Guest Post – Author Paula Mowery

Please welcome author Paula Mowery to The West Corner!

The editor-in-chief at Prism Book Group put out a call to the authors through our private Facebook group for submissions to a series based on The Love Chapter. She printed out the passage and basically the different phrases were up for grabs as to be the theme for the story. I had my eye on one phrase but missed out on that one. I decided that I could come up with a story based on the section: “Love does not dishonor.”

God brought to mind my time living in Maryland near the Amish and their honorable ways. This is when my story started to take form. What if someone with Amish ties were to bring dishonor to the family? What if the supposed dishonor actually revealed long-concealed lies?

My next thought was about an unexpected pregnancy being the ultimate dishonor in the story. I recalled my time as a devotional leader at our local Pregnancy Crisis Center. Conjuring bitter feelings to portray through my characters wasn’t difficult. When God afforded me the opportunity to serve at the pregnancy center, I was definitely conflicted. These girls had become pregnant, many by accident. As a young woman I struggled with infertility and harbored ill feelings toward those who found themselves in unexpected pregnancies. But as I got to know these women and heard their stories, I realized I was wrong. What I needed to show them was God’s unconditional love, available to all.

Thus, the reader will encounter some Amish parts as well as a precious Pregnancy Crisis Center ran by loving Christian women. There are also some medical conditions that reflect research into the Amish community. Of course a romance buds within the pages of the reunion/second chance type.

My ultimate hope is that the reader will encounter an unconditional love available from God within the pages of this short romance.

About the Author

photo of author Paula MoweryPaula Mowery is a published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her first two published works were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group. Both are women’s fiction, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements. Be The Blessing won the Selah Award in 2014 in the novella category. In November of 2013 her first romance released in the anthology, Brave New Century, from Prism Book Group. This book went to number five on Amazon’s bestseller category, historical Christian romance. Legacy and Love was her first solo romance and was a finalist in the Carolyn Readers Choice Awards in 2015. Her other titles include a Christian romantic suspense called For Our Good, a Christmas romance called Love Again, and a romance inspired from the Love Chapter called The Crux of Honor.

Reviewers of her writing characterize it as “thundering with emotion.” Her articles have appeared in Woman’s World, The Christian Online Magazine, and the multi-author devotional blogs, Full Flavored Living and Putting on the New. She wrote a section for Join the Insanity by Rhonda Rhea. She has devotionals included in several collaborative books.

Having been an avid reader of Christian fiction, she now puts that love to use by writing book reviews. She is a member of ACFW and also on the faculty for the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

Paula is a pastor’s wife and mom to a college student. She homeschooled her daughter through all twelve years, and they both lived to tell about it. Before educating her daughter at home, she was an English teacher in public school.

Learn more about Paula at her blog as well as find other links to connect with her at www.paulamowery.blogspot.com.

The Crux of Honor cover artBook Description

Chelsea Wilson’s life is a constant reminder of what living dishonorably looks like. At every turn she continues to prove her mother’s shunning must be deserved.

Dr. Kevin Alley returns to the old home place to establish his medical practice. After running into Chelsea, he knows his love for her is still strong.

Chelsea is ousted from her small rented room when her mother bursts in, proclaiming Chelsea’s pregnancy.

Kevin takes Chelsea in, giving her space to live on the upper level of his house.

When Chelsea’s baby displays life-threatening symptoms, Chelsea must face her mother. Secrets unfold about Chelsea’s parents. Can Chelsea and Kevin uncover the secrets linked to Amish heritage in time to save the baby? Can the two find love together despite their history?

Guest Post – Author Anne Garboczi Evans

Please welcome author Anne Garboczi Evans to The West Corner!

5 Tips for Writing Christian Fiction Without Being Preachy

photo of Rocky Mountains

There’s nothing wrong with preachy Christian fiction. There’s certainly a market for it and I know some lovely readers who devour it as well as some talented authors who write it.

If your target audience isn’t people who have attended church for decades, making your Christian fiction preachy will drop your sales number faster than a lead balloon. My target audience is millennials and as a whole they never even flip the cover of Christian fiction. By using the strategies I’ve outlined below, I hope to change that.

1. Show Don’t Tell Your Faith

Show don’t tell, it’s a classic writer admonition. Normally this admonition refers to using body language rather than telling the reader what the protagonist is feeling or other similar situations. The same caution applies though to the faith element of your stories. When your hero makes an ungodly choice, don’t let him monologue for a paragraph about his sins. Even better, allow your heroine to go for chapters on end without feeling repentant at all. Instead, use the progression of the chapters to show how that sinful choice didn’t work out so great for her. After all, isn’t that how things happen in real life? If I instantly felt repentant for every sinful choice I made, I’d be fully sanctified by now. Newsflash, I’m not.

2. Make Prayers Poignant

I’ve read a lot of preachy Christian fiction and thoroughly enjoyed quite a few of those novels. A recurring theme in preachy Christian fiction is prayer. A lot of prayer. Often times the heroine spends more time talking to God than to the hero.

Prayer is a crucial part of the Christian life since it is how we communicate with God. I certainly believe in the power of prayer, and every year I age, my prayer list expands. But there’s nothing to turn a novel preachy faster than page after page of prayers. I include prayer in all my Christian fiction, but I usually stick to one, maybe two in the entire novel. The prayer often isn’t longer than a sentence. Perhaps two sentences max. But I place that one short prayer in an epic moment where the reader will never forget it.

If you want to write non-preachy fiction that still contains a powerful Christian message, don’t make prayer the filler material in the dialogue of your book. Make prayer the climax, something that happens at a pivotal moment in your book. Your reader might not even believe in prayer, but they’re going to pay attention to that prayer.

3. Let Your Characters Sin

A lot. Don’t write an Elsie Dinsmore style heroine who’s worst failing is, just once, considering speaking in a curt voice to her friend. To avoid a preachy novel, let your characters manifest all the attitude, anger, jealousy and bad decision-making that fallen people do. No one can argue that protagonists sinning isn’t realistic. We all sin every day. Another advantage of heeding this advice is it leaves a lot of room for character growth. Letting your protagonist change throughout the novel rather than starting out in starched-white splendor, allows you to subtly show a lot of inspiring messages.

4. Make Your Protagonists’ View of God Change Throughout the Story.

Perhaps your heroine doesn’t believe in God, hates the idea of a Divine Being, or is a Wiccan? Maybe your hero thinks he doesn’t have time for God? The most natural way to introduce spiritual themes is by having your characters’ espouse beliefs contrary to Christianity. You can’t be considered preachy if your hero launches into an intellectual debate on why he’s a Buddhist. You can bring up some fascinating Christian points though as the hero struggles to defend that decision in his own mind. Using this technique also forces you as an author to defend why you believe what you believe and gives you the opportunity to read some awesome apologetics books.

5. Don’t Give Cookie Cutter Answers

Make the reader think. Don’t let your hero fix everything with a Sunday School answer such as “be more generous”, “don’t yell at people”, or “be more forgiving.” Let your heroine struggle and sweat through her decisions. Give him and her time to agonize over their decisions and show just how high the personal cost will be if they do choose to embrace change.

Even in the ending, don’t make your protagonists do the absolute perfect thing. Allow their weaknesses to shine through. Don’t make your protagonists angels just because they converted or had an encounter with God. Not only is such a radical flip of personality preachy, it’s not true to life. We all bring our own quirks, flaws, and failures into daily life.

On the other hand, don’t take this technique too far. The movie version of My Fair Lady is an example of taking this technique way too far. In the movie, Henry Higgins, a rich professor, is trying to teach Eliza Doolittle how to speak English like an elite lady rather than using the accent of the poorer classes. Throughout the movie, Professor Higgins is misogynistic and rude to Eliza. The ending suggests that Eliza and Professor Higgins marry. Yet, in the last line of the movie, Professor Higgins is still unbearably rude to Eliza.

Don’t end a novel like that. Rather, allow one of your protagonist’s more endearing weaknesses to shine through. Perhaps a character who overcame a social phobia in the climax of the novel, could still allow their introverted side to show in the ending. Or perhaps a crotchety protagonist who learns to love others throughout the novel could end the book with a self-deprecating joke that shows he still does have a snarky side.

Readers, what situations or scenarios make you think a novel has turned too preachy for your tastes? Authors, what do you do to ensure you are making readers think about spiritual concepts rather than handing them cookie cutter solutions?

About the Author

photo of author Anne EvansAnne Garboczi Evans is a mental health counselor, military spouse, author, and mama to an opinionated little preschooler named “Joe-Joe.”

Find out more about Anne and her writing on her blog.

Book Spotlight – Plum Pudding Bride by Anne Garboczi Evans

Please welcome author Anne Garboczi Evans to The West Corner! She’s here today with her holiday romance, Plum Pudding Bride. Leave a comment for Anne for a chance to win an e-copy of Plum Pudding Bride! This giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (EDT) Thursday, April 21, 2016.

Plum Pudding Bride cover artBook Description

Patience Callahan is twenty-five and fast becoming an old maid. But she’s spent most of her life dreaming over romantic European literature and wants a dashing d’Artagnan, not a bookish Bob Cratchit. Alas, the Colorado town of Gilman’s chock-full of Cratchit’s without a d’Artagnan in sight.

Peter Foote, the general store owner, has been in love with Patience for seven years. But every time he’s on the verge of proposing, she cuts him off; he can only imagine on purpose. This time though, dadburn it, he’s going to go through with it.

Ring in hand, he’s moments from touching knee to floor, when Patience pulls out a list of mail-order bride advertisements and declares her intention of marrying a backwoods stranger on Christmas Day.

He’s got two weeks to change her mind.

Excerpt

There she was, the girl he’d loved for seven years. And she was sorting preserve cases at his store, as she’d done for the last four years. She stood not six paces from him, and yet so far away.

Peter’s fingers squeezed the ring box in his jacket. This time he was going to go through with it, no matter if she pointedly changed the subject, or hastily found excuses to be elsewhere, or pushed other eligible young women at him. Dadburn it, today he’d have his answer, a “yay” or a “nay” instead of living in this wretched bog of uncertainty.

The store had already closed. He just needed to grate the key in the locks while Patience tidied the shelves. The falling winter sun made long shadows on the floor between them. Now she had put down the strawberry preserves and taken an inventory list. She moved towards the mercantile section.

His heavy boots clomped on the hardwood floor, but his heart clomped louder. His fingers tightened around the red velvet box. It was a white gold ring and a miner’s cut diamond. Size six, as he’d discovered four years ago when he’d stolen her glove.

Patience’s brown hair twisted back around her ears. She always complained it lay too flat, and said her younger sister teased her about having a mottled complexion. But he’d never seen hair shine like hers, and her soft skin set off brown eyes that possessed a luster no girl in Gilman could match. And her smile. Oh, her smile. She could turn Antarctica into the tropics by just curving her lips.

A head-high shelf of baking perishables hemmed them in on one side while bolts of fabric made up the other side of the narrow aisle.

“Patience Callahan, will you,” Peter slid the box out of his pocket, and started to lower one knee to the ground.

Her gaze flicked to the ring box. “Why, Peter,” she stepped into him, blocking all attempts at kneeling. “I’ve been meaning to tell you my news.”

Her long fingers were slender. Yet, they could move lickety-split when sorting spools or organizing canned goods.

“I just received this.” Patience tugged a newspaper clipping out of her pocket along with a small daguerreotype. “This is Arnie Dehaven. He’s a Montana rancher. I’ve answered his mail-order bride advertisement and I’m marrying him.”

~~

Plum Pudding Bride is available from Amazon.

~~

About the Author

photo of author Anne EvansAnne Garboczi Evans is a mental health counselor, military spouse, author, and mama to an opinionated little preschooler named “Joe-Joe.”

Connect with Anne Online

Facebook

Blog

Book Spotlight – Fearless of the Fall by Amanda Hess

Please welcome author Amanda Hess to The West Corner! She’s here today with her YA novel, Fearless of the Fall.

Fearless of the Fall cover artBook Description

Everything crumbled after Abby’s tragedy, even her close friendship with Jesse.  But Ashleigh never leaves her, and doesn’t press for details.  Distanced from everyone else, Abby finds solace in riding Motocross.  After Jesse steps back into Abby’s life and offers his friendship once more, things slowly begin to return to normal.  But explaining her reason for not speaking to him for seven months is too traumatic for Abby to reveal.

Just when it seems they’re becoming more than friends, Abby and Jesse face a horrific storm, which incredibly brings them into an even closer proximity.  Due to the overwhelming damage, Jesse and his family stay at Abby’s house for a while.  However, passing in the upstairs hallway at home is vastly different than passing in the hallway at school. Something between them has changed, and not for the better.

There are so many things that go unspoken, including Abby’s upcoming departure for college out of state, but neither of them seems to be able to connect.  Maybe it’s best they just remain friends so that Abby can focus only on the upcoming Motocross competition.

But the arrival of Pamela, a pretty transfer student and fellow rider, complicates everything and Jesse makes a huge mistake.

Can Abby forgive him?  Or will Pamela win everything?

Excerpt

“Come on Abby, we have to go to the basement.” Jesse shook my shoulder.

“But, why?’’ I complained, hearing a weird sound I couldn’t place.

“The storm has gotten worse. We need to get in the basement now!” He urged me pulling me up by the hand and running down the hall to the basement steps.

We hurried down the steps as this noise grew louder. My sinuses ached and my head felt like it was being squeezed. Jesse threw me in a closet pulling the door shut behind him. He pushed me as far into the back corner as he could. Pulling me down to the floor, he threw a heavy blanket over us. My mind was slowly registering what was going on. I started to shake. Jesse picked up on this and gathered me up in his arms tightly.

“I am right here Abby. We will be okay.” He whispered in the dark.

“Jess-“I started to say as a horrible noise came from outside the door.

I threw my hands over my ears and screamed. Jesse pulled my head into his chest shielding me while he gathered the rest of my body on his lap.

“It’s okay baby, everything will be alright,” he cooed in my ear.

The house shook all around us. Things were falling in on us from the shelves in the closet. I could feel the air rushing under the crack of the door. I heard the door being ripped off and felt the wind rushing all around us. I could hear myself whimpering. Jesse held on to me tightly. I kept my eyes tightly shut and prayed.

“It’s okay baby, almost over.” Jesse shouted over the noise. I held on tighter. I whimpered from the pain in my head and sinuses.

“You’re okay Abby, everything will be okay!”

It felt like time was standing still.

When the shaking of the house slowly stopped and everything seemed to calm down, I slowly released my death-grip on Jesse and opened my eyes one at a time. My brain could not put together what my eyes saw. Through where the closet door had been in the basement I could see the sky. I looked wildly at Jesse, who had some blood on his face and arm. I quickly disentangled myself from him and began giving him the once-over. He had been hit by some debris that cut a small space on his cheek. Most of the damage was on his arm. Nothing serious, but enough to be messy. He was checking me for injuries the same time I was working on cleaning up his arm with the blanket. He seemed satisfied with the results and pulled me hard against him in a crushing hug. I returned his sentiments just as violently.

“Abby, I am so glad you are alright.” He whispered with tears in his eyes.

“I am fine Jess, are you sure that you are okay?” I asked, tears swimming in my eyes.

“We are alive, thank God!” Jesse praised sniffing. A tear escaped from my eye and rolled down my cheek.

“Abby-“Jesse groaned meeting my eyes and thumbing away the tear. He kissed me softly on the lips, it wasn’t long, but it made my insides turn to jelly.

~~

Fearless of the Fall is available from Amazon.

~~

About the Author

photo of author Amanda HessA Pennsylvania native, Amanda and her family moved to North Carolina three years ago. She is happily married with three children and a granddaughter. A lover of all things creative, she will try whatever art of craft is out there. You can usually find her doing one of four things; reading, writing, playing piano, or working on her embroidery machine. Though Amanda has been writing since grade school, this is her first published book.

Connect with Amanda Online

FearlessoftheFall.com

Facebook.com/Fearlessofthefall

Twitter @AmandaHesswritr

Instagram, fearlessofthefall

Guest Post – Author Elaine Cantrell

Please welcome author Elaine Cantrell to The West Corner!

Famous Diamonds

photo of author Elaine CantrellLadies, I know some of you may not like to wear jewelry, but I do. Here are a couple of famous diamonds that I think are lovely.

Cullinan Diamond

This is the largest gem diamond ever discovered. It weighed about 3,106 carats in rough form when it was found in 1905 at the Premier mine in Transvaal, South Africa. It was named for Sir Thomas Cullinan, who discovered the mine. The Transvaal government bought it and presented it to Britain’s King Edward VII. It was cut into 9 large stones and about 100 smaller ones, all flawless. They are now part of the British crown jewels. The picture is off the Great Star of Africa, one of the diamonds cut from the Cullinan.

photo of Cullinan Diamond
By Huleizhulei (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Orloff

This 300 carat bluish-green diamond was found in India. It now belongs to the Russian Diamond Treasury. People say that it was once used as the eye in a statue of Vishnu in a temple in Sriangam.It was stolen by a French deserter in the 1700’s. He sold it to an English sea captain who took it to Europe. Eventually it ended up in Amsterdam where Grigori Orloff, one of Catherine the Great’s former lovers, bought it and presented it to Catherine. She took the diamond but not Grigori.

photo of Orloff diamond
By Elkan Wijnberg [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

The Centenary Diamond

This diamond is 273.85 carats. It was discovered at the Premiere Mine in 1986. It took three years for master diamond-cutters to transform it into the world’s largest, most modern-cut, top color, flawless diamond.

photo of Centenary Diamond
http://www.diamondland.be/diamondnews/how-recognise-quality-diamonds-diamond-clarity

Darya-ye Noor

Lots of people are interested in pink diamonds now so I thought I’d include the Darya-ye-Noor, the largest pink diamond in the world. The name means Sea of Light in Persian. The jewel’s pale pink color is among the rarest found in diamonds. It is now a part of the Iranian crown jewels.

photo of Darya-ye Noor diamond
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Darya-e_Noor_Diamond_of_Iran.png

So, what about you? Do you love diamonds? My heroine Aimee in my latest release Fortuna loves diamonds, but she hates the engagement ring Rocky gave her. Here’s an excerpt from the book.

Fortuna cover artJune got their coffee and pulled a piece of paper out of a big red notebook on the baker’s rack in the kitchen. “The design of your engagement ring interested me, Aimee, so I did a little research for you.”

Aimee flexed her finger. She didn’t like the ring and never had. Diamonds were supposed to sparkle, but this one didn’t. If only Rocky had bought the ring she’d seen at the mall several months ago. Now that ring sparkled and glowed with exquisite fire. It had a square diamond set up high in a yellow gold band with channel-set diamonds radiating from the center diamond down the shaft. No, she didn’t like her ring, but June looked positively pea green with envy over it.

“What did you find out?” Rocky asked as he seated himself at the kitchen table. “It’s an antique, right?”

His eyes gleamed with interest. How strange. He’d never shown any interest in antiques before, especially antique jewelry.

June passed the paper she’d pulled from her notebook to Rocky. “If the ring isn’t a copy, and I don’t think it is, you have an eighteenth-century piece worth about ten thousand dollars.”

Rocky’s jaw dropped. “Are you joking?”

“No, sir, I’m not. In the eighteenth century most people couldn’t have afforded such a large stone, so I’m guessing it belonged to a wealthy woman, maybe even someone from the nobility.”

The awed tone in June’s voice made Aimee smile as she spooned a little more sugar into her coffee. Coffee was a fine vehicle for drinking cream and sugar. “Rose cuts are relatively crude, right? So why would anyone pay ten thousand dollars for it?”

June’s lips tightened. “For the historical value, of course. Not many eighteenth-century pieces survived intact. People who lived back then often wanted the latest fashion in jewelry, so they would melt down the gold and reset the stone. Sometimes they even re-cut the gems.” She fixed a gimlet eye on Aimee. “Rose-cut diamonds don’t sparkle like the brilliant cuts we use today because they were meant to be seen in candlelight. Eighteenth-century jewelers put foil underneath the diamond so it would reflect the flickering candles. You are the conservator of a piece of history. I hope you appreciate it and give it the care it deserves.”

~~

Fortuna is sold at Amazon and most other online retail outlets.

~~

Connect with Elaine Online

http://www.elainecantrell.com

http://www.elainepcantrell.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/elainepcantrell

http://www.twitter.com/elainecantrell

http://www.pinterest.com/elainecantrell

http://www.amazon.com/Elaine-Cantrell/e/B001K7V90M

Thanks so much for having me today.

Book Spotlight – Landry in Like by Krysten Lindsay Hager

Please welcome author Krysten Lindsay Hager to The West Corner! She’s here today with Landry in Like, the third book in her middle grade series Landry’s True Colors.

Landry in Like cover artBook Description

Things seem to be going well in Landry Albright’s world—she’s getting invited to be on local talk shows to talk about her modeling career, her best friends have her back, and her boyfriend Vladi has becoming someone she can truly count on…and then everything changes. Suddenly it seems like most of the girls in school are into hanging out at a new teen dance club, while Landry just wants to spend her weekends playing video games and baking cupcakes at sleepovers. Then, Yasmin McCarty, the most popular girl in school, starts to come between Landry’s friendship with Ashanti. Things take a turn when Yasmin tells Vladi that Landry is interested in another boy. Can Landry get her relationships with Ashanti and Vladi back or will she be left out and left behind?

Excerpt

I wanted to call my friends and tell them about being on the talk show, but Mom said we had to be at the TV station super early — even before school started. She said I could text them, but I had to turn off my phone and go to bed.

“I’m waking you up at four a.m.,” she said. “You have to be there at five-thirty.”

“Can I just call Peyton and Ashanti? Please?”

“Fine, but you have five minutes and then that phone is mine and you’re in bed.”

I dialed Peyton, but her mom said she was in the shower. I told her mom about the show tomorrow and said my mom wouldn’t let me stay up any later to call Peyton back.

“How exciting! I will make sure Peyton knows, and I will be watching you tomorrow. Good luck, honey,” Mrs. Urich said.

I called Ashanti next and told her.

“Get out. Get. Out. No way. This is so exciting!”

“I’m so nervous. My stomach is already doing cartwheels. I can’t do one, but my stomach can. Seems unfair. What if I throw up before I go on? I did that right before I went on at the statewide Ingénue modeling competition in Detroit, and my mom had to give me a cough drop to cover up the smell.”

“I’m sure you’ll be fine, but… just in case, take a cough drop with you,” Ashanti said. “Good luck. You’ll be great and I’ll go set the DVR now.”

I hung up and sent a text to Vladi, India, Devon, Thalia, Tori, and Ericka, so no one would be mad and feel left out. Then I shut off my phone. Mom poked her head in the door to make sure I was in bed.

“Night, hon. Try to get some rest,” she said.

Easier said than done. I stared at my ceiling while thinking about all the things that could possibly go wrong tomorrow. Seeing as the show was on in the morning, I never got to watch it, so I had no idea what the set was like — did it have super high chairs and I’d struggle to get into them? And what if it had those higher stools that were kind of tippy and my rear overshot the seat and I fell off? Or what if the prep questions got lost and the interviewer asked me random things like my feelings on nuclear war or asked me about some foreign political leader who I had never heard of before, and I appeared stupid? Why did I say I’d do this? I tried to get comfortable and it felt like I had just dozed off when I felt my mom shaking my shoulder.

“Rise and shine, TV star,” she said.

~~

Landry in Like is available from Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iTunes.

~~

About the Author

avatar of author Krysten Lindsay HagerKrysten Lindsay Hager is the author of the Landry’s True Colors Series, a clean reads young adult series and the new ​Star Series. Krysten writes about friendship, self-esteem, fitting in, middle school and high school, frenemies, modeling, crushes, values, and self-image in True Colors, Best Friends…Forever? And Landry in Like, as well as in, Next Door to a Star (Star Series). Her sequel to Next Door to a Star will be out March 22 2016.

Krysten is a book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and writes YA, MG, humor essays, and adult fiction. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in Portugal, South Dakota, and currently resides in southwestern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing when she’s not catching up on her favorite shows. She received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan-Flint.

Connect with Krysten Online

Website: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/krystenlindsay
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Krysten-Lindsay-Hager/e/B00L2JC9P2/
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/krystenlindsay/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KrystenLindsayHagerAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/KrystenLindsay
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8298036.Krysten_Lindsay_Hager

5 Common Fears of Writers (and How to Combat Them)

Monday Matters graphic

Nearly everyone I meet thinks it’s awesome that I’m a published author. A lot of them also have a great idea for a book or dream of writing a book someday. I’m all for people pursuing their dreams of writing. Whenever someone tells me they have a great plot or character idea, I encourage them to write it.

Unfortunately, a lot of people seem intimidated by the idea of actually writing their ideas down. I totally understand. Few people realize how often I have to fight through fear to write a story (although a lot more people now know). There are so many things to fear when it comes to writing, but I’m living proof that your fear doesn’t have to hold you back.

Here are five fears I face on a regular basis.

1. Fear of Failure

This one is a huge obstacle for a lot of people. Yes, your story idea might be a complete flop, but you’ll never know if you don’t write it. If one idea fails, you can always write another. Or take the initial idea in a new direction. The possibilities are endless, so turn off your internal naysayer and write your story anyway. You never know when that idea could turn out to be the “next big thing.”

2. Fear of Success

A lot of people seem to think fearing success is strange, but I’ve been surprised over the years by how many people have this fear. We all want to be successful. It’s ingrained in our nature. But the fear of success comes in when you consider the next step. If readers love your first book, that applies a lot of pressure to write a second book that’s just as good or better. Since creative types (including authors) tend to be an insecure bunch, the pressure to perform can be paralyzing.

Instead of thinking of your next book as a follow-up to the first, view it as a new project. With every new project, you have a new opportunity to wow your readers. If they loved your first book but not your second, that’s okay. Personal preference, mood while reading, and innumerable other factors affect how a story will hit a reader at any given time. And just because they didn’t like your second book doesn’t mean they won’t love your third.

3. Fear of Looking Like a Fool

This one hits nearly every time I write. I’ll think I have a great idea and start writing. Then all of a sudden, WHAM! I start wondering what I was thinking writing that plot or a character with those traits.  What if I’m getting it wrong? What if readers think it’s a stupid idea? What if this story makes me look like a complete fool?

Well, so what if it does? The only way to learn is to make mistakes. We all experience growing pains as writers, and taking risks with our ego is one of them. After writing and publishing as long as I have, I’ve learned a very important lesson. The stories I’m most afraid to show others are usually the ones readers love the most.

4. Fear of Offending Someone

This one is tough to overcome if you have even a hint of timidity in your personality. It’s taken me a long time to realize that what I write will likely always offend someone somewhere. I don’t set out to be offensive, but not everyone is going to agree with everything I say or enjoy everything I write. We’re all different and what one person finds inspiring, another might find insulting. Publishing is one of the most subjective places on the planet, but we can’t let our fear hold us back.

Dig deep to find the courage to write what you want to write. It can be terrifying to put your first work out there with the knowledge that you may get slammed by reader comments. But I can guarantee that the more you face this fear and write your idea anyway, the easier it gets to quit worrying about what might offend someone somewhere. That’s not to say you should purposely be offensive. That’s just mean. But if you have a controversial topic weighing on your mind and you’re dying to share your thoughts on it, go for it. We shouldn’t shy away from controversy if the subject is important to us.

And finally…

5. Fear of Not Writing Fast Enough

When you see authors boasting of writing 10,000 words a day, publishing a new novel every month, or writing like a hyperactive squirrel on a dozen energy drinks it’s easy to get discouraged. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to be excited you wrote one sentence in a single day and then see another writer who wrote three chapters in two hours. Nothing can bring you down faster than feeling inadequate.

But you don’t have to feel that way. We’re all different, and some people write super fast while others write super slow. Most of us fall somewhere in between most days. Dry spells happen, and so do days when the words flow like Niagara Falls. The important thing to remember is that you write at whatever speed you write. There is no rule saying, “You must write X amount of words each day to be an author.” You write at the speed that works for you, and eventually you’ll have a novel.

One of the best pieces of writing advice I can offer is to be persistent. Is writing easy? No way! It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. Even if one of my books sells only a handful of copies, that means my story reached a handful of people. That’s infinitely more than it would have reached if I’d never written it at all. Yes, selling tens of thousands of copies is every writer’s dream, but most books will never be bestsellers. We write because we love sharing our stories with others, however many or few that may be. We write because we have something to say. We write because the characters and ideas in our minds would drive us crazy if we didn’t get them out somehow.

If you have an idea you think would make a great novel, short story, or somewhere in between, take a risk and write it. If you hate the final product, no one ever has to see it. I think every author has at least one manuscript lying around that will never see the light of day. I have a few of them cluttering up my hard drive right now. But you might love the story more when it’s finished than you did when you started writing it. When that happens, it’s magical. That’s what makes writing worth the effort — seeing a completed story that came from your imagination. Having the opportunity to share what’s in your imagination with others. Knowing readers might love the story as much as you do.

Be warned, however, that if you overcome your fears and start writing, you may never stop. This is an addicting form of expression that can easily become as essential to you as breathing.