Eleven Tidbits of Wisdom from Top Christian Writers

by Cindy Sproles, @CindyDevoted

I’ve been blessed to attend and teach at scads of Christian writers conferences. My habit is to always purchase the cds or mp3s of every conference so I’m able to continue to learn from the masters. Gleaning through their wisdom is like a refreshing spring rain.

Here are the top tidbits of wisdom I’ve gleaned from top Christian Writers.

VOICEGayle Roper– “Your voice isn’t something you learn. It’s who you are. It’s how you think, how you speak, how you phrase. It’s when you take a breath in your conversation. Instead of worrying about finding your voice, write with the voice of who you are. Learn to polish that in the finished product, but be true to yourself. It will draw readers in and never turn them loose.”

REALITY& HUMILITY – Alton Gansky – “If you want to write for God, you must understand your words may never be bound in a cover and placed on a bookstore shelf. They may only be meant for the person sitting next to you.” This is the reality of humility.

SUCCESSDiAnn Mills –“Each book is a success for me, whether it’s award winning or not. I place my heart and soul into every word that goes onto the page. When I finish a book, I lean back and feel the great success in the completion of a quality project. My trophy is in knowing I’ve done my best.”

PLOTJames Scott Bell –“Here’s the obvious! You gotta have a beginning. You gotta have a middle. And you gotta have an end.” He concluded, “You laugh, but it’s true. Every beginning has to thrust the reader through a door that closes behind them, leaving them in the middle where they are propelled through its door. That door slams behind them into the ending segment that leaves the reader wanting to step through the final door, but they won’t, because they enjoyed the ride so much, they never want it to end.”

JOYDeborah Raney– When asked what her favorite challenge in writing was, she replied. “It’s in finding the joy in every situation. Life is hard, but there is joy even in the hardships. If a writer can guide a reader through the rough patch and into the joy the future holds, then they’ve accomplished a solid story. I love to find the joy.”

THE MAGIC PARAGRAPHthe late Ron Benrey – Ron’s magic paragraph – a skill of writing that draws the reader deep into the story. Ron’s elements for the magic paragraph: 1) signal the reader whose head you’re in. 2) Twang a sense or start a thought process. 3) Show what the character experienced. 4) Start the character thinking.

CHRISTIAN WORLD VIEW – Ann Tatlock – “When the world says write it this way, your job is to focus your eyes on Him. Write the words that glorify God, not the ones that stoop to the lower standards of the world.  When I write, I am in control of who and what I want to represent, and am I representing it in a way that would please my Father in heaven – despite what the world demands?”

WRITE COLORFULVonda Skelton –On exploring life with “eyes wide open” – looking at every situation in life as a scene in a book. “When you apply the eyes-wide-open concept to your novels, you find a wealth of detail, emotion, and movement that holds a reader’s attention. Write colorful.A measure of detail adds depth and color to a scene that the reader connects with.”

BELIEVE IN THE STORYJeanette Windle –“You have to write what you believe and believe what you write. Stay the course. When you do that, you write from the depths of who you are.”

WRITE YOUR BEST – Yvonne Lehman – “Anybody can write a story. They can throw words on a page and wave them in the air. There is a difference in writing a story and writing your best. If you don’t do your best every time, learn more, and write your best again, then you are doing yourself and your readers a grave injustice.”

WRITE FROM CONSEQUENCE – Steven James –“Write from consequence,rather than standing on your soapbox, wagging your finger in the readers face. Show them the consequence of the action. You’re approaching them from a different side of their brain and hopefully then, they hear what you say.”

JUST WRITE – Bob Hostetler–“Just write, because you are called to write. Just write because it is what is threaded through your soul. Just write because you have to write and because of what is lost if you do not.”

DETERMINATION – Robert Benson – This quote says it all. “Determined is the proper posture for a writer. Hurried is NOT the proper posture for a writer.”

 Take time to sort through your conference notes. Find those gems that have made a significant change in how you write, then read them and re-read them. . .over and over, and over again.


Liar’s Winter

Lochiel Ogle was born with a red-wine birthmark—and it put her life in jeopardy from the moment she entered the world. Mountain folks called it “the mark of the devil,” and for all the evil that has plagued her nineteen-year existence, Lochiel is ready to believe that is true. And the evil surely took control of the mind of the boy who stole her as an infant, bringing her home for his mother to raise.Abused and abandoned by the only people she knows as family, Lochiel is rescued by a peddler and given the first glimpse of love she has ever known. The truth of her past is gradually revealed as is the fact that she is still hunted by a brother driven to see her dead. Unsure if there’s anyone she can truly trust, Lochiel is faced with a series of choices: Will she continue to run for escape or will she face her past and accept the heartbreaking secrets it reveals? Which will truly free her?

Cindy K. Sproles is the cofounder of Christian Devotions Ministries, a best-selling author, and a speaker. She teaches nationally at writers conferences as well as mentoring new writers. Cindy serves as the managing editor of SonRise Devotionals and Straight Street Books, both imprints of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is a contributing writer to The Write Conversation and Novel Rocket.com. You can visit Cindy at www.cindysproles.com.