Writing Wednesday: ACFW 2016

From August 25 to August 28th, I abandoned my family and set off to join almost 600 other Christian fiction authors and aspiring authors in Nashville, Tennessee. So what exactly happens when hundreds of writers converge into one space?


Spiritual retreat, encouraging hugs and words, moments of “fan-girling”, and lots of  learning. I have included several of my favorite pictures and some highlights from the trip.

Key Note Speaker: Ted Dekker


This man was a hoot to listen to and watch. He is a very passionate, unconventional man who speaks with his hands in very animated movements. The truth he spoke was rooted in Christ and centered on transformational writing.


Transformational writing is writing to discover life. You learn what your characters learn. You are transformed by the process.


“Work through your stories/struggles with fear and trembling.” – Ted Dekker


All of life is a story. Emotions, beliefs, perceptions – everything is framed within your thoughts and experiences. There are different interpretations and readers seek to read them.


“Write in such a way that changes your life and perceptions.” – Ted Dekker.


When writing a story, ask how your character’s perspective can change. Discover transformation with your character. Write for your own transformation. Grievances block the light. Change your perception and see Christ, the Spirit of God. Reinterpret the story of your life. Find compassion for the offense and offenders.


Genre Dinner: A Chance to Play Dress Up


As I promised a few weeks ago, here are a few pictures of my dress and some of the others who dressed up for the genre dinner. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but I was having way too much fun!




A HUGE thank you to my Aunt Shay for altering my dress!


“Fan-girling” – Ack! I have their books on my shelf!


I was too embarrassed to ask all my “fan-girl” authors for a picture but here are a few!


From left to right (excluding me): Carrie Fancett Pagels, Tamara Leigh, Mary Conneally, and Angela Couch. I can excitedly say, that Angela and I are friends, too! Yay!

Roomies, friends, and the Awards Gala

I had three fabulous roomies: already contracted Grace Hitchcock, and aspiring authors Tisha Martin and Cathryn Swallia.


Friday evening was one evening given to us for going out and exploring Nashville or having dinner with our fellow friends. We had a great time and stretched the length of the restaurant at one outdoor table. There I had a chance to get to know other fellow writers and solidify some friendships I had already made online.




The Awards Gala was a fantastic celebration of all those authors and aspiring authors who had won contests. It was truly an even to enjoy. (I especially loved the music note shaped butter.)



The Mysterious AU

The last bit of fun I have to share with you is the mysterious AU.


The Omni was a HUGE hotel with two sets of elevators. One set went from 1-13, while the other set (the set that transports you to the AU) went from 1-4 then 14-21. Where did those missing floors go?




Well, we writers know the truth. Those elevators were the wormholes to the Alternate Universe. Once on board, you had to use your room key to move to the desired floor… only you never knew what would actually happen.


Many strange tells were shared about our journeys to the AU, but “normals” might be frightened and deny the reality. So I will let your imagination roam. In fact, why don’t you share your own stories of journeys to the AU in the comments? It would be a blast to keep this little bit of the ACFW conference going.


Well, I guess it is back to reality and writing! I look forward to hearing your comments

Writing Craft Wednesday: Prepping for a Writer’s Conference

Okay, so today isn’t really Wednesday. Between all the family craziness and trying to get ready for my first national writer’s conference, I forgot to post until Friday this week.


Desperate for a quick, easy topic I thought I would share about preparing for a writer’s conference in a question and answer format. Feel free to skim to the question you have and ask any I didn’t answer in the comment section. I will respond as best I can and add to my answers after I get back.




What do you do at a writer’s conference?

I attended the Kentucky Christian Writer’s Conference last year and have been registered for the American Christian Writer’s Conference since early spring. Both of these conferences offered writing workshops on publishing, writing craft, and managing life as a writer. There are also opportunities to meet with editors, agents, publishers, mentors, and other authors, both published and unpublished.




The ACFW Conference also has a Genre Dinner night where you get to dress up as one of your characters or the general period in which you write. This is a picture of the dress I ordered. After the conference, I will write a post that shares my experiences – including me actually dressed up.


What do you wear to a conference?

A writer’s conference is a professional gathering of other writers and professionals in the industry. Business casual is expected. You will be doing a lot of sitting and walking, so you want something comfortable.

For me, that means I am deciding between dress pants and my long skirts. I was going to wear some dresses, but all of them are knee length, and I am not exactly the most lady-like person when sitting. Makeup and jewelry are reserved for professional events like these for me.


Conference centers are notorious for subjecting a person to a wide range of temperatures. Dress in layers. I am bringing a couple cute sweaters and my blouses are all short sleeve.


What do you bring to a conference?


In general, you will want business cards, one-sheets, and a notebook and pen – or tablet/laptop if you prefer, but be aware outlets are limited and there are lots of people vying for them. Depending on what your goals are and who you are meeting, you may also need to bring chapter samples, book proposals, and/or synopses.



Some odds and ends I would not have thought of are thank you cards, to give those professionals you have met with; folders that will hold a business card, your one-sheet, and chapter samples;  and a briefcase or professional bag instead of a backpack.

So those were my top three big questions and answers? What about you? Are there any questions you have about a writer’s conference? I will answer as best I can and then add to it after I get back in three weeks.

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