Monday, November 14, 2016

What's in a name?

Sharing this post from Writer's Digest because A) this is the first time I've seen a list for how to name characters and B) this is a really good list!

The 7 Rules of Choosing Names for Fictional Characters

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


I sit down to a computer and stare at the blank paper on the screen. No words come to mind. What am I thinking? Why did God give me the passion to write if I can’t do anything? I’m a horrible author. I’ll never be able to do this.

The list could go on and on. I have my own personal list and you have yours. Our own nightmares of “I can’t” and “this is impossible.” The ones that keep dragging us down into the abyss.

We underestimate ourselves. It is so easy to do. But we don’t have to.

I was feeling a tad jealous this year for not being able to go to the ACFW National Conference. I had signed up for an email put out by Ted Dekker a while ago.  This gem was in my email box the same week. I think God was trying to tell me something.

Ted Dekker’s “4 Deadly Mistakes Every Writer Makes” has things in it we all have heard. Mistake number four is awesome. “Underestimating.” Undervaluing myself is not great. We all do it. Lift you head. Our strength comes from God. He has already given us what we need to be the best writers anyone has ever read. I wanted to start crying when I read it. I don’t have to be down on me. God has paved the way for something amazing, even if I haven’t achieved my goals yet.

I’ll let you read it for yourself. It will link back to the first three.

The Creative Way is a course Ted Dekker has formed. There is still a week until registration for this year is still open until the 19th. Go here if you are interested

Jessica Bertrand

Friday, September 2, 2016

ACFW 2016 Conference

A bustling Nashville held the ACFW conference this year. You may have been one of the lucky ones to attend. All attendees were meant to sit in those seats as Divine appointments. Newbies and aficionados who have been coming since inception, rubbed shoulders. You who didn’t get the chance to go, I want to encourage you to plan on next year which will be held in Texas.

Over four hundred, like-minded and slightly ticked in the head men and women, slugged back and forth down halls to meetings and ballrooms. Eyes on phones in hand reading the app to find the next place, deciding if they should boost themselves with a coffee or step into the restroom, trying to be on time, find a good seat, and not get lost.

Most people don’t understand writers who hear voices, configure intricate scenes and engaging dialog, take in everything around them, and file it for a possible future crime or passion. These slightly slouched, mostly bespectacled, and almost always introverted people, came to learn from the best, made appointments, were encouraged, and sometimes become disappointed and even crushed.

They shared a common thread—write the perfect book. The writers spent three days learning together and praying for one another. The power of prayer was felt throughout the two floors of the gathered children of the most high. The sweet Spirit breathed through the rooms and into the lungs and hearts of those willing to receive.

The inspiring words of our esteemed key note speaker, Ted Dekker, brought tears, smiles, laughter, and people to their feet. He encouraged us to work out our love for the Lord and others on paper, to fight through troubles in our soul while struggling to find answers to life’s burdens by interacting with our characters. As our protagonist learns, so might we.

Some storytellers had agent or editor appointments, all nerve racking and often life changing. The lucky ones were asked to send chapters. The editor or agent had a spot or niche that fit what the writer had poured their heart into. Most got sent away to work harder or pitch to another. Those leaving the meetings wore smiles of rejoicing or drawn faces and moist eyes. All were Divine appointments. The Lord doesn’t make mistakes. A “No” is not a sentence of doom, but of learning and redirection. 

A few crafters took the challenge of being sharpened by authors who wielded a red pen and bloodied the first chapters of their babies. Brave souls—we slightly crazy writers are—took the risk.  Is all this worth the emotional upheaval? Yes. Risk takers are the ones who win in the end and hold their baby wrapped in a hard cover with their name splashed on the front, or downloaded around the world.

The Gala, oh the Gala. Excitement filled the air as over five hundred well dressed men and women, in everything from Sunday best to tuxes and elaborate sparkly gowns, were full of expectations. The food scrumptious in a beautiful presentation and placed on laden tables. The question on everyone's mind--who will win this year’s awards? It thrilled us as we watched the winners cross the stage with gracious beaming smiles and give the glory and praise to their Lord.

You may ask—should I go next year? Pray. Search the Lord to know His will and remember, He promised to direct you.

Robin Densmore Fuson  
Gala Ready

Friday, June 17, 2016

June Chapter Meeting

Our next meeting is coming up soon: June 25th.
If you are interested in participating in our critiques, send your submission to the members of the group this week!

We'll be talking about character development this month.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Saturday's Guest Speaker!!!

Just a reminder, we have a virtual guest speaker again this month. Saturday, May 28 at 10:00 a.m. we will virtually welcome Lindsey Brackett! Last month's virtual meeting with Ane Mulligan went so well I'm very excited about what's in store!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Virtual Guest Speaker in April!

We're about to welcome our first virtual guest speaker to a chapter meeting! 

Ane Mulligan, the ACFW Zone Director, and an accomplished author herself, will be visiting us via Skype on Saturday, April 16. She'll be teaching on Goal, Motivation, and Conflict, with an emphasis on Motivation. 

If you're like me, and sometimes find your characters randomly wandering from page to page without a clear focus of why they're there or what they're doing, this will be a worthwhile lesson! 

We're also starting a critique group. If you'd like to have a page or two of your current WIP critiqued, send it to the group via email no later by April 9. We'll meet for critiques from 9:30-10 a.m., like Sunday school!

If you are unable to join us at the Artful Cup in Grand Junction, you are welcome to Skype in and participate! Don't you love technology? Email your Skype address to me at and we'll add you to the session (you'll need to accept a request first!). Let me know if you have any questions. I'm a Skype newbie, but I'll try to get you an answer!

And one more bit of news, we will be changing our monthly meeting schedule to the fourth Saturday beginning in May. We'll have another virtual guest speaker in May, too! 

I hope to see you on April 16th! 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

That "spring forward" thing ate my month!

I just looked at the calendar and realized what week it is.

Yep, that's right, we have our March meeting this Saturday!
We have quite a bit of business stuff to cover, so I hope you can be there!

On the agenda:
1. Changing our scheduled week based on our survey results.
2. Figuring out how to hook up to the TV in the meeting room (we need to know what kind of cable to use... my laptop doesn't have an HDMI port).
3. Testing our Skype knowledge (if someone else can bring a laptop so we can play telephone, that would be awesome).
4. Planning for our virtual meetings in April (with Ane Muligan) and May (with Lindsey Brackett).
5. Discussing critique options as a group.
5. CELEBRATING Darlia's first contract!!!


Don't forget (like I almost did). Seriously, I feel like half my brain went with that hour we lost to DST. Anyone else suffering from brain deprivation thanks to the time change?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

SURVEY! Your response is needed! What Saturday do you prefer for our monthly meeting?

Hello all!

It has come to my attention that our southern neighbors have their own writer's group meeting on the third Saturday, as well as another area writing group, thus hindering those folks from joining us and preventing us from participating in their events.

Please respond to the following survey. We'll make changes only if we can come to a consensus. If you have comments, or preferences, like "the second Saturday is good, but I could also do the 4th Saturday," please make note of that.


Create your own user feedback survey

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Battle Royale: Indy, Small Press, Big Pub

We're going to have a debate this month!

Saturday, Feb. 20, we will be discussing the pros and cons of the various forms of publishing now available to us as writers: independent (indy or indie) publishing, small press, and big publishing house.
Bring your thoughts, your prejudices, and your opinions regarding publishing.

Saturday, Feb. 20 @ 10 AM
The Artful Cup

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Take Out the Filters In Your Fiction


Coffee filters
Furnace filters.
Oil filters.

Filters are used to stop things from crossing between one point and another. Coffee filters keep the coffee grounds out of our beverages. Furnace filters (hopefully) trap dust, allergens, and other atmospheric contaminants. Oil and air filters keep our car's engines running smoothly. Even our vacuum cleaners demand filters these days. And then there's the blessing of Instagram and Photoshop filters... for which we are thankful!

But there's one place we should avoid filters: FICTION.

Filtering in fiction puts a barrier between the character's experience and the reader, and subsequently pulls the reader out of the story.

Janet Burroway coined the term in her book Writing Fiction.  She says, "As a fiction writer you will often be working through 'some observing consciousness'. Yet when you step back and ask readers to step back and observe the observer--to look at [the character] rather than through the character—you start to tell-not-show and rip us briefly out of the scene."
Filtering forces the reader to step back and to watch the character, rather than the action. It moves the reader away from the events on the page.
As a writer, I find myself most susceptible to filtering when I'm A) Trying to move a scene forward too quickly, or B) Unwilling to feel what my character is feeling. 
Filtering frequently shows up when we use words like see, feel, am, hear, looks. Obviously, these words are necessary parts of speech and often useful in writing, but when we begin to use them to filter what our characters are experiencing, we risk pulling our readers out of the story, and that's a death knell.
Here are some links that focus on filtering and offer helpful examples: 

And, for a more general lesson about writing description (and avoiding filtering) please check out the following.

I hope this helps you dig deeper into your POV characters and weed out those filters. We need them in a lot of places, but we don't need them in our fiction!

Our next meeting is February 20, 2016 at The Artful Cup!
I hope to see you there!