Close up - July 4 2012

Welcome to CAN Blog for Friday from Gail Gaymer Martin at  I look forward to sharing another post on writing fiction with you today.

Tone is not mood, writer’s voice or style, although the novel’s tone influences those elements in fiction. Tone is the author’s attitude toward the story and the reader. It conveys emotion and temperament through word choice as it brings the story to life.

Tone is not exclusive to fiction. Non-fiction and journalistic writing is also influenced by the language of the story. Notice when you read magazine articles how the atmosphere and mood is reflected in the author’s language and the way he lays it on the paper.


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Gail 5

Gail Gaymer Martin

Welcome to the Friday CAN post this December from Gail Gaymer Martin at I always happy to share information for writers on techniques of writing, especially writing fiction.

Readers are important so knowing how to help them connect to what you write is important. I hope this post will provide you with techniques and ideas that work.

Readers love stories that mean something to them. They may never experience the same event or problem, but they’ve had similar experiences or fears that those things might happen to them. It’s through the emotion authors bring to the characters that makes readers care. Caring creates an emotional connection. This is what you want.

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Gail 5

Good morning and a joyful November to you from Gail Gaymer Martin at  Time has flown and here I am again to share with you some thoughts on making our novels even more meaningful so readers remember than weeks and months to follow.

Readers remember some novels long after they’ve read them, and one of reasons is the theme or the message that the story delivers to the reader. When working on your novel, ask yourself these questions: What will happen, and why does it matter? What will the characters learn and how will they grow? How will this novel make a difference in a reader’s life? If your story does not make a difference, if it doesn't matter, then why write it? How can it serve the reader?

Consider first non-fiction. Can you imagine reading a book that didn’t have a point. Non-fiction focuses on a topic or theme. It has a purpose. Fiction is no different. Your purpose could be to point out the foibles of the human condition. It could be to dramatize how love can cause a mother to give her life for their child. A novel can be a story that focuses on good verses evil and dramatizes the power of good. A novel can show the power of love. It can illustrate how we are not alone, that others share our fears, worries, or sinfulness.

When a novelist begins to write a book, he has an idea. It may begin with characterization, then action and maybe setting, but if it doesn’t have direction or purpose, it falls flat. Think of Gone With The Wind without the backdrop of the Civil War. How long would it be remembered?

As an author of Christian fiction, my purpose is focused on a Bible verse that sums up a major idea in the book. Proverbs 16: 9 reads: In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. A book with this focus might be about someone who has made a life plan—a career, a goal, success, fame, an accomplishment—but things happen, and the character realizes to reach that goal, he must give up something else equally important. He must make choices and weigh decisions. As he mulls over this problem, he might realize that the Lord has plans for him far beyond his understanding. And God’s plan meets his need and not his want. The struggle between needs and wants is a lesson we all must learn.

Developing the theme can be done in many ways. Give characters situations that bring struggles to life. Create a subplot that also demonstrates the battle of making wise choices and the influence of the Lord or the lack of influence and what that means to the characters involved. Create backstory that brings the theme to life and shows how it affects the present in a positive or negative way. Devise a setting that pulls at the issue, that guides the character into making bad choices so he suffers the repercussion of taking the wrong path. Create a tempting choice at one end of the road and a less attractive option in the other and follow the struggle of a character to make the right decision.

Theme cannot be blatant. It must weave through your novel like a fine golden thread woven in a tapestry. It adds beauty and meaning but doesn’t jar or destroy the total design. Theme will be seen as the character journeys from the beginning to the end and will impact the depth and quality of the novel.

I know this works because of reader mail. Letter after letter reveal how my novels have made a difference in someone’s life. The readers tell me what they learned about themselves or about someone else. They tell me how they found an answer to a question or how they realize they need to ask questions about their life. They walk away with something that has made a difference.

Though you might not write Christian fiction, you can, writing any genre, sum up in a sentence what the major theme or purpose of your novel seems to be—good wins over evil, love is worth fighting for, lies tangle lives, gossip begets gossip, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and laughter can heal. You can think of many more. These themes work for a romance, thriller, women’s fiction, western, or any genre.

When you begin your novel, ask what you want readers to take away when they finish. If you can’t answer the question, this could be the reason your story hasn’t made an impact on an agent or editor. It may be why a reader enjoys it for the moment and can’t remember the title or what it was about a week later. Write so that you make an impact on your readers, and you will have written a memorable story that makes a difference in their lives.


Martin-LR-1Blessed Friday from Gail Gaymer Martin at  Another month has passed with life whizzing past for most of us. Autumn is here, and we know that winter hovers on the edges of our weather, but I'm still enjoying a few sturdy flowers in my garden. . .even some beautiful roses.

But today my tasks is to share some writing tips with you, and this one has to theme and the question: What Is Theme?

One of the most difficult terms to define is theme. While sometimes called, the lesson, moral or main idea behind the story, theme is really more than that. A parable has a lesson and a fable has a moral which is obvious to the listener or reader, but theme serves more as a profound portrayal of the human condition.

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IMG_1864Wishing you a blessed Friday from Gail Gaymer Martin at

I'm at a conference in Indianapolis and all of my writing blogs are on my office computer so I decided to do something different for you this month. Though I'm a novelist, I have sold a number of short stories years ago when I first began to write so today, I want to share one of these stories with you. I think we can learn from short stories too.  The technique needed in a short story to set up characters and provide a conflict, but in a short time period.  Short stories are usually set in a day or even an hour, but the techniques are still there.  I hope you enjoy this story.

Smiling Eyes – A Short story
 by Gail Gaymer Martin

Erin yanked a file folder from the bin and flipped it open. She turned to her computer, her fingers flying over the keyboard, until the telephone’s ring jolted her to a halt.

She grabbed the receiver, tired of the continual interruptions and snapped. "Erin Casey." She heard a pause.

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