Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Anna DeStefano Workshop April 26

I wanted to announce an exciting opportunity! My friend and past critique partner, Anna DeStefano (Harlequin Superromance author), will be leading a writers workshop for my local ACFW chapter. I hope you can come! Here's the promo info:

ACFW Writers of Remarkable Design invites you to join us, Saturday, April 26, 2008 for a hands-on workshop with award-winning author Anna DeStefano!

Anna will present two of her popular workshops, Plotting Through Character and Planning and Rewriting.


This event will be held at Sugar Hill United Methodist Church from 10 AM to 2 PM. Cost for ACFW local group members is $8, nonmembers $10. Price includes Chick-fil-A lunch. For directions:

Please RSVP via e-mail to: Email reservations must be received by April 14 and payment received by April 18 to assure lunch reservation. Late reservations and walk-ins are welcome, however lunch will not be provided. (Sorry, no refunds after April 18.)
We look forward to having you join us!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Amy Wallace's New Website and Newsletter

I wanted to let you know about a fun new website! My friend and Multnomah author, Amy Wallace, has launched Heart Chocolate. Be sure to also sign up for her new newsletter, Dark Chocolate Suspense, while you're there (click on the computer screen to do so).

Amy will be a guest on my blog during her blog tour for her new release, Healing Promises. She'll be visiting on April 23, so put that on your calendar. That day is her husband's birthday, so we'll be having some special festivities. :)

I hope you had a great Easter! We had a whole day together in the Tippens household, which seems to be a rarity these days. It was a gorgeous day in Georgia, so we got to spend the afternoon outside watching tennis matches at the University of Georgia. My son has a friend and former teammate who's a freshman there now who plays on the UGA team. What amazing talent!

FYI! I just added Feedblitz, so you can subscribe to my blog and receive an email anytime I have a new post. You'll see the place to subscribe to the right, just under my book cover. Thanks!


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring and Easter are Here!

We had our lawn mowed yesterday for the first time of the season. What a wonderful, fragrant reminder of the newness of spring. After the long, cold winter, relief is in sight.

Hope, newness, a fresh start.

It reminds me of God's love, God's mercy. He loved us enough to send His Son to die on the cross for our sins. So we can have hope, newness, and a fresh start.

John 3:16-18 (The Message)
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

I hope you have a blessed Easter this Sunday. He is risen!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Guest Blogger Camy Tang-- Win a copy of Only Uni!

I'm pleased to welcome Camy Tang as my guest blogger today! She offers excellent, reasonable critiquing services through Story Sensei , and I asked her to share some of her expertise on how to do a "big picture" critique. If you'd like a chance to win a copy of Only Uni, please leave a comment with your contact information. I'll draw a name Wednesday morning.

Welcome, Camy! So, please share with us how we can look at our own overall story arc.

From Camy...

This is a little hard to explain, but I’ll give it a shot.

I usually start with the characters. Do they have clear external goals? Do those goals carry them through the entire story, or does the goal change or end by the middle? (That’s bad, the goal should carry them through to the climax.)

Are the goals strong enough to carry them through the entire story? Sometimes external goals are weak and don’t have a strong enough purpose or good enough motivations behind them. For example, a heroine wanting to adopt a dog could be a problematic external goal if you don’t have a darn good reason for her to need/want a dog, and if you don’t have enough obstacles or a ticking clock to push the action forward.

For Christian fiction, I also look at the characters’ spiritual conflicts. Each character needs to have some sort of internal flaw—perfect characters are boring. The character should struggle against this spiritual flaw for the entirety of the book, and there should be a realization, epiphany, or change at the climax that reshapes the character.

The spiritual flaw also needs to be both specific and strong enough. “Anger against God” is too vague, but “anger against God for allowing her to be injured and give up her dream of being a dancer” is good and specific. “Worrying about people” is a weak spiritual conflict, but “worrying enough about people to butt in where she’s not wanted” is both specific and a real flaw.

How does the external goal and spiritual conflict shape the climax? Ideally, the external goal and the spiritual conflict should come to a head at the climax of the story, or right before or right after it. Basically, you box the character in until they have to choose between two bad choices or two worthy choices. There’s some sort of sacrifice the character has to make.

Many times, there isn’t a strong enough sacrifice in the climax. Someone has to lose something important for there to be strong enough emotional resonance in the reader.

I also look at the obstacles and conflict of the story points. There should be very specific things that work directly against the character’s external goals and/or their spiritual conflict. General conflict is not enough to drive a story forward—the conflict needs to work directly against what the character is striving for.

Say the character wants to get on the cover of Rolling Stones magazine, because that will mean she’s made it as a rock star. She tries to become friends with a man who’s known to give parties that the Rolling Stones editors go to. She hits an obstacle because the man has a friend who sees that she’s just an ambitious singer trying to take advantage of his friend. Since the heroine hits this obstacle, she tries another option—she tries to become friends with a woman who serves drinks at those parties and might be able to sneak her in. At each step, the heroine is still working toward her external goal, and each obstacle stops her in her path, forcing her to try a different route.

The conflict and obstacles should be raising the stakes at each step, taking away options, boxing the character in. Many stories suffer from a sagging middle because the conflict isn’t directly against the character’s goal, or the stakes aren’t rising with each step forward. Things should be getting worse, or the deadline should be looming closer.

Most people don’t have a problem with the resolution after the climax, it’s the getting to the climax that causes problems in story structure and character arc. After the climax, the characters have reached a new understanding of themselves, the danger is past, the future is bright or at least bearable.

This is a quick and dirty way to analyze your own story, but I hope this has helped!

Thanks so much, Camy! This has been really helpful to me! I'll be analyzing the manuscript I just finished to make sure it's doing all you said.

For those of you following Camy's blog tour, check out this link to see where else she'll be visiting.

Camy Tang is the loud Asian chick who writes loud Asian chick lit. She used to be a biologist, but now she is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads a worship team for Sunday service. She also runs the Story Sensei fiction critique service. On her blog, she gives away Christian novels every Monday and Thursday, and she ponders frivolous things like dumb dogs (namely, hers), coffee-geek husbands (no resemblance to her own...), the writing journey, Asiana, and anything else that comes to mind. Visit her website at for a huge website contest going on right now, giving away five boxes of books and 25 copies of her latest release, ONLY UNI.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Guest Blogger Camy Tang on Tuesday. Win a copy of Only Uni!

Be sure to stop by on Tuesday, March 18. Camy Tang will be my guest blogger as part of her blog tour for her new release, Only Uni. She has a real gift for being able to see the "big picture" of a story and offers her critiquing expertise in her Story Sensei business. I've asked her to blog about how we can look at our own manuscripts as if doing a big picture critique.

Stop by on Tuesday and leave a comment for a chance to win a drawing for a copy of Only Uni!

Also, Catherine Terry will be drawing a name for a winner of Her Unlikely Family at the end of the month at her site, At Home with Christian Fiction. So be sure to sign her guestbook to enter!!

And on Tuesday, Shirley Kiger Connolly will be having a drawing to give away a copy of my book as well. Check out her contest page to find out how to enter!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book Signing March 15!

I'm blogging on F.A.I.T.H. Thursday. I'm talking about a writer's "prologue" to publishing--things you can do while you're waiting for The Call.

THIS SATURDAY!! I'll be doing the program for the monthly Georgia Romance Writers meeting. Also, a book signing afterwards! Please come to Barnes & Noble Saturday around 2-3 pm.
The Forum on Peachtree Parkway
5141 Peachtree Parkway
Norcross, GA 30092

Authors who will be signing will be:

Missy Tippens, Her Unlikely Family
Tanya Michaels, An Unlikely Mommy (check the similarity in titles! )
Karen White, The Memory of Water
Jennifer St. Giles, Silken Shadows
Cynthia Reece, Where Love Grows
Raven Hart, The Vampire's Kiss
Debby Giusti, MIA: Missing In Atlanta

Also, please don't forget to join the ACFW Book Club. It's free, and it's a great place to meet reader and writers while discussing a book each month. Also, I'd appreciate it if you'd vote for Her Unlikely Family! The poll ends March 15. To join, you can send a blank email to: Then once you're signed in the the yahoogroup, you click on "polls" and find the poll for the May book. Thanks!

Friday, March 07, 2008

The End!!!!!!!!

I just typed The End!!! This is a re-write of a book I finished in November. I ended up using the same characters but changed the story a good bit. I think I re-used maybe 5 or 6 scenes. The rest is all new!


It turned out 67,ooo words! And Love Inspired books need to be 55-60k. So I'm going to be doing some major cutting as I revise. I feel sure it won't be too hard. I remember some scenes at the beginning where I was kind of spinning my wheels trying to figure out where the story was going. I'm sure they'll come out easily. I also know I'll need to change the beginning a bit so that then ending will reflect the beginning--to give that circular feel. So I can cut some from the opening.

I'm so excited. I have been going at a snail's pace the past two or three weeks trying to figure out how it would end. Then yesterday, it finally hit me. Thank you, God!

Have you typed The End lately? If you've finished reading a book lately, would you share what you liked about the ending?

Missy--who sent off the taxes and finished a book in the same day. :)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Our Servant Assignments

Come on over to the F.A.I.T.H. blog on Thursday. I'm blogging about Planting and Watering (Not Your Vegetable Garden--Your Servant Assignment!).

Also, let me know what you think of American Idol this week! The guys were great, and most of the women did really well, too. Who did you try to vote off the show? Who are your favorites?


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

American Idol!

Okay, what did you think of the guys Tuesday night? Who's going to win the whole thing?? :)


Monday, March 03, 2008

Winner of Website Drawing!

The winner of my website drawing for the cozy gift basket is Nina R.! Congratulations, Nina! I've sent you an email asking for your mailing address. I hope you enjoy a cozy evening at home reading. :)