Category Archives: Top 10 List

Top 10 Alternatives to National Novel Writing Month

I wish nothing but success to those writer friends of mine who are in the middle of NaNoWriMo. But for those who didn’t join in the verbosity, here are my Top 10 ways you can fill the remainder of the month with your own nifty writing challenges.

# 10:  NaWriBacMo:  (National Write on Bacon Month) Try to write a novel on strips of bacon! Trust me, it’s not easy…er…I mean, I imagine it’s quite a challenge.

#  9:  NaStaEdMo:  (National Stalk an Editor Month)  This is really self-explanatory…not to mention the fact that it will most likely leave you with taser marks and research material from the local jail.

#  8:  NaDaParMo:  (National Dangling Participle Month) Being snarky with this activity, the month will go by quickly.

#  7:  NaFloBoPaAwaMo:  (National Floating Body Parts Awareness Month) Turn your favorite floating body parts into characters in a story. Write an entire novel featuring them!

#  6:  NaPoHoCoYoLaMo:  (National Pour Hot Coffee in Your Lap Month) Try different blends and see which one gets the old blood pumping the fastest. This is also a good cure for Writers Block…never mind how I know that.

#  5:  NaCreWePeNaMo:  (National Create Weird Pen Names Month) Just imagine you couldn’t write using your real name–due to legal ramifications connected with # 9–and come up with a new weird pen name every day. I’d give you suggestions, but I’m saving those for another Top 10 List.

#  4:  NaWriWhiWeSpanMo (National Write While Wearing Spandex Month)  Just because.  And I strongly discourage mixing this one with # 9 because…well, it could get real ugly.

#  3:  NaPreTeDeMo (National Pretend to be Ted Dekker Month). See how many books you can sign at Barnes and Noble before they kick you out.

#  2:  NaDreLiYoFaAuMo (National Dress Like Your Favorite Author Month)  I’ll just let you conjure up your own images on this one. All I can say is there REALLY needs to be more male authors in ACFW!

#  1:  NaPoSarGeHiBaNeNaMoKaQuZiLaPoMo  I have no idea what this means, but it will take you a month to make something up yourself. Besides…it’s just plain fun to say. In fact, just walk up to someone and say it, then turn around and walk away. Enjoy!

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

Top 10 Unfortunate Responses to a Book Proposal

I just submitted my first book proposal. Now I’m worried how it’s going to be received. And that led me to today’s Top 10 list. Here’s what my weary and worried mind came up with:

Top 10 Unfortunate Responses to a Book Proposal:

# 10:  “ROFLOL! By the way, when will you sending the real proposal?”

#  9:  “Thanks for letting me read your book proposal. I haven’t slept this good in a long time!”

#  8:  “Were you drunk when you wrote this?”

#  7:  “Dear Mr. Timm, you can’t list Jim Rubart as an endorser of your book just because he said ‘Hello’ to you at a conference. And Nancy Mehl said the restraining order is not just a joke. Additionally, you can’t say that Chevy Chase is co-author simply because you sort of look like him.”

#  6:  “Your proposal was greatly appreciated. Our parrot, Mr. Snarky, has diarrhea, and we are out of newspaper.

#  5:  “Having read your book proposal, I’ve believe the best way to fix the problems within the pages is to hold the entire proposal by the upper left hand corner, and then set the bottom right hand corner on fire.

#  4:  “After reading your proposal, the editors of four publishing houses have met and unanimously agreed that you’re insane. Have a nice day.”

#  3:  “Please be informed that our legal department has carefully studied the marketing plan you submitted with your proposal–along with the photographs and drawings you unfortunately  provided–and we have determined that all of your ideas are either illegal, physically impossible, or would require surgery to undo.”

#  2:  “Dear Larry, while it’s true that Dr. Seuss wrote some really suspenseful stories, and although we agree that some might think of The Grinch that Stole Christmas as a real spine-tingler, you need to send us more recent comparable titles right away.”

#  1:  “I’m sorry to report that a swarm of dung beetles has rolled your book proposal away. Better luck next time.”

 

Okay, friends…if I get any of these responses I’ll let you know. Have a nice day.

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Top 10 Save-the-ACFW-Journal fundraiser Ideas

Several months ago I shared this list on the ACFW email loop, but never put it on my blog. Sooooo, in light of the announcement from ACFW’s Executive Board about discontinuing the Journal due to cost concerns, I’ve decided to post the list here. Many ACFW members have enjoyed reading the Journal, and I still consider having an article in the premier issue a highpoint in my writing life. But the only way to save the Journal is for money to be raised to keep it in publication. Therefore I humbly submit:

The Top 10 Save-the-ACFW-Journal fundraiser ideas:

# 10:  Request a grant from the Federal Government…they seem to have unlimited amounts of “free” money to give away.

#  9:  Create a “Mug-of-the-Month” Club where ACFW members sell their unwashed coffee mugs to each other, with the proceeds going to the Journal.

# 8:  Sell a CD of the ACFW Executive Board singing their favorite show tunes.

# 7:  A telethon featuring ACFW authors acting out scenes from one of their books, while viewers call in and pay them to stop it.

# 6:  An online auction of the “dancing elephant” from the conference in St. Louis a few years ago.

# 5:  Open a museum of “floating body parts” and charge admission. (However, it shouldn’t cost an arm and an leg….bwahahaha…uh hmmm…I digress)

# 4:  Instead of the traditional pitching sessions that happen at every conference, make each writer pay an entry fee to stand on stage and read their manuscript out loud in front of a panel of agents, editors, and cranky reviewers. Panel members get to scream, “Rejection!” and shoot red paint balls at the writer when they spot a problem in the manuscript. The writer that survives the longest gets a contract and also wins one of the mugs mentioned in #9.

# 3:  Have me, Michael Ehret, and Peter Leavell do a benefit opera. We’ll call ourselves the Track-Change Tenors and dress in red tuxedos, complete with red cowboy hats and red cowboy boots. Undoubtedly Michael will demand that red bow ties be optional.

# 2:  A pay-per-view Mixed Martial Arts octagon challenge between writers and the agents or editors who have rejected them in the past (complete with tights and stage names)

# 1:  As much as this one gives me the dry heaves, I recognize that it may work since the majority of ACFW’s membership is female…How about selling a Men of ACFW Kilt Calendar?

I hope this helps. And I pray that #1 will never be necessary.

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Top 10 Reasons People might be glad I’m not going to the ACFW Conference this Year.

The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference is less than a week away. People are packing bags, picking wardrobes, pressing kilts, and preparing one sheets. But not me. Sniff…sniff. This year I will not be attending. And that got me to thinking (ouch!).

Here are 10 reasons people might be glad that they won’t see Larry W. Timm in Indy.

# 10:  No one has to watch the pathetic display where I stand in a corner and try to work up the courage to walk up and talk to one of my favorite authors.

#  9:  There will be a few less dumb questions asked in the workshops.

#  8:  None of those awkward, “I’ve got one ear lower than the other…what’s deformed about you?” conversation starters.

#  7:  Michael Ehret or Peter Leavell won’t have to introduce me with the phrase, “I’m sorry for doing this, but have you met Larry Timm?”

#  6:  No one will have to witness me get on…off…on…off…on…off the elevator until I remember which floor my room is on.

#  5:  The local pizza delivery people won’t have to “stand by for emergency delivery to the crazy guy who claims the voices in his head are hungry.”

#  4:  No murmured questions about the misuse of plaid.

#  3:  There’s much less of a chance of hearing, “Hey, look what I can do with this pudding!”

#  2:  No one has to see my Salute-to-Spandex outfit at the costume dinner.

And the #1 reason people might be glad I’m not going to the ACFW Conference:

#  1: More BACON for everyone!

Hey, have fun everybody. I hope you have a great time.

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Top 10 Ways to tell if a Writer’s Spouse is needing Attention

The writing journey is hard on writers. Can I get an “AMEN!”? Pressure…hard work…did I mention pressure?

But being married to a writer can also be stressful. With that in mind, I present to you the Top 10 Ways to tell if a Writer’s Spouse is needing Attention:

 

#10:  They’re making prank phone calls just so they can have someone real to talk to. And if the person is normal, that’s a bonus.

# 9:  They come to a book signing just so they can have some face-to-face time with their writer spouse. And they keep getting in line because they’ve “got a lot on their mind.”

# 8:  They walk around the house naked just to see if their spouse will notice.

# 7:  They get in trouble with the IRS because they tried to claim the characters of their spouse’s current writing project as dependents since “they’re sooooooooo important!”

# 6:  They picket their spouse’s writers group meeting and chant, “Watch more TV! Watch more TV!”

# 5:  They call the county courthouse and offer to “Track Change” their marriage license.

# 4:  They have a shirt made that says, I got your inciting incident right here!

# 3:  They refer to their children as “precious consequences of writer’s block.”

# 2:  After planning the family vacation, they dance around the house and giggle profusely because they managed to find a spot in the desert that is hundreds of miles from a Barnes & Noble or a Starbucks.

# 1:  They call 9-1-1 and claim that an unfinished manuscript is holding their spouse hostage, and add, “the office is in the apartment above the garage…bring tear gas and those things that flash and go BOOM!

How about we just be sure to take care of the wonderful spouses that support us, so we avoid any of the above?

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Top 10 Wrong Ways To Deal With or Avoid a Sagging Middle

This is not a post filled with diet and physical fitness tips. I’m not what you’d call a real good role model in that particular area. I did buy a pair of running shoes a while back, and if you just look at my feet, I look like a runner. However, if you scan up from there, the illusion is quickly blown (but I digress).

I don’t run. I don’t even hike…wait, did I say hike? Well what do you know…hike rhymes with like! And since you mentioned it, I’d be appreciative if you’d hike over to my Author Page and click Like. It’s at www.facebook.com/larrywtimm I’d love to break the 200 mark by the end of August. Tell your friends to go there too. The person who is my 200th Like may just win something (of course they may not, but let’s not dwell on that now.)

As writers, we all have had to deal with middles (of our manuscripts) that are saggy. Perhaps even sluggish and unappealing (which is how people often describe me). We seek out advice on how to deal with and/or avoid the dreaded sagging middle.

“Larry, do you happen to have any advice on what to do?”

Thanks for asking. But…nope, I don’t know what to tell you to do, but here are some things not to do. It’s my duty & pleasure to introduce…the Top 10 Wrong Ways To deal With or Avoid a Sagging Middle:

#10:  By having a blurb on the front cover that boldly declares, “This is the first novel in history in which the brilliant author has skipped the middle all together!

# 9:  By claiming that the middle has international intrigue just because you put an “o” on the end of every other word so readers will really like the the “el-middle-o.”

# 8:  By including a bibliography of “books that have more horrible middles than mine.”

# 7:  By putting a pop up section in the middle so that when opened paper villains jump up from the page and scare people to death.

# 6:  By printing the middle on edible paper so that readers can “at least get something good from it.”

# 5:  By drawing a little cartoon character in the upper right hand corner that looks likes he’s running from a stick Grizzly bear when people flip through the middle chapters really fast.

# 4:  Put 100 blank pages in the middle so that “readers can write their own snappy middle…if they think it’s sooooo easy!”

# 3:  Fill the middle chapters with 20 car chases, 14 gun battles, 12 knife fights, 10 kissy-face scenes, 8 explosions, 6 sharks, 4 pits of nasty snakes, 3 hurricanes, 2 giant ill-tempered turtle doves, and 1 immodest partridge in a pear tree. (and, no, I have no idea what that means).

# 2:  By putting in a “Smells of the Bible” scratch-n-sniff section.

# 1:  By dedicating the book to “My dear, sweet, recently deceased mother who used her last breaths of life to dictate the middle of this book, right after she single-handedly saved 75 poor, blind children from roaring inferno that swept through their orphanage on Christmas Eve…so they could live to enjoy the box full of puppies and kittens that Mommy had purchased for them from the humane society…with the money she’d received by selling her fake leg. It was a good thing she recently been evicted from her home by evil bankers and that the walls of her old cardboard box in the alley were thin enough to hear the little frightened voices calling for help from the broken windows of the condemned building they called home. The middle of this book meant a lot to my mom…I hope you like it too.”

Now…how does YOUR middle look?

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

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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“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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“Top 10 Things I’ve learned at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference”

I can’t wait to tell you all the serious, soul-stretching lessons I’ve learned while tucked away on the beautiful campus of the Ridgeway Conference Center in North Carolina. But that will have to wait…instead I bring you:

Top 10 Things I’ve Learned at BRMCWC

# 10:  I shouldn’t go listen to the super-hilarious Torry Martin speak if I have a full bladder…(don’t worry, I’m sure they removed the chair I was sitting in)…seriously, he is one of the funniest people I’ve ever heard.

# 9:  Eddie Melson loves Social Media as much as I love Dr. Pepper! (Maybe next year I can teach a class on “The importance of Dr. Pepper in a Writer’s life”)

# 8:  As the week goes on, I’m hearing my voices in my head, and they’re all shouting, “Get more coffee! NOW!” (And allllllllllll God’s children said…..”

# 7:  If Karl Bacon, Joe Courtmanche, and I were actually identical triplets separated at birth, society is probably better for it. (I mean those two are nuttier than a bag of almonds)

# 6:  It’s important to read the labels on the bottles you find in the bathroom, because hand/body lotion is not the same as conditioner. But I do now have the most smooth and supple scalp at the conference.

# 5:  Each day ten more steps appear that were NOT there the day before. They! Were! Not! There!

# 4:  The more exhausted I get, the greater the likelihood that I will weep tears of joy at the sight of a pan filled with bacon.

#3:  The reason I wear a name tag is because when I’m trying to pitch my story to an agent or editor I get so nervous I have no idea who I am, so I giggle, thump my name tag holder, and start talking like Yoda…”Ahhhh, me this is…” (Any wonder why I’m still unpublished?)

# 2:  In these here parts, Al Gansky is affectionately referred to as “The Right Reverend, Doctor, You-Got-Music-But-I-Still-Have-N0-Rythym, Father, Hey-I’m-Talking-Here, Conference Director Allllllton Gansky.”

and the # 1 thing I’ve learned so far during my stay at BRMCWC……

# 1:  When I’m out walking around the conference center at night, I scream exactly the same if it’s a man-eating black bear or just the wind rustling a bush!

 

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“Top 10 Signs A Writer Has Passed Their Breaking Point”

Okay, so most writers are willing to admit that we’re a few steps (or miles) closer to insanity than people who are not writers…you know, the “normals.” And writers will readily confess that the writing profession provides ample opportunities for a wordsmith to earn a ride to the loony bin. Here are the Top 10 Signs A Writer Has Passed Their Breaking Point” so that those who love them can prepare for an intervention.

#10:  They send out a ransom note, claiming they’re holding themselves hostage until they get a contract.

#  9:  They start pushing their thesaurus around in a baby carriage.

# 8:  They call their Senator and demand to begin receiving unemployment benefits because “Writer’s Block is the disease that no one wants to talk about…but it’s out there,” and they have it.

# 7:  They try to marry their laptop.

# 6:  They haven’t moved from their desk chair in two days. All they do is slobber and say, “Syn…opsis…synop…sis…SIN…opsis…”

# 5:  They’re arrested for showering in the sink at the public library.

# 4:  When you ask them is they’re okay, they giggle and say, “I’m crazy…no…insane, mad, demented, deranged, maniacal, daft, berserk, unbalanced, unhinged…or maybe I’m cracked, nuts, nutty, out of my head, mad as a March hare…but you must think I’m bizarre, or perhaps weird, odd, unusual, peculiar, strange, uncommon, silly, absurd or…what was the question?”

# 3:  They’re dressed in burlap and standing in the middle of a bust intersection, throwing their books at passing cars while screaming, “Thus saith the Lord, ‘You shalt read these books, you illiterate generation!'”

# 2:  They go up to complete strangers and say, “Do you have any idea how many people I’ve killed this week?”

# 1:  Stunned patrons watch in horror as the writer publicly goes through every stage of grief when they notice that someone is seated in their usual spot at Starbucks:  1: Denial–They shack their head furiously and shout, “No, no, NO! This is NOT happening!” 2: Anger–expressed by flinging their scone at the shocked man and growling. 3: Bargaining–“If you’ll move from MY spot I won’t kill you in my next book.” 4: Depression–They start weeping and singing, “You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.” 5: Acceptance–They hug their coffee cup, and walk out the door, muttering, “It’s okay…We’ll find a new happy place.”

Help them…help them if you can.

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