Christian Fiction Writer


Quotes About Writers and Writing

John Updike on a Tom Wolfe character:
The character's "pronunciations are steadfastly spelled out--'sump'm' for 'something,' 'far fat' for 'fire fight'--in a way that a Faulkner character would be spared. For Faulkner, Southern life was life (italics mine); for Wolfe it is a provincial curiosity..." Excerpt from Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft, Burroway and Stuckey-French.

"Desire and an occasional first draft do not a writer make, any more than a guitar and a couple of rote riffs make a musician." J. Mark Bertrand,

"Perhaps you are one of those students who say, 'I couldn't write a good story. I'm afraid; I'm no good at making up plots.' If you make such a remark, you are probably thinking of plot as a complex structure to be evolved from thin air, completed, and then given to a group of characters. Such a plot would hinder or even defeat your effort to express your experience." From The Process of Creative Writing, Pearl Hogrefe, Prof. Eng., Iowa State University, 1963.

Get a copy of this book. It is out of print, but you can get older copies on the web. I picked mine up in a used book store. It's full of detailed explanation of the writing process, exercises and examples.
F. Scott Fitzgerald never had a blockbuster novel--not even This Side of Paradise, which sold 52,000 copies in his lifetime and earned about $15,000 in royalties. Gatsby and Tender Is the Night were financial failures. In 1929 eight Post (short) stories brought Fitzgerald $30,000, while all of his books earned total royalties of $31.77 (including $5.10 for Gatsby). Matthew J. Bruccoli, Editor of The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald, A New Collection, 1989 Charles Scribner's Sons.

Fitzgerald wrote to his daughter, Scottie Fitzgerald Smith in 1939, "Sometimes I wish I had gone along with that gang (of musical comedy writers) but I guess I am too much a moralist at heart and really want to preach at people in some acceptable form rather than to entertain them." Ibid.

Fitzgerald in his Notebooks: I have asked a lot of my emotions--one hundred and twenty stories. The price was high, right up with Kipling, because there was one little drop of something--not blood, not a tear, not my seed, but me more intimately than these, in every story--it was the extra I had. Now it has gone and I am just like you now." During this period of discouragement he explained to his agent, Harold Ober, that "all my stories are conceived like novels, require a special emotion, a special experience--so that my readers, if such there be, know that each time it'll be something new, not in form, but in substance (it'd be better for me if I could write pattern stories but the pencil just goes dead on me. . .) Ibid.

I can only say that there are, perhaps, other ways than my own in which this story could be read, but none other by which it could have been written. Flannery O'Connor
I have found that violence is strangely capable of returning my characters to reality and preparing them to accept their moment of grace. This idea, that reality is something to which we must be returned at considerable cost, is one which is seldom understood by the casual reader, but it is one which is implicit in the Christian world view. I have found, in short, from reading my own writing, that my subject in fiction is the action of grace in territory held largely by the devil.
Quote of Flanner O'Connor, read essay by Patrick Galloway, The Dark Side of the Cross: Flannery O'Connor's Short Fiction

Have you ever considered what it really means to just write? It means, Beg, borrow and steal from all your other involvements—family, friends, full-time job, volunteering at the orphanage—and invest in this frivolous, unfounded, pie-in-the-sky, pipe dream of yours. Writing may not be the most selfish, egomaniacal thing you can do with your time—but it probably is.--Mike Silva at My Writers Group,

J. Brisbane in Duality of Light and Darkness: We can't win someone to Christ through a book. Only a personal relationship with a real human can lead a person through the confusing slurry of emotions to faith in Christ. I think we should therefore de-emphasize campy tent-revival proselytization in favor of Flannery O'Connor-style hard-hitting spiritual questions. I think there is an audience (hopefully large enough to support several authors, since I don't intend on making a career out of writing for nothing :-) that is longing, aching, and dying of thirst for work that is lit up with life and doesn't shy away from the tough and painful consequences of living in a fallen universe that is slowly dying from the cancerous tumor that is Sin. I pray that I can use the talents God has currently entrusted in me and multiply them many times over so that when I am asked to return them, I can give Him back more than I was given.

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. Ben Franklin, 1706.

We want competence, but competence itself is deadly. What you want is vision to go with it, and you do not get this from a writing class. Flannery O'Connor.

You sit at an empty computer screen hoping for inspiration. A dozen nagging, self-mocking thoughts echo in your head: You're untalented, afraid you're getting old and fat. No woman (or man) will ever want to sleep with you again. Your life is over. Frankly, this difficult emotional terrain is where a writer lives much of the time--in a matrix of triumph and defeats. . .Optimisim and despair, impassioned beliefs and crushing deflations. In the end, it's all just grist for the creative mill. What's a writer to do with that level of anxiety? Use it. Because when all that's left is writing, writing's all that's left. When All That's Left is Writing: Turning Anxiety Into Creativity, by Dennis Palumbo, Former Hollywood Screenwriter and author of Writing From the Inside Out. More at
One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons by George Booth depicts a tormented, obviously 'blocked' writer sitting at his typewriter, crumpled paper strewn about, surrounded by literally dozens of dogs -- napping, barking, hanging from the window sills, etc. The writer's wife stands in the doorway, glaring at him in weary disdain.''Write about dogs,' she says.
By Dennis Palumbo, The Three Cosmic Rules of Writing. More at
A reader complained to Jerry Jenkins that he had killed one of the characters in the Left Behind series. Jerry replied, "I didn't kill him. I walked into the room and found him dead, just like you did." Jeff Adams, Fellowship of Christian Writers.

The shape of the hills, the bend in the rivers, the shape of the coast, the way in which the villages and towns are settled are what fascinate me. Gregor Dallas in his preface to 1918, War and Peace.

When asked why A Bride Most Begrudging was published under Bethany House's Edgy Inspirational category, DeeAnne Gist responded: "The difference between my book and more traditional inspirational fiction is that I reveal to the readers what my characters were thinking -- pure or not. The question is. . . does that make it edgy or simply more realistic? Who's to say?" Read more of Interview with DeeAnne Gist in the Archives list.

Anyone who calls a writer "humble" doesn't understand the very nature of writing itself. There is an intrinsic arrogance to putting words to paper (or to web page, thank you) and then trying to have them read. . . posted by David (fiction acquistions editor with Bethany House.)
Read more at faith*in*fiction blog.


Squat, A Novel by Taylor Field

Squat is a compassionate but realistic view of life lived by society's throw-aways, the homeless. This powerfully written story begins in a doctor's waiting room. In the opening chapter, an 11-year-old boy (already struggling with mental disorders--OCD comes to mind) is trying hard to look as though he can actually read the picture book story of Abraham and Issac, which he holds close to his face. The boy touches the corners of the page counting, "one, two, three" and again--three times in all--touching the page with smudgy fingertips while wishing that he, too, had a guardian angel for protection, and wishing that he could be the guardian angel who saves Issac from his father's knife.
The boy sits beside his self-absorbed mother, a woman who is in the throes of making a life decision which will have extreme--and negative--consequences for the rest of the boy's life. Her decision made, she yanks him bodily from the doctor's waiting room, out the door and into a future that he intuitively understands will be a precarious existence at best: Squid does not have a guardian angel to shield him from his future.
Squat takes the reader through a day in the life of Squid, the boy grown to adulthood, living out the consequences of a neglected, unsheltered childhood along side other street people in an abandoned, boarded-up tenement in New York City.
Taylor Field's writing shows up-close the "smells, squaller and ugliness" of the homeless. He describes--almost too realistically--the abuses of alcohol, drugs, self-inflicted abuses--and abuses inflicted on each other--the street's means 0f escape from hopelessness.
Field tells his story faithfully and compassionately because he knows Squid, and he cares about him. He knows why Squid and the others live there and what brought them there, because he has lived and ministered among them for more than twenty years:Taylor Field is the pastor of Graffiti Community Ministries, East Seventh Street Baptist Church, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.
Buy and read Squat. You won't look at a homeless person in the same way, ever again. All proceeds from Squat will go to Grafitti Community Ministries.

Read about Taylor Field's ministry at The Squat website:

You can buy Squat at Field's website or at Amazon by clicking here: Amazon:

Squid is published by BH Publishing at


Book Review Deliver us from Evelyn: a novel by Chris Well

Deliver us from Evelyn: a novel / Chris
LCCN 2005023977. Eugene, Ore. :
Harvest House, 2006.
PAP, 0736914064, list price: $22.99.

In this entertaining suspense novel, Kansas City detectives Tom Griggs and Charlie Pasch of the
KCPD/FBI Organized Crime Joint Task Force, must table their murder investigation of two
competing crime families to find missing KC billionaire, Warren Blake. Blake’s wife, Evelyn
(dubbed “Queen Evel” by her employees), seizes her opportunity to take control of Blake
Complicating matters are Evelyn’s new religion editor, Judge Gideon Judge, a scam artist with
designs on Evelyn; and a mysterious Blogger spilling insider secrets, bent on stirring-up
suspicion about Evelyn’s mismanagement of Blake Media, and her involvement in Warren
Blake’s disappearance. As Detective Pasch explains, “This entire story is about stolen
identity. Like Mozart’s opera, The Marriage of Figaro, or Eddie Murphy’s movie, Trading
Places, it’s filled with jealousy, betrayal, and lots of people in disguise…, everything’s
connected. A good detective always connects the dots.”

Read full review of Chris Well's Deliver Us from Evelyn.

Vicki Talley McCollum
In the J U N E, 2 0 0 6 issue of


Read more book reviews by Christian reviewers online at
The Christian Library Journal


Writers Quotes

"Description is not, as we've already pointed out, 'all that flowery stuff.' It isn't mere embellishment, something we stitch on top of our writing to make it more presentable. It isn't optional. The success of all fiction, and most poetry and nonfiction, depends in part on description's image-making power." Word Painting, A Guide to Writing More Descriptively, by Rebecca McClanahan.


Interview with Alyice Edrich

Alyice Edrich is the author of several work-from-home e-books, including Tid-Bits For Making Money With E-books where parents earn hundreds of dollars selling information they already possess.
Thank you Alyice, for taking the time to answer my questions about writing and publishing e-books.

--Once you've decided to write an e-book, how do you choose the right topic?

The first step is to think about why you are writing the e-book. Are you writing it to fulfill a dream of becoming a published author or are you writing it to fill a need? Will your e-book be one of many e-books or will you use the e-book to help build credibility in your current or future field of business?

The second step in choosing the topic of a book, whether in print or electronic form, is to determine if it's needed? Has the topic already been covered and if so, how many books are/were written on that topic? What is missing from those books? Could you provide a new angle on that topic? If so, how and why should readers buy your book over the others out there?

The third step is to make sure this is a topic you can promote for the rest of the year. E-books do not sell themselves. You will need to write articles, distribute press releases, get interviewed, talk on radio and televised talk shows, speak at speaking engagements, and do whatever is necessary to get the word out about your e-book. Otherwise, you won't make a dime. Can you provide enough material, without giving away the store, so to speak, to help promote and sell your e-book?

--What about editing and proof-reading your e-book?
I think paying someone to edit your e-book is vital to its success. Your editor will see things that your eyes missed. There were times, in my newer books, where I read one thing but had something else written down. In fact, that just happened in an online writer's group I am in. I meant to write, "t-shirt" and what I wrote was "t-sh*t." And even though I had a couple of emails over the confusion of what I could possibly be reviewing that had to do with bowel movement, I still didn't catch it until a colleague said, "Did you really mean "sh*t?"

I have an e-book that I wrote back in 1999 that was never professionally edited. I recently sent it to a colleague to edit. Her response,"While the writing is not bad and you do get your point across. I have to tell you that this is not your best work. You have grown so much as a writer over the years that I really think you need to rewrite this before I edit it." Can you say, "OUCH!?" And at the same time, it was a compliment to how far I've come as a writer.

I also strongly suggest that you do not have a friend or family member critique your book if he/she is not a writer. I tried that in the beginning and while they could tell me when something sounded confusing, they couldn’t point out my grammatical or punctuation errors.

--Are there websites specifically geared to learning to write an e-book?

Not that I am aware of. But I did write a pretty good book geared towards helping writers go from idea to book. In my e-book on writing e-books, I discuss how
I got started writing e-books, the importance of preparing a business plan around your e-book, finding time to right your e-book, developing your e-book, marketing your e-book, selling your e-book, distributing your e-book, and I also included several forms and worksheets. And it's only $19.99 or $39.99 if you want one-on-one coaching sessions.

You can visit Alyice Edrich at The Dabbling to order a copy of her e-book, today!

Catch up with Alyice by making another stop on her blog tour

The Dabbling Mum Staff

Hire our editor...

May we both meet God in our week and accomplish our goals.


Pink by Marilynn Griffith

Marilynn Griffith's newest book, Pink, is not only entertaining, but you'll learn something about yourself within its pages. Read Marilynn's books, but also spend time at her website Marilynn is is someone you'd like to have as a friend. She invites you to sample receipes for chocolate baths, challenges you to join her in Bible study, and lists many wonderful Christian mission sites to read and pray about.

As my Gram loves to say, everyday glamour never goes out of style. So have a little fun and grab a great skirt. Maybe even a pink one...
--Raya Joseph, Garments of Praise Fashion Design,
PINK, Shades of Style #1, excerpted from Pink, Marilynn Griffith's newest book.

Dana Rose is single, saved and trying to survive, despite all the crystal candleholders on her VISA bill. Are newlyweds everywhere playing Clue? After ten stints as bridesmaid, Dana thinks she's seen it all. Will wedding number eleven show her what she's made of? Excerpted from Marilynn Griffith's new book, Maid of Honor.