The simplest place to start is right here on my website. I have 36 articles and writing exercises that will give you a lot of basic information about writing for Christian publication.
Writer’s conferences are a great way to get dependable information, interact with other writer’s, and talk to editors. If you can’t afford to go to one, you can order CD’s or download files and get some of the same information. I often download a few files each year to help me grow in my writing. I’ve been to two big conferences which I’ve found very helpful.
Write to Publish meets in June in Wheaton, Illinois. I’ve been to this conference three times. I love this conference and the next one because they offer a variety of levels. Whether you are a beginning writer or a well-seasoned one, you will find a level that fits you. Next conference: June 5-8, 2013.
Writing for the Soul is also excellent. It is connected with the Christian Writer’s Guild. It has moved between Colorado Springs and Denver, but I see the next conference is in Colorado Springs, February 14-17, 2013. I’ve gone to this one once and also found it very helpful. I’ve heard the Christian Writer’s Guild has an excellent course for varying levels, but you have to start at the beginning. You can’t start the advanced course if you haven’t started at the beginning. At least that was the answer given me years ago. I believe they have a course for teens too.
If you are looking for a smaller, more affordable conference nearer where you live, you might enjoy an ACW (American Christian Writers) conference. I’ve been to several of these. They are good, but don’t have the diversity of the larger conferences. I see they are now offering mentoring retreats. I haven’t experienced them.
For a basic writing book that tells you a lot of things you need to know about writing for publication, I recommend An Introduction to Christian Writing by Ethel Herr.
Write Right! by Jan Venolia has been my favorite book for years for quickly finding the answer to problems of punctuation, grammar and style. This is very helpful and very thorough, but has one fatal flaw for me. Her book doesn’t adhere to the Chicago Manual of Style that many Christian publishers use. For example, she uses numerals for numbers that the Chicago Manual of Style would spell out. Publishers don’t generally expect you to know this. They take care of this in the editing process, but I could wish she used a different style guide.
Polishing the “PUGS” by Kathy Ide is a new book which does some of the same things as Write Right! I’ve just ordered it and it is helpful, but isn’t quite as thorough at Write Right!.
For novel writers I highly recommend Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. This really helps you structure your scenes and your whole novel.
My favorite book on characterization has always been Fiction is Folks by Robert Newton Peck. It’s currently out of print, but not hard to find, new or used. It’s not only helpful, but fun to read.
When you have finished your novel and need to do a really good polish, I recommend Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King.
Sound expensive? You don’t have to do it all at once. Find your area of biggest need and begin there. Choose a conference, a download, or a book that will help you meet that need. Ordering or registering could be your next step. If you are feeling the financial pinch so common today, considering adding something from my list of resources to your Christmas list. You’ll help yourself, help your family find a present you like and support the writing industry at the same time! A triple bonus.
This is a very short list. You can find many other great conferences, books, websites, and webinars. What resources have you found helpful? Why not drop a comment in the box to help all my readers?