Write2Ignite

Christian Writers of Literature for Children and Young Adults

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How to Survive the Sinking of the S.S. CHRISTIAN MARKET

Image from Pexels by Johannes Plenio

 

The high seas of the writing industry are tumultuous at best with raging competition and a strong current of marketing demands. Within the last few years, one of these waves has taken the Christian fiction market to a low. As a result, publishing houses are merging or narrowing their acquisition criteria, Christian brick and mortar stores like LifeWay are closing, and self-publishing is becoming all too tempting.

But don’t fear, fellow Christian writers! We have the ultimate Life Preserver. Yes, it’s Jesus! With a few simple truths to remember, He will help us refocus in order to navigate even the bleakest of waters.

Truth #1: Remember Who called you.

While we are all different, a common theme among us faith-based writers is the belief that God called us to write. After all, He gave us the skill, the desire, and the message to do so. While that calling doesn’t give us the liberty to do whatever we want with it, we can be certain that God wants us where we are until told otherwise.

And while we’re trusting in The One Who called, we can focus on constantly learning and producing quality work. Jesus understands the obstacles we’ve faced to get where we are, and He will see us through the obstacles heading our way.

Truth #2 Remember the Why

If we believe we’ve been called, we should also believe in the reason we’ve been called. God has cultivated in us His wisdom and His message and we have been charged to reveal it the best way we know how, creatively.

We have a genre, a target audience, and a need that have a special place in our heart. If you’re reading this, that audience might be YA, MG, or children’s books. If you’re like me, the needs of emerging adults inspire your writing. We long to make a positive impact in the lives of our readers and one that goes deeper than just a good story. Let the ‘Why’ be a driving force in your work even if the vehicle changes from time to time.

Truth #3 Remember the Priority

As Christian writers, we don’t just spill words on a page just because. Writing not only scratches that inner itch, but it also helps us communicate to a world that will always need someone to point them to the truth of Jesus. Though the market may seem low, I believe the spiritual demand is at an all-time high. The world is consumed with entertainment for entertainment’s sake. The next generation is growing up with fewer morals, fewer role models, and fewer reasons to be close to Jesus. If we use our words to entertain, educate, and encourage people for Jesus’s sake, we will be providing a worth that cannot be matched.

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When you feel lost in the sea of rejections, when you can’t keep up with the new tide of trends, or when the culture drowns your ambitions, you know what to do. Let the culture and the industry do what they do, ebb and flow as always. Fix your eyes on Jesus, The One Who calms the sea, and He will make sure you stay above water.


Leah Jordan Meahl writes Christian fiction and nonfiction for new adults. Click here to learn more.

Book Nook: By Way of Introduction

If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you. Maybe it’s not quite that easy, but if you want to learn something, go to the source. —Natalie Goldberg

Hello everyone,

My name is Karley Conklin, and I’m a new blogger for Write2Ignite.

I’ve been able to attend Write2Ignite on four different occasions, and I must say, it’s been one of the best parts of my writing journey. The first time I participated in the conference, I was a timid high school senior, with no experience and no idea what to expect. Despite my fears, the conference planted in me a grain of confidence. As I introduced myself to editors and agents, I began to see myself as more than just a dreamer. Professionals in the publishing world were offering me consistent encouragement and affirmation, and I left the event feeling certain I was called to write.

Since then, I’ve graduated college with an Interdisciplinary Literature and Christian Studies degree—which is to say that my writing has sadly fallen to the back-burner. Though I’ve yet to publish the middle-grade novel I wrote four years ago, I’ve still managed to keep my creativity simmering, through editing, through smaller writing projects, and most of all, through reading.

It shouldn’t surprise you that a lit major (and now part-time librarian) would be an advocate for reading as much you can. Even though I’m biased, I firmly believe that reading is one of the best ways to learn to write well. In every book, we find examples of what works and what doesn’t. We find lessons in the flow of language, the nature of plot and setting, and the magic of character development. Reading allows us to observe the art we hope to master, and observation is a powerful tool.

My blog posts in the upcoming months will focus on sharing with you the best books on writing I can find. Mixed in with these textbooks of the trade, I’ll add reviews of children’s literature to encourage you to keep honing your observational skills.

I look forward to learning and growing with you all and hope that you’ll share your thoughts with our Write2Ignite community.

Since you now know all about me, I’d love to hear a little about you. What’s one of your favorite books, one that has inspired you or challenged your thinking?

(Mine would be Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, but more on her later.)

 

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Karley Conklin is a part-time librarian, part-time editor, and full-time bookworm. Her fondness for books borderlines obsession, as she engages in not only writing and editing, but also in book-binding. On her blog http://litwyrm.com/, she discusses all sorts of literature, from poetry to picture books. Her goal is to use the power of stories to remind others of hope and joy in a world that all too often forgets both.

The Finishing Touch

Here’s a sneak peek at conference presenters with descriptions in their own words. We’ll be posting a teaser page each  Monday.

To register, visit: https://write2ignite.com/registration-2019/

 

Vijaya Bodach – Writing a Book that’s Controversial

 

Come to this workshop if you feel called to bring the Light of Christ to problems in this fallen world. What events in recent months have lit a fire under you to do something about them? Go ahead…list them. Pick ONE thing. Now, what can you reasonably expect to do? What can you do with the might of God supporting you? Dream. Write His Dream.

 

 

 

Attention Teens!

Carol Baldwin – Out of This World Fiction & Fantasy

Following up on Daniel Blackaby’s keynote and our previous workshops, we’ll consider important details to empower and invigorate your fantasy and science fiction stories. Consistency and believability are key!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Todd Williams – Connecting With Kids

We were all kids once. Should it really be that hard to relate? Sadly for writers, childhood sometimes seems far away. We will explore some specific characteristics of three age groups between 4 and 11 years old that will remind you of the struggles and joys of being a kid. More than that, we’ll look at creative writing strategies that can target those childhood traits in ways that will excite and energize their minds.

 

 

 

 

 

Jean Matthew Hall – “The Challenges of Writing Fiction Picture Books”

Join us for Jean Matthew Hall’s workshop, “The Challenges of Writing Fiction Picture Books” as we dig into great picture books to search for nine elements that can make your picture books great.

 

 

 

 

Andrea Merrell – Turning Pain Into Prose

Have you ever experienced pain? You know, the gut-wrenching kind that makes you feel as if you’re going under for the third time with no life preserver? Maybe it was a chronic illness, abuse, or a prodigal child. Perhaps it was divorce or even death. Pain affects us all to some degree, but God doesn’t waste a single thing that goes on in our life. He wants us to share our stories to offer hope to those who are hurting. “Turning Pain into Prose “will show you how to dig deeply into those painful experiences to find inspiration, passion, and purpose for your writing.

 

 

Steve Hutson – What NOT to Say to an Agent or Editor

No how matter how good your story, or how awesome your execution, it might not be enough. You still have to sell this thing. Learn what to say — and, very importantly — what NOT to say, when pitching your book.

CONGRATULATIONS to Diane Buie who won an autographed copy of Maiden of Iron: A Steampunk Novel from last week’s giveaway.

Looking for an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up? **PLUS A GIVEAWAY**


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.

To register, visit: https://write2ignite.com/registration-2019/

 

Kim Peterson – Selling Snappy Sidebars

Sidebars fill the pages of magazines, our computer screens, and even some TV shows. Sidebars are short articles that accompany and relate to a larger work, yet they present a different angle. With today’s online and “everything now” mentality, these high-demand mini pieces often serve as the article. Come to this workshop to learn why editors, writers, and readers love sidebars. We’ll also examine the different types, how to be creative in assembling a sidebar, and how to write these snappy pieces to entertain and inform readers. You’ll soon be providing the extras your editor craves.

 

 

Vijaya Bodach – Writing Memoir (Part II): Being a Witness—Writing the Most Important Story

Can you think of any modern-day witnesses? These are people who questioned Christianity and found it to be true! And they will do anything to keep this Pearl, this Treasure, this Gift. Can you state the reason for your hope in Christ? Allow the Holy Spirit to speak through you. We are now living in a post-Christian society. We have the greatest number of people who have no religious affiliation. They are the “nones” (not to be confused with nuns). It is YOUR story that will make a difference in their lives, as you sow seeds of faith and hope in them. Yes, I’m looking at YOU!

 

Terri Kelly – How to Write Devotions for Children

Turn yourself into a writing machine. Don’t you want to publish a children’s picture book or a magazine article for teens? How about a middle-grade chapter book or nonfiction for children? There is a surefire way to sharpen your story: Write Devotions. In How to Write Devotions for Children, you’ll learn a simplified method that you can apply to all writing. Not only will you walk away with a plan for a publishable devotion to the best audience in the world—our children, you’ll gain a writing tool belt to wear for life.

 

Edie Melson – Writing for the YA Audience

We live in a world with a savvy and sophisticated young adult population. In their young lives—through media and the ready availability of digital information—they’ve been exposed to a lifetime of experiences. The first rule of YA writing is respect—respect for our audience, and respect for their experiences and opinions. The second rule is authenticity. Our YA readers can spot a fake a mile away. This workshop will cover the mindsets and expectations of this audience. We’ll discuss how this mindset affects our writing in multiple genres and for different age groups.

 

Tessa Emily Hall – Create Book Buzz by Coordinating a Blog Tour

Marketing isn’t always an author’s best friend—but in today’s publishing landscape, it’s a requirement. What if I told you it could be both exciting and cost-effective? And that, even with no prior marketing experience, you could reach readers from the comfort of your own home? 

This is what I have found to be the case through coordinating blog tours for my own books. Coordinating these tours have proven to be a powerful strategy to reach target readers and spread online buzz surrounding a new release. By tapping into my passion for the book, I have discovered how to create unique tours that invite my target readers to share in this excitement. 

Come to my workshop, Create a Book Buzz with a Blog Tour, and learn these five steps on how to kick off your virtual tour from the ground up—in a way that is both organized and efficient. You will also discover secrets on how to infuse your passion with creativity to brainstorm unique and fun content for your tour. 

Who knows? After coordinating your first blog tour, you might realize that marketing isn’t your worst enemy after all.

Steve Hutson – Why You’re Not Getting Published: Rejection-Proof Submissions

Have you sent off your manuscript to dozens of agents and editors, only to be rejected again and again? Learn the things they won’t tell you; discover the most common problems, and how to avoid them. Hint:  It may have nothing to do with the quality of your writing or your story.

GIVEAWAY

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! 

AND

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. 

Finding Inspiration

 Spring Break – Finally! Exhausted from the cold wet winter weather and teacher paperwork this week I’m doing what I love most – digging in the dirt.

Fence posts need to be set. Wire must be stretched and the garden has to be tilled. Why would I love all this physical, backbreaking, bone-tiring work? It gives me time to take a deep breath from the craziness of life and observe God’s Creation. I notice praying mantis nests, squishy eggs buried under straw mulch, bees buzzing in the blueberry blossoms and so much more to write about. Whether gardening, camping, hiking, or strolling along the beach, the Lord’s Creation is my inspiration to illustrate His Truth.

How about you? What does the Lord use to inspire you to write His Truth?

Want to find out more? Visit my weekly devotional blog at gailcartee.blogspot.com. By the way, I love history, music, and watercolors too.

Overcoming a Writer’s Fears by Attending Conferences


As a writer, I often find myself bogged down in fear.  Fear that my writing may not be good enough. Fear that I am too old. Fear that I don’t know how to write. Attending conferences gives me the insight to overcome those fears through encouragement, instruction, resources and reminding me that my writing needs to be covered in prayer. 

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