Discouragement Is a Choice

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By Henry McLaughlin One given in the writing world is we will get discouraged. An area where I’ve been discouraged is when a story doesn’t work. My fingers are like stones on the keyboard. What seemed like a great story idea flickers like a dying fire. The plot is what my Italian friends call a frittata. The characters are flat …

Who Told You That?

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by Henry McLaughlin Remember the old cliché? from childhood: sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me? Not true. Words and names can actually do much more lasting damage. Cuts and bruises heal. Words and names create self-images that linger and poison for years. They can become prophecies we fulfill whether we want to or …

A Writer’s Prayer

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By Sarah Hamaker I’ve been thinking a lot about prayers and writing these past few years. I’ve always loved that ACFW has a prayer room staffed with volunteers during the conference, and I’ve taken advantage of both praying and volunteering. Prayer is also top of mind because a local writer’s group I’m involved with is working on an anthology of …

Traits of a Successful Critique Group

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By Henry McLaughlin I’m sure we’ve all participated in or heard stories about horrible experiences with critique groups. I’ve had a few myself. Unfortunately, I may have contributed to some of them. To any writers I did this to, I apologize. I’ve been writing seriously for over ten years. During this time, I’ve participated in many critique groups, both on …

Confessions of an Unromantic Romance Writer

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By Ane Mulligan Hello. My name is Ane Mulligan and I don’t write romance. There. I’ve confessed. However, it’s not totally accurate. I hope my nose doesn’t grow. You see, I did write two: A Magnolia Blooms in Winter, which will come out this November from Firefly in the Southern Seasons Collection, and Love is Sweeter in Sugar Hill, in …

When You Don’t Final—Handling Feedback from Contests

ACFW Advice, Contests, Critiques, Friends of ACFW, tips 6 Comments

By Rachel Dylan When I first started writing I entered numerous writing contests for unpublished authors. I was excited to enter and see what others thought about these crazy stories that had developed inside my head. These contests were a great way to get feedback and have someone who didn’t know me read my manuscript. I jumped in and started …

Creating a Crazy-Good Critique Group

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By J.A. Marx We fondly call each other critters, and I consider this group of serious writers essential to my writing career. I’m sure online critique groups work well, but I prefer face-to-face. For one, as the facilitator, I like to observe the newbies to ensure they are holding up under the initial shock—reading their story out loud for the …

God’s Plan for You

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By Patricia Bradley “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 God has a plan for each of us, a pathway for us to walk, and it doesn’t always include what we think it should. That thought …

A Spoon Full of Sugar…Yes, Please

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By W.G. Reese You’ve finished that article, short story, or novel that you poured your heart into for days, weeks, and months. Whoever reads this miraculous compilation of facts, imagery and relatable emotion will enjoy — no, be enthralled and begging for more, until…. You run it by a critique group, friend, spouse, and/or that special someone who totally gets …