an article in the May/June issue of Today’s Christian Woman and a Thanksgiving poem in Clubhouse Jr. Since 2002, Brenda has written more than four hundred short children’s stories for Union Gospel Press’s Sunday school curriculum. Her stories, most of which are written for the nine to eleven age group, entertain as well as offer a lesson on living for our Savior. She also published numerous scripts for use in schools, the two most popular being K.C.’s Dream and The Constitutional Convention. Additionally, she has written poetry for the Adult Bible Study published by Union Gospel Press.

Brenda has been editing since 2002, first in the educational field and then in the Christian/family-friendly market. Her editing experience goes from picture books to chapter books—including Johanna’s Journey: Call to Freedom (a finalist for the 2015 Selah Award)—to YA novels and adult fiction and nonfiction, including inspirational books and Bible studies.

Brenda has two grown children, a new grandchild, two blogs that she promises to devote more attention to, and more cats than an allergic woman should have! (Want one?)

You can find Brenda online at BrendaCovert.blogspot.com. If you’re especially fond of Christmas, you’ll enjoy her blog at ChristmaswithBrenda.blogspot.com. Follow her on Twitter, where she is @radiantsunset7.