Jen headshot denver 09    Hey, friends! Jennifer Devlin here. As this is my monthly board post, let me begin by saying how proud I am of our CAN board. Together, our team is praying, serving, and sharing our love for writing and reading. We are bonding as a group of leaders, and gearing up to offer some new and exciting things to our membership and readers. I ask you to continue praying for us as we serve you, that we would be obedient to God’s will for this network, and that we would boldly proclaim the truth of the gospel.

Now, you may think I’m crazy, but recently while pondering the writing life, I realized that my Great Pyrenees can teach me a lot about being alert for unmet needs in our lives. Sophie, my little pup of a dog (all 120 pounds of her) is a quiet one. That is, until she’s hungry.

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GailGaymerMartin_headshotHello from novelist Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailmartin.com

In the Outlining for Screenwriting which I attended at the Gideon Film Festval, the second point deals with the topic of creating characters arcs. This is an important element in writing novels as well.

2. Create individual character arcs. What does the character want? What does the character need? The need factor is often the hidden desire of the character. The difference between the want and the need are sometimes in conflict and an effective technique is to create a situation where to gain what the character needs means to give up what he wants. This is an excellent technique to create conflict.

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Hello from novelist Gail Gaymer Martin at www.gailmartin.com

Recently I attended the Gideon Film Festival and Media Conference at Ridgecrest and learned many techniques for writing screenplays. These same points work for fiction as well, and I believe that many screenwriting techniques can enhance fiction. In the next five weeks, I will share these points with you.

The first point was: Define the overall theme or meaning of your work. What will happen and why does it matter? Why? If your story does not make a difference, if it doesn’t matter, then why write it? How can it serve the reader?

Think first of non-fiction novels. Can you imagine reading a book that didn’t have a point. A non-fiction
book 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 a mother’s love can push her to give her life for their child. A novel can be a story of good versus evil and shows the power of good.
It can show the power of love. It can dramatize that we are not alone, that others share our fears, worries, or sinfulness.

When a novelist sets down to write a book, he has an idea. It may begin as people doing things, 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 anyone remember that book?

As an author of Christian fiction, my purpose is often focused on a Bible verse that sums up a major idea in the book. For example, Proverbs 16: 9 reads: In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. This book would 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 may have to give up something else equally important.

While you might not write Christian fiction, any genre can be summed up in a sentence that points out
what the major theme or purpose of your novel seems to be—good wins over evil, love is worth fighting for, a parent will give their life for their child, lies tangle lives, gossip only 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, a thriller, a western, or any genre.

I know this works because of reader mail. Letter after letter reveals how my novel has made a difference in someone’s life. They 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.

When you sit down to write a novel, ask yourself what you want the reader to take away when she finishes. If you can’t answer the question, this is the reason your story is not making an impact on an agent or editor. It might be why a reader enjoys it for the moment and can’t remember the title or what it was about two days later. Write so that you make an impact on your readers with a purpose. Create a theme or a message that you want to leave readers with at the end of your novel, and you will have written a memorable story that makes a difference. 

 

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April and may 2009 Ecuador and speaking 209 Hey, friends! Jennifer Devlin here with a CAN Board member post. Today, I want to focus on the importance of staying “prayed up” as we serve God through writing and speaking. Prayer is not only the foundation of everything we do in life and ministry; it is absolutely essential to our success and survival as we endure struggles, disappointments, triumphs and victories.

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