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An Unpublished Novel Writer’s Journey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wessel-HR-8After answering a call to write a blog post, I wondered what I, an unpublished novel writer could share.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.