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How to Authentically Write Religious Characters without Resorting to Stereotypes

How to Authentically Write Religious Characters without Resorting to Stereotypes

In cheap secular entertainment, the value of faith is chronically underestimated and mischaracterized as either irrational belief without evidence or arbitrary adherence to a set of dogmas. On the other side of the spectrum, Christian novels and films sometimes flaunt a cleaned-up, Sunday-best version of faith that, to be fair, is not much of an improvement on mainstream media’s interpretation—which only exacerbates the problem.

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Stylistic Tips to Enhance Both Brief and Lengthy Sentences

Stylistic Tips to Enhance Both Brief and Lengthy Sentences

A book that’s the clone of hundreds of others won’t capture or keep a reader’s attention. Every sentence—the flesh and muscle of a story—must glisten. The most legendary writers, like Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf, are memorable because they honed their own idiosyncrasies into pleasing forms of expression. If you hope to write evocatively, you need to learn how to capitalize on any sentence length.

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The Biggest Lie We Believe about Strong Female Protagonists

The Biggest Lie We Believe about Strong Female Protagonists

Strong women, as they’re portrayed in a lot of fiction and films, have a problem. They act like men (albeit hot men with curvy bodies and perfect hair, teeth, and nails). This bothers me, and it should bother you too, because we’re being fed a lie. Male and female perspectives each possess great worth, and both genders are vital aspects of the human experience. Neglecting one or the other in a story guts the truth’s potency.

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Should Christians Write Fantasy That Contains Pagan Mythology?

Should Christians Write Fantasy That Contains Pagan Mythology?

You can’t avoid running into mythology, not when it plays a role in so many beloved stories—a few of which are probably on your favorites list. But does your faith give you a reason to feel guilty for enjoying or creating that kind of entertainment? Can writers who believe in the one true God justify the depiction of multiple deities, magical creatures, and mystical rituals? Or will those elements mock Him?

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A 12-Month Sample Plan for Preparing Your First Book Launch

A 12-Month Sample Plan for Preparing Your First Book Launch

I recently signed a contract for a young adult novel, and my publisher set up a meeting with a literary agency to strategize the promotion of my book. The savvy ladies I spoke with offered a smorgasbord of suggestions, many of which I was familiar with. After all, if you hang around the writing community snack bar long enough, you’re bound to pick up a morsel or two about marketing.

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Christian Stories Don’t Need to Be Deep and Philosophical

Christian Stories Don’t Need to Be Deep and Philosophical

Many of us sit down at our desks with a list of criteria we believe we must meet before we can be confident that we’re honoring God with our writing. Our stories need to be thought-provoking, spiritual, and compelling, to name a few expectations I’ve heard or held myself to. The commission to impact others weighs heavily on our hearts because we know that our writing is an outflow of our Christian witness—and we long to capture our Creator’s magnificence in our own small sphere of creativity. But when we ask how our faith should influence and set us apart as writers, the answers vary as widely as all of humanity.

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3 Time-Tested Techniques for Crafting Unforgettable Endings

3 Time-Tested Techniques for Crafting Unforgettable Endings

A powerful ending doesn’t stay sealed inside a book once you close the cover. The surprise, challenge, curiosity, or inspiration in the final words becomes part of you. You’ve lived an experience through the characters, watched them resolve an issue, explore an idea, or pursue a goal. And now their feelings have melded with your own. How a story ends is as important as how it hooks readers in the beginning. One captures readers’ interest for a few hundred pages while the other captures their hearts forever. You can approach an ending from any number of directions, but I’m going to outline three of my favorites that can help you brainstorm a memorable one.

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Yes, Your Writing Really Is a Gift for Others

Yes, Your Writing Really Is a Gift for Others

When you think of Christmas shopping, visions of toys, jewelry, clothes, and candy probably dance in your head. That’s if you’re a normal human being. If you’re a little weird and a lot nerdy, you get starry-eyed over Lord of the Rings mugs, graphic T-shirts with famous literary quotes, and stacks of books as tall as skyscrapers. I’m guessing that everyone reading this falls into the latter category. Am I right?

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