Why a Writers Conference?

A Guest Post by Patricia Bradley

Are you one of those individuals who have people wandering around in your head? Maybe you even talk to them. Or maybe you have ideas floating in that gray matter that beg to be put on paper. And maybe no one in your family ‘gets’ you. Even your close friends sometime look at you like you’re from another planet.

Well, I have the perfect place for you. The Mid-South Christian Writers Conference will welcome you with open arms. We understand. We talk to the people in our heads, too. Some of us don’t have people we talk to, but we have these wonderful stories to tell about other people, or places and events. And some of us write devotionals. But rest assured, we want to help you take what’s in your head and put it on paper.

At MSCWC we have workshops that range from beginner to advanced to help you and encourage you in your writing journey. In addition, there will be editors, small press publishers, agents and mentors you can connect with to discuss your short and long range plans. And on Friday night, we have a Meet and Greet where you can mingle with the speakers and other writers.

For you fiction writers out there, Johnnie Alexander and I will have a workshop on deepening your characters. We’ll talk about things like writing emotions into your characters and how to make your characters come alive. And that’s just one of the workshops you’ll encounter at the conference.

So, make plans to attend the MidSouth Christian Writers Conference March 15-16, 2019. You will be glad you did.

Meet Patricia

Winner of an Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award in Suspense, Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi with her rescue kitty, Suzy. Her romantic suspense books include the Logan Point Series and the Memphis Cold Case Novels. She also has written sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming available as ebooks. Her workshops on writing include online courses with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference in Collierville, TN, including one on Scrivener. When she has time, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Patricia and Johnnie’s Workshop

Creating Characters with Personality and Pizzazz!

To write an unforgettable story, create memorable characters then deepen their emotional connection to your readers. We’ll share ideas for developing well-rounded characters using techniques such as Myers-Briggs Personality Types and “channeling” your character’s inner life. 

A Quarter Century of Stories

A Guest Post by Tracy Crump

Who would have thought the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series would be around for more than a quarter century? I doubt even Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen realized what they were starting when they published that first book in 1993.

Now, three hundred titles and hundreds of millions of books later, the company is taking on more projects and bringing out more new products than ever before under the leadership of Amy Newmark. What does this mean for you, our Mid-South Christian Writers Conference attendees?

Last year, I led a workshop on writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul, sharing as much of what I’ve learned in writing for them as I could fit into one hour. This year, Andi Lehman will join me on Friday afternoon of the conference to present our four-hour workshop on writing for this wonderful series.

Between us, Andi and I have published two dozen stories in Chicken Soup books. Not only will we teach guidelines and techniques to help enhance your writing, we’ll conduct hands-on sessions to get you started on stories you can submit to Chicken Soup. Andi’s “Weaving Your Web” will show you how to generate story ideas and narrow them down to a publishable piece (attendees love Andi’s energetic teaching style). And I’ll help you “Dissect a Chicken.”

DISCLAIMER: No animals are harmed in the presentation of this workshop.

So join us Friday, March 15, from 1-5 p.m. for “Stirring the Pot: Writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul.” Then stay for Meet and Greet. Then come back on Saturday for the best conference around!

Meet Tracy

Tracy Crump has published two dozen stories in anthologies, including nineteen in Chicken Soup for the Soul. As co-director of Write Life Workshops, she conducts workshops and webinars on writing for the series, and her “How to Write for Chicken Soup for the Soul” course is one of Serious Writer Academy’s top sellers. Her articles and devotionals have appeared in national publications, and she edits The Write Life, a popular writers newsletter that includes story callouts. She is a freelance editor and proofreader for Farmer’s Almanac.Visit Tracy at TracyCrump.com or WriteLifeWorkshops.com.

Tracy and Andi’s Friday Session Workshop

Stirring the Pot: Writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul

Chicken Soup for the Soul receives thousands of submissions but selects only 101 for each book. How can you increase the chances they’ll choose your story? Come learn what Chicken Soup wants, what they don’t want, and how you can stir up a winning Chicken Soup story.

2019 New Year’s Resolution

A Writer’s Resolution: Attend the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference.

(You know you want to!)

Register now!

Do You Plan Your Reading?

A Guest Post by Bob Hostetler

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, of course, I mean the annual celebration of our Lord’s nativity, which is rich with meaning and blessing for me and my family. I hope you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas.

But there’s something else that makes this time of year wonderful to me: the joyful preparation of a reading plan for the coming year, which I do every year in late December and early January. That plan becomes something like a syllabus that will allow me to derive maximum variety and benefit from my reading throughout the course of a year. My annual reading plan always includes:

  • a minimum of one biography;
  • at least one memoir;
  • a healthy dose of at least four classics (e.g., Pascal, Dostoyevsky, Shakespeare, etc.).
  • at least one history book;
  • several writing books;
  • at least two books by authors I’ve never read before;
  • a minimum of one poetry book;
  • a few books from my favorite authors, such as C.S. Lewis and Wendell Berry;
  • a minimum of two books in a new discipline or field of interest (e.g., logic, gardening, ethics, archaeology, etc.);
  • at least one children’s book, since I am still a child at heart and a great admirer of picture books and juvenile literature (and look forward to the release of my first children’s bookin February);
  • one or two selections from a short list of books I re-read every few years, some serious, some life-changing, some fanciful, from A. A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner to The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer.

Finally, for good measure, I require that at least one of the books on my list (in any category) must be what I call a “mule-choker,” a book of great heft, the intimidating sort of book I might not otherwise read, such as Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) or The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (Shirer).

Usually, by the time December rolls around, I have quite a few titles already on my list, from reading book reviews or hearing recommendations from friends. Since I’m reading constantly, I don’t have to buy or borrow a book I’m interested in right away; I simply add it to my list for the coming year, and that way I don’t forget it or feel pressure to squeeze it in to my current stack.

My reading is not entirely void of spontaneity, however. The above list accounts for roughly twenty-five books; I often read four times that number during a given year. So, there’s ample opportunity to read a book on a whim or stay in a favorite genre. Nor do I carve my reading plan in granite; I’m free to substitute books, shift priorities, or even add whole categories. It’s my plan, after all, not the Ten Commandments.

And, while my writer’s annual reading plan is no talisman, it has delivered me from overdosing on one writer or genre, reading only the least challenging books, and that listless feeling of staring at my bookcase like a teenager standing before an open refrigerator, wondering, What do I want, what do I want?After all, the menu’s already been prepared; I need only place my order, and I’m ready for a readable feast.

How about you? Do you plan your reading? Or keep it spontaneous?

Note: This post also appeared on The Steve Laube Agency blog.

Meet Bob

Bob Hostetler is an award-winning author, literary agent, and speaker from southwestern Ohio. His fifty books, which include the award-winning Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door (co-authored with Josh McDowell) and The Bard and the Bible: A Shakespeare Devotional, have sold millions of copies. Bob is also the executive director of the Christian Writers Institute. He and his wife, the lovely Robin, have been married for forty years. They have two children and five grandchildren.

Bob’s Workshop

Writing for Teens

Our keynote speaker, a former editor of magazines for children and youth, presents the “Ten Commandments” of writing for teens.

We Wish You a Very Merry Christmas!

Shout Out to Our Sponsors

Our sponsors are so grand

The grandest in the land

Clap clap. Clap clap. Clap [pause] clap.

Thanks for all you do.

God’s glory shines through you.

Clap clap. Clap clap. Clap [pause] clap.

Meet Our Sponsors

Anna and William Hill, owners of Anna’s Pet Service , became sponsors during our inaugural year.

William, who shares a daily prayer in our Facebook group, says they “wanted to help and felt that our sponsorship of worthy causes is the best advertising we can do next to the recommendations of our customers.”

We thank Anna’s Pet Service for their encouraging support.

Southern Writers, the Author’s Magazine, has also supported us since our first year, and we are very grateful for their participation.

Southern Writers Magazine is much more than a top-notch magazine–you’ll find encouragement and inspiration in each issue.

Click here for details on receiving a free issue.

Guideposts Publishing sponsors our Friday evening Meet-and-Greet. We are so privileged to have  Jon Woodhams, Editor, as a supportive neighbor and friend . . . who also brings fun swag!

Guidepost provides hope and inspiration worldwide through their uplifting magazines, books, websites, prayer community, and outreach programs.

 

Announcing 2019 MSCWC Special Friday Sessions & Saturday Workshops

The MSCWC Faculty Committee has worked hard to bring another great line-up of classes presented by publishing professionals and accomplished authors.

On Friday, March 15th, TWO special workshops are  available at an extra cost. For more details, visit Friday Workshops on the MSCWC website.

On Saturday, March 16th, we’re offering NINE fantastic workshops on  various aspects of writing. Be sure and check the MSCWC schedule so you can choose the three you most want to attend.

Great news! Selected workshops will be offered twice!

2019 Friday Only Sessions

Tracy Crump and Andi Lehman — Stirring the Pot: Writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul

Chicken Soup for the Soul receives thousands of submissions but selects only 101 for each book. How can you increase the chances they’ll choose your story? Come learn what Chicken Soup wants, what they don’t want, and how you can stir up a winning Chicken Soup story.

Johnnie Alexander — Opening Scene Critique Workshop

The opening pages of your manuscript need to shine bright to get the attention of a publisher or agent. You’re invited to submit the first five or six pages (the opening scene) of your novel for critique. As a group, we’ll discuss craft elements such as: opening hook; characters; point of view; showing/telling; and voice. This workshop is limited to six participants.

2019 Saturday Workshops

Johnnie Alexander and Patricia Bradley — Creating Characters with Personality and Pizzazz!

To write an unforgettable story, create memorable characters and then deepen their emotional connection to your readers. We’ll share ideas for developing well-rounded characters using techniques such as Myers-Briggs Personality Types and “channeling” your character’s inner life.

Rhonda Dragomir — Microsoft Word for Writing Wranglers

Microsoft Word (MS Word) is like a bronc, and sometimes writing wranglers get bucked off into a pile of manure! This workshop teaches skills in MS Word that will break the bronc into a working partner, saving you hours of time and making your writing stand out to agents and editors.

Victoria Duerstock — Building Platform 101

Victoria will share her top tips to begin building your platform to demonstrate understanding and success to an agent or editor. We will cover social media, email lists, and the marketing section of your proposal.

Linda Fulkerson — 15 Must-Haves for Author/Writer Websites

This presentation will cover 15 must-haves for author/writer websites. Attendees will learn how to ensure his or her website is secure, compliant with government guidelines, competitive with search engines and engaging for readers and that it builds one’s author platform, increasing the ability to sell books, products, and services.

Vanessa Davis Griggs — The SmART of Writing

Whether fiction or nonfiction, there is an art in writing. Learn the art as you follow your dream of not only being published but of owning the process from start to finish.

Jean Matthew Hall — Introduction to Writing for Young Children: Board Books, Picture Books, Early & Easy Readers

This workshop presents a bird’s eye view of writing for young children (birth through 7 years old). We will also take a look at some DOs and DON’Ts of writing for young children, and some must-have resources. A question and answer time is included.

Bob Hostetler — Writing for Teens

Our keynote speaker, a former editor of magazines for children and youth, presents the “Ten Commandments” of writing for teens.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter — Cut the Fluff

This class will cover seven integral elements for a great read, the purpose behind each element, and how to weave them together into meaningful scenes that create a riveting story. Writers will learn what is superfluous to the story and when to kill their darlings by implementing a great self-editing technique.

Brenda Yoder — Non-Fiction 101: Everything You Might Need to Know and More

How do you write compelling non-fiction that connects with your audience? In this workshop, author Brenda L. Yoder equips participants with the tools needed to write great non-fiction that keeps readers coming back for more.