Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tips from the 2011 Indianapolis Christian Writer’s Conference

This November 3‒4 conference sponsored by Wesleyan Publishing House was first-rate, and the first I attended. I’m a fulsome note-taker, so I came away with pages of great ideas from the speakers. Here are a few nuggets for those who couldn’t attend:

  • “Laughter is the key that unlocks a reader’s heart. When the reader trusts you, you can speak to the deepest emotions.” — Angela Hunt, “Getting to the Heart of the Matter”
  • “In our postmodern culture, people don't want to be told what to do. They want an experience...Creative nonfiction has a special stimulate the readers' emotions.” — Shannon Marchese, “Creative Nonfiction”
  • “Your first sentence, your first paragraph must grab the reader and give a sample of the entire book’s tone and style. Avoid throat-clearing.” — Andy Scheer, “Is Your Manuscript Ready to Edit?”
  • “It’s OK to end a book in a series with a story thread open if the next book is largely or completely written. Readers will expect to read the next volume within a year. With the shift to e-books, they expect the next book immediately.” — Shannon Marchese, “Pet Peeves of a Fiction Editor”
  • “There’s a blueprint for every type of writing you want to do. Go get the blueprint and learn it.” — Angela Hunt, “You Have Everything You Need”

Joe Allison and his wife Judy live in Fishers, IN. Joe has just completed the first in a trilogy of historical novels set during the Great Depression.


  1. Thanks, Joe! Great tips! I'd hope to make this conf, but didn't. . . maybe next year when I'll be living in Bloomington. . . :-)

  2. Thanks for sharing, Joe.

    I also attended the conference, though I think I took a completely different group of workshops than Joe did. Maybe I'll get my notes and share some comments a little later.

    One thing that will make you all smile -- one of the workshops I took was "Writing For Real Women." Yes, this is Jeff writing this. Actually, the workshop for that slot that interested me was cancelled because the speaker was not able to be there, and this was the next most interesting subject to me. (One reason is I have a main character in mind for a future book who is female and realize my readership might be more feminine than a batch of macho men. (Though I always wanted to be a Nacho man.)