Tag Archives: Writers

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.

Advertisements

29 Comments

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

Endearing Characters

REMINDER: I’d love it if you’d go “like” my Author Page at www.facebook.com/larrywtimm  or follow me on Twitter at @larrywtimm  Thanks!

Endearing Characters

The sweet, eighty-seven-year-old woman held my children’s hands and said, “You are so beautiful and so precious. Thank you for coming to see me.”

Kneeling by her wheelchair, I thought to myself, “I’m not going to cry…I’m not going to cry…” My wife did get a tad misty-eyed. I’m getting that way as I write these words. I’ll probably always get that way when I view the photos that someone took of our experience.

Then the dear lady–a national treasure in my book–shook our hands, called us all by name and wished us many blessings. She even signed some pictures for us.

It’s a day I will never forget. My family and I traveled from our home in Kansas to a small city in North Carolina. The city is Mt. Airy, but it’s probably better known as Mayberry. And the precious lady was Betty Lynn…better known as Thelma Lou. And that day at the Andy Griffith Museum was wonderful.

My children live in Kansas but have been raised in Mayberry/Mt. Airy. We intentionally don’t have cable or satellite television, but we do have several DVDs we love to watch, and the favorite is The Andy Griffith Show. The lessons discovered on that series are timeless. As are the endearing characters–like Thelma Lou.

Writers, I’m more convinced than ever that we can change people’s lives, not just by the plots we construct, but also by the characters we create. I want my readers to care for my characters to the point that they say, “I wish that character was real. I’d love to spend time with him/her!”

Recently a lady who read one of my unpublished books sent me an email in which she said, “All the characters are true to life and worth remembering. That sentence meant so much to me.

What characters have you found worth remembering? What characters have left you wishing they were real and could sit and talk with you? Writer, do you long to create characters that will last forever?

6 Comments

Filed under books, Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, family, Larry W. Timm, Writing

Been there, done that

 

   Recently I heard a joke about a guy who went in for surgery. After he was rolled into the pre-op area, his wife trudged her way down the long haul toward the hospital cafeteria. But two steps from the cafeteria entrance, she heard her husband screaming, and she froze in her tracks. She looked down the hall to see him running toward her.

“Honey, what’s wrong?” she asked.

He pointed at the nurse marching down the hall towards them. “I heard what she said!”

“What did she say?”

“She said, ‘I know you’ve never been through this kind of operation before, but it’s a relatively minor procedure, so try to stop shaking. There’s a good chance everything will turn out okay.'”

The wife shook her head. “But, honey, the nurse was just trying to help you.”

His eyes went wide. “She was talking to the doctor!”

Yeah, we’d all like to know that our surgeon has been there and done that before we entrust our bodies to him. I don’t want my doctor to point to an x-ray and exclaim, “Wow! What’s that d0-hicky there?” Hardly a confidence builder.

One of the challenges of being a writer is deciding who to go to for advice. Let’s face it–and this is an uncomfortable truth–there are a few self-proclaimed experts out there on the literary landscape. Doubtless, many of them mean well and can even offer random nuggets of information that can benefit any writer. But others have never really been there and done that. And, frankly, your time as a writer is too precious to waste. The stewardship of story calls for us to carefully exercise discernment.

Thankfully there are tons of people (al though I’ve never actually weighed them) out there who bring to the proverbial table wisdom gained by the experience of having walked the road themselves. They are usually very humble people who are willing to share what they’ve learned because the respect the craft, and they genuinely want to help another writer succeed. They remember the times someone helped them in the past, and the vow they made to sacrificially do the same if they ever had the chance.

How do YOU decide who will help shape your story? How do YOU decide who to go to for advice? Any experience–good or not-so-good–you care to share (don’t mention names, please)?

7 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Have They Seen His Story?

On my trek from North Carolina back to Kansas, I passed near Joplin, MO and saw a billboard for the Precious Moments Chapel near by. A few precious moments characters were pictured on the billboard, along with the words “Have You Seen His Story?” Cute little characters were waiting to illustrate the news of God’s love, if I only had time to take the proper exit and drop by. But I didn’t.

But that wasn’t the end of it. My writer’s brain grabbed me with strong hands of conviction and stared deep into my soul. And that still, small voice said, “When someone reads one of your books, will they been given the opportunity to see His Story?”

Writers, we are simply ambassadors for Christ on the printed page. So may we agree with the hymn writer and find great joy in telling His Story to our readers. It will be our theme in glory…let’s become accustomed to it here.

4 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, editing, family, Larry W. Timm

“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.

20 Comments

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

“The Divine on Display”

A kindergarten teacher observed her class while they were drawing pictures during art time. She would occasionally stroll around the room to see their work, offering compliments as she moved from desk to desk. She noticed that one little girl was working ferociously, her tongue sticking out of the corner of her mouth and her tiny hand moving the colored marker with firm strokes.

The curious teacher halted beside her desk. “You are really concentrating, dear. What are you drawing?”

Without taking her eyes off her paper, the little girl said, “I’m drawing a picture of God.”

It took a few seconds for the teacher to catch her breath and her thoughts. “But, sweetheart, no one knows what God looks like.”

“Well, they will in a minute!”

As writers, are we just as convinced that we can put the Divine on display in our stories? If not, why not?

No, we can’t produce a drawing of deity or a take a supernatural snapshot. But we can reveal His heart. In Christian fiction, it isn’t just our privilege but our duty to do so. Whether between the lines or in the words, we should work hard to help people see God, to find hope in despair, and light in darkness. Writing is one way we live out our discipleship in this world, and, as disciples, we are commanded to be salt and light.

Is there potential for your readers to step closer to God because they read one of your stories? Ever heard back from a reader who told you just such a thing happened?

4 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, reading, Writing

Stewards of Mysteries

While the context of the verses below is specifically speaking about the Apostle Paul and the responsibility entrusted to him as an Apostle of Christ, the incredible power of these verses extends to another group of people who are given an awesome privilege: Writers. Think about the following words in those terms.

“Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” (I Corinthians 4:1)

Writer, don’t let the word “mysteries” toss you for a loop. Here–as in I Corinthians 2:7–the word “mysteries” means those truths previously unknown or not clearly proclaimed until the time was right. It is a revealing of truth…a flipping of the light switch. God had history wired for His light, but He lit a few lights at a time. The coming of Jesus signified the flipping of the big switch that allowed the most breath-taking light to shine.

What does this have to do with writers? It applies in some awe-inspiring ways! First and foremost, we write in glad submission to our Lord. We are servants of Christ. Editors, agents, publishing houses, and even our readers are secondary. And, second, we are stewards of the mysteries of God. Caretakers of the holy.

Wow!

Try to lazy your way through a story once you grab that fact!

Then read the second verse in I Corinthians 4:

“…it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.”

Why am I stressing this? Read on…

“…but the one who examines me is the Lord. [When the Lord comes, He will] bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” (I Corinthians 4: 4-5)

Yeah, it matters. I want to be a good steward of story. I want to give it my best because God has trusted me with something powerful and priceless. And He will write the final review…not just of a single novel, but of my heart’s motives. He knows what I write AND why I write.

Same for you. Does it matter?

4 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, Writing

“Wounded Warriors”

Writers are some of the bravest people I know. They march into the kingdom of darkness–following the lead of their Lord–and seek to do battle with the evil hosts that lurk within.

And they write.

Christian writers bear the burden of conviction, the weight of mission, and the scars of their past. And a keen awareness of their present weakness. They need not look often to know that the baggage from their own past is dragging along behind them.

And they write.

The enemy of our souls–of all souls–tries to stop them. He tells them that they are not as good as “so and so.” He reminds them of hurtful comments. And mocks their attempts to move forward on the writer’s journey.

And they write.

As they sit to write stories that stab his veil of darkness with the sharp power of words, and threaten to open avenues of light for others, the devil retaliates with lies. “Your Work-in-progress is terrible,” or “Your last book was a failure…and that means you are too.” He spews discouragement, threatening them with weariness and doubt. Tempting them to give up.

And they write.

He offers them the sweet taste of arrogance and pride, and tries to make them believe that they are a star…one that shines brighter than the Nazarene. Satan’s flattery is lined with razor-sharp blades that cut as the writer swallow his lies, the cuts opening wounds that bleed away their joy.

And they write.

Dear God, Someone reading these words today needs Your help. They have grown discouraged under the weight of our enemy’s deceit. They can feel his hot, foul breath on their necks and they are feeling defenseless before him. They have started to question Your calling in their life. They are ready to quit. Please, Father, come to their aid, and assure them of Your never-ending presence. Refresh their soul. Heal their wounds. Send them a friend. And return to them the joy of their salvation. And then…they write. In Jesus Name, so be it.”

7 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, Uncategorized, Writing

“Top 10 Signs Your Writers Conference Chose the Wrong Hotel”

Top 10 Signs Your Writers Conference Chose the Wrong Hotel

#10:  After passing a chalk outline in the hallway, you enter your room and the roaches don’t even try to hide. And one of them hangs up the phone and says, “You with room service?”

# 9:  The gift shop is running a special on gas masks & tetanus shots.

# 8:  At the airport, when you tell the taxi driver which hotel you want to go to, he turns blue and falls over in his seat because he’s laughing so hard he can’t breathe.

# 7:  When you ask if the hotel has “wi-fi”, the man at the desk says, “Not since we sprayed a few days ago.”

# 6:  The hot tub is out-of-order because the cook is using it to make his “special” stew.

# 5:  The “Continental Breakfast” is actually served in the parking lot, from the dirty trunk of a Lincoln Continental.

# 4:  The sound system is a hefty lady who stands on stage and screams out everything the keynote speaker just said.

# 3:  You’re sure you heard someone in the kitchen area yell, “Hey, Elmer! Is this a tapeworm?” And you’re having spaghetti that evening.

# 2:  There is no elevator, and the “escalator” is a sweaty shirtless guy–with an abundance of back-hair–who stands at the bottom of the stairs and says, “Jump on my back, I’ll tote ya right up there.”

# 1:  The guy at the front desk won’t check you in until you pull his finger.

Any other helpful ideas?

10 Comments

Filed under Christian Fiction, Larry W. Timm, Writing

“Carefully & Prayerfully”

Yep…I know I just used two “ly” words. I did it intentionally and happily [Larry snickers gleefully]. Seriously…(that makes 6!)…the two words I used for the title of this post are my answer to the question: “How do you approach your responsibility as a writer?”

Carefully and Prayerfully.

But, today, I’m going to concentrate on the second word. The more I am blessed to be around other writers, the more I am feeling a conviction that we ought to be praying for one another. Specifically. By Name. We are, after all, a band of brothers and sisters toiling together to impact our world with the light of truth. Yes, we want to deliver a strong emotional experience. But we are CHRISTIAN writers, which makes us brothers and sisters with the same Lord and children of the same Heavenly Father. The strong emotional experience we offer should be delivered in words soaked in spiritual awareness.

As Christian writers, we are dealing with a spiritual reality that secular writers can not possess or reveal. And regardless of the genre–or even the market–in which we seek to publish our stories, we can call upon a power that no unbeliever can claim: the power of God!

Of course no writer can prayer for every other writer…there are too many writers. But we can pray for some. And we should. If you are in a writing group, do you pray for those other writers? To you take time to pray together at your meetings? Do you pray for your favorite writers–the ones whose books have blessed you? ACFW members could take a minute to pray for the names of the new members when they are posted on the loop.

Let’s hold one another up in prayer to a God Who has promised to hear our prayers. Let’s tap into the power that awaits us. And let’s intercede for one another.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Fiction, Christian Growth, Christian Life, Larry W. Timm, Writing