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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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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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Sneak Peek: Daniel Blackaby’s Presentations for W2I 2018

“The Journey Begins: Step-by-Step Preparation for Beginning the Writer’s Journey”

People often say, “It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish that counts.” The problem is, you can’t finish what you don’t start! So many talented writers never achieved their dream of finishing a book, simply because they never learned how to get started. They might have had dozens of amazing story ideas floating around in their heads, but they didn’t know what to do with them.

Don’t let this be you!

In my extremely practical workshop “The Journey Begins: Step-by-Step Preparation for Beginning the Writer’s Journey,” I’ll equip you with a simple step-by-step guide to help you start finally writing that book you’ve always wanted to write.

“Joining the Fellowship: A Fun Brainstorming Session about Your Book”

All the greatest heroes have faithful sidekicks. Frodo had Samwise, Aragorn, and Legolas; Harry Potter had Ron and Hermione; and Luke Skywalker had Han, Leia, and Chewbacca. The hero’s journey is treacherous and potentially fatal to anyone foolish enough to try traveling it alone. The writer’s journey is no different.

Many writers hold back, not because they don’t know how to write, but because they don’t know what to write about. Is this you? Are you looking for an idea to get you started? Have you hit a wall with your current story? Are you looking for that one idea that will take your story from good to great? If so, come join our fellowship!

In my workshop “Joining the Fellowship: A Fun Brainstorming Session about Your Book,” you’ll have the invaluable chance to discuss and brainstorm ideas for your next book along with a room full of amazingly talented storytellers. Come join the fellowship! Let’s live this writing adventure together.

“Heroic Writing: Overcoming the Obstacles to Find Victory in Your Writing”

A blank page.

The mere thought is enough to make even the greatest writers shake in terror. Writer’s block—the age-old arch-nemesis of the writer—has killed many promising novels. You may be the most talented writer on the planet, but if you can’t beat writer’s block, you’ll never fulfill your dream of writing a book.

Fortunately, like all other classic villains, writer’s block has a weakness. Writer’s block is scary, but it doesn’t have to be invincible. I published eight books in six years, not because I was the most skilled writer, but because I discovered how to win against writer’s block.

In my workshop “Heroic Writing: Overcoming the Obstacles to Find Victory in Your Writing,” I’ll share several simple tips and strategies to help you not only overcome writer’s block but also write more productively than ever before. So—armor up, grab your sword, and let’s slay this dragon together.

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Daniel is a fifth-generation author and the grandson of Henry Blackaby (author of the best-selling Experiencing God Bible study). After publishing his first book as a twenty-three-year-old college student, Daniel went on to write several award-winning books in both fiction and nonfiction. His work includes the YA fantasy trilogy Lost City Chronicles as well as When Worlds Collide: Stepping Up and Standing Out in an Anti-God Culture and 7 Steps to Knowing, Doing, and Experiencing the Will of God for Teens.

Daniel has a passion for using the creative arts and the Christian imagination to enrich and transform today’s culture. To this aim, he has traveled across the country and to four different continents to encourage creative Christians of all ages to leverage their amazing God-given gifts for a higher purpose.

Daniel has a BA in English and an MDiv in theology and is currently pursuing a PhD in Christianity and the Arts.

Learn more at DanielBlackaby.com and on Facebook.

 

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Stories Matter

“The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” —Muriel Rukeyser

Once upon a time…

… in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

… a young shepherd boy stood before the giant with only a sling.

… a starship set out to boldly go where no man had gone before.

… four reptiles stumbled upon green ooze in the sewers of New York.

… a special child was discovered in the town of Smallville.

… a one-legged cook performed mutiny aboard a ship.

… a hairy-footed Halfling discovered a magical ring.

I’m guessing you could identify most of the stories above just by the single phrase. Why? Because stories have power. Stories resonate deep within us. Our minds will cling to few things as resiliently as a well-told story. They tug at our emotions, enlighten our insights, and offer guidance to our hands and feet. In short: Stories Matter.

A story can be told in a cornucopia of languages—yet the act of storytelling is a universal rite. Cave art can be attributed to every civilization on every continent at the same point in their cultural development. The reality of the pictorial stories declares a simple truth: We do not learn to tell stories—storytelling is encoded into our very DNA. Storytelling is part of being human.

Stories Matter.

We must teach children mathematics and logic—but we need only cultivate imagination. Humanity has always understood the world through story. Simone Weil once said, “Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.” Should this surprise? We are, after all, created in the image of the Great Storyteller.

When God orchestrated the holy Scriptures to offer guidance, He did so primarily through story. A Book intended for all cultures was written in a language all cultures could understand and value—the language of story. Over 60% of the Bible is narrative. Often lost in the clutter of systematics is that the Bible reads less like an instruction manual and more like a New York Times best-selling thriller. No wonder the Bible is the most plagiarized book in history.

Stories Matter.

So let’s put away this nonsense about stories being a trivial child’s fancy. We do not outgrow stories any more than we outgrow being human. Stories are, and will always be, an essential part of the human equation. We understand the world and our place in it through the lens of story. Not only that, but we are active characters in an epic, continually unfolding story being told each new day. As Hans Christian Andersen once said, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all.”

Stories Matter.

I hope to see you all on March 24–25 at Write2Ignite 2017. I’ll be giving a keynote talk on the power of Story and leading some breakout sessions on writing fantasy fiction and overcoming writer’s block (it is possible, trust me!). Come, and let’s learn from each other how to better tell the stories that God has given us—because stories truly do matter.

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Daniel Blackaby is a fifth-generation author and the grandson of Henry Blackaby (author of the best-selling Experiencing God Bible study). After publishing his first book as a 23-year-old college student, Daniel has gone on to write several award-winning books in both fiction and non-fiction. His work includes the YA fantasy trilogy The Lost City Chronicles and non-fiction When Worlds Collide: Stepping Up and Standing Out in an Anti-God Culture and 7 Steps to Knowing, Doing, and Experiencing the Will of God for Teens. Check him out at DanielBlackaby.com and on Facebook.

 

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Daniel Blackaby’s Earthshaking Confession

Daniel BlackabyI have a serious confession to make.

Ready for it?

Promise you won’t tell anyone?

Okay, here it is . . . I’m a fake author.

You see, I get asked all the time: “What does it take to be a writer?” People think that because I’ve published several books I’m a somehow a guru in all things writing, guiding inspiring novelists along the beaten trail to find the secret “author success” formula at the end of the rainbow. The problem is, I’m not even sure I’m a real author myself!

When you think of an “author,” what do you see? A man with a knee-length gray beard in a secluded mountain cottage surrounded by nothing but paper, a pen, and the mystifying wonders of nature? Someone who gleefully arranges his alphabet soup into compound sentences? Speaks in Shakespearian English? Reads War and Peace to relax in the bathtub? The problem is that I’m none of these things (seriously, my cheeks grow less hair than a naked mole rat).

Exhibit A: I currently sit in a La-Z-Boy recliner with my laptop propped atop a flimsy TV-table “desk.” To my right, littering my makeshift bookshelf/side-table is an empty can of Red Bull and several crumpled granola bar wrappers left from the days I was too distracted (read: slothful) to cook lunch. There’s also a bottle of extra-strength lavender Febreze to combat the potent stench wafting from the one-eyed dog at my feet. The rancid mutt and I daily engage in a cosmic battle for noise supremacy between my European heavy-metal and his grating snoring. In short, my life falls miserably short of the standards to be a “real author.”

My complications started early on. In 5th grade, my lowest mark was in English, prompting my teacher to conclude that my “responses reflect difficulties in understanding and interpreting literature.” When I reached college, I thought my fortunes had changed . . . at least I did until my first advanced grammar exam was returned with the words “Boo Hiss!” scribbled on top in thick red ink. Later that semester I would find an earnest note pinned to my midterm reminding me “English majors must achieve at least an C in the course.” My loathsome grades highlighted what I already knew: I’m an atrocious speller and can’t comprehend the correct grammatical use of commas if my life (or college graduation) depended on it!

Wait, but aren’t you supposed to be an author? Exactly! Are you beginning to understand my dilemma? Can you imagine the pandemonium that would transpire if the world caught on to my ruse and realized that all along I’ve only been a fake author?

By now you must be wondering how a fraud like me managed to dupe this blog into letting me contribute a post on writing. Well, here’s the most bizarre part of the whole story: amid all these monumental shortcomings, I’ve somehow managed to write 5 published books, exceed 25,000 sales, receive several nominations for year-end book awards, and have my work featured at some of the largest book conferences across the country, all before my 29th birthday! Wait, what!? Pretty crazy, isn’t it? Wondering how such a blatant “fake author” achieved all that? The answer is simple—I wrote.

It’s inescapably clear that I will never be the world’s premier technical writer. In fact, I had dozens of peers at school with oodles more talent than me. I’m also certain I will never sit atop the totem pole for creativity. I’ve had several aspiring writers share ideas that blew my own shabby concepts out of the water and sent them plunging to the dark depths of Davy-Jones’ Locker. However, the one thing I have done that far too many aspiring writers do not do is actually write.

You may be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in grammar and possess mind-blowing fresh ideas, but if you never put words on paper, none of it matters. Sometimes we become so preoccupied with what we must look, act, or be like to become a “real author” that we neglect the single most important task that all writers must do—write. The reality is that for every Steven King, J.R.R. Tolkien, or J. R. Rowling, there are thousands of “fake authors” just like me. So don’t sweat it if you don’t live in a mountain cabin or know the function of an ambitransitive verb. So what if other people try and tell you will never succeed as a writer. None of those reasons can stop you from putting words on paper. Do that, and you never know all the crazy places it could take you. If a “fake author” like me can do it, what’s stopping you? Hope to see you at the Write2Ignite Conference in April!

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