Friday with Friends welcomes
Donna Clark Goodrich,
author of A Step in the Write Direction!
A Step in the Write Direction is an indispensable guide to writing and marketing your work and will help you build the skills you need to launch and build a successful writing career, including:
* Choosing your field of writing
*Writing your manuscript
*Other sources of income
*Income taxes for writers
... and much more.
Here's an excerpt:
Writing Devotionals and Fillers
We live in an instant gratification world. We pop a waffle into our toaster or a frozen dinner in our microwave and voila! instant meal. By the same token, we want to pick up our Bible and devotional book in the morning, read a few verses, and shazam! Instant religion.
Just as the commercials spell “relief” with the name of a popular antacid, so some Christians spell it with the letters “d-e-v-o-t-i-o-n-a-l.” Take one in the morning for relief
of spiritual heartburn all day.
Because devotionals are short, you may feel they're easy to write when, in fact, this very brevity makes it harder. You have to get an important truth across to your readers in 300 words or less. As you gain experience, the writing will become easier and the struggle less. But don’t allow yourself to get to the point where you just “dash one off.” Go to your knees before you go to your keyboard.
A good definition of a devotional comes from a Daily Guideposts reader who wrote, “The best devotional is something I can read in five minutes and remember for a lifetime.”
Differences between a Devotional and a Filler:
There are several differences between a devotional and a filler.
A devotional may range from 100 to 300 words, depending on the specific periodical and guidelines. Your devotional may be shorter than the given length, but should never be longer.
On the other hand, a devotional filler is just what the word implies: a short piece of inspiration to fill a column or page in a newspaper, magazine, or weekly take-home paper. It can be as short as 50 words or as long as 750 words. Markets for these are numerous.
Don’t worry, however, about the length or editing when writing your first draft. Concentrate more on simply getting your thoughts on paper. Correcting grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation can come later.
Devotional format. For an individual devotional, place your name, address, phone, and e-mail in the upper left-hand corner of the page. If it’s an assignment, type your name, address, phone, e-mail, and dates of assignment on a cover page, along with a brief bio sketch. (The editor may also request a photo. This is a good time to put in a supply of
3x5 or 5x7 black and white or color glossies.) For a multiday assignment, begin each day on a new page.
A devotional format will depend upon the publisher’s guidelines. One editor may ask for a single Scripture verse with the devotional; another will request related scriptures. Others may ask for a prayer, a quotation, or a verse of a song. An assignment packet will include these guidelines and usually a sample devotional.
Body of devotional. A devotional includes three parts:
1. Scripture verse
2. Illustration or anecdote
3. Spiritual application
The illustration is what makes this devotional uniquely yours. Nothing happens to anyone else exactly the same way it happens to you. Sharing a specific experience helps your reader identify with the thought you're trying to get across.
Ask yourself: If an editor could select only one devotional out of several written on the same passage of Scripture, what would stand out in your brief piece of writing to grab his or her attention? Often it’s the illustration, so make it strong.
This illustration or anecdote doesn’t have to be personal. It can be an event in the life of a friend or family member, a biblical or historical illustration, or an item in the news. (See chapter 14 for “Where to Get Ideas.”)
A Step in the Write Direction--the Complete How-to Guide for Christian Writers was one of the books on my "bucket list." The second one, released in May of 2012 (Comfort Publishing), is The Freedom of Letting Go, sharing how to let go of grief, possessions, failure, success, control, children and other things that drag us down.
A Step in the Write Direction may be purchased from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or from the author at: www.thewritersfriend.net
The author of 24 books and over 700 published manuscripts, Donna lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband Gary. Also a freelance proofreader/editor and speaker, she enjoys helping beginning writers get started and encouraging advanced writers not to give up. Contact her atdgood648 @aol.com or www.thewritersfriend.net. She also blogs every Monday at: http://donna-goodrich.blogspot.com
Linnette here. Sound like an amazing book? I'm definitely interested! If you have questions or comments for Donna, please be sure to leave them here. :D