Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Deep POV: Getting in Character and Staying There by Kelly Irvin

Readers have told me that by the time they finish reading my novels, they feel as if they are part of the heroine’s family. Readers have written asking if the baby was a boy or a girl—as if he was born after the story ended. How does a writer do that? Take readers so deeply into a character’s life and keep them there so that they feel they’ve lived the story?

It’s craft, storytelling, setting, but it’s also something called deep POV (point of view). It’s not an easy technique to master, for beginning fiction writers or writers who’ve published numerous novels. I still have to work at it with every manuscript. How do I do it? Here are some tips for getting in character and staying there:

  1. First eliminate filter words that separate a character from the reader. Put the reader in the character’s POV and leave her there. That means seek out and destroy these words: she said, she wandered, she decided, saw, heard, smelled, hoped, realized, watched, touched, felt, knew, remembered, decided, noticed. All telling words that keep the author on the page.
  2. People don’t think: I thought, I realized, I saw. If you’re in deep POV, your character shouldn’t either. Let your character just do it without the signpost words. Show, don’t tell. What does the experience remind the character of? What memories are triggered by the scene’s event?
  3. Eliminate emotion words such as anger, fear, anxiety. Again, show, don’t tell. “Fear ran through her,” becomes: “Jennie’s mouth went dry. Her stomach heaved. The hot dog didn’t want to stay down. Purple spots dotted her vision.”
  4. Be careful with outward physical descriptions of the POV character. She can’t see her own face. “The man leered. Jennie’s face went red,” becomes “The man leered. Heat like a third-degree burn seared Jennie’s face.”
  5. Word choice always reflects the character’s education and experiences. Their station in life. Dialogue should fit the character. How they talk. Internal monologue or how they think should also be expressed in words they would use. You have to know your character well and become her while writing.
  6. Don’t use too many words or take time to describe something out of the ordinary. Only describe things your character would notice in the exact way the character will notice. In other words, write third person as if you’re writing first person. You can only see, hear, smell, taste, and feel what the POV character does. React with the emotions the character would have. Not your own. The emotional reaction can only come from the character. That is true of everything in the scene. Stay in character when talking about the other characters, setting, and object descriptions.

Remember these are tips, not rules. Write in your voice. And make your own decisions about when telling will move the story along and showing bogs it down. Follow your own instincts. Remember, it’s your story.

What has been the hardest aspect for you to grasp when it comes to deep POV?


Two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist Kelly Irvin is the author of the critically acclaimed Amish of Bee County, Bliss Creek Amish, and New Hope Amish series. Her newest release is Beneath the Summer Sun, the second novel in the four-book series Every Amish Season from Zondervan Publishing. Her work has also appeared in four Amish anthologies, An Amish Market, An Amish Summer, An Amish Christmas Love, and An Amish Christmas. Kelly is a retired newspaper reporter and public relations professional who lives with her husband in Texas. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two ornery cats.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

A Writer’s Publishing Team by DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills
A writer’s passion for a book project isn’t enough. Success depends on her team’s 100% commitment to the project. Writing and publishing are not single-handed ventures. It takes a community of specialized people to write, edit, design, market, promote, and sell a story that readers will eagerly purchase, read, and recommend.
Take a look at the overall picture of what goes into placing a story in front of a reader’s eyes.


That’s us, the people who create story. We pen our books with unique and lovable characters who live on long after the last page. The plot can’t be a repeat of last year’s TV series or another writer’s bestseller. Neither can the setting be boring or the dialogue flat. Every technique must be handled according to our voice and the characters struggling to work through a problem. Writers also have a visible social media platform and share information with readers.


Our first encounter with an editor is the person who acquires our books and shares the same enthusiasm with other colleagues. Several types of editors from overall story to line edits examine plot, character, setting, dialogue, etc., to ensure a credible and unpredictable story. Editors are a writer’s best friend; they take our challenges and weave them into strengths. Our best book becomes our finest writing project.


This is the art team that takes a long look at our stories to develop a book cover that reflects characters and genre. These extremely talented, behind the scene people peer into the psychological workings of our stories to create an exciting cover.

Marketing and Promotion

The marketing and promotion team are strategists. They use imaginative and innovative means to place our books in venues that remind the reader of its fine attributes. Various Individuals focus on our online presence, social media, ads, book tours, contests and the many other means for publishers and authors to feature their books.

Sales staff

These people are a writer’s silent warriors. They use our story blurbs, cover copy, and a bit about us to entice bookstore buyers to carry our stories. Their approach is at the grassroots level, and unfortunately, they are often unappreciated.

Many gifted people are a part of a writer’s publishing team, but these five groups are the top tiers in the process. We writers are not alone. Whether our publishing plan is through a traditional house or we are independently published, a writer’s publishing team is her most valuable asset.

What is the most challenging part of writing and publishing for you?

About the Author
High Treason by DiAnn Mills
Releases February 6, 2018
High Treason
When Saudi Prince Omar bin Talal visits Houston to seek cancer treatment for his mother, an attempt on his life puts all agencies on high alert. FBI Special Agent Kord Davidson is the lead on the prince’s protective detail because of their long-standing friendship, but he’s surprised—and none too happy—when the CIA brings one of their operatives, Monica Alden, in on the task force after the assassination attempt.

Kord and Monica must quickly put aside interagency squabbles, however, when they learn the prince has additional motives for his visit—plans to promote stronger ties with the US and encourage economic growth and westernization in his own country. Plans that could easily incite a number of suspects both in the US and in countries hostile to Saudi Arabia. Worse yet, the would-be assassin always seems to be one step ahead of them, implicating someone close to the prince—or the investigation. But who would be willing to commit high treason, and can Kord and Monica stop them in time?

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Firewall, the first book in her Houston: FBI series, was listed by Library Journal as one of the best Christian Fiction books of 2014.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She is co-director of The Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and The Mountainside Marketing Conference with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

DiAnn is very active online and would love to connect with readers on Facebook:, Twitter: or any of the social media platforms listed at

Monday, January 29, 2018

Keep Writing by Patricia Lee

Patricia Lee

Can you believe almost an entire month in 2018 has already passed? How are those writing projects coming? Did you submit that query you planned? Finish the synopsis you needed? Write another chapter or two of your work in progress?
No? Why not?
Perhaps you concluded 2017 with nothing to show for your writing efforts. An agent turned you down. An editor rejected your story submission. Family events stole your writing time. As 2018 opened, you asked yourself, “Why am I doing this?”
I’ve been where you are.
I’ve written all my life, but I didn’t try creating a novel until after I’d been married several years and had reared and homeschooled my children. Writing a full-length manuscript was only a fantasy I entertained in my mind—a challenge to myself to see if I could do it—someday. 
Someday came. My children were gone, and I had time without any task to fill it. I attended a few writer meetings, wrote a wonderful manuscript that my critique group assured me was a winner, and proudly toted it to the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in California. I was coming home with a contract.  
Reality hit. The agents I met thought the subject had already been exhausted. Editors smiled and nodded but didn’t ask for anything more. Instead of the triumphant, returning writer, I returned home feeling foolish.
By this time, composing stories had entered my blood. Writing had become like an addiction to a favorite food—I only wanted more. I couldn’t stop. I attended five more Mount Hermon conferences, as well as the ones hosted by American Christian Fiction Writers, and wrote three more novels.
Still nothing.
I placed in one sponsored contest and won another. That earned me the attention of an agent. She circulated my manuscripts through various publishing houses and was able to get my work in front of a publishing board, only to come up with no offers. I wondered if I shouldn’t find another way to pass my time.
Once again, I was ready to quit.
I’d always hoped to please God with my creativity, knowing He was the only editor that mattered. He and I had a long talk, and I told Him to remove the desire to create if I was traveling the wrong path. But He didn’t.
In 2016 I was happily writing another novel (are you keeping track of the numbers?) when I received an e-mail from my agent—contract offer! God had answered my prayers. I’d met with this publisher at an Oregon Christian Writers conference earlier that summer, and she liked the book immediately. Not only that, but I had to promise to create two more novels and make this a series. The rest of the story is, as they say, history.
Proverbs 13:12 says: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life.” Cling to that promise and keep writing.

Love Calls Her Home

Love Calls Her Home by Patricia Lee
Can a hurting boy help two broken people find their way back to love ?

Lissa Frye returns home from the Navy hoping to find a different future—one which includes a husband, marriage, and a family, until news from her sister impacts Lissa’s personal life and derails her plans.

Kurt McKintrick, having lost his best friend to an IED in Afghanistan, has returned to help the man's mother run a horse rescue ranch. Images of war plague him, and thoughts of anyone else he might love falling victim to an untimely end, distance him from the person most likely to help.

Eleven-year-old Jayden Clarke seeks to fill the ache in his heart from his father’s death two years before. But his life is turned upside down when the rancher who befriended him is found dead, the horses neglected, and the dog missing. When authorities arrive to investigate, Lissa and Kurt, estranged after a former relationship, are forced to meet again. Lissa must confront images from her past and Kurt struggles to live with his present truth.

Will Jayden be the catalyst that draws Lissa and Kurt back together for a happily ever after?


About the Author
Patricia Lee is a published author, having written since she first learned what words could do at the age of six. She is a member of the Oregon Christian Writers and of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have two adult children and live in the Pacific Northwest with two sleepy cats. The first novel in the Mended Hearts series, An Anchor On Her Heart, released in August of 2017. Love Calls Her Home releases in March, 2018.

Connect with Patricia Lee here:

Friday, January 26, 2018

My Eyes Are Dry by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
Sometimes, as writers, we come to the blank page blank ourselves. We want to be fresh. We want to be original. We wish for others to read our every word. However, we sit and stare at the screen. And it stares back. It’s all been said. It’s all been done. It’s all been written. The words of Ecclesiastes haunt us: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

And it seems, in these moments, our writing has no meaning. “Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless.”

In our Christian walk, we run to God when our lives become stale. We ask for forgiveness. We plead for mercy. We request insight and direction. In times like these, we sing songs to help and encourage us toward righteous living, like Keith Green’s “My Eyes are Dry,” for example (you can click on the link and sing along, if you so choose).

So, for those of you who struggle in your writing, when the blank “page” stares back…when the enemy tells you you’re not worthy…remember…it’s about a relationship with the Creator…not a story…not a character…not even an inspiring word that may help someone else get through a dark time. As good and wonderful as those things may be…

It’s about righteousness.

And a relationship.

So, in this upcoming year, with New Year resolutions swirling about like evil taunts and the frequency of writer’s conferences picking up steam, appearing like trains in a tunnel barreling your way, do not hesitate to pause and ask God to bathe you in His spirit of love and the wine of His blood…to keep your heart from becoming hard…to keep your faith from getting old…and to keep your eyes wet with compassion.

My Eyes are Dry by Keith Green

My eyes are dry
My faith is old
My heart is hard
My prayers are cold.

And I know how
I ought to be
Alive to You
And dead to me.

Oh, what can be done
For an old heart like mine?
Soften it up
With oil and wine.
The oil is You
Your spirit of love
Please wash me anew
In the wine of Your blood.

(The Blake Meyer Thriller Series, Book 3)

A Perverse Tale. A Precarious Truth. A Personal Tribulation.

Supervisory Special Agent Blake Meyer is at an impasse. Bound and beaten in a dilapidated warehouse halfway around the world, Blake finds himself listening to an unbelievable story. Right and wrong warp into a despicable clash of ideologies. Life quickly becomes neither black nor white. Nor is it red, white, and blue any longer.

Every second brings the contagion's release closer, promising to drag the United States into the Dark Ages. Tens of millions could be dead within months.

Every moment adds miles and hours to the expanding gulf between him and his family. What is he to believe? Who is he to trust?

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?

The first three books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are out! Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge and Book 2, Triple Time, are available! Book 3, The Tide of Times, just released in October! All three are on sale through New Year’s Eve! Also, the second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, and Criminal Minds, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic, too. It’s quite elementary, actually.

Kevin’s Writer’s Blog:
Facebook:                              C. Kevin Thompson – Author Fan Page
Twitter:                                 @CKevinThompson
Goodreads:                           C. Kevin Thompson

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Writing Through the Tough Times by Laurie Wood

“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I love this Bible verse. It seems so simple. Its profound in its simplicity. Be joyful in whatever God brings to your life. Be thankful for it. Never stop praying. It sounds so easy!
Until a serious illness hits you and that deadline is looming. A diagnosis you don’t want to hear. Or, like me, you fall and break your elbow and wrist and put yourself in a 90 degree cast from shoulder to fingertip for two months. Be joyful? Be thankful? Where’s the joy in the pain? 
How can you be thankful for an unintended break in your routine, especially one that means you can’t clean, cook, dress yourself, or look after your children? The part about “never stop praying” is easy… rail at God! How can He do this to me? I have deadlines to meet, I have people who count on me, why me?
When I recovered from my own broken arm and was finally on the home stretch of my requested book, my son fell and broke his ankle in three places. It was what’s called a “catastrophic” break in that his foot was internally severed and needed orthopedic trauma surgery. We were traumatized all right. It’s easier for a parent to bear the pain of broken bones or surgery, than it is to watch your child go through it, especially when they have a limited understanding in the first place.

The real question, is not “why me?” As Christians, we know God is sovereign and in control. The real question is “why not me, Lord?” That bad things happen to us means we’re where He intends us to be, whatever His purpose for us is, even when we can’t see it. Sometimes we need to go through the fire with Him to know, in our hearts, that God is sovereign and in control. He will bring you through to the other side.
What does this “big picture” have to do with our writing? 
  • Are we trusting God with our writing or are we trying to do it under our own steam? Is this a season where He needs to get our attention back on Him?
  • Are we seeing “the joy” in the situation? You may not feel joyful but there is always something to be grateful for wherever we find ourselves. In my case, I didn’t need surgery on my arm, nor did my son lose his foot. But I had to force myself to see the “joy” when both instances felt like major catastrophes in my life.
  • We must handle our emotions, our thoughts, our reactions. Many people never learn that the only control they have over anything is self-control. That is the only control the Bible talks about. So, we need to guard our attitudes and take charge of our hearts and emotions. How do we do that during trials? Back to our Bible verse: “Never stop praying.”
  • Pray even when you’re angry, even when your situation makes little sense, even when a contract falls through. God hears even the faintest whispers of our hearts. Sometimes in my son’s hospital room all I could pray was “God, I can’t do this anymore, I need sleep!” I didn’t get sleep, but I felt His presence.
  • My husband struggled with the “be thankful” part of the verse. And, at times, so did I. With an unknown prognosis it was hard to “be thankful” that a mentally challenged son might also now be physically incapacitated. But I saw how it drew our family tightly together, how inter-dependent we became again. We’d been drifting apart and hadn’t even realized it. My son and I shared a deep bonding time in the hospital I will always cherish, even while hating the reason it happened. And I was so thankful the injury wasn’t worse. Things can always be worse.
My book got written and submitted. Sometimes I had great writing days and some days all I could do was read over what I’d written the week before. Some days I wrote drivel and then typed in red, capital letters “You Can Edit This Later”. And while I hated most of 2017 and am glad to see it in my rear view mirror, I’m also glad I’ve been through the crucible and feel God beside me, stronger than ever. I have a direction for my writing. I’ve persevered.

There are practical things to help you write in the tough times of life. First, if it’s a dire emergency like my son’s accident, or a death in the family, give yourself permission NOT to write. You need to give your full self to the task at hand.

When struck with an illness, as I was several times this year, I recommend working through the pain along with times of sleep and rest. Use Dragon Speak or other dictation software to help you. They’re well worth the money and sometimes steep learning curve. Dictate into your phone, or scribble words on a notepad. Anything to keep your head in your story for a brief time each day.

Reach out for help. I needed practical help in the form of meals and respite care. I had online friends praying for me and checking in with me during the worst of my son’s accident. A crisis is no time to be proud! You can pay it all forward later when life returns to normal.

If you’re contracted and can’t meet your deadlines, you need to work that out with your editor and/or agent. If you’re not contracted yet, use your best judgement on getting your writing done, but my advice is: persevere. You’ll learn more than you can imagine. Finishing is a reward in itself.

Writing through the tough times teaches us resilience. It teaches us to focus, to never give up. Before 2017, I would’ve told you I couldn’t write under emotional pressure. I’ve changed because I’ve done it. And as the saying goes, if I can do it, so can you. Here’s to a better 2018!

Laurie Wood is a Canadian author who writes both romantic suspense and historical novels. She’s a military spouse who’s followed her husband’s career around the country. Pre-children she was a police officer, and also an Executive Director for a crisis shelter for youth. When she’s not writing she can be found spinning on her spinning wheel, knitting, or walking her dogs. You can find her at