Turn Write Series with Guest William Rameriz

Will Ramirez grew up with a love for God’s Word and fantastical worlds. The first passion led him to pastor Calvary Chapel Lighthouse for the last 16 years. The second led him to create the world of Adme, the setting for his current work, an epic fantasy titled Soul Yearning.

He lives in Central Florida with his bride of sixteen years and their four children. Since 2010, he’s been a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and serves on the leadership team for Word Weavers of Orlando. He also blogs every Sunday about his writing journey at New Author’s Fellowship. You can also find Will on his personal blog, Forever More.

He is currently seeking representation for Soul Yearning, which won Novel of the Year at the 2012 Florida Christian Writer’s Conference.

Thankful For One Another

Sometimes God calls us to stand alone, but even then we are not alone. Elijah thought he was the only one taking a stand for the Lord and he found out later on there were 700 others who were faithfully following the Lord.

In Chapter 2 and 3 of Numbers, the Lord outlines the places where each tribe was to march and camp, as well as the various duties of the Levites in assisting Aaron. It’s not exactly an exciting read, but one thing stood out to me as I went through it the last few days.

Each tribe or family had distinct tasks God gave them to do, yet no one did those tasks alone. While Judah’s standard led the march and was the symbol which stood high in the east side of Israel’s camp, it was not Judah alone that did so. They were joined by Issachar and Zebulun. Even though Aaron and his sons led in the ministry of the Tabernacle, each of the three families of Levi were responsible for making the ministry work properly.

In our walk with the Lord and however we might be called to serve Him, the Lord didn’t design us to be alone. I’ve learned that in ministry, work, and most recently my writing career. Since I became serious about writing two years ago, I’ve met so many wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ who have come alongside to challenge, encourage, and help me. Whether from Word Weavers, ACFW, or conferences, I’ve been so blessed with the relationships that God has brought into my life. I would not be close to what I am as a writer without them.

I am so grateful for the friends that God has placed into my life who love me, challenge me, rebuke me, cry with me, and comfort me. And ultimately, I am thankful for my Jesus, the friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

Have you thanked the Lord lately for the friends God has brought into your life and for the friendship of His own dear Son?

Are you making sure you’re not walking this Christian life alone, but have brought others into it with you (Hebrews 10:24-25)?

Turn Write Series with Guest Edie Melson

Edie Melson is a freelance writer and editor with years of experience in the publishing industry. She’s a prolific writer, and has a popular writing blog, The Write Conversation. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, as well as a popular faculty member at numerous others. She’s also a regular contributor to Novel Rocket, a Writer’s Digest pick for top writing websites, and the Social Media coach for My Book Therapy.

She currently has two books available, the best selling eBook, Social Media Marketing for Writers, and her latest project, a devotional for those with family members in the military, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle. Married 30 years to her high school sweetheart, Kirk, they have raised three sons.

Writing is All About the Relationship and so is Social Networking

When I first got involved with social networking, my reasons were—get my name out and prove to the gatekeepers (editors/agents) I was publishable. I never considered interacting with other writers to be anything other than a side benefit. After all, writing is primarily a solitary pursuit, right? Wrong.

That is a popular, but entirely false, assumption. Writing for publication is an endeavor built on forging relationships. And those relationships can ultimately determine your success or failure in the writing industry. Here’s a list of those relationships.

  • Between you and other writers.
  • Between you and the reader.
  • Between the reader and the subject or characters.
  • Between you and the editor.
  • Between you and your agent.

I listed the relationship between writers first, because surprisingly, it’s often the most vital in your writing life. The actual act of putting words on paper is a solitary act and because of that it’s easy to lose perspective. Writing in a vacuum can give us a false sense of whether or not we’re effective in our endeavor. We either wind up thinking we’re a genius or sink into the depths of despair because we can’t string two coherent sentences together. Rarely is either perspective accurate.

Let me add a word of caution here. You may be tempted, like I was at first, to insert friends and family into this role. Unless they’re also writers this dynamic just doesn’t work. They’ll unwittingly encourage you when you need a swift kick in the pants and administer the kick in the pants when you need encouragement. We need others in our profession to give us feedback, keep us grounded and provide encouragement. Social Networking is a great way to find these people.

The most valuable relationships I’ve developed through the years have come from those I’ve met through two avenues, at conferences and online through blogs, Facebook and Twitter. My critique partner and I met at a writers conference in another state—and we live only two miles apart. Several of my biggest encouragers came from meeting each other through another friend’s blog. My mentors, my colleagues and yes, even many of my editors have come from those relationships.

That’s an important fact to remember. People move around in this business, the writer whose blog you comment on today, may end up as your editor in ten years time.

So what steps can you take to build these online relationships? Here are my suggestions:

  • Answer comments on your blog/Facebook page/Twitter feed.
  • Comment on other writers’ sites.
  • Offer something of value.

Many new to the social media world wonder how they can offer anything of value online. Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Promote someone else—this gives you credibility with your audience. Don’t be afraid of the competition. It may seem counterintuitive, but the relationships you build with others who offer similar products or services can advance both of you.
  • Celebrate another’s success—we all need to know success is possible. By sharing someone else’s achievement it encourages them, as well as others who may wonder if anyone ever succeeds.
  • Don’t waste people’s time just to get your name out there. Make certain that what you talk about online has value. (see the points above)
  • Keep it positive. Don’t ever forget that what you say online may outlast you. Take it from someone who knows—don’t say anything negative about a person, product or service—ever.
  • Don’t be a Social Media Hog. Translated this means keep yourself to no more than a couple of Facebook or Twitter updates in a row. Otherwise you’ll highjack the social media stream.

These tips will help you begin relationships that will last throughout your writing journey. Don’t wait to get started—introduce yourself—I can hardly wait to meet you!

Turn Write Series with Guest Morgan L. Busse

Morgan L. Busse is passionate about authentic Christianity and shares from her own life her fears and triumphs as a follower of Jesus Christ. The wife of a pastor and mother to four children, she has plenty of adventures to draw from. Along with blogging, Morgan also writes speculative fiction and released her debut book, Daughter of Light, with Marcher Lord Press. You can visit Morgan at www.morganlbusse.com.

Forgiveness

When I first started writing Christian speculative fiction, it was more a playground for my imagination than anything else. A way to play with some cool fantasy ideas. But as the years went by and I found my life traveling down dark roads and facing one crisis of faith after another, my fantasy novel Daughter of Light began to morph into an exploration of what it ultimately meant to trust God.

By writing speculative fiction, I bypass some of the things that “classify” Christianity, such as church attendance, Bible studies, and Sunday school. Now I’m not saying those are bad (not at all), but sometimes our Christianity is defined by where we go or what we do, instead of by who we are.

Who we are reveals itself when the hard times come. We change for good or bad through the trials we face. And through the process, the one another of forgiving is what I find personally the hardest to fulfill.

Forgive one another, just as Christ has forgiven you. Easy to read, hard to do. Why? Because some of the bad things that happen to us are the result of other people. Their actions and words leave a deep scar on our soul. Sometimes It’s unintentional, simply a part of their personality that cuts us. Yet other times it is intentional, leaving us feeling shot in the back. Either way, the only way to heal is by forgiveness.

I know many writers do not write themselves into their characters, but I do. I feel in order to fully and genuinely explore issues, I must place myself in my character’s life and share my own heart and experiences. When I write about Rowen’s feelings of isolation and anger, I know those feelings. And the scene where she is freed from her bitterness, I drew from my own experience of finally letting go and trusting God with my life.

Forgiveness is a choice, but also a process. It takes time. Pain hurts, even when you have been a Christian for a long time. One of my characters, Captain Lore, has followed the Word for years. But when he watches the man he loves like a father die at the hand of an assassin, he buries the hurt. He thinks he’s fine, until the day he meets the assassin again. Then all the bitterness comes out like puss in a wound. I won’t reveal more since this happens in the next book, but I can say it won’t be an easy journey for him

Truly forgiving someone who has hurt you in real life is a painful process. First, you have to choose to forgive. That in and of itself is a hard choice. Then you have to keep on forgiving-to release the hurt. This can be daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute procedure when you remember the pain. Fall on your knees and give the pain to God, and forgive. Trust God to make things right in the end. And that end might not come in this lifetime or world.

Ultimately what gives me strength to forgive is remembering how much God has forgiven, not just me, but everyone. If the Jesus I follow can forgive the Pharisees and the many other people who spit on him, hit him, and hung Him on a cross, then I can forgive too.

The saying, “Time heals all wound” is true. Eventually it becomes easier. You find a year later that you don’t think about it as much. The bitter feelings toward the person or situation start to ease. That’s not to say you don’t remember. There will always be a scar. But the wound itself has finally healed, with no lingering bitterness.

I love writing because it gives me the ability to explore real life in a different setting, allows me to see how forgiveness is crucial to my life, and the life of my characters. Thank you for going on the journey.