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The Queen of Charts: Sharing One Way to Plan a Story

Missy Tippens


The Queen of Charts: Sharing One Way to Plan a Story


Let me reintroduce myself. I’m Missy, the Queen of Charts. I love a good planning chart and have a whole folder full of them on my hard drive to prove it. Because I learn best by seeing examples, I’ve shared some examples of my files in previous posts, hoping they might be a help to our readers. Here are links to two of those posts:



Today, I wanted to share another GMC chart. FYI: GMC is taken from the book GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict by Debra Dixon. I also modified my chart after using Carolyn Greene's Magic Conflict Chart from her out-of-print Prescription for Plotting notebook (she said will have a new edition coming later this year!). In addition, I've added some brainstorming notes that I made after reading The Story Equation by Susan May Warren and also hearing her present workshops at conferences.

I used these charts for my recent release, “Her Valentine Reunion,” part of the mulit-author collection, BackTo You.

Warning…SPOILER ALERT!! If you own this boxed set and want to read my novella first, please run do that. Or if you don’t own it yet and want to read it first (It's only 99 cents!), here’s a link. Then be sure to come back. :)

In these examples, I’ll be copying and pasting directly from my planning notebook file (you can even see when I had a gem of an idea :)). Sometimes the story doesn’t end up exactly as planned, but for the most part, this one did.

You’ll see that for each character, I plan the following:
External goal, motivation and conflict (EG, EM, EC).
Internal need (what they truly need), goal (possibly misguided), motivation, conflict (IN, IG, IM, IC). Plus, something to consider.

GMC Chart for Her Valentine Reunion

Victor
EG: Go to High Hope/Dahlia (changed town name) to buy a golf course or invest in a struggling country club
EM: To look at establishing himself in High Hope/Dahlia and supporting the community.
EC: His ex-girlfriend, whom he did wrong and who wants him to stay away from her, works at the place he wants to buy—and hopes to take over the business when her uncle retires.

IN: to belong
IG: to earn forgiveness by being a better person (atonement/sense of duty toward hometown)
IM: he’s been aloof and superficial to protect himself in the past but has had an epiphany; he’s made peace with his newly discovered cousin and wants to have that relationship (but needs to change to do so; his almost-fiancée said he needs to accept people the way they are)
IC: it seems impossible to overcome his reputation and no one seems willing to forgive.
Consider: You can’t earn love and acceptance. It’s a two-way street, and you must first risk loving others.

Abbie
EG: Move back to her roots and make a happy, single life for herself near family and friends. Also making her place in uncle’s business so she can maybe take it over someday (a nice living for her single self).
EM: Hearing about the mistake Victor made being away from his grandmother before she died.
EC: Victor shows up, and he’s talking about buying the place she works—the place she wants to keep in the family and take over when her uncle retires

IN: Security/loyalty
IG: be independent and follow God’s plan for her life, even if it’s not what she always envisioned
IM: She’s been rejected/used in the past and doesn’t trust others easily
IC: It’s hard to be strong when Victor is around, reminding her of past hopes and dreams
Consider: If you try to be independent and not acknowledge the truth of your desires, you’ll never get what you need. 

The Queen of Charts: Sharing One Way to Plan a Story


Additional Brainstorming Notes:

Victor
Wound: parents were not involved in his life. They were always busy with their own jobs and didn’t prioritize him, their only child. Praised him when he was successful, so he felt he could earn their attention. Grandmother was only one who showed unconditional love (and he ultimately let her down). Even his job success never seemed to impress his parents. With grandma dead now, he feels adrift—except for the tenuous relationship with Hardy. It’s a life-line.

Lie: (child) I must not be very lovable, so I need to be really good at something to earn attention and love.
Lie: (adult) People want to associate with me when I’m successful. That’s power to have them want my attention. I like my ability to give them things. If I lose my successful business, I am nothing.

Biggest fear: Everything I have crashing down (failure at business). Because that would mean loss of power, and thus, loss of worth.

IDEA!
To stay in High Hope/Dahlia he’ll have to sell his business. So buying the country club would be his way to stay in High Hope and be near family, which he dreams of having (and belonging). But to buy it would be to go against the one thing Abbie wants (to keep it in her family and take over for her uncle someday).


Abbie:
After he treated her so badly in college (Victor hid fact he needed to succeed more than he needed her), she felt used. Felt like she wasn’t worthy of love. Felt less than. Took a big hit to her confidence. Took a long time to get over that. Men she dated didn’t help. She had to do it on her own and through friends and family.

Her biggest fear (potential): 1. being found lacking    **2. Being used/taken advantage of or made a fool of
I think I like #2 better. Rather than be used or made a fool of again, she’d rather be single. Not so risky. So feeling God wants her to be single is less risky than having to trust Victor again.

Wound: Victor ignoring her and keeping her out of his life even while supposedly dating (because she didn’t have/offer anything to advance his goals).

Lie: I’m safer being alone, not depending on anyone else for my happiness. Nothing and no one is worth risking having your love thrown back in your face.

Missy again…

So that’s a peek inside my plotter’s brain. It’s a great way for me to think through my story and to make sure I have some decent backstory before I start writing.

Often, the next step is to think of scene ideas for each block on my GMC chart. I think of scenes that will show, for example, my heroine’s external goal, or my hero’s internal motivation. This is also a great way to make sure I’m not just telling with a backstory dump. Once I have a lot of scene ideas jotted down, I try to put them in some type of chronological order that makes sense and seems to progress in rising action. This won’t be all the scenes in the story. But it’s a nice skeleton to start with. And of course, that changes as I move forward in the writing—because the story sometimes goes in surprising directions.

I hope y’all found this helpful! I’d love to hear whether you use any sort of GMC chart. How do you plan your characters?

Giveaway! I’d like to offer to look at your GMC chart or, if you don’t work that way, to look at 1-2 pages of your brainstorming notes. I’ll give feedback or offer additional ideas. Just let me know in the comments if you’d like to be entered.

So, are you ready to read Victor and Abbie's story? :)
The Queen of Charts: Sharing One Way to Plan a Story


Join some of today's best-selling Christian Romance authors as they introduce you to four new couples who reunite for a second-chance at romance. This inspirational romance collection from Love Inspired authors Cheryl Wyatt, Missy Tippens, Jessica Keller, and Kristen Ethridge will warm your heart and each quick, satisfying read will keep you in the spirit of Valentine's Day and holiday romance all year long with stories of true love and happily-ever-after.




Also! Don’t forget to pre-order Cowboys of Summer! Next month I’m going to talk a little about how this city girl wrote her first cowboy story. :)

The Queen of Charts: Sharing One Way to Plan a Story


As the summer weather sizzles, relax by the pool with stirring tales of handsome cowboys and the spirited ladies who wrangle them into romance. Six of Christian fiction's most beloved authors join forces to bring you a collection of humorous, romantic and heartfelt novellas set against the sultry heat of summer.

***************
After more than 10 years of pursuing her dream of publication, Missy Tippens, a pastor’s wife and mom of three from near Atlanta, Georgia, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been nominated for the Booksellers Best, Holt Medallion, ACFW Carol Award, Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, Maggie Award, Beacon Contest, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, and the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award. Visit Missy at www.missytippens.com, https://twitter.com/MissyTippens and http://www.facebook.com/missy.tippens.readers.


Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

   If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Note our new email address and please send your emails to Seekerville2@gmail.com
Monday: The winner of a signed copy of The Accidental Guardian by Mary Connealy is Lynda E.

Friday: Leslie Ann Sartor shared her insights into creating book covers. The winner of an ecopy of her latest release, Prince of Granola, is Glynis!

Weekend Edition


Monday:  Missy Tippens will be sharing another GMC chart with you to show how she developed characters in her recent novella, Her Valentine Reunion--part of the multi-author collection titled Back to You. Do you dare look at the inner workings of her brain?! :)

Wednesday:  When Editors are Right... and Wrong... Join Ruthy as she talks frankly about when to listen and when to hold your ground... and you might be surprised at what you hear and what you THINK you hear when editors speak. And honestly... most editors want to draw out the very best you've got to give... but then again, Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected 144 times according to Mark Canfield... So there is definitely a margin of error within the industry! Sometimes opinions are just opinions... and sometimes they're the difference between a ho-hum book and an award-winning novel. Let's talk about how to tell the difference this Wednesday.

Friday: Grab your fans and fainting couches! Carrie Schmidt will be talking about what makes a swoonilicious book boyfriend hero in part 1 of her "Kiss and Tell" series (Part 2 in a couple of months will focus on what makes a freezer-needing kiss for a reader)

Weekend Edition


Erica Vetsch has a new release! The First Love Forever Collection released April 1st. 

A first love is never easily forgotten...
and coming face to face with that person again can be awkward when the heartstrings are still holding on to the “what ifs.”


Weekend Edition



9 reunion romances, including Erica's story, "Prescription for Love" featuring a character from one of her early novels, Phin Mackenzie. Phin was a child in "Light to my Path," but now he's all grown up and ready to love.

Prescription for Love
1905 – New Orleans: Erstwhile fiancée Natalie Morrison is the last person Dr. Mackenzie wants as his new nurse, but when an epidemic hits, Phin finds she’s come back into his life at the perfect time.



You can learn more about the collection and grab your own copy by clicking HERE.

Carrie Schmidt and Annie JC met for breakfast this week on a rare day when they were in the same state. Wonder what we were plotting and planning? You'll find out soon!! 
 
Weekend Edition


Ruth Logan Herne is thrilled to have the second edition of "Refuge of the Heart" available in paperback and Kindle! This beautiful, award-winning story takes you on a journey into one woman's past... and the kindness of good people to help ensure her future. A gripping story of sacrificial love and a past that trips the heels of the present, Ruthy is thrilled to offer it to readers in both formats... and at great prices. LINK TO AMAZON

Weekend Edition

Weekend Edition

IN BOOKSTORES NOW



Weekend Edition
Barnes and Noble

Sioux City, Iowa

Southern Hills Mall

Saturday, April 14 - 1 pm

Sharee Stover, Erica Vetsch and Mary Connealy

Celebrating their new releases

Secret Past
Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers
The Accidental Guardian


Weekend Edition


HarperCollins Christian Publishing launches new UK-based imprint, Harper Inspire.

How to create a buyer persona on Facebook from Social Media Examiner (thanks to The Hot Sheet for sharing this and the above link).

Scrivener 3's New Approach to Compile from Gwen Hernandez on Writer Unboxed. 

What I Love About Scrivener 3 by Lynn Blackburn at The Write Conversation with Edie Melson.

The Best Fonts and Colors in the Most Shareable Social Media Images from Buffer Social blog.

All the Options to Grow Your Email List by Misty Beller, The Ambitious Author blog.



Weekend Edition

Follow the Journey to Pleasant Prairie series by Jan Drexler Blog Blitz, starting Monday, April 9th! Get familiar with this series and Jan, and get a sneak peek at her new series!! Be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway!  For more open tours and sign ups for readers, head to the JustRead Publicity Tours website. 

Weekend Edition

Book Covers - They can make or break a book

by Leslie Ann Sartor

When I decided that the indie publishing route was the path for me, I realized immediately that I would need to find a cover designer. Lucky for me, one of my writing buddies was designing covers for other authors and offered to do my first cover at no charge. 

I was filled with ideas and had the image of what I wanted firmly planted in my mind. Then I tried to describe it to her, I even had artwork for her to use. And bless her heart, she did a great job. A few months later, I realized my first cover wasn’t saying anything about the story and we needed to change it.  She again got my vision and we created the new cover. 

Book Covers - They can make or break a book

But there were many moments that frustrated me, and I know she was on edge a bit too, because my vision was hard to translate to words and colors were different on her computer than mine...endless little adjustments of all sorts were needed. After cover number 3, I realized that if I wanted the book cover to completely encompass my vision, I had to do it myself.

Two weeks ago, I launched my 7th book Prince Of Granola and my 5thcover (I redid one of the earlier ones if you’re doing the math 😊)

Book Covers - They can make or break a book

I love this cover. In fact, I believe it’s one of my best. Why? Because it tells the reader so much with a single glance.

·      While I don’t like to see the complete faces of my characters, I prefer my readers to imagine the characters from my description, I’m finding fewer stock images to draw from that I like. So here I give you profiles.

·         The cover shows you the setting immediately

·        It gives you a visual clue to a scene, and when you read it, hopefully you’re immediately seeing the cover in your mind and feel you’ve uncovered a little secret.

·        And it tells you what the genre is.

How do I know where to start when creating a cover? I usually have the sense of my character’s physicality. I look through several image companies; AdobeStock, RF123, and DepositPhotos are some of my favorites, and I book mark or lightbox tons of images from them. BTW, you can download watermarked photos to try and do I a lot of this.

Once I’ve narrowed my characters down, I find a background that will work for that image andthe story. More photos to try, but that’s the only way to see what will work before you buy.

Then I spend a huge amount of time adding to the original images. For instance, I added the waterfall to the left because the title got lost in the rocks. I blend and subtract and add.  There wasn’t any water around my stock couple so I added it to make it look like they were in the water, not on top.

Book Covers - They can make or break a book
I find the font that I want to use and keep it for the entire series.  My name is always in a specific font, not related to the book but to me. Not necessary, but I like that consistency. 

Lastly, at least for this post, remember that you must own the images and the font. There are a variety of commercial licenses, so you need to read the licensing carefully. No pulling random images off the internet-ever!!

On my website (http://lesliesartor.com/writers-tools) I have two pdf’s that you can download that show you how to create a cover using Photoshop Elements.  I use Photoshop CC, but the steps are very similar.

If you want to try it and have questions, you can email me at Leslie@Lesliesartor.com and I’ll do my best to help.

I’m happy to give away an ecopy of Prince Of Granola to someone randomly chosen from the comments.

Hugs to all, L.A.


Book Covers - They can make or break a book
I started writing as a child, really. A few things happened on the way to becoming a published author … a junior high school teacher who told me I couldn’t write because I didn’t want to study … urk … grammar. I went to college, moved a few times, came home and found the love of my life (that is another novel worthy story, but for later), and got married.

I have always been a voracious reader and one night after throwing a particularly bad book at the wall (even putting a small ding in said wall), I realized that I could do better.  I told my husband, and he said go for it. I called Mom and she revealed the junior high teacher story and she told I’d been writing all the time up to that point.

That blew me away. I didn’t remember any of it.  But I started writing again, nearly the next day, pen and paper, learning, making mistakes, winning contests, then moving away from novel writing to screenwriting, getting a contract for a script and doing really well in screenwriting contests. But I wasn’t really making a career from any of this.

My husband told me repeatedly that independent publishing was becoming a valid way to publish a novel and people were making big dollars.  I didn’t believe him even after he showed me several Wall Street Journal articles. I thought indie meant vanity press.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I started pursuing this direction seriously, hit the keyboard, learned a litany of new things and published my first novel. My second book became a bestseller, and while I’m not rolling in dough, I’m absolutely on the right course in my life. Prince Of Granola is my 7th book.

Please come visit me at www.lasartor.com, see my books, find my social media links, some screenplays and sign up for my mailing list. I have a gift I’ve specifically created for my new email subscribers. And remember, you can email me at Leslie@LeslieSartor.com


Buy Links:

Amazon    
iBooks     
Nook      
Kobo   


Website         http://www.lasartor.com
Blog                http://www.anindieadventure.blogspot.com
Twitter            http://www.twitter.com/@lesannsartor
Amazon Author Page           http://amzn.to/1e10fkd
Bookbub        http://bit.ly/2kdhjkM

A Writer's Well Being - Step Away from the Candy

by Mindy Obenhaus

A Writer's Well Being - Step Away from the Candy
A writer on deadline can be a scary sight. The red-rimmed eyes from lack of sleep (or crying out a scene), crazed hair from jamming their fingers through it repeatedly, all while wearing the ever popular t-shirt and pajama bottoms.

Okay, so we don't all look that way.

However, when a writer is on deadline, they often overlook life as it normally exists and descend into a pit of unhealthy habits. 

So what's a writer to do?

Look out for number one. How can you give your best when you're not your best?
A Writer's Well Being - Step Away from the Candy

Here are a few tips to help you care for your #1 -

    Plan ahead - Deadlines rarely show up out of the blue. So before crunch time hits, make a plan. Take care of all those errands you've been putting off. Get the oil changed, schedule the kids physicals/haircuts/dental appointments, make that big trip to the grocery store. Stock up on healthy snacks (we'll talk more about those below), easy-to-prepare meal items and toilet paper. Because let's face it, no one wants to have to take time away from their hectic writing schedule to run to the store for toilet paper. Plan your meals in advance. If you're making a casserole, make two and freeze the second one. Then, when time is of the essence, all you have to do is pop it in the oven and continue writing.
      A Writer's Well Being - Step Away from the Candy
      Get up and move - We recently moved into a new house and my office happens to be on the opposite end of the house from the kitchen. I'm a big tea drinker and while I contemplated keeping my electric kettle in my office, I ultimately decided the walk to the kitchen, which is no less than 50 steps each way, would be a better idea.

      Writing is a sedentary job, so we need to force ourselves to move so our performance at the computer will be at its best. Try waking up 30 minutes early to get in some exercise and get your blood pumping before you put your butt in the chair. If you're stuck on a scene, take a walk outside to clear your head. Schedule a break once an hour and do some jumping jacks. Or, simply walk to the other end of the house for another cup of tea.
        A Writer's Well Being - Step Away from the Candy
        Eat healthy - When we're stressed, it's easy to reach for things that aren't necessarily good for us. We keep a bowl of peanut M&Ms on our desk. "It's a reward for every so many words," we tell ourselves. And that "peanuts have protein, so they're good for us." Ah, if only peanut M&Ms fell into the healthy category. I'd eat them day and night.

        Even when you're on deadline, you need to eat real meals, preferably somewhere away from your computer. Trust me, the change of scenery will do you good. And as for those snacks, instead of candy , try reaching for just the peanuts or whatever your favorite variety of nut may be. Or, if you really need something sweet, try mixing those nuts with some dried fruit. Cheese sticks are a good protein boost, as is yogurt (look for high-protein varieties), even beef jerky. Apples and berries will satisfy your sweet tooth without spiking your blood sugar. 
          A Writer's Well Being - Step Away from the Candy
          Sleep - A good night's sleep is necessary to keep our brains and bodies performing at their best. However, that can sometimes be a challenge when you're on deadline because you're constantly thinking about the story. You wake up at 2 a.m. with an idea and, bang, you're wide awake. Instead of lying their wide awake or getting up and stumbling to your computer, try keeping a pen and paper beside your bed. When those ideas crop up in the middle of the night, write them down, then roll over, knowing that you won't forget that stellar plot twist because you've made note of it. Or, if you don't want to turn the light on for pen and paper, type your thoughts on your phone. If you're like me, it's charging on the nightstand anyway.

          Reward yourself - At the end of your writing day, do something you enjoy. Watch your favorite TV show, read a book, play with the kids/grandkids, plot your next book, whatever brings you joy. And don't feel guilty. Remember, you've earned it.

          A Writer's Well Being - Step Away from the Candy
          Keep God in the equation - Psalm 121:1-2 "I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth."
            When you take care of you, not only are you happier, your family is happier and your readers will love you. 

            Now it's your turn. Writer or reader, let's chat about what keeps you sane during those times when life gets crazy. Do you plan ahead and try to take care of yourself? Or do you roll with the punches? What are some your favorite ways to stay on task?




            A Writer's Well Being - Step Away from the Candy

            Three-time Carol Award nominee, Mindy Obenhaus, writes contemporary romance for Love Inspired Books. She’s passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she’s not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren at her Texas ranch. Learn more at www.MindyObenhaus.com

            The Accidental Guardian

            The Accidental Guardian
            Releasing Tomorrow
            http://a.co/frtZOeJ
            We agreed with the Continued Journey of Seekerville to do things a little different. If we wanted.
            To be a little more laid back.
            So, today I'm doing that.
            This is just me talking about my book releasing tomorrow, The Accidental Guardian.
            The nugget of this book was the boy, abandoned alone, in the wilderness. How would he survive? What would he do? And in my research for many books, I've gotten just an inkling of the vastness of the American frontier.
            In this day of GPS and Smart Phones with mapping and Google Maps, not to mention PAVED ROADS WITH SIGNS!!! I was enticed by the question of what one man (a half-grown boy really) would do in that situation.
            His wagon train had taken off from the main trail, a small group. While he's away hunting the wagon train is attacked and everyone killed.
            There he is alone. 15 years old. Can he survive? What does he have to do? And, in keeping with the vastness of the Rocky Mountains, could he get so hopelessly lost that he just plain can't find anyone. Can he just settle in and live in the mountains and get so settled in that when he does find a way out, he doesn't take it.

            So that's the background, the fundamental question of the book. Can Trace survive.
            Well, yes. He survives. In fact, he's not been living in the wilderness for ten years. He didn't speak to another human being for four or five years....he sort of lost count of the number of winters he lived though so he'd not sure.

            And now another wagon is attacked. This time the survivors are two young women and the children they'd taken out into the tall grass when the three year old girl....needed to...ahem...step away into the tall grass for a minute.

            I guess if this is a post that could be interesting to a writer, I'd ask you to think about the very most fundamental nugget of your story. The kernel that caught your attention, then grew and caught fire. (I might be mixing metaphors, if your growing kernel catches fire, then your cornfield is on fire and now you need to stop writing and call 911 for the fire department, but let's ignore that.....)

            So Trace survives and man is he tough, and he's bad at talking to woman...when he says she's almost the first one he is NOT kidding.

            A quote from The Accidental Guardian.

            The Accidental Guardian

            Deb survives the massacre and when a man comes riding from the direction opposite where the killers had gone, she risks everything in this dangerous land and runs out to beg him for help. He seems nice but why does Trace keep talking to his horse and dog instead of her?
            The Accidental Guardian

            I'm excited about this book. I really ended up loving these characters and all the trouble I put them through.

            To celebrate I'm giving away a signed copy of The Accidental Guardian. And I'd like to talk about the nugget of YOUR work in progress. Or, if you're a reader, think about this, the most fundamental part of a book and tell me about one you loved.

            The Accidental Guardian

            The Accidental Guardian
            When Trace Riley finds the smoldering ruins of a small wagon train, he recognizes the hand behind the attack as the same group who left him as sole survivor years ago. Living off the wilderness since then, he'd finally carved out a home and started a herd--while serving as a self-appointed guardian of the trail, driving off dangerous men. He'd
            hoped those days were over, but the latest attack shows he was wrong.

            Deborah Harkness saved her younger sister and two toddlers during the attack, and now finds herself at the mercy of her rescuer. Trace offers the only shelter for miles around, and agrees to take them in until she can safely continue. His simple bachelor existence never anticipated kids and women in the picture and their arrival is unsettling--yet enticing.

            Working to survive the winter and finally bring justice to the trail, Trace and Deborah find themselves drawn together--yet every day approaches the moment she'll leave forever. 




            Weekend Edition

            Weekend Edition

            Weekend Edition

               If you are not familiar with our giveaway rules, take a minute to read them here. It keeps us all happy! All winners should send their name, address, and phone number to claim prizes.  Note our new email address and please send your emails to Seekerville2@gmail.com
            Tuesday: Ruth Logan Herne talked about diversity in stories on Tuesday... and she enjoyed talking with the lot o' youse! :) Winner of a copy of "The First Gift" is Connie Almony. Congratulations, Connie!

            Wednesday: Glynna Kaye chatted about how to add "visual texture" to the telling of your tale! Winners of a copy of her April Love Inspired release, "Mountain Country Courtship" are Kathy Bailey, Jackie Smith, Winnie Thomas, and Linda Sammaritan!

            Friday: Barbara Scott brought us a post about the power of journaling. The winner of Dreams of My Heart is...Alisa LaGroue!!

            Weekend Edition


            Monday:  Mary Connealy will be talking about the nugget...the foundation...of your story. She'll be talking about her TUESDAY release of the Accidental Guardian and there will be a drawing for a signed copy of The Accidental Guardian!

            Wednesday:  Mindy Obenhaus will post about a writer's well being!

            Friday: Thinking about designing your book cover? Leslie Ann Sartor will take us through the design steps to beautiful covers you can create yourself.


            Weekend Edition

            We have news to celebrate from another Villager! In January, Cynthia Herron was offered a three-book contract with Mountain Brook Ink! Her Hope Discovered (Book One in her Welcome to Ruby series) will release in July 2019! This was one of her books that finaled in the 2016 ACFW Genesis contest. Congratulations, Cynthia!


            Ruthy is so excited not just to wish you all a blessed and wonderful Easter, but to announce the re-release of "Refuge of the Heart" in Kindle and paperback! With rights reversion, Ruthy is able to bring you this beautiful story for an affordable Kindle price... and Ruthy loves watching out for your pocketbook! Huge thanks to Franciscan Media for this rare and wonderful opportunity to share Lena's story with the world... starting here, right here, with you. LINK TO AMAZON! 

            District Attorney Mitchell Sanderson lost his family to tragedy. He became a dogged prosecutor with an enviable conviction rate. But when faith, conscience and love of a troubled refugee ripple the smooth waters of his existence, can Mitch risk everything for love?


            Weekend Edition



            Erica Vetsch and her fellow novella collection authors are over on Tisha Martin's Blog talking about their April 1st release: 7 Brides for 7 Texas Rangers. Stop on by and enter the giveaway to win a copy! 


            Weekend Edition

            You can learn more about this new collection (a sequel to 7 Brides for 7 Texans) and order your own copy by clicking  HERE. 



            The third book in Debby Giusti's bestselling Amish Protectors series, AMISH RESCUE, is in stores this week! You're sure to find it in Walmart as well as in your favorite romance-friendly bookstores. Buy digital copies at Amazon or other online providers! 



            Weekend Edition



            Amish Rescue
            By Debby Giusti

            Hiding with the Amish


            Englischer Sarah Miller escapes her captor by hiding in the buggy of an Amish carpenter. Joachim Burkholder is her only hope—and donning Plain clothing is the only way to keep safe and find her missing sister. But for Joachim, who’s just returning to the Amish, the forbidden Englischer is trouble. Trapping her kidnapper risks his life, but losing Sarah risks his heart.

            Weekend Edition
            Barnes and Noble
            Sioux City, Iowa
            Southern Hills Mall
            Saturday, April 14 - 1 pm
            Sharee Stover, Erica Vetsch and Mary Connealy
            Celebrating their new releases
            Secret Past
            Seven Brides for Seven Texas Rangers
            The Accidental Guardian


            Weekend Edition


            5 Things You Must Know About Email Consent Under GDPR from Bettina Specht at Litmus. (Regarding EU subscribers to your email list)

            Books Really Are Judged by Their Covers from Inspiring Creative Minds.

            4 Tips on the Road to Publication by Laura Hodges Poole from The Write Conversation

            Visual Thinking by Anne Greenwood Brown by way of Writer UnBoxed

            3 Reasons It's Not Too Late To Submit by Tamela Hancock Murray, The Steve Laube Agency

            (Thanks Jeanne Takenaka for always sending links!!)



            Weekend Edition

            Today is the LAST DAY to sign up for the Blog + Review Tour of Mary Connealy and Missy Tippen's new novella collection!  Together with Cheryl St. John, Tina Radcliffe, Lorna Seilstad, and Sherri Shackelford, Cowboys of Summer "bring you a collection of humorous, romantic and heartfelt novellas set against the sultry heat of summer."  Open to all readers, no blog required, and to bloggers to host our authors!! Click on the banner to take you directly to the sign up form.  For more open tours from JustRead Publicity Tours, click HERE.

            TBLA Contest Needs Entries--Deadline on April 1!!!!!!

            The deadline for the Touched By Love Award contest is fast approaching. The contest is currently low in entries which is good news for those entering since it increases their chances for making the final round. 

            This contest is open to authors that have not been traditionally published or self-published in the last three years. They do NOT have to be a FHL or RWA member to enter. 

            The book does not have to be finished and should be suitable for the Christian fiction market. A sample score sheet is available on the FHL website. http://www.faithhopelove-rwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/tbla_scoresheet-2018.pdf

            By entering your partial fiction manuscript (20 pages and a synopsis), you not only get feedback from fellow authors but you could win a critique from the following editors and agents. 

            Miralee Ferrell, Publisher of Mountain Brook Ink
            Michelle Grajkowski, Literary Agent, 3 Seas Literary Agency
            Cynthia Ruchti, Literary Agent, Books & Such Literary Management
            Raela Schoenherr, Acquisitions Editor, Bethany House Publishers

            1st Round entries will be judged by 3 trained unpublished and/or published authors. 2nd round entries will be judged by 3 published authors. Feedback is encouraged to be provided on all entries. The 1st place winning entries will be sent to the editors and agents.

            Deadline for entry is April 1, 2018 after 11:59 pm PST 


            More details are at http://www.faithhopelove-rwa.org/tbl-contest/ or contact Kelly Ann Riley at RileyK1@aol.com if you have questions.
            Weekend Edition

            The Power of Journaling

            By Guest Barbara J. Scott


            The Power of Journaling

            I burned my journals. All of them. Too drastic? Not for me. Actually, it was a symbolic and healing experience that my past, with all its pain, regrets, anger, depression, worry, and sins would no longer control me. Plus, I didn’t want to pass on my struggles…or my rants…to the next generations of our family. Journaling is personal.

            My actions made me wonder about women of the past. Did they journal? Did they write about riding in covered wagons or walking beside them from Missouri to Oregon while taking care of babies, cooking over an open fire, or losing loved ones to accidents, disease, or enemies? Did they live in fear and numb their feelings, or did they trust God with all their hearts?

            Since relatively few pioneering women’s journals survive from that period compared to the number who made that long trek, I wonder if any of them burned their words, or maybe their ancestors threw their journals into the trash after their deaths.
            The Power of Journaling

            I started to write down my thoughts long before returning to the Lord at the age of thirty-five. Even though I was a successful journalist and editor, I lived a checkered past. For instance, I met my husband Mike when we both worked at the international office of your basic California cult. No one thought our marriage would last, especially our families. Mike proposed to me thirteen days after we met, I said yes, and we’ll celebrate our forty-second anniversary on June 27. It’s been quite a journey.

            I wrote down a lot of dreams during that period and analyzed them through a distorted lens. New Agers like me were called “winkies” by residents of Sedona, AZ, which is a mecca for those who believe in psychic abilities, aliens, magic powers, Mother Earth, and Sedona’s supposed power centers of energy. Can we say wacky? More than a decade after I became a Christian, I published my first novel, Sedona Storm, written with co-author Carrie Younce. I chose Sedona as the setting for the battles between angels and demons layered over the human story in which the characters engage in spiritual warfare. If you enjoyed This Present Darkness, you’ll love Sedona Storm.

            My journaling took another turn when I submitted to God’s will for my life, but I was full of questions and looking for answers about why some people seem to have such easy lives and others like me seem to slog through the mud of life while carrying the banner of Jesus. Life wasn’t fair. I wrote long prayers. I wrote about my physical, mental, and emotional pain. Why did I suffer? Without the Lord’s love and grace and the love of my husband, I would not have made it this far. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.

            During that period, I lived in the Psalms, and much of what I wrote resembled David’s laments, praises, and confessions. He wasn’t perfect, and neither was I. But I also wrote about other people, difficult relationships, and financial difficulties—a long litany of grievances. Journaling allowed me to release my emotions so that I could face another day.

            The Power of Journaling

            For years, I allowed all that baggage to weigh me down. But no more. In some ways, burning my journals allowed me to enjoy my freedom in Christ.

            So, what does journaling have to do with being a writer? Writing in a journal has numerous beneficial effects on your life, including your ability to write and speak. Google “benefits of journaling,” and you’ll be amazed at how many articles tout its advantages.

            I clicked on the first link that Google returned—a Huffington Post blog entry. I have never read the Huffington Post, nor do I ascribe to the spiritual beliefs of the author, but if you’re considering buying a fresh, new, lined journal that is pleasing to the eye and touch, knowing the benefits of journaling can give you an incentive to write down your thoughts, even if you start with one sentence or a paragraph in the morning or at bedtime. Thai Nguyen is the author. The title of his post is “10 Surprising Benefits You’ll Get from Keeping a Journal.” I think they’re worth consideration.

            The Power of Journaling

            1. Stretching Your IQ—Who knew journaling could make you smarter?
            2. Evoking Mindfulness—Nguyen believes there is a connection between mindfulness and happiness. Doesn’t Scripture tell us in Philippians 4:8 to think on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable…?”
            3. Achieving Goals—If you write down specific, achievable goals for your writing career, you are more likely to attain the desires of your heart.
            4. Emotional Intelligence—Journaling is a way to process your emotions and make sense of why you feel as you do. You can then use those emotions to breathe life into your characters.
            5. Boosting Memory and Comprehension—There is a correlation between your thoughts and your handwritten words. That’s why I decry schools that think it’s no longer necessary to teach cursive writing. Journaling by hand forces you to stretch your cognitive memory to put your thoughts into words. The hand and brain have a special relationship.
            6. Strengthen Your Self-Discipline—As any writer knows, placing your backside into a chair and writing takes discipline. You learn to write even when you don’t feel like writing. If you stick to a schedule, you will develop the habit of putting words on paper (or screen). I have a friend who spends one full day writing on her novel and then puts in at least twenty minutes per day on something related to writing, research for example, or writing a blog post. It’s amazing what she accomplishes in that amount of time! And yes, she has published multiple novels.
            7. Improve Communication Skills—Want to improve your speaking skills? Write. Journal. Nguyen cites a Stanford University report that says, “Writing has critical connections to speaking.”
            8. Healing—Psychiatrists and psychologists recommend writing down your thoughts, especially when you are unable to articulate your feelings. I found journaling to be a release valve for my emotions. Journaling can bring healing emotionally, psychologically, and even physically.
            9. Spark Your Creativity—And what writer doesn’t want to be more creative! Let your thoughts flow for a page or two in a journal before you work on your WIP. Much like starting an engine on a cold morning before you put your car into gear, when you place your fingers on the keyboard, your brain is already warmed up and ready to write.
            10. Self-Confidence—Writing about positive experiences, answers to prayer, or giving God thanks for the small and big things in your life can boost your self-confidence. Doesn’t Scripture tell us to fix our thoughts on Jesus (Hebrews 3:1)?

            Do you journal, and if so, how has the act of writing down your thoughts affected your life?

            Leave a comment today to be entered in the drawing to receive a free copy of my novel Dreams of My Heart in either paperback or e-book.

            Many blessings!
            Barbara J. Scott

            Bio:
            Barbara J. Scott, an inspirational author and editor, released her historical novel Dreams of My Heart, the first book in the Reluctant Brides series, on March 20, and the e-book will be available April 1. Currently, she is working on Love of My Heart, the second book of the series, published by Mountain Brook Ink, which is set to release in February 2019. Her contemporary novella with Gilead Publishing, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” that appears in Sleigh Bells Ring: Four Contemporary Romance Novellas, also is available on Amazon.com. Best-selling novels Sedona Storm and Secrets of the Gathering Darkness were written with co-author Carrie Younce and published by Thomas Nelson. Barbara and her husband Mike live in the Nashville area, where sweet tea is a food staple, with their two Chihuahuas, Riley and Sissy, both rescued from puppy mills. Reading, writing, and research are her passions.
            The Power of Journaling
            Social Media:


            4 Stars – Romantic Times

              Can A Reluctant Bride and Her New Husband Fall in Love Despite Their Wounded Hearts?

            The Power of Journaling
            Plucky Irish immigrant Kate O’Brien struggles to hang on to her brother’s homestead after his death in a suspicious cattle stampede. If she’s unable to pay off the loan that paid for her ticket to America, she will be forced to marry the banker’s rogue son, Rafe Hamilton. When Kate is attacked by a drunken gang, salvation comes in the form of a total stranger—Texas cattleman Buck McKean. He drives the men off her ranch and spends the night in her cabin to keep her safe. However, his act of kindness poses a profound threat to her reputation, and the two marry to prevent the impending consequences. Kate makes it clear to her new husband that because of the abuse she suffered at the hands of her stepfather, she’ll never allow another man to control her life. Left at the altar in Virginia City, Buck has made his own vow never to give his heart to another woman. When Kate asks Buck for the unthinkable, her choice endangers both their lives.

            Can God mend their hearts and save their love?


            Endorsements

            “Take one feisty heroine, add a fine hero, dump them into an impossible situation, add plenty of twists and turns and you have a winner of a novel you can’t wait to share with your friends.”
            Lauraine Snelling, best-selling author of the Historical Red River (Blessing) series

            “Oh my, an Irish marriage of convenience in the wilds of the West? Be still my heart! Fortunately, the heart never stills while immersed in this tender love story of a shotgun marriage gone a-right. This is a tale that sweeps you from heartbreak to hope with every turn of the page. Without question, Dreams of My Heart is a dream come true for lovers of historical romance.” 
            Julie Lessman, award-winning author of Irish family sagas, including The Daughters of Boston, Heart of San Francisco, and Isle of Hope series.

            “With her typical humor-laced warmth, Barbara Scott delights readers with a beautiful historical romance that melts the heart and makes one pine for the faith, strength and tenacity of the old West. A true five-star read from beginning to end.”
            Ruth Logan Herne, award-winning, bestselling author

            Tips for Adding Visual "Texture" to the Telling of Your Tale

            When you hear the word “texture,” what do you think of?

            TEXTURE can be defined as a “visual or tactical surface characteristic and appearance of something. To give a particular texture to impart desirable characteristics.”

            Today I’d like to touch on three simple tips to lend visual “texture” to your story—creating an inviting appearance on the page that better enables the painting of word pictures in your reader’s mind.


            Tips for Adding Visual
             

            1 - Build in white space for visual “texture” – Have you ever flipped through the pages of a work of fiction and been dismayed with page after page of unbroken blocks of text? You’re certainly no reading wimp, but it lookskinda intimidating, doesn’t it? Unfriendly. Boring even. Very likely you returned that book to the shelf or made the switch on your Kindle.

            As authors we need to be aware of the visual impact of the story we’re writing, noting that a reasonable amount of visual white space on a page is more engaging than wall-to-wall words.


            Tips for Adding Visual

            Most authors, however, often use double-spaced 12-point Times New Roman or Courier New to create their masterpiece because that’s the form in which many publishers prefer to receive it. But in that “oversized” format, it’s also difficult to determine if we’ve inadvertently fallen into fat blocks text and how it will look to a reader on an actual printed page.

            A year or so ago I decided to try a different format when drafting my books. It’s something I did as an unpublished writer (saved paper when printing to revise), but I’d gotten away from it the past nine years when required to submit in a publisher-preferred configuration. In MS Word, I formatted the manuscript as landscape rather than portrait and as two columns, setting the margins and font size to mimic two side-by-side pages of an open printed book

            Below is an example of my first stab at it.


            Tips for Adding Visual

            While readers of ebooks can change font size and thus how paragraphs appear on the screen, you could still do something similar in a standard ebook format to see what the impact might be, particularly if you’re publishing as ebook only. Give it a try and see what you think!

            Amazingly, the format not only permitted me to remain aware of needed white space on a “printed” page—where to shorten paragraphs or weave in dialogue to break up a chunk of visually unfriendly text—but it also helped keep a more accurate eye on “real” scene and chapter lengths. It also converted easily back to standard manuscript structure for publisher submission.


            Tips for Adding Visual

            2 – Lend visual “texture” by varying word arrangement - When revising your draft, have you ever cringed when spying sequential paragraphs starting out with the SAME word—most often a character’s name?

            Jo shook her head. “No.”

            Jo smiled even though she didn’t feel like it.

            Jo couldn’t believe her eyes.

            Jo. Jo. Jo. One paragraph right after another. UGH.

            Most paragraphs are at least several sentences long, and that’s when it’s especially easy to miss this repetition. (I’ve seen books with as many as 4 paragraphs in a row starting out with the same character’s name.) So “texture” the first lines of your paragraphs by varying how they start.

            “No.” Jo emphasized the word with an adamant shake of her head.

            She smiled even though she didn’t feel like it.

            Unable to believe her eyes, Jo gasped.


            Tips for Adding Visual

            3 - Add visual “texture” with a blend of dialogue - “Texture” your narrative paragraphs by breaking them up with a mix of dialogue. A reader’s eyes are drawn to those indented paragraphs and quote marks, to what the characters are saying. You don’t want a string of unattributed dialogue peppered all the way down a page, forcing a reader to “count back” to figure out who is speaking. But dialogue and its accompanying white space visually invite a reader to keep reading.

            Can you think of a time when you put a fiction book down because it was visually uninviting? Are you aware of the importance of “white space” or is that something you as a reader and / or writer haven’t given much thought to? What tips can YOU share in our comment section today about adding visual “texture” to the paragraphs of your tale?

            If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my April Love Inspired release, Mountain Country Courtship (the final story in the 6-book Hearts of Hunter Ridge series) please mention it in the comments section, then check the Weekend Edition for winners!

            Glynna

            Tips for Adding Visual
            GLYNNA KAYE treasures memories of growing up in small Midwestern towns--and vacations spent with the Texan side of the family. She traces her love of storytelling to the times a houseful of great-aunts and great-uncles gathered with her grandma to share candid, heartwarming, poignant and often humorous tales of their youth and young adulthood.







            Tips for Adding Visual
            Mountain Country Courtship.After being jilted at the altar, the last place Denny Hunter wants to be is in his hometown. Yet he’s back in Hunter Ridge renovating a run-down old inn with the lovely Lillian Keene. He doesn’t know she’s a runaway bride—or that her niece has serious matchmaking plans. But in this Hearts of Hunter Ridgebook, Denny and Lillian discover that the most important restoration starts with the heart. CLICK HERE TO ORDER.

            Multi-cultural Romance... Or Does Color Matter Non-Scientific but Fun Poll

            Here's the skinny on this:

            I come from a multicultural family. I have biracial in-laws. A son-in-law whose family emigrated from Ecuador, so he's Hispanic and Mayan? Incan? They're not sure. He's cute, he loves God  and he works hard and that's all we care about. A grandson adopted from Ethiopia. A biracial nephew and three bi-racial great nieces/nephew, and one who is deceased, gunned down by a pair of thugs as he ended his first year at Tuskegee University thirteen years ago... The thugs happened to be Caucasian and druggies... they didn't see color. They saw a college kid who might have change in his pocket, and he did because his dad had just sent him $40 to get food to last the final few days of freshman year. He was gunned down between the college and the convenience store. Gone. Just like that.

            I don't see color. It means nothing to me. If you're being loud or raucous and obnoxious in public... (raises hand because she may or may not have been guilty of this a time or two!) I really wish you'd stop, and that's got nothing to do with color and everything to do with manners...

            This poll didn't surprise me at all because it seemed like a no-brainer, and I'm so happy to say the results bore that out.

            When I first started writing I was told (by authors of both races) that I couldn't write stories with mixed races because I'd offend the black community and what did a white woman know about black romance?


            Multi-cultural Romance... Or Does Color Matter Non-Scientific but Fun Poll
            Heath Caufield, Lizzie Fitzgerald and Zeke Caufield... and a puppy!
            #mustlovecowboys    #mustlovedogs

            If you keep it a "human" level and not a color issue, then you can write Southern... Australian... British.... Biblical.... Frontier Western.... Colonial.... Scottish..... Regency..... Mixed Race.... Renaissance....  And so much more!

            We write characters with disabilities.... characters with children... characters who care for sick parents, not necessarily because we've lived it... but we've researched it. 

            This takes me back to "I don't see color" I see story. I see travesty. I see anguish and sadness and joy and the miracle of birth and the grief of death. None of that sees color. It sees and seeks human emotion. The kind of stuff we are all made of, the good, the bad and the ugly... and don't folks of all colors deserve stories of faith, hope and love, reflecting them? 

            HECK, YEAH!!!! 

            So my upcoming mixed race/ethnicity Shepherd's Crossing series is SO MUCH FUN and so wonderful to write because I can take my early experiences of being in a city at war for civil rights (Rochester, New York) and blend them with my experiences across the Northeast with college kids, seeing all kinds of mixed couples who didn't see color! Asian, African, Irish, German, Native American, Indian... No color lines. So hooray for all of us, raising so many color-blind kids!

            When I gather eggs, they come in lots of colors. 


            Multi-cultural Romance... Or Does Color Matter Non-Scientific but Fun Poll

            When you crack them to make a cake, they're... eggs. People are like that, just like Mandisa's new hit single "We All Bleed the Same". 

            As authors we need to look beyond the average and go for the higher expectation so when I did this poll, I wasn't worried about the results because even if they didn't match my goals, I'd run with them and I'd still write my stories.

            Here is the intro on super-scientific facebook!!!


            A Saturday poll for you and your answers will help me to shape a late-month Seekerville blog... I like diversity in my stories. My life is FULL of people of all races, creeds and ethnicities... I don't see color, I see characters, and I love, love, love writing diverse stories... So what say you, my friends? Let's talk about the beauty of realism and color in stories... while keeping the romance at the heart of the story!


            1. Let me escape into the story, but give me a real story. That's what I'm after.  (39 Votes)

            2. Diversity is fine with me. I just want to love the characters.  (34 Votes)

            3. I like stories about real people, it's all about the story! (20 Votes)

            4. I don't have to be a person of color to love stories with all kinds of people.  (15 Votes)

            5. Bring  it!  (7 Votes)

            First, people want great story. So don't water it down, but don't belabor the downsides of life... we all have 'em, no one wants to live on the dark side of the moon but they'll acknowledge its existence.

            You probably noticed I didn't include a "No diversity" choice. There was a good reason for that. First, who's going to admit that on facebook? (Ruthy is making a face right now) In a group forum?

            Second, did I need it? No, because I think we've got a nice sampling here with people not voting for the blanket "BRING IT" as much as affirming that it's all about the story and the characters.

            No matter what you're writing, gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) realism should be our guide. You're going to make the characters suffer, right?

            So do their outward appearances really matter? 

            No. A Hostess cupcake is only better for that white cream in the middle. Our peanut butter Whoopie Pies on the farm are best when sandwiched with my homemade chocolate frosting.... and who doesn't love a chocolate frosted white or yellow cake?

            Sure, that sounds silly... but then, so does separatist writing!

            Let me know what you think, and do you have a mix of people in your stories? Have you thought about it? Let's talk.


            Multi-cultural Romance... Or Does Color Matter Non-Scientific but Fun Poll
            With over 40 novels and novellas published, award-winning author Ruth Logan Herne lives on a pumpkin farm in Western New York where the Blodgett family happily grows pumpkins of many colors and sells to people of the same! She lives with critters and little people and some big people and windows that always need washing, but that's okay. She loves washing windows! Ruthy says windows bring light to the soul... and she's got the Windex to prove it. Friend her on facebook, follow her on Twitter and she loves when folks visit her website ruthloganherne.com. 


            Multi-cultural Romance... Or Does Color Matter Non-Scientific but Fun Poll


            A Look at Subtext

            A Look at Subtext

            Subtext:

            noun - The underlying or implicit meaning, as of a literary work. Although subtextual meaning is not expressed directly, it can often be determined from the linguistic or social context. See also
            • Associative Meaning 
            • Connotation 
            • Context Clues 
            • Conversational Implicature 

            Well, I’m glad we cleared that up. Now that we understand subtext, we’ll be sure to layer it into our work effectively and wow literary critics the world over.

            Right.

            The problem with seeking to define literary terms created by literary types is that they use literary notions to explain them. It all comes off as sounding very … literary. I mean…Conversational Implicature?

            What???

            Let me give you a quick, easy-to-understand definition of Subtext:

            Subtext is all the things that aren’t being said that connect the reader to the story.

            A Look at Subtext


            It’s all the things in a scene that the characters aren’t saying, but the reader still picks up on. It’s the elements that evoke a feeling in the reader and lay the foundation for the action to come. It’s the connections that a reader makes to the story by bringing their experience, their attention, and their perceptiveness into play. Subtext is the author’s gift to an astute reader.

            Have you ever read a story that grabbed you, pulled you in, had you asking story question after story question, remembering details, fitting the pieces together, trying to anticipate what might happen next and being thrilled when you were right and equally thrilled when the author plausibly surprised you?

            That’s subtext. It engages your emotions and mind and draws you into the story as an experience, not an exercise.

            Isn't that what we want in a story? Isn't that what we want for readers when they read our stories? So, how can we effectively employ subtext? 

            A Look at Subtext


            First, we must recognize the two basic types of subtext.

            MACRO subtext:

            This covers things like theme and setting. Things present throughout the entire story. If your story is about redemption, you might have subtext layers like the renewal of springtime, or a rescue puppy, or a pawn shop item as a plot device. If your theme is about the veneer of society that hides a darker underbelly, you might set your story in a suburban neighborhood, or a Regency ballroom or a finishing school. Juxtaposing the setting with the plot is a great subtext tool. MACRO subtext is often revealed when the reader is finished with the book and reflects upon it later. It’s what makes a book linger in the mind afterwards.

            MICRO subtext:

            This covers things that happen within scenes. Characters that say one thing and mean another. Characters that withhold information from one another, but the reader knows it. A line that a character says that the reader wonders if it will come back to haunt that character. A piece of the story puzzle that seems out of place and the reader has to try to fit it in. MICRO subtext is what happens while the story is being read, and it’s what keeps the reader engaged in the story. 

            A Look at Subtext


            One of the reasons mysteries are so popular is that subtext abounds. Detective stories are built on subtext. Who is lying, who is manipulating, and who is guilty? Everything must be evaluated, every clue, every gesture, every word. Deductions are made by the reader, engaging the readers mind and emotions.

            Subtext also overflows in romance. Sexual tension and attraction are often, especially at first, and especially in Christian Fiction, delivered as subtext. That first, gradual awakening of feelings, the realization by the reader that there’s something going on there, whether one or both of the characters is aware of it. Subtext is often what one character and the reader knows, but none of the other characters know. It’s privileged information. And who doesn’t want to be in on a secret? 

            A Look at Subtext


            If you want to study up on the use of subtext, I’m going to recommend you read “The Crocodile on the Sandbank” by Elizabeth Peters. Peters was a MASTER at subtext, plot, and characterization, and by the end of the story, your grasp of all three will be better! 

            A Look at Subtext


            Now, go forth and gift your readers with subtext, remembering these three basic foundations:

            Subtext is the truth of the story, every character is trying to conceal or reveal it, and the reader is actively involved in sorting out who is who and who knows what.

            Subtext springs from the fact that you realize both your reader and your characters have inner lives, and that during the reading of a story, those inner lives intersect.

            Subtext respects the reader’s intelligence, gives them more than just what’s on the surface, and actively engages both what they know and what they want to know from your story.



            A Look at Subtext

            Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. 

            You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!
            The Queen of Charts: Sharing One Way to Plan a StoryWeekend EditionBook Covers - They can make or break a bookA Writer's Well Being - Step Away from the CandyThe Accidental GuardianWeekend EditionThe Power of JournalingTips for Adding Visual "Texture" to the Telling of Your TaleMulti-cultural Romance... Or Does Color Matter Non-Scientific but Fun PollA Look at Subtext

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