What’s your favorite craft book?
Currently, The Art of The Tale by Steven James and Tom Morrisey. Although the book is directed more towards speakers, I am finding value. I am a nonfiction writer, and a teacher by profession, so everything I do leans toward the academic. I need help to be a good storyteller, but I recognize how valuable it is in writing and speaking. The book helped me find how to connect with my audience through a story.
Which do you think is the most underrated craft book? Why?
7 Cheat Sheets to Cut Editing Costs by Debra Butterfield It is underrated because it is a small, thin, self-published book packed with a wealth of beneficial information. Debra is an acquisition editor for CrossRiver Media, and her book is like having an opportunity to sit with an editor one-on-one.
What is your favorite (or most anticipated) writers’ conference?
Florida Christian Writers’ Conference. It was the first conference I attended and where I got my start in writing. They offer a good variety of appointments with agents and publishers. I’ve also used their writing contests to test my work. If I place, that is a piece I keep working on towards publishing. If I don’t place, I know it needs much more work before I should consider publishing.
What’s your favorite other source (YouTube, podcast, etc.) for writing tips/info?
For both writing tips but also for the business of writing, I like the following podcasts:
The Storyteller’s Mission with Zena Dell Lowe
The Christian Woman’s Business Podcast with Esther Littlefield
Your Best Writing Life with Linda Goldfarb
Take The Stage with Mary Snyder
Who is your writing mentor/inspiration? Why?
I don’t really have one. I never thought I’d be a writer. I have always dreamed of being a lawyer. I’d love to have a mentor.
What’s the worst writing advice you’ve ever received? Why was it bad?
I haven’t really received lousy writing advice. I guess I’ve been fortunate.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
To really pray about how God wanted my message released. Did it need to be validated through traditional publishing, or are my ministry and reputation strong enough to validate it through self-publishing? Another good piece of writing advice as a non-fiction writer was to pause after a point and insert a question. It slows my reader down, and they have to think about my topic and apply the information I’m offering. I’ve tried to use that in everything I write.
What would you say is the best writing tip for new authors?
Find a critique group. Your goal is to become a better writer, and unless you hear honest feedback on your work, you won’t know what improvements to make. I would recommend Word Weavers over your friends or family.
What is your best self-editing tip or advice?
They always say to write tight, and the best way I have figured out how to do this is to give myself a word limit, say four hundred words. I focus on strong verbs and good imagery words. If I can write something within that limit, it still sounds good, and it meets the limit, then it’s tight. It is a hard task to master, but giving yourself a word limit is good practice.
Another tip is that if you publish traditionally, you will have an editor, but you should still do some editing. I always pay to have my book partially edited, even before I turn it in. If I can’t afford to edit the entire book, I will have them do every other chapter. I pay close attention to what they find and look for it in the other chapters.
Please share your most encouraging tip for frustrated/discouraged writers.
If this is God’s book for you, it will get published. It may take a while, especially the traditionally published route, but there is much to learn. Take advantage of every opportunity He puts on your path to publishing.
My next book, Word Made Flesh: Echoes of Jesus in the Hebrew Alphabet. It is scheduled to release with End Game Press in the summer of 2024.
Lauren Crews holds an MDiv from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is a multi-award-winning author. Her book Strength of a Woman: Why You Are Proverbs 31 won Christian Market Book of the Year. She is passionate about God’s word and teaching the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. Her experience as a women’s ministry leader, speaker, Bible teacher, and public-school teacher equips Lauren to easily share deep truths that will encourage your faith. Lauren completed the AWSA coaching certification and works with new authors desiring to up their social media game. Lauren lives in Florida with her husband and two brown dogs who have their humans well-trained
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