Monthly Archives: May 2015

Writing an Article

Have you thought about writing an article? Here is some interesting advice I found recently.

A good article makes the reader think. A great one forces him to react.

In the world of writing, which is all about communication, the mark of an expert is how much buzz or discussion his article generates, how many people weigh in with their opinions, what feedback is given and taken, where else the work is being bandied about. Complex subjects can easily become dry and dull if not handled carefully.
Unlike fiction, nonfiction on layered topics has no characters to make the reader care about them, no twists in the plot to keep up audience interest, and no emotionally charged
dramatic scenes to vary the pace of the narrative. So, you need to make sure that either the topic you are writing about is sufficiently interesting to make your audience feel strongly about it or the way you present it is unique enough to urge readers into some sort of action, whether it is vociferous agreement or vehement disagreement—anything but mild apathy.
From: Writer’s Guide to 2014.

Twitter has brought about the degradation of the English language. Charm ‘em, don’t cheat ‘em.

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Welcome to our Guest Blog #1

EVERYONE HAS A STORY

Jeannie Ewing

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It baffles me that I’ve received recent accolades from friends and family regarding my authorship. Somehow people think authors are set apart from “the rest” of society, but quite the contrary is true. What differentiates between a superb author who becomes published and a wanna-be writer? Perseverance, patience, and practice.
Perseverance
Most people don’t realize that published authors have to endure countless hours of “blood, sweat, and tears” before the finalized version of their manuscript is available for purchase. It’s not an easy endeavor; in fact, it’s probably one of the toughest experiences I’ve endured in my life so far – minus giving birth to a child with a rare craniofacial condition.
Writing for publication takes dedication and persistence, especially during setbacks and rejections. Some writers take years before their work becomes publicly known, and that is why perseverance is such a critical virtue for a successfully published writer. If you can stick through your frustrations, discouragement, lulls, fine-tuned editing, and prepare yourself for a long road ahead, you probably have the grit to become a published writer.
Patience
This virtue coincides with perseverance. Writing takes a lot of time. To reach a goal of publication, writers truthfully will need to make many sacrifices. I’ve had to turn down social invitations that I’d otherwise attend with friends so that I can work on my manuscript. It’s disappointing but necessary at times, especially when one has set a goal.
With anything in life, patience tempers that innate impulsivity for instant gratification. The flames of zeal in our hearts are tamed into quiet embers that burn steadily but without as much exertion. Patience creates endurance necessary for renunciation.
Writing can be a chore at times. It isn’t all pleasantries. It’s intense and monumental. Many people in your life may not understand your dedication, but it’s crucial that you do not give up and stay the course.
Practice
I began writing from a young age. It was very informal at first – juvenile diaries with locks and eventually journals – but I wrote something every day. To me, this is the most significant aspect of transitioning from a half-hearted hopeful writer to a serious published author. It’s the practice of writing that makes one good at writing.
There are days I’d rather be doing anything but writing, like reading or watching a movie. But there is a particular interior discipline that nudges me to continue. If I can relate the need for practice with my ultimate goal (publication), then all of the hard work becomes meaningful.
I’m a firm believer that everyone has a story. Yes, it’s true that some of us are naturally gifted writers, while others struggle. But that doesn’t mean your story has less value than someone else’s. I think personal anecdotes are the most powerful teaching forces available to our modern culture. Subjectivity can be shaky, but when life experience is substantiated by research or objective spiritual Truth, then it is potent and potentially life-changing.
Maybe that is what your story will do for someone else – change his or her life. So begin by writing (uncensored) every day, and perhaps you, too, will become a published author one day.
Text Copyright 2015 Jeannie Ewing, all rights reserved.
Image Copyright 2015 “Chalkboard” by 742680 on Pixabay.

About the Author

Jeannie Ewing is a writer, speaker, and grief recovery coach. She is the co-author of Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers. Jeannie was featured on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition and Tony Agnesi’s radio show Finding God’s Grace. She offers her insight from a counselor’s perspective into a variety of topics, including grief, spirituality, and parenting children with special needs. Jeannie resides in northern Indiana with her husband and two daughters, both of whom have special needs. For more information on her professional services, please visit her websites lovealonecreates.com or fromgrief2grace.com.

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Be a Guest Blogger here…

So, you want to guest post on Nickum’s Nook?
First: Thanks for thinking of Nickum’s Nook as a place to share your writing with the world. Glad you’re here!
Second: Follow the guidelines below, and I’ll be happy to consider your guest post!
Guidelines for Pitching a Guest Post
Note: If you don’t follow some semblance of these guidelines when pitching your post, I may or may not respond. I probably won’t, because I get a lot of Spam emails and they make it difficult to weed out the reals from the bots.
Pitch me by email at mjnickum@hotmail.com with the subject line-“Post for Nickum’s Nook”, so I don’t miss it and I’ll write you back. Your pitch should include:
1. An intro. Tell me who you are, if you run a writing site or blog, and if you’ve been published anywhere (I don’t mind if you haven’t been published; I just want to know a little about you as a writer).
2. An attached Word document of the post you’d like to pitch (please limit your post to 1,000 words or fewer); OR a topic for your pitch and a few of your anticipated copy points.
3. A 100-word (or less) bio about yourself. Include your social media links, if you have them
4. Art is good, but unless it’s yours (i.e.: your latest book cover), it needs to have a Creative Commons License and proper photographer attribution.
What Happens if Your Guest Post Is Accepted
If your guest post is accepted, I’ll write you back and tell you:
1. When it’ll be published (Nickum’s Nook posts Guest Posts on Fridays).
2. Whether any major edits need to be made (such as: swapping your art out for other art, etc.).
3. The day before your post is published, I’ll email you and tell you that it’s been scheduled, and remind you to cross-promote the post on your social media channels (as I’ll promote on mine).
4. Your post will appear on Nickum’s Nook social media mix from time to time as a repeat promotion.

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Guest Blog Series

Beginning this week, Friday, May 22, I will have a guest blog about writing and/or publishing. These blogs, by invitation only, will be carefully vetted for content applicability and author background.

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Query/Pitch/Synopsis

Queries, pitches and synopses are different things.

A query is a one-page letter that explains what you’ve written, who you are, and why the agent should represent you or publisher should consider your book. In a query letter will be a pitch, which is an explanation of your story in 3-5 sentences. It’s like the text you see on the back of a DVD box. It’s designed to pique your interest. A pitch, like the back of a book or DVD, will not spill the beans regarding the ending.

A synopsis is a front-to-back telling of what happens in your story. It’s like sitting down with a 12-year-old and explaining your entire story in about five minutes. You explain who the characters are, what the conflict is, the three acts, and finally, what happens at the end (e.g., the villain dies). In a synopsis, you do indeed give away the ending. You would not do so in a pitch, and a pitch is what appears in a query.

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What is a synopsis?

A synopsis is an outline of the plot of a book that is 2-5 pages with from 500-1250 words. If your synopsis is 25-30 pages long, the agent or editor might lose interest after the first 5, so be succinct. You don’t want your reader to fall asleep.
When you write a synopsis, first start with your pitch summary from the blurb on the back of your book cover. After the pitch summary, then write the full synopsis using a paragraph for each plot point and tell the ending.
Pointers for your synopsis:
1. Keep your language clear and active, and focus on telling the story. As your plot unfolds, write it the way you would tell about a movie to a friend, skip the dull parts and hit the main highlights.
2. Start at the first scene in the book with the main character: “From the moment she woke on that chilly February morning, Savannah Smith knew without a doubt that she would divorce her husband.”
3. Show the beginning, middle, and end with main character conflicts and resolutions. Don’t get bogged down in details. Stick to a few main characters – perhaps the protagonist and antagonist and make their core conflicts and their emotional ups and downs, with their twists and turns.
4. When you introduce a new character, give a quick character sketch: “Burly Jones is a 36-year-old workaholic whose biggest joys in life are horseshoes, women, and his motorcycle, not necessarily in that order.”
5. Include, perhaps, one piece of dialogue between the protagonist and the antagonist to give evidence of the tone of the story.

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