Thursday, February 15, 2018

Opportunity to Publish

ACFW Indiana's next meeting will be March 10 in Fort Wayne. 

Instead of a regular meeting, we're adding a little competition: can you write a flash fiction romance in five hours, a masterpiece in a day?  

From 11a.m. until 4 p.m. we will meet at Don's Guesthouse Grille, enjoy some lunch, and start writing!

You don't write romances? Don't let that terrify you! I'm not a romance writer either. But last summer, I jumped in with both feet at a local arts fair that conducted a similar contest. 

What an enjoyable day discovering how much I could accomplish in so little time. Then there was the added boon of sitting with writer friends while we typed away, occasionally consulting one another for a light critique. I won second place! And a cash prize!

Masterpiece in a Day judges realize your "finished" product will be little more than a rough draft, but they'll base their decision for a winner on the story's potential . Three finalists will be notified within thirty days of the contest so they can polish their submission before the winner is announced at the June 9 meeting, which will also take place in Fort Wayne.

At that time, he or she will be awarded $50 and the edited story will be sent to Spark for publication. (An added note: Doc Hensley will be our featured speaker in June.)

Since this kind of event creates additional expense for our chapter, we're charging $10 for each story submitted from ACFW members, and $15 for any guests who wish to join in the fun.

Here's how you can expect it all to work on the day of the contest:          

1. You will be given 3 writing prompts.
2. In the next several hours, you will write a 500-700 word sweet romance based on a theme given to you on that day.
3. When you finish, email it to the addresses on the instruction sheet before you leave.


Please RSVP to as soon as possible.

Your officers have selected a menu of salads or sandwiches, providing for vegetarians, those who eat light, and those who enjoy a hearty meal. I expect our Facebook page will have a map link to get you to  1313 W. Washington Center Road in Fort Wayne.

So get your creative juices flowing! And I hope to see you there!

Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She is currently working on a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft. She still visits the school and teaches creative writing workshops.

Where Linda can be found on the web:

Monday, February 12, 2018

Catching Up with Author Rick Barry: Life as a Full Time Writer

Darren: Hello Rick, and welcome! I’m sure many of your readers have been keeping up with your adventures through Facebook, Twitter, and your own website, so I will keep those type of questions limited and brief.

Rick: Thanks for asking for an interview. It’s an honor.

Darren: It seems like just yesterday that you were the President of ACFW-Indiana and I was your VP. My, how time flies! Since then, you’ve had several life events that have transplanted you to Michigan. But those events have allowed you to pursue a career with full-time writing. Can you share some of the successes and struggles this transition has generated?

Rick: Life is full of hard realities, and one of those is aging parents. My father had been living alone, but his failing memory and stamina no longer allowed him to live alone. I moved in with him to take care of cooking, cleaning, laundry, and home maintenance. Instead of taking a job while caring for Dad, I began working as a freelance writer, editor, and Russian translator. Actually, I had already been doing all of those, but this was the first time my full income came from those three activities.

Darren: What is your current main writing focus and where are you in that process?

Rick: Although I write short assignments for such publishers as Focus on the Family, Answers magazine, and Regular Baptist Press, those provide quick income to keep me in the black as I work on my next novel, which is a sequel to The Methuselah Project. I’m about 55,000 words into it.

Darren: You’ve pursued more than just writing. I know you worked as an extra in Captain America: Civil War, applied for the Survivor TV show, and recently you submitted a movie screenplay in an international contest that took you to California. Can you share with us more about those events and what motivates you to pursue them?

Rick: For the Captain America gig, I was actually online searching for live casting calls when I stumbled across a call for people in Atlanta to be extras. I sent them my photos and information, and within 24 hours they asked me to come. So I spent a full day as a mourner at Peggy Carter’s funeral and saw Chris Evans and other well-known actors. They paid me for my time, and also fed us breakfast, lunch, and supper. For Cap, I would’ve done it for free. But I wasn’t going to turn down free meals and money!

As for Survivor, I’ve applied quite a few times. Competition is fierce, though. Unless your audition video hits it out of the ballpark with the casting, you don’t hear back. Maybe they figured viewers wouldn’t want to watch me sit on the beach and plot my next book in the sand?

And I’ve had a growing interest in wholesome, God-glorifying films. So I took a class in writing screenplays, and then continued to study the structure. Three times now I’ve entered Movieguide’s annual Kairos Prize, which comes with a $15,000 prize for the winner. The first two times I heard nothing back. But in February I was one of 10 Finalists out of hundreds of submissions from over 20 countries. I didn’t win, but just being a finalist was extremely encouraging.

Darren: I know you write more than fiction, what other writing projects have you been working on?

Rick: I’ve written many devotional articles for Christian publications. The January/February issue of Answers magazine includes my interview with a Harvard-educated Christian geneticist.

Darren: Now I want to shift gears, slightly, and focus on the full- time writing aspect. Isn’t it always every writer’s dream to actually be able to write full time? Any advice for those of us wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Rick: Yes. Don’t do it! That is, not unless you have a spouse to support you, or unless you make a big sale that positions you comfortably to live without other income. Writing for publication can be very iffy. You’re never guaranteed of sales for your work, and you must constantly force yourself to produce, always produce. You must really be a self-starter who can crack the whip at yourself and say “Sorry, no,” to all the people who believe you sit around with tons of free time since you “don’t have a job.”

Darren: As far as technology goes, what type of computer and software have you been using?
Some fancy apps or just the basics? What other reference materials do you use or suggest?

Rick: My MacBook Pro is my go-to piece of equipment. It goes where I go. My main writing programs are the standard MS Word for most manuscripts, and for screenplays I use Final Draft, which is specially designed to facilitate formatting scripts.

For anyone interested in references for writing screenplays, I constantly referred to The Screenwriter’s Bible, by David Trottier. That reference work got my script into the 10 Finalists. You can also find and download screenplays of my many movies for free. Each one is it’s own lesson on script writing.

Darren: I know your website has really evolved over the past few years. Any advice there?

Rick: Mine isn’t as fancy as many others. I’ve tried to keep in mind that most visitors don’t care about the author. They want to know, “What’s here for me?” that one fact will shape what you include on an author site.

Darren: Where is your favorite place to write? Where do you find your creative energies flow the most?

Rick: I like to go places where I can work, yet still be around people, such as the local library, or a favorite coffee shop.

Darren: Are you involved in the ACFW in Michigan?

Rick: Yes, I’m the Secretary for the Great Lakes Chapter.

Darren: Well, I’ve enjoyed diving deeper into the world of Rick Barry, and I hope our readers have enjoyed reading what you’ve been up to since leaving Indiana. Thank you for taking time to bring us all up to speed. We are looking forward to more publications from the desk of Rick Barry!

To Follow Rick:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Keep Moving

by Jean Kavich Bloom

My oldest son recently sold a screenplay. This is his first sale. 
One might think he's an "overnight success," or that his sale is a fluke. But he's been pursuing a career as a screenwriter for about fifteen years. He's diligently worked on the craft, penning screenplays while also holding down a full-time job. Some of his work generated interest among a few producers and directors in the film industry, but that interest didn't take him as far along on his journey as he hoped. 
Then this new screenplay went out into the astoundingly competitive world of movie-making, and it generated a lot of interest. At last, he's made significant progress, and a future in screenwriting seems bright.

What makes me most proud? The screenplay itself? This moment of success? No. I’m most proud that my son never gave up. At times he thought about it, but he kept going, taking one step at a time: 
·        He Identified a passion for telling stories through film.
·        He immersed himself in practicing and learning about the craft of screenwriting, as well as about the film industry.
·        He made what professional contacts he could and got help and advice.
·        He put his work out there for others to see.
·        He patiently waited, hoping one day a right thing would hit at a right time, never giving up.

Don’t give up hope when you seem to be getting nowhere. If you keep learning about and practicing that thing you’re passionate about, you are getting somewhere, no matter how slowly. On the journey, you won't know what you'll encounter ahead or where you'll end up; none of us ever do. But you'll never know unless you keep moving. 

Jean Kavich Bloom is a freelance editor and writer for Christian publishers and ministries (Bloom in Words Editorial Services), with thirty years of experience in the book publishing world. Her personal blog is Bloom in Words too, where she sometimes posts articles about the writing life. She is also a regular contributor to The Glorious Table, a blog for women of all ages. Her published books are Bible Promises for God's Precious Princess and Bible Promises for God's Treasured Boy. She and her husband, Cal, have three children (plus two who married in) and five grandchildren, with foster grandchildren in their lives on a regular basis.

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