Storytellers Virtual Conference: Day 1

I had the opportunity this week to attend the Storytellers Virtual Writers Retreat by Flourish Writers. It was free to attend, unless I chose to pay for the all-access pass which offered additional benefits, including access to the recordings, and since I didn’t think I would get to attend any writer’s conference this year I was pretty excited! For those of you who weren’t able to attend, or didn’t even know about it, I thought I’d share my top three takeaways from each session.

Why you can write for tweens & teens with Lynn Cowell

Yeah, I didn’t go to this one.

The Power of a Testimony with Stephanie Alton

  1. Stories are one of the most impactful ways to share God’s voice with others, but fear can trip you up.
    • The most powerful supplement to this was the Bible verse: 2 Timothy 1: 6-7 – “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (emphasis mine). Basically, the reminder is that we should move forward and use the gift God has given us without fear. How awesome a reminder is that?
  2. My heart kind of gaped when Stephanie said this, “I can usually take a manuscript and cut the first three pages.”
  3. When you write as though it is aimed at an intimate audience of one or two, such as your mother or sister, etc., audiences tend to respond to it better. I know, she was talking about Christian Living nonfiction for this, but I still felt like it was a valuable tip in general.

Writing Stories of Faith That Matter with Bonnie Gray

  1. Your big idea will always start small, because small moments are your most personal, most vulnerable moments. Those are the moments where God works.
  2. When you feel stuck or afraid, write to God in your journal. Words always flow in your journal because it is personal and private, and that can feed what you need to write later.
  3. Be more honest than you are comfortable with. “Pretty” writing is not powerful.

Mentor Texts: Readers Make the Best Writers with Annette Whipple

Okay, I had no idea what mentor texts were, but this whole class was a highlight. I’ll try to break it down into three.

  1. Overall: Find similar books to the ones you are writing or hoping to write, and study them like a textbook: text, structure, format, word choice, sentence length.
  2. Type the text because fingers have memory. Type out the entire short story, or a chapter of the novel you are emulating.
  3. Figure out what others are doing that you like and see if you can copy it: especially for newsletters and social media.

Behind-the-Scenes Life of a Writer & Speaker with Courtnaye Richard

  1. Prepare to write and speak for God through daily prayer, personal Bible reading, and making time for studying scripture.
  2. Make sure you have an open and willing heart to obey what God wants to say through you.
  3. There is nothing like the favor of God: aka, trust God to bring you what you need.

That’s it for today – see you tomorrow!

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