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Writing – San Fran http://socialinsanfrancisco.com Join the Fun! Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:57:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.4 WRITE INSPIRED HISTORICAL NOVELS? HERE’S AN ACT-FAST OPPORTUNITY http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/write-inspired-historical-novels-heres-an-act-fast-opportunity/ Mon, 29 Feb 2016 11:31:36 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/write-inspired-historical-novels-heres-an-act-fast-opportunity/


An Act Fast Opportunity for Inspirational Historical Writers


Vicki Hinze and Elizabeth Mazer


As writers, one of the most difficult challenges is pairing up with the right editor for our work. Once we find the right editor, then we have to figure out a way to actually get that editor to read our work. And when they agree to, it often takes months to get a response. That can be a challenging process.

But right now, for writers of historical romance suitable for Love Inspired Historical, there is an opportunity for authors to crunch the time table substantially.  I don’t typically recommend specific contests, but this one is an exception.  It’s a potential fast-track–but authors will have to move it to make the March 2nd deadline.

If you’ve been trying to break into the market, this publisher routinely purchases new authors. I’ve worked with this publisher for years and with Love Inspired on the contemporary side. I recommend this contest and consider it a great opportunity.  Here are the details from guest, Love Inspired Historical’s Elizabeth Mazar:

If you’ve got an inspirational historical romance—or even just a great idea for one—then this might be your chance to get signed as an author for Love Inspired Historical! We’ve launched our latest pitch contest, which we’re calling Manuscript Matchmakers—an opportunity to find the perfect editor match for your story. Details on how to enter are available at http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/9096-Manuscript-Matchmakers and here are some reasons why this contest might be perfect for you:

  1. Opportunity: We’re always eager to find new voices, and our pitch contests in the past hold an impressive record for the number of new authors we’ve acquired. (Check out our success stories here: http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/9100-Success-Stories.) Read through what our authors have to say, and you’ll see the same message repeated again and again: when we say we’re looking to buy new authors, we really mean it! We want to work with you to get your book ready for a place in our line-up.

  2. Information: If you visit our forum at http://community.harlequin.com/forumdisplay.php/110-Manuscript-Matchmakers, you’ll see that we’ve set up several different forum “threads” with lots of useful info—obviously we’ve got details about the contest itself, but we’ve also included insight into what we like to see in Love Inspired Historical, and how to polish your writing overall. We’re monitoring the threads carefully, and we’re happy to answer questions. If nothing else, this is a terrific chance to learn more about our program, and get some editorial tips.

  3. Community: One of the fun parts of every pitch contest is seeing the way everyone comes together. The different entrants get to know each other, current authors with the Love Inspired franchise drop by to give encouragement and advice, and the editors are always happy to chime in. If you find yourself needing a critique partner to bounce ideas off, an expert to give you some perspective, or just a cheerleader to boost your spirits as you work toward a deadline, you’ll find whatever you need on the forum.

  4. Deadlines: This doesn’t sound like a benefit, does it? Nobody likes deadlines. But the truth is, there’s nothing like a deadline to push you to really sit down and write, with no excuses. Lots of authors we’ve acquired from past contests have said that they’d tried writing before, but could never get a manuscript finished—until the deadlines from our contests gave them that extra push to power through to THE END.

That first deadline is coming up. If you’re interested in participating, we need your entry by no later than March 2. So check out the information today, see if this contest is right for you, and then join in the fun!




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© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Vicki Hinze, The Marked Star PreviewVicki Hinze is the award-winning bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest releases are: The Marked Star and In Case of Emergency: What You Need to Know When I Can’t Tell You (nonfiction). She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s website: www.vickihinze.com. Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact. KNOW IT FIRST! Subscribe to Vicki’s Monthly Newsletter!








Breaking Out of the Sameness Writing Rut http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/breaking-out-of-the-sameness-writing-rut/ Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:55:00 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/breaking-out-of-the-sameness-writing-rut/

WRITERSRUT, Vicki Hinze, Breaking Out





Vicki Hinze



You’ve written a lot of books. Now you’re sensing yourself or hearing from your editor that all of your lead characters sound, think, and act as if they are the same person. You’re on a tight deadline for your next book, and you have no idea what to do to fix this problem quickly. You need insight, and you need it now.


The quick-fix is:  Acknowledge. Accept. Act.


Acknowledge.  Writers get into a rut. While they are creative people—some would say eccentric and flighty; I say, they have one foot planted firmly on the ground and one foot firmly in the clouds—writers who write for a long time do tend to cycle.


At first, their characters tend to sound like the writer. Then the writer learns to differentiate story people, to let and even encourage them to be the unique (and universal) people they are. The writer learns to disappear from the page, meaning to filter out his or her own voice and to project the character’s.


After a time writing, the story people gravitate to specific types that appeal most, repulse most, or best fit the story types (think author theme) the specific writer writes. There are specific types of people who are best-suited to tell specific types of stories, and that must be respected by the writer. The author who recognizes this also recognizes the need to guard against sameness and author intrusion into the story. That is accomplished by acceptance of the need to differentiate and respecting the individual created. That is acceptance.


Accept. Writers tend to cycle and get in this “sameness” rut because they think and process what they take in and they conclude what they want to put out in the same way, book after book.


In other words, the writer looks at things and story people through their own prism. They note what they deem is important and significant, confront complications that they weigh as minor or major (while someone else might assign those same obstacles different weights), and they seek solutions using the same criteria and methods s/he would use in real life. So the risk for this “sameness” in characters is easy to understand, and that awareness and acceptance should factor into the actions the writer takes to respect the individual natures of the story people. Then, of course, the writer must act on the awareness and acceptance.


Act. Normally, my first recommendation is to hone observation skills. People share a lot of commonalities but they also have a vast array of unique traits. Their specific combination of unique character traits is what makes every single person different and unique. That’s respecting the individual, and this is a vital component of character creation.


When a writer fails to respect the individual, s/he insults the individual and the character actually portrayed. That’s a lose/lose situation—for the character, for the writer, and for the story.  That makes identifying individual traits critical for all. So how do we do it?


The best way to identify these unique character traits—and we must before we can assign them to a specific character—is to observe people and note their traits.  In observing, we discover a ton of nuances: the little things that make a person unique and different. Then, mix up selected traits and nuances that best serve the story to create the best unique individuals for that story.


Now what follows is no substitute for observation but, being on a tight deadline, the writer needs to cover a lot of ground quickly. Many authors use a service like an Indra Report (www.artcharts.com) to create distinct characters quickly. Give the character a name and birthdate—and it’s helpful to note the report is on a fictional character for a book.


You’ll get an in depth report that is a character. It is, at its core, a comprehensive birth chart (basic motivators, motivations, inclinations and character dispositions) that gives the writer a composite view of a story person. It also discloses talents and complicating drives and urges. So positives and negatives, what makes this character tick and things click for that character, and what ticks the character off. Struggles and challenges, strengths and weaknesses are disclosed. So leave room for plot twists, because the composite will drive the plot into unexpected directions that, while perhaps not natural to the writer, are natural to the character.


I tested such a report years ago and it did include what they said it would; namely, a three-dimensional character.  Incorporating a character crafted from one of these reports is the fastest way discovered in three decades to resolve the character creation “sameness” challenge.


The writer must still guard against his or her own filters altering the character’s dialogue and reactions, and must work deliberately to view the story not from inside his/her head but from inside the character’s head and through his or her eyes and perspective.


Even if a writer uses such a report, he or she should not consider the report an easy out for solving the sameness challenge. The author should work diligently to hone his or her observation skills and those skills used in relating those observations.


Specifically, work not to view the story through your eyes but to experience the story through the character’s eyes.


Remember, your story is your life. This story is the character’s life.


Respect that and sameness will be but a memory. The characters will take over and break the author out of the sameness writing rut.





Vicki Hinze, The Marked Star, Shadow Watchers Series  



© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Bride, Shadow Watchers, Book 1. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact.www.vickihinze.com. Subscribe to Vicki’s Newsletter.







Dream. Seek. Soar… http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/dream-seek-soar/ Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:49:00 +0000 http://socialinsanfrancisco.com/dream-seek-soar/

Dream, seek, soar, vicki hinze

Dream. Seek. Soar…I Dare You


Vicki Hinze



Now and then, we all awaken in “a mood.”  It might be due to outside facts, like what we’ve been exposed to or had pounded into our heads from TV programs or movies or books.  From conversations we’ve had or even just overheard.  Some trigger is pulled in our vicinity and we become aware; and aware, we think. We remember, we relive, we speculate.  And this review impacts our mood and our attitude.

How much of an impact this review has on us depends on the path of our thoughts.  If we went down a dark road, the impact is going to be oppressive and dark. But if we went down a lighted path, or forcibly forced ourselves off the dark road and onto “what’s right” for us instead of dwelling on “what’s wrong” for us, then that impact is going to have a much more positive effect–and a more constructive one.

This morning, I awakened buoyant.  I opened my eyes celebrating.  Not anything in particular, just being alive. I feel enormously grateful for the big and little things–for everything.  I’m alive and well, my family is well, and I’m working (and the characters aren’t driving me nuts in the current writing project, so I’m not losing it, trying to figure out what they’re up to, which is always a plus).  Life is good.

By the time I made it to the kitchen for that first cup of coffee, I had a bounce in my step, and by the time I’d consumed that first cup of coffee, I was thinking…

Isn’t it odd.  When you’re chasing a dream, so often you chase it alone. Whether that dream is about a lifelong goal, or a task on your daily to-do list.  It’s yours, and everyone else is so busy with their own pursuits, they don’t really notice yours.  They’re not being fair-weather friends. They’re just focused on their own stuff.

I thought back to the early days in writing. Day after day, struggling to learn and figure things out. To get a grip on how the book business worked, how to relate to an agent, other writers, editors and other industry professionals, and how they were are all in pursuit, too. And while most don’t work in the isolation that a writer does, they do spend a lot of time walking their paths alone.

Then you attain. Something fantastic happens and suddenly a lot of people are eager to share in your success.  They’re not all just latching on, hoping to feed off it. Okay, some are. But the majority of people are not. They’ve just become aware and are celebrating with you.  Your success in attaining captured their attention.  But that isn’t what holds it. That you did attain proves one can attain, and that feeds the hunger in them for attaining what they are pursuing. That’s what holds their attention and puts you in demand.  You see, it’s only a little bit about you.  It’s a whole lot about them–and your path to achievement becoming their roadmap to achievement.  They want it, too.

After the second cup of coffee, I wasn’t as buoyant… I was more buoyant. Isn’t it wonderful that we can be happy for others and at the same time carry the hope to learn from them?  To gain an insight that will help us do what they’ve done?  I love that. I love that we are all both student and teacher. That everything is layered. Good for you, good for me, good for others.

I’m now well into my third cup of coffee and I feel content. That’s a shocker because there are a couple of real challenges on my to-do list to be tackled today. But it shouldn’t be.  There was a lesson in all that been on my mind this morning.  An important one.

Alone or with others, when you attain a goal, you soar.  Without or without anyone else. It seems fitting, doesn’t it?  Because you go through all these struggles and efforts, all the sacrifices and errors in your pursuit, largely alone. Alone, when you’d give your eye teeth for an encouraging word from anyone but must live without it. There’s a sweet circle in struggling and celebrating alone, too.

And I realize the significant lesson is in being content whether you’re alone or in a crowd. Whether you are in pursuit or celebrating attaining something you’ve pursued. It’s the contentment in the struggle I find most fascinating, but I do know this is a key to awakening grateful for nothing in particular and for everything, including your life.

I just wanted to share that with you. Course, you got my usual long-winded version. The uptake short version:  If you want it, go for it.  Alone or with someone else, just go for it–and be content the whole way. (That is a choice and you get to make it.)

Or I could just say this…

Dream. Seek. Soar.





Vicki Hinze, ICE Workbook, In Case of Emergency Workbook



© 2016, Vicki Hinze. Hinze is the award-winning, USA Today bestselling author of nearly thirty novels in a variety of genres including, suspense, mystery, thriller, and romantic or faith-affirming thrillers. Her latest release is The Marked Bride, Shadow Watchers, Book 1. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in Philosophy, Theocentric Business and Ethics. Hinze’s online community: Facebook. Books. Twitter. Contact.www.vickihinze.com. Subscribe to Vicki’s Newsletter.