Sunday, April 29, 2012

April 30 blog

A Step in the Write Direction
April 30, 2012

April is almost over. Have you met the goals you set for this month?

Note: I want this to be YOUR blog too, so if you have any writing questions you’d like to have answered, send them in and I’ll do my best to help you.

I’ve updated my Web site to include the new “Freedom of Letting Go” book. Go to to see new information. I also FINALLY finished the mother/grandmother anthology and have sent it off to the publisher’s.

For those of you who have sent submissions for the Caregiver anthology and the one for parents who have lost a child, I do not yet have a publisher for either, but I’m keeping your submissions and emails on hand. (I have a Canadian publisher interested, but am looking for a Christian publisher in the States.)


“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes—
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.”
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

Church Football
  • Quarterback Sneak - Church members quietly leaving during the invitation.
  • Draw Play - What many children do with the bulletin during worship.
  • Halftime - The period between Sunday school and worship when many choose to leave.
  • Benchwarmer - Those who do not sing, pray, work or do anything but sit.
  • Backfield-in-Motion - Making a trip to the back (restroom or water fountain) during the service.
  • Staying in the Pocket - What happens to a lot of money that should be given to the Lord's work.
  • Two-minute Warning - The point at which you realize the sermon is almost over and begin to gather up your children and belongings.
  • Instant Replay - The preacher loses his notes and falls back on last week's illustrations.
  • Sudden Death - What happens to the attention span of the congregation if the preacher goes "overtime."
  • Trap - You're called on to pray and are asleep.
  • End Run - Getting out of church quick, without speaking to any guest or fellow member.
  • Blitz - The rush for the restaurants following the closing prayer.


I’m lazy and hate to use my mouse any more than necessary, so the following Microsoft Word shortcuts are very useful to me.

Microsoft Word Shortcuts
Following are some of the more widely-used shortcuts for Microsoft Word users:

Ctrl + B Bold highlighted selection
Ctrl + C Copy selected text
Ctrl + S Save file
Ctrl + X Cut selected text
Ctrl + P Print
Ctrl + F Open find box
Ctrl + I Italicize highlighted section
Ctrl + U Underline highlighted selection
Ctrl + V Paste
Ctrl + Y Redo the last action performed
Ctrl+ Z Undo the last action performed. (This shortcut is great when you don’t know what you did to cause that strange screen to pop up. It can also retrieve documents you’ve accidentally deleted if you haven’t done anything in between.)
Ctrl + L Aligns selected text to the left of the screen
Ctrl + E Center selected text
Ctrl + R Aligns selected text to the right of the screen
Ctrl + M Indent the paragraph
Ctrl + Home Moves cursor to beginning of document
Ctrl + End Moves cursor to end of document
Ctrl + 1 Single-space lines
Ctrl + 2 Double-space lines
Ctrl + 5 Space-and-a-half lines
F1 Open Help
F7 Spell and grammar check
Shift + F7 Thesaurus check on highlighted word
F12 Save as
Shift + F12 Save
Alt + Shift + D Insert the current date
Alt + Shift + T Insert the current time
F2 Rename a file
And, one more important shortcut: To remove the underline and color from a hyperlink, click on the link, then the right side of your mouse. A list will appear, and on that list you will find “Remove hyperlink.” Click on it, and the underline and color will disappear!

More shortcuts can be found at

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction blog

A Step in the Write Direction
April 23, 2012

IT’S HERE! I received my first shipment last week of my latest book The Freedom of Letting Go. Chapters include:

1        Letting Go of Grief
  2.       Letting Go of Failures — Your Own and Other People’s
  3.       Letting Go of Your Successes
4.       Letting Go of Possessions
5.       Letting Go of the Hurts in Your Life
6.       Letting Go of Your Children
7.       Letting Go of Health Issues
8.       Letting Go of Your Youth
  9.       Letting Go of Guilt
10.       Letting Go of Control
11.       Letting Go of Worry
12.       Letting Go of Doubt
13.       Letting Go of Fear
            The Land Beyond Letting Go

Order your copy today for only $15, plus $3 s&h.

Thought for Today: An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy. He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn't move. Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn't respond. Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch. The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind, and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!"

We all need encouragement, and that’s why I urge you to join a Christian writers group in your area. If there are none, perhaps—like Esther—God brought you into His kingdom for such a time as this and He wants you to start one. (I have an 88-page booklet on Starting and Running a Christian Writers Club…Critique Group…Conference for $15, postage included.)

Laugh for Today: Hospital Chart Bloopers
(Actual writings reported from hospital charts)

  • The patient refused autopsy.
  • The patient has no previous history of suicides.
  • Patient has left white blood cells at another hospital.
  • Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
  • On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it disappeared.
  • The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.
  • Discharge status: Alive but without permission.
  • She is numb from her toes down.
  • The skin was moist and dry.
  • Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.
  • Patient was alert and unresponsive.
  • I saw your patient today, who is still under our car for physical therapy.
  • Skin: somewhat pale but present.
  • Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.
Writing Tips for Today:
One of the pieces of information you need to put on the upper-hand corner of your manuscript (articles, poems, stories, etc., not books) is the rights you are offering. These are explained below explains the various rights. (Of course, you need to check guidelines first to see what rights the publishers accept.) When I attended my first writers’ conference, I had sold about 200 manuscripts up to that time, but had never heard of selling reprints. Understanding what rights to offer an editor can increase your writing income many times over.
First Rights. Type First Rights in the top, right-hand corner of your manuscript the first time you submit it. This means that the editor buys the right to be the first to publish your manuscript. Then after it is printed, you may resell it using reprint rights, but not to a competing market. For example, if you sell a manuscript the first time to a Southern Baptist periodical, you can sell a reprint to American Baptist or Conservative Baptist, but not to another Southern Baptist publication because it likely will have the same readership.

Reprint Rights. An advantage of writing for Christian periodicals is that you can sell reprints. After your material has been published the first time and you’re getting ready to resubmit it, type Reprint Rights or Second Rights in the upper right-hand corner. An editor may pay less for reprints, but it depends on the magazine and how much time has elapsed since you first sold the manuscript.

One-Time Rights. You may use one-time rights for sales to newspapers. The advantage is that you can sell your material to many newspapers all over the country at the same time; no one editor is buying the right to use it first. I also use one-time rights when I submit book reviews to magazines of different readerships. If I sold first rights, then waited for the reviews to be published before sending out reprints, the books would be old. Publishers want their readers to know about new books.

All Rights. When you sell a manuscript to a periodical that buys all rights, you forfeit any further use of that manuscript. Publishers can do whatever they want, as often as they want, without further payment to you. Your article can be included in an anthology or sold to another periodical without your permission. If, at a later date, you want to use all or part of this piece in an article or book, you will have to write to that publisher for permission. Depending how you want to use it, they will most likely grant their permission.

Simultaneous Rights (similar to One-Time Rights). Another method of selling an article is as a simultaneous submission. In this case, you submit your manuscript to several editors of noncompeting markets at the same time. If you do this, remember several things. First, as in all your writing, keep good records. Second, some editors will not accept simultaneous submissions (check your market books or publishers' guidelines). Third, if they do accept them, they often pay less. You can use these rights for holiday material.

These rights are described in more detail in A Step in the Write Direction—the Complete How-to Book for Christian Writers, available for $20, plus $3 s&h.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Correction on April 16 blog

On #1, paragraph 2, it should be "Verses marked NIV are taken from the New International Version."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--April 16, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction Blog
April 16, 2012

Last week was a good one. *Almost finished the mother/grandmother anthology to send to publisher this week. *Had a “stuffing party” Friday with three of my writer friends, stuffing, addressing, and stamping envelopes for an all-day Christian writers workshops to be held in Cushing, Oklahoma May 19. *Had a book booth at a business expo Saturday and sold some writing books, cookbooks, and Healing in God’s Time, the story of my songwriter nephew’s healing. *Now looking forward to the release May 1 of my new book The Freedom of Letting Go. Order before May 1 for $15 and save the $3 s&h.

Thought for the Day: For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it (John Ortberg).

Laugh for the Day: Tom went out shopping for a Christmas present for his wife. "How about some perfume?" he asked the cosmetics clerk. She showed him a bottle costing $50. "That's a bit much," said Tom, so she returned with a smaller bottle for $30. "That's still quite a bit," Tom groused. Growing disgusted, the clerk brought out a tiny $15 bottle. Tom grew agitated, "What I mean," he said, "is I'd like to see something real cheap." So the clerk handed him a mirror.

Writing Tips on Using Scripture in Your Writing (note: credit lines for each version of the Bible, along with the number of verses you can use without permission, are included in my book A Step in the Write Direction—the Complete How-to Book for Christian Writers. $20 + $3 s&h).

1. Give the version of the Bible you are using. If you quote Scripture in an article or book, the version is shown in parentheses after the reference, i.e., “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 kjv). Note that no punctuation is used between the reference and the version, which is abbreviated and typed in small caps.

If you’re writing a book and using only one version of the Bible, the following statement may be shown on the copyright page: “Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations in this book are taken from the…,” then give version and credit line, i.e., “New King James Version, Copyright © 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” If you are using more than one version, double space and continue to list the others, i.e., “Verses marked KJV are taken from the New International Version,” then include the credit line, and on down the list. Each publisher allows a certain number of verses to be quoted before permission is required (see Appendix A); however, a credit line still is needed.

2. Place the reference after the Scripture verse. Sometimes you see the reference before the quotation, as in, “We see in Genesis 1:1 that ‘in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,’ but this may break the train of thought for your reader. It’s more common to say, “We read that ‘in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth’” (Genesis 1:1). Some authors put the reference in a footnote or endnote, directing the reader to the bottom of the page or the end of the chapter or book. However, this creates a lot of switching back and forth for the readers and some may not do it.

3. Spell out the name of the book of the Bible in your reference to avoid confusion. Phil. could stand for Philippians or Philemon. The publisher will abbreviate these books according to their style guide.

4. Spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence. If you’re saying, “1 Thessalonians 1:1 says…,” spell the number 1, i.e., “First Thessalonians 1:1 says…”

5. Be consistent in using numbers or Roman numerals. Don’t use a Roman numeral in one place (i.e., II Timothy) and a number in another (i.e., 2 Timothy). Numbers seem to be more commonly used now than Roman numerals.

6. If your citation includes two consecutive verses, be consistent in the use of punctuation. Don’t use a comma one time and a hyphen the next; i.e., John 3:16-17 or John 3:16,17. Either is correct, but be consistent. Use a hyphen when citing three or more consecutive verses, i.e., John 3:16-18. If you’re quoting from the same book but different chapters, use a semicolon, i.e., John 3:16; 4:15. If you’re referring the reader to a passage consisting of two consecutive chapters, use an en dash, i.e., John 3–4. (Note: In Word, an en dash is made by clicking on Ctrl, and then the minus key on the number pad.)

7. Type Scripture quotations in the same typeface as the rest of your manuscript. Typing passages in bold is like shouting at your reader, and placing them in italics takes away from the smoothness of your writing and breaks the reader’s train of thought. Some publishers place Scripture quotations in a smaller font, but let that be their decision.

8. To stress certain words in the Scripture passage, place them in italics, then show this fact after the reference; i.e., “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1 kjv, emphasis added). If you do this consistently throughout the manuscript, place a note to this effect on the copyright page as follows: Italics in Scriptures have been added by the author.

9. If you insert commentary within the Scripture, enclose it in brackets, i.e., “For God so loved the world [and this means you], that he gave his only begotten Son…” (John 3:16 kjv).

10. Place closing punctuation after the ending parenthesis, i.e., rather than “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1), type “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). (Note: Some publishers place the closing punctuation before the reference in a lengthy, indented quotation. Use their style guide and be consistent.)

11. Place passages four lines or less in quotation marks within the paragraph, but if the quotation is over four lines, begin a new paragraph and indent on one or both sides. In this format, you will not need opening or closing quotation marks. Double space these quotations to allow the editor room for necessary corrections—for example, if they want to use a different version.

12. Citing long quotations. Citing a long passage of Scripture may be done in several ways. 1) As one long indented paragraph, leaving out individual verse numbers; 2) as a long indented paragraph, including verse number in parentheses before the verse; or, 3) instead of using paragraph format, type each verse separately, with or without the verse number before it. Again, be consistent.

13. Copy Scripture exactly, word for word, comma for comma, period for period. Be especially careful in the use of capitalization as some versions do not capitalize pronouns for God or Christ as “he,” “him,” “his,” “himself,” “me,” “my,” etc., while other versions do. Go according to the version you are using, even if it isn’t your personal preference. Especially be careful of the word “Lord” as the Old Testament often spells it with an initial cap and small caps, i.e., “Lord” which means “Jehovah,” while "Lord" is "Adonai," which can refer to either God or a human leader. Always use it as it is found in the Scriptures.

14. Do not overuse Scripture. In writing for the religious market, you may think that the more Scripture you use, the better; however, this can turn off and distract your reader; it also lets the Bible do your writing for you and doesn’t show the editor much of your own writing style.

15. Most importantly, follow the style guide of the publisher to whom you are submitting your manuscript. Do your homework. Send for authors’ guidelines and/or check books that this particular company has published.

Have a good week spreading the gospel through the printed page!!


Monday, April 9, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction

A Step in the Write Direction
April 9, 2012

Thought for Today: "At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us” (Albert Schweitzer).

Laugh for Today:
Signs of the Times
Sign outside a secondhand shop: "We Exchange Anything: Bicycles, Washing Machines, etc. Bring your wife along and get a wonderful bargain."
Sign on a repair shop door: "We Can Fix Anything. (Please knock hard on the door -- the Bell Doesn't Work.)
Notice in a health food window: "Closed Due To Illness"
Sign in a Laundromat: "Automatic Washing Machines: Please remove all your clothes when the light goes out."
Sign in an office kitchen: "After the tea break, staff should empty the teapot and stand upside down on the drain board."
Writing Tips:

The past few weeks I’ve been editing submissions for a mother/grandmother anthology and, while most of the manuscripts were formatted correctly, I found some consistent mistakes. I hope the following tips will help you in preparing your next submission:

Upper left-hand corner contains personal information: name, address, phone, e-mail, and Web site, if you have one. DO NOT include Social Security number. If editor buys your manuscript and needs this number, he or she will ask you for it.

Upper right-hand corner contains manuscript information: rights offered (this will be covered in a future blog), number of words, and copyright information (optional). Hint: copyright symbol can be made by placing a small c inside parentheses, i.e., ©.

Center title on page. Do NOT tab over.

Drop down 2 spaces and type your name. (Don’t need the word “by”.)

DO use tab at beginning of paragraph. Do NOT just type 5 spaces. In fact, in the anthology I’m working on now, the publisher asked me to delete all the indents and put an extra space between paragraphs. In this case, it’s easy to do a search and replace, taking out all the tabs. It is more difficult on those manuscripts where the author spaced over 5 or more spaces.

Do NOT justify right margins.

Use a common font, i.e., Courier or Times New Roman 12.

Put only ONE space at the end of a sentence. Back in typewriter days, we were told to use two, but now this can lead to an extra space or more when publisher justifies a manuscript for publication.

Do NOT underline. In the past, when it was more difficult to show italics, underline signified italics. Now we can just put material in italics. However, use these sparingly, or they lose their effectiveness. And you DON’T need bold at all.

Always double space your manuscript (unless typing poetry. Then you can single space, with an extra space between verses.).

Using these hints will show the editor you are a professional and, hopefully, can lead to an acceptance.

Next week we’ll talk about using Scripture in our writing. Have a good week, and God bless you as you spread the gospel through the printed page.

Donna Clark Goodrich

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--April 2, 2012

Thought for the Day: For many of us the great danger is not that we will renounce our faith. It is that we will become so distracted and rushed and preoccupied that we will settle for a mediocre version of it (John Ortberg).

Laugh for Today: About 8 o'clock one cold February morning, the young man was still in bed, sound asleep. His mother came into the room. "Son, it's time to get up. You gotta get ready for church," she implored. "I'm not going to church. It's no fun! I don't want to go," he protested. "The people stare at me! They talk about me behind my back! I don't wanna go to church," he argued. "Son, you gotta get up and get ready for church." "I'm not going to church. Give me one good reason why I have to go to church," he protested. "I'll give you three good reasons: One, it's Sunday. Two, I'm your mother, and you'll do as I say! Three, you're the pastor!"

Marketing Hints:
Quite often (in fact, just last week) I receive a call or email from someone who says, “I’ve written a book. Where can I send it?” Marketing is probably 50 percent of writing. Before you write a book, you should have a market in mind (preferably several).

How do you find a market for your book? There are several ways:

* Buy or borrow a copy of Sally Stuart’s Christian Writer’s Market Guide (whoops—now Jerry Jenkins. I’ll forever associate Sally with the Guide). This book gives dozens and dozens of book markets, divided into categories such as fiction, nonfiction, ministry, Bible studies, picture books, etc.

* Go through and make a list of publishers who might be interested in your book. Then go to these publishers’ Web sites and check out their guidelines. How long a book are they looking for? Do they want to see the whole manuscript or just a proposal? If a proposal, how many chapters and which ones—the first three, first, middle, and last? Will they accept an email query or hard copy only?

*If, by some chance, you aren’t able to get a copy of this Guide, go to your local Christian bookstore, and look for the books in your genre, and see who published them. Then go to their Web site for further information.

* Join a local Christian writers’ club (more on that in future blogs). It often happens that while fellow members are critiquing your manuscript, one of them may also know of a publisher who might be interested.

* Attend a writers’ conference. And while you’re picking up sample magazines, don’t forget to also pick up publishers’ catalogs. This helps you see what type of books they’ve published in the past. If they’ve published something similar to yours, how is yours different?

Later we’ll talk about preparing a manuscript for publication, and query letters and proposals.
Have a great week.

Remember, "We are called to write and I feel we will be held responsible at the Judgment for the people we could have helped but didn't because we didn't write what God laid on our hearts to write" (Harold Ivan Smith).