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Write From the Heart
&
Dodge Writer's Block
by Carol deVaney
Listen to your heart.

Often I hear writers say they have lost their passion or
dedication for writing. Most writers, understand this
dilemma. I'll jump on this band-wagon and hope it helps.
You probably know all this, but it helps to see it in black
and white often. At least it does me.

Writing fear stems a lot from not having confidence in
our work, or fear we're putting our hearts on the line. I
fought this for years. Who wanted to see my fear, my
pain, sorrow, happiness, wants, needs, etc.? This was
even after reading almost daily - Write From the Heart.

Something inside shuts down when we think of writing
from our emotions. We like to read from other's hearts,
but often can't share. Locate twenty submission
guidelines and I'll guarantee several will list writing
from the heart as the top reason they want to read your
submission. Not bleeding hearts, nor preachiness, but
something the reader can take away and hold in his or
her own heart.

1. Pray for guidance in your writing and wait upon God.

2. Search your heart for things you're passionate about.

3. Write them down. Study them.

4. Find one life passion that stands out among all others.
One that touches your heart.

5. Who are you passionate about? Children, elderly,
family issues, etc.?

6. What is it you feel so deeply about your choice?

7. How does it make you feel and can you write
scripturally about your passion?

8. When you hear a word from God, it may not come in
the form of a bolt of lightning. Sometimes the best
writing comes from little nudges.

9. Where will you submit? Study the markets. Gear an
article for a particular market.

10. Make time to write. Revise, edit and submit.

Writer's Digest has a page for writer's prompts. Choose
one, hard since there are so many good ones, then write
a sentence, a paragraph or whatever comes. It's good
practice and eventually you'll arrive at your own.
This article was first
published at
Writers Helper.org
an Inspirational Site
owned by Annette
Dammer. Writers Helper
is loaded with Tips,
Resources, and
Workshops. Whether
you're new to writing or
want refresher courses,
diverse information and
instructors are available.
What Does It Take To Finish a Novel?
by Carol DeVaney
How Important are Fonts?
by Carol DeVaney
I've found the only way to finish a book is to begin with
an idea and write. Write without  interruption (no
editing) from rough draft to the absolute end.

Don't worry about spelling, punctuation, a better word.
That comes through editing, then by the polishing
process.

Otherwise, if you attempt to hone only the first few
chapters, the remainder grows cold and you lose sight
of the original story. You may become frustrated, toss
it in a drawer to gather dust.

Been there, done that.

Find your own niche, whether it be a cubby hole in the
kitchen or an office. Computer or on paper, it doesn't
matter.

Commit a designated amount to write each week. An
hour a day or four. A page a day or four. What works
for others may not work for you. However you decide
to write, hold fast to the schedule. Life does get in the
way, so don't become discouraged if fifteen minutes is
all you can do on any given day. Be persistent. Before
you know it, the first draft is complete.

The best way to find your voice, and one of the most
important elements is, Write From the Heart. Without
your own distinctive voice, you'll find your writing
lacking.

Make us care about the character(s) first. We want to
know her/him, inside and out.

What makes her laugh, or cry?

What heartaches or issues from her/his past lead to life
changing situations?

Think of a butterfly wrapped in a cocoon. That cocoon
soon fades away and we have something free and
beautiful. Something that has worked its way out of
circumstances not meant to last.

Free your characters. Let them become the person
they were designed to be. Not that characters won't
always have problems, because life is full of them. This
is why characters with problems are real, interesting,
unforgettable. Not cardboard.

Isn't one of the reasons we write to share those
problems? To tell our story so the reader may take
away, "Hey, I feel that way, or I can identify with
her/him?" If that's the reaction a reader derives from
our story, then we've done our job.

We endure life struggles one slice at a time. So will
your characters. Give them problems to solve. When
they think everything is going smooth, give them
another set of problems. Work them through peaks and
valleys until they have grown. Until they are stronger
than they ever imagined.

Do your homework. Know your characters better than
you know yourself. Give us characters we can identify
with.

Give us strong characters with deep seated emotions,
flaws, habits (good or bad). One, when we read about
them, can release a tear, a smile or even a belly laugh.  

Like us, characters have goals, motivations and
conflicts.

What goal does she/he want to reach? What motivates
her/him? What conflicts does she have to overcome.
Use those elements to show character(s)
transformation throughout the book.

What do you care about? Use those views.

What do you want the reader to take away from your
story?

Wrap your storyline around that character (s)and make
us care that she/he, reach her/his goal and there is a
happy ending. A believable ending.

A popular Point of View (POV) used successfully in
today's books is Close Third Person. Show characters
doing, instead of telling.
What font I prefer to type my manuscript in, is my
choice. But a standard font most editors request
when submitting to them is crucial.

If an editor does request a particular font, and most
times they will, then by all means use that font. Make
her happy.

Editors may or may not throw a manuscript back into
the slush pile, they simply cannot read, because of
font being too small or cutsy. Editors read
manuscripts until the wee hours of the morning and
are accustomed to reading in a typeface they've
requested. Keeps them from going blind, for one
thing.

The two I've seen requested most, is Courier New 12
pt. or Times New Roman 14 pt. First, these fonts are
easier on the eye because of shape of letters and
spacing between.

Second, publishers may use another type face for
printing, but use Courier New and Times New Roman
for extracting word count from your manuscript.

Below are word counts using Courier New 12pt. Any
other font or formatting will need to be adjusted. Also
your first page is automatically counted as 250 words,
regardless that you've titled it 1/3 of the way down
the page and begun the story ½ way down. Last
page is counted the same regardless of how many
lines are on it because it takes up a page in the book.

Double-spaced, 25 lines per page, 10 words per line (
even one word counts as a line), Courier New 12 pt.=
approx. 250 words per page.

25 lines per page X 10 words per line = 250 words.

Example using the above fonts, etc.:

2500 words = 10 pages
5000 words = 20 pages
10,000 words = 40 pages
50,000 words = 200 pages
75,000 words = 300 pages
100,000 words = 400 pages

100,000 words divided by 250 (words per page)= 400
pages

When manuscripts are typeset, all the above are
taken into consideration, publishers then have a more
accurate page count. And so, font, font point and
page count are essential when submitting to an editor.

Avoid going too far over or under, page limit within
any particular line of a publisher’s requirements.
They know approximately how many pages a book in
each line represents. It’s their job. This all plays
part in marketing, etc.
There are sound reasons for stipulations publishers
establish for writers. And it’s part of our job as
conscientious writers to stay within those guidelines.

Another point. Whatever you do, don't use your word
processor for word count. When submitting to an
editor, use the fonts and line count above, to average
your count and page count. Your editor
will appreciate it and know you've done your
homework, at least in that area. But if an editor
specifies a particular font, abide by those guidelines.

If you are self-publishing, then I'd suggest checking
out other publications to get an idea of different
typefaces used for clarity. Some publishers list the
type font used in front of the book. If not, find one
that's clear and pleasing to the eye. One the reader
can easily read through without squinting or slows
them down because the letters are scrunched.

We want readers to delight in our stories, not toss
them aside because they're difficult to read.
Graphics by Kitty
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Carol DeVaney