Advice for Writers

Writing Essentials

Writing Essentials

Learn the tricks of the trade in six lessons. Check out Writing Essentials. Our students sell.

A woman who loved to knit chose expensive, colorful wool, and spent hours knitting a sweater she was sure would please. She took the sweater to her husband, but it was too small. She tried to give it to her daughter, but the wool itched. Her son hated the color. Her sister didn’t wear turtle necks. Her mother liked it, but the sleeves were too long. Unwilling to start over, the woman sadly put her beloved project into a drawer.

This is what happens when we write without knowing where our project fits. The more you know before you write the better fit you’ll find as you knit your words.

Plan
By having a magazine or publishing house in mind as you write, you’ll know:

  • The length required
  • Whether subheads are required
  • The editor’s preference for openings
  • The kinds of articles they take: how-tos, devotionals, expository, etc.
  • The slant of the publication
  • Whether or not to include Scripture and how much

Go to the source
Where do you find this information? The Christian Writers’ Market Guide is published every year. There is also the Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market Guide, The Writer’s Market (for the general market), and several others. Here you’ll find magazines’ and publishing houses’ Web sites, writers guidelines, past articles, and lists of books published.

Book publishers’ guidelines will tell you whether they accept series, the length and genres they seek, and how to submit.

Yes, it takes work. But you’ll save yourself disappointment and rejection. And your project is more likely to be published than end up in a drawer.

Judy Bodmer is the author of When Love Dies: How to Save a Hopeless Marriage, and others. She loves mentoring new writers through the Christian Writers Guild.

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3 Responses to Advice for Writers

  1. Debbi Vaughn says:

    Great advice! Thanks for the focus.

  2. Jacqueline Aris-Finch says:

    Attempting to write a first novel. Storyline based very loosely on fact. First chapter finished. Am going to write a trilogy set in Highland. Scotland. My background – retired purser, cabin crew. Not about airlines! The love between a lady and an uneducated damaged man, set in pine forests that go down to the sea. (Of course he’s gorgeous!)

  3. Tamara says:

    Hi Judy,

    I’m working on my first book and looking for the best writing software. Can you give me any suggestions? Thanks and blessings…