Monday, November 5, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction--November 6, 2012

A Step in the Write Direction
November 6, 2012
We had an unexpected trip to Urgent Care Thursday night. I saw a red streak on my husband’s arm and called our nurse. She said to get to Urgent Care as soon as possible, that it might be blood poisoning. Luckily it was only a broken blood vessel, which we learned is common for people on blood thinner medicine.
Friday and Saturday was the American Christian Writers conference in nearby Tempe, Arizona. (I founded this conference in 1982 and led it for 7 years before turning it over to Reg Forder who eventually took it nationwide.) Taught two classes on writing devotionals and poetry, and also held 15-minute appointments with writers. Saw some really well-written manuscripts that I think have a good chance of publication. Terry Whalin of Morgan James Publishing ( was an instructor, along with Dave Lambert, formerly with Zondervan, and now with Somersault Publishing Services. Check out their Web site for a great selection of writing tips:
For the second year, I was honored to receive the “Writer of the Year” award. Thanks go to my weekly critique group “Tuesday’s Children” who help me tweak my writing and make it publishable.
Thought for Today:
So on I go not knowing;
I would not if I might;
I'd rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
I'd rather walk by faith with Him
Than go alone by sight.
Laugh for Today:
During a visit to a mental asylum, I asked the doctor, “How do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized?” “Well,” said the director, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”
“Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.” “No,” said the director. “A normal person would pull the plug….Do you want a bed near the window?”
* * *
The Christian writers’ world lost a legend last week—Ethel Herr, a prolific writer who taught at many conferences. She also authored the book Introduction to Christian Writing. When someone asked her what she did when she received a rejection, she replied, “First I cry a bit. Then I ask God where to send it next. And I try to get it out in the mail again ASAP—preferably before I go to bed that night. I learned a little saying, ‘Never let the sun go down on a rejected manuscript.’ Once it’s back in the mail, it’s no longer rejected, just getting started one more time.”
* * *
In Shelly Hitz’ guest post, Laura Pepper Wu discusses 13 ways to generate publicity and find new customer...To see 13 ways to find new readers for your books, go to:
Writers’ Tips:
12 Hints on Conducting an Effective Interview
Profile articles are very popular, and many magazines buy profiles of sports figures, celebrities, or just ordinary people who have an extraordinary story. If this is the type of writing you would like to do, the following hints may help.
1. Call for an Appointment
Tell the person approximately how long the interview will take and try to stick to it. This is especially important when interviewing businesspeople or others who are on a tight schedule. You may find, however, that they will be so interested in talking about themselves, they won’t want the interview to end. Older people will welcome your visit simply for the company.
2. Give Reason for the Interview
Let them know why you’re calling. Do you have an assignment and, if so, for who?
What topics will you cover?
3. Confirm Appointment
Call or e-mail the day before to confirm the appointment. I once knocked on the door of a pastor’s wife for a newspaper interview and caught her in her housecoat. She thought the appointment was an hour later. When you call, also repeat the directions to their home or office. You may even want to make a test run to the location.
4. Prepare Ahead
Find out as much as you can about this person, especially if you are going to be interviewing a celebrity. You can find information on the Internet; you can also send for a press kit for singers, authors, or other celebrities that includes biographical information such as: place and date of birth; recordings or books by the individual; photos; schedule of appearances. Don’t waste time asking questions you can obtain the answers to ahead of time.
5. And prepare yourself.
Dennis Hensley says, “When preparing for the interview, always work with Murphy’s Law (“If it can go wrong, it will go wrong”) and be prepared in advance in case your pen goes dry or your mic cord develops a short.”
6. Send List of Questions Ahead of Time
You will get a better interview if the interviewee is also prepared. Sending them a list of questions in advance is especially helpful with what I call “thought” questions: Tell me about the person who had the greatest influence on your life. Tell me about your spiritual mentor. How do you want to be remembered when you’re gone? However, don’t be limited by your list. If the person makes a comment that brings another question to mind, jot that down and come back to it later. If your article is for a magazine, the editor may suggest topics that would interest their specific readership.
(I’ll cover hints 7-12 in next week’s blog.)
Have a good week. Remember, a professional is simply one who didn’t give up!

Donna Clark Goodrich
"A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers"

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