Monthly Archives: June 2013

Top 10 Bad Things to do at a Book Signing

As a continued service to writers, I turn my attention to another part of the writer’s life:  book signings. May this list help you avoid the Top 10 Bad Things to do at a Book Signing.

#10:  The minute you walk in the door, you grab the manager and say, “Alright, Buckaroo, let’s round up some suckers and get this party started!”

# 9:  Over the store intercom system, announce that you’ll be signing books in the last stall in the restroom because “that bean dip from last night is really kicking up again.”

# 8:  Stretch out on top of the table and take a nap.

# 7:  Sign every book in the store, whether you wrote it or not.

# 6:  Glare at the first person who starts to walk by your table without stopping and say, “Ohhhhhhhh, I’m gonna get you in my next book,” then do those hand signals for I’ve got my eyes on you.

# 5:  Offer to sign people’s bald spots.

# 4:  Announce an in-store give away that the store didn’t even know about.

# 3:  Tell people they can get the book cheaper at that place that rhymes with “Ramazon.”

# 2:  Put a sign by your book that says, “Better than the Bible!”

# 1:  Throw books at people and yell, “Pay up front, Miss I-Don’t-Have-Time-To-Stop-By-The-Poor-Author-Table-And-Be-Civil! My kids need shoes too, ya know!”

Now, grab that Sharpie and get going!

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Filed under Christian Fiction, Larry W. Timm, Top 10 List, Top Ten list, Writing

Advice from Stephen King

True story: recently someone who knows that I’m a writer in search of publication had a chance to ask Stephen King  a question by way of a chat session on a website. The question was:

“What’s the biggest piece of advice you could give to new writers?”

Stephen King answered, “I think the most important piece of advice I can give to a writer is let the characters lead and never try to force them into things they don’t want to do.”

Of course he wasn’t advising that we keep our characters out of hot water and never pour on the conflict. While I don’t have a way of asking him a follow-up question, I’m very confident that what he meant was that we have to have authentic characters…people who have personality traits and personal worldviews (i.e. philosophies of life) that stay consistent throughout the story. And these characters must be able to carry the story. Good characters take us on a journey, allowing us to see the story through their eyes.

Do you agree? Name one great character you’ve read recently.

Also, what one piece of advice would YOU give new writers?

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Freedom Announced

Jesus wrote something once…on the ground. A woman caught in the act of adultery was surrounded by religious leaders who had conveniently left the male half of the sinful duo out of their ring of condemnation. The religious leaders wanted Jesus to approve of their attempt to punish this guilty woman.

And he wrote on the ground.

The snarling hypocrites pushed Jesus some more.

He said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then Jesus–the Creator of the Universe–stooped down again and wrote on the ground he created.

His challenge was punctuated by the sound of rocks thudding back to the ground, and the slow scraping of people wandering away from the scene.

“Where are your accusers?”

The woman looked and they were gone. It was one on one time with the Logos–the Word made flesh–the One who could set her free from the power, shame, and guilt of her sins. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

No one knows what Jesus wrote that day. But I know what He did that day:  He showed a broken soul the way to freedom. When I write, no matter how dark the setting, I want to make sure I let a shaft of light shine upon the liberating path that can be found in Jesus Christ. I picture a reader who’s been knocked to the ground, broken by their sin, and in need of being set free…a prisoner chained by their own trespasses and gaveled guilty by the judge.

When we write, may we work hard to be sure that people know that the Lord Jesus Christ can to set us free from the law of sin and death. May we always find ways to proclaim that the Messiah of all mankind can bring release and set free the oppressed. And let us be unwavering in the announcement that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Can I get an Amen?

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“Top 10 Signs You Need a Break from Writing”

Hey, even writers need a vacation. No matter how much we love something, we sometimes need a break from it. Here are the Top 10 Signs You Need a Break from Writing. If any of these describe you, put your hands above your head and back away from your WIP slowly.

TOP 10 SIGNS YOU NEED A BREAK FROM WRITING:

#10:  You are stalking someone so you can eventually interview them and ask them how it felt.

# 9:  You refer to your spouse as “the antagonist I’m currently married to.”

# 8:  Your best friend cries on your shoulder and shares a terrible problem they’re having in their life, and all you can say is, “Ohhhhhhh, this will make a great inciting incident in my book!”

# 7:  When you go on vacation, you pack a suitcase for each of your main characters.

# 6:  One of your children interrupts you with a question, and you say, “And what chapter are you in?”

# 5:  You dial 9-1-1 and say, “I need to see how fast you can get here! ready? Go! Hurry, this is research, lady!”

# 4:  When you’re in jail for repeatedly calling 9-1-1 for research (see #5), you scare the beejeebers out of your cell mates by telling them how you once used a flip-flop to kill a man, and then disposed of his body with a wood-chipper…and you forget to tell them it’s fiction…or was it?

# 3:  You let one of your favorite characters die and then refuse to speak to yourself for a week.

# 2:  You realize that you just dictated the last six chapters of your book into your electric razor. (And now your chin is bleeding).

# 1:  You run up to the poor kid mowing your lawn and scream, “I said to leave one inch margins, moron!”

Soooooo, anyone (else) need a break? 🙂

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Filed under Christian Fiction, editing, Larry W. Timm, Top 10 List, Top Ten list, Writing

We Write For An All-Knowing God

“It occurred to me that nothing ever occurs to God.”

Read that quote again.

A friend shared it with me several weeks ago, and it blessed my socks off (I’ve since put clean socks back on). Seriously though, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what he said. I still find myself recalling that quote and thinking, man that’s cool.

God never turns to Gabriel and says, “Ya know…I never thought of that!” He never gives a holy shrug and confesses, “Wow! I sure didn’t see that coming!” Nothing ever just occurs to God. He knows everything…and that means He knows everything about you and me.

Writer, do you believe that? What catches you by surprise and pulls the rug out from under you, never shakes God out of control. Lean on Him. Spend time in His Word. In all your efforts to write for Him, be sure to take time to read what He’s already caused to be written in the Bible. Trust Him to lead you. You may not know where you’re going…but He does. And He’ll walk with you. He knows what is best for you. He knows how to correct, and refresh your soul. And He’ll never throw up His hands and proclaim, ‘This is more than I can handle. I’m not sure what to do. I’m out of here!”

Relax. Pray for wisdom and understanding.

We write for an All-Knowing God.

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IS “SUSPENSE” A DYING GENRE?

Special note: My AUTHOR’S PAGE is now up at www.facebook.com/larrywtimm If you haven’t dropped by to “like” it, I’d be grateful if you would. Thanks.

Question: is Christian suspense fiction a genre that’s dying?

Answer: NO! NO! NO! If you think I’m being unclear or wishy-washy, let me add NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

It is my opinion that the whole mystery/suspense/thriller genre hasn’t even hit the mother-load yet. First, there will always be an interest in fiction that grabs our adrenal glands and gives them a hearty squeeze. (Okay, so I just disgusted myself with that image). Yep, Christians still like a good rush, especially when it’s part of a message that leaves hope in our hearts.

Second, I believe that the Christian market can increase its influence and impact by investing time and money into an intentional effort to attract more male readers to Christian fiction. But do men really read suspense books? YES! Men buy and read a ton of “secular” mystery/suspense/thriller books. And the major reason is because they are purposely targeted. And, sadly, the secular market is glad to cater to the fleshly desires of male readers. And there isn’t the stigma in the secular market that there is in the Christian market. Many men think that Christian fiction is only romance and bonnets. Is that a wrong perception? Yes. Are we doing enough to correct that mistaken idea? I humbly–and with no disrespect intended–submit that we are not.

I admit that I’m not sure what the answers are, but here are a few steps I think Christian writers can take to reach out to more men with the power of Christian fiction:

  • We must unapologetically proclaim the quality of Christian m/s/t/ fiction. And when men tell other men, it makes an impression. Even Christian men are largely unaware of the great Christian m/s/t fiction that is available. I’ve talked to men who saw the movie Courageous loved it. It has amazed me how many of those men didn’t know it was based on a book by Randy Alcorn.
  • We should intentionally look for opportunities to market Christian m/s/t/ fiction to men we know. This means we will be ready to recommend specific titles to men. The power of word-of-mouth marketing can sway male readers also. Can local writing groups help in this outreach?
  • We need to figure out ways to stress the “thrill-ride” aspect of Christian m/s/t fiction. Men are more likely to be open-minded to the idea of adventure than the idea of reading as an escape from real life. Many men see the “escapism” mentality as a confession of weakness. This includes the covers on the books we publish. When we understand how male readers think, we can more effectively market to them.
  • Christian writers and publishing houses are going to have to commit themselves to a serious strategy to grow the number of men who read Christian m/s/t fiction AND will need to commit to this strategy for several years.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in talking about this topic. But I really want to know what you think. is this a conversation worth having?

 

 

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Facebook Author Page

Well, I’m about to attempt to create a Facebook Author Page. I’ll give you a minute to calm down before I continue…….go ahead and clean up the confetti, put up the whip cream, and let your hands cool down from the multiple high-fives you just gave to passing strangers…okie dokie, let us continue. I started the process–and being the techno-pee brain that I am–am already waiting for a friend to call me to explain how I might go about fixing a problem. But I am confident that it will be fixed and the page will be up and running soon.

“Is there anything I can do to help, Larry?” (Go back…yes YOU…and read that question out loud). Gee, thanks for asking!

Yes-siree-bob, there IS something you can do. You can look for my announcement on Facebook and Twitter, as well as in future blog posts, that invites you to visit my AUTHOR’S PAGE and click the Like button. Wash your hands first, if you must, but then push the button. I will be very grateful to you. In fact, I will hug my laptop and pretend it’s you. It means that much to me…not the laptop, but the fact that you would be willing to go to my AUTHOR’S PAGE and click Like.

So when will the announcement come, giving us the incredible opportunity to click Like on your AUTHOR’S PAGE? [Larry shrugs, sips his Dr. Pepper, then realizes he has to make up an answer…]

“Ummmmmm……..pretty soon.”  🙂

In all seriousness, having you partner with me in my writer’s journey is an honor I do not take lightly. I believe that I have been entrusted with the humbling stewardship of story, and I want to reach as many people as possible with the life-changing, soul-stirring truths of God, and story is a powerful vehicle with which to do it.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading my posts, and I’ll look forward to seeing you over on my Facebook AUTHOR’S PAGE soon. I couldn’t do this with out you. I appreciate you all.

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With Regrets

Fifteen minutes before Sunday School started, it felt as though someone had punched the air out of my lungs. I hadn’t been prepared for the news I’d just been given. A friend had just told me that someone I knew had been found dead a day earlier. “No I hadn’t heard,” is what I think I mumbled. My thoughts were a jumbled concoction of sympathy for his wife and sadness that this man’s troubled life had ended. Suddenly. Alone.

Then shame and guilt encircled me. I should have done more. I should have reached out and done…something. Should I have called him regularly? Regret haunted me that day, growing somewhat less hateful in the last few days, but not completely lowering its voice. It’s still there as I write these words.

No, I’m not responsible for all of his decisions. But the fact remains: There were things I could have done. I won’t get the chance to do them now. I will always regret that sad reality.

Writer, friend, please read the rest of this post carefully. Don’t come to the end of your writer’s journey with unwritten stories in your soul…stories that you were going to write someday but never did. Maybe God has been working in your heart, telling you to write something…please do it. It could make a difference in someone’s life. Don’t let fear or fades shove your story to the side. Don’t let laziness or procrastination lull your story to sleep. Don’t let doubt or discouragement cause that story to remain forever on the back burner. Write on. Write now.

Because now is all you have.

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