Write What You Know

by Robin Luftig

SONY DSCI always thought being a Christian fiction writer was the next thing to sainthood. Not only did the author write the most entertaining story possible, but they also left the reader with a message. Their story had a purpose.

When I decided to write fiction I struggled with all the criteria I felt I needed to meet. Would my story be believable? Could I show Christ like I wanted to? Would my words sound preachy? I stressed over my fears for months until I remembered a simple quote from Mark Twain that set me free.

“Write what you know.”

I am a Christian. I live a Christian life because of my love for Christ. I strive to do good, but so often fail. I know what it means to live in a fallen world. I know heartache and other emotions—sorrow, joy, fear, disappointment, struggle with vengeance—all the makings of a great novel.

So I write what I know.

Nowadays my challenge has changed. Writing has taken on a different meaning. I need to be selective in sharing what I know. What experiences do I know that could connect with readers? What emotions can I express on the page that would connect with a reader to pull from them their own emotions? Sorrow? Joy? Disappointment? Struggle with vengeance?

I still read novels by others so I can learn more about my craft. I go to writers conferences to sharpen my skills as well as participate in critique groups to stay connected with like-minded people.

But I always come back to what I know.

I challenge you to do the same. Attend this fall’s writers conference. Connect with fellow writers on Facebook and share your ideas. And write what you know. You’ll be a blessing to others when you do.

Robin Luftig and her husband Lew live in Central Pennsylvania. While her writing career began in 2003 she proposed her first novel, Ladies of the Fire at BRMCWC in 2016 and received encouragement as it was met with enthusiasm. Now she just needs to finish it. She has shared her story of God’s grace and mercy at conferences, churches, and retreats in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. You can find her blog and website at http://robinluftig.com, Twitter @robinluftig, and Facebook page at Robin Luftig


An Unpublished Novel Writer’s Journey

by Cassandra Wessel

wessel-HR-8After answering a call to write a blog post, I wondered what I, an unpublished novel writer could share. A friend responded, “No one else had your experience. Theirs may be similar, but it’s not yours.”

Gulp. Here goes.

My writing journey began before retirement and included many published devotionals, followed by a few articles in our denominational magazine. After retirement, more devotionals were shared, and I joined a couple of online writers’ groups. An editor from one online group called for submissions and published a few pieces. Three anthologies later, I submitted another devotional to a different acquisitions editor. At this point, four books held my contributions.

Encouraged, I wondered, could I write a novel? I thought, “How hard can it be?” I’d written several term papers, some of them 35 pages long. I’d written, preached, and filed away some seven hundred sermons. I could do this, but I needed to learn more.

I devoured writing books and went to local writer’s conferences. I submitted several pieces to contests and won a couple ribbons. Next, I attended the ACFW Conferences held in Indiana and St. Louis. Both encouraged me. An agent asked for a full manuscript, and then . . . life and death happened. As the kids say, “bummer.”

What’s the take away?

  • Persist. Work at our craft and learn as much as we can. Keep on keeping on.
  • Get a second pair of eyes. Find a critique partner who can give us an objective opinion. Note the operative word, objective. We don’t want a pat on the back when our work stinks.
  • Network online, and join writers’ groups.

These days, my devotionals continue to be published, and my critique partner slashes what my eyeballs overlook…and that’s my take on being an unpublished novel writer, and published devotional author.

Cass Wessel is a member of ACFW and ACFW Pennsylvania State Chapter who spends her time reading, writing and critiquing stories to win the heart. A multi-published devotional author, she lives in Tionesta, PA. She’s a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Lots of Exciting News Coming Soon

from Flickr

from Flickr

It’s an exciting time for our ACFW Pennsylvania State Chapter.

We passed our first anniversary in March as a chapter, with our first online meeting in April of 2015. We continue to meet monthly, but we will take a short break this summer.

Watch for a new blog post late Tuesday evening or Wednesday that announces the winners to our Keystone Great Beginnings Contest. I’ll give one hint: I’m pleased that a chapter member won 1st prize.

Also – mark down Saturday, November 5th, 2016 on your calendars and join us in Harrisburg for our 2nd Annual Keystone Christian Fiction Writers’ Conference. We are fiction only, and fiction first. We are the only Christian writers’ conference that is all fiction. We’re nailing down the details as this is being written. We think you’ll like what we’re planning.

If you have any questions regarding chapter membership, please let one of the board members know.

We’ll be unveiling more information soon!

Registration is Open!


Registration is now open for the Keystone Christian Fiction Writers Conference to be held Saturday, November 7th, from 9-5 at The Penn Stater in State College. #acfwpa #kcfwc Click to Tweet

Early Bird prices are in effect from now until October 1st. On October 2nd, the price goes up. If you’re a chapter member, your current price is $70 for the day. This includes: all the sessions and lunch. The Penn Stater is a state-of-the-art conference facility and we will have a terrific day.

All writers interested in writing fiction are welcome, whether you’re a member of ACFW or not.

Scholarships are available, both full and partial. As you register for the conference, there is a question about a scholarship. If you answer yes, we’ll contact you and discuss your needs.

All the pertinent information is on this website under the Conference tab, but if you have any questions we have not addressed, please let me know at dlhswriter@windstream.net.

See ya in November!

July 2015 ACFW Pennsylvania State Chapter News

Fourth of JulyI hope you had a wonderful holiday weekend for July 4th. We have some fun and educational events to discuss this month.

Next Online Meeting

This month’s regular online meeting through AnyMeeting will be held Thursday, July 23 at 7:00 p.m. Dwight Kopp will be speaking on “Building Muscle in Fiction: Tips, Tricks, and Traps” Included in this workshop will be a writing exercise, so come prepared to listen, learn, and participate!  Click to Tweet

Upcoming Meetings—Mark Your Calendars

August—Sandra Byrd, “Setting the Rhythm: Pacing Your Novel,” Thursday, August 27th at 7:00 p.m.

September—DiAnn Mills, “Dialogue”, Thursday, September 24th at 7:00 p.m.

October—Mary Connealy, “Five Things You Need to Start Your Story”, Thursday, October 22nd at 7:00 p.m.

November—our 1st Annual Keystone Christian Fiction Writers Conference. More information will be forthcoming as it is available. Saturday, November 7th, from 9-5 at The Penn Stater in State College, PA.

Decemberspecial date! Thursday, December 17th at 7:00 p.m. online. Come prepared to share a page or two from your WIP or a short story about Christmas. More details coming later.

#amwriting #acfwpa Click to Tweet