Thursday, 29 December 2016

Fifteen Great Picks from 2016

Each week on Mondays and Thursdays, someone from our faithful CWD blog team uploads a blogpost - sometimes it's inspirational, sometimes a story of writerly struggles or triumphs; sometimes it's funny, other times it's serious or both; sometimes the post reminds us why we write and for who, other times it gives practical tips - on writing, marketing or getting published. Always, it's the result of thought, research, experience, passion, creativity.

The CWD Admin team would like to give our blogteam a huge thank you for your contributions throughout 2016 (and over the years).

As we near the end of 2016, we thought we'd honour our bloggers' contributions with a pick of 15 blogposts that have inspired us this year. Out of over 100 posts, it wasn't easy to choose and there are many other posts equally deserving of notice. We have a wealth of information and inspiration on the blogsite - accessible on multiple subjects and themes.

We hope you enjoy this selection from a rich smorgasbord of offerings.

1. A Life of Their Own by Sue Jeffrey

"It was quiet. The author had gone to bed but Chloe couldn’t sleep – not now that she’d found out what could happen to her. She stared at the screen that was the barrier between herself and her creator. What could she do? She didn’t want to die.
It was a conundrum. She had only just become aware of the screen and that there was someone on the other side determining her destiny. What right had the author to dictate her fate? That she could die in 1952? It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right. But what could she do about it?
Chloe reached out and touched the screen. She thought it might have been electrified but it was cool to the touch. She placed both hands on the shimmering surface and to her astonishment they went through the iridescence. She stumbled forward ..." Read more here.

2. Do you know what you don't know by Jo Wanmer

I didn't know that I didn't know how to write. English was never my favorite subject but I wanted to share my story. Surely it can't be too hard, I thought. So I set goals, timelines sat at the keyboard and started this adventure. I typed for hours, re-read, adjusted and produced ninety thousand words. I was surprised how good they were. Remember...I didn't know what I didn't know!

About that time, looking for a publisher, I walked into an Omega writers meeting and discovered that I was Unconsciously Incompetent about writing. In the chart (See below), I was catapulted from the comfortable position at the bottom left to the agony of the top left corner. Reality checks open us to previously unseen possibilities but is always tough to swallow... Read more here.

3. Ride'em, Rawhide by Helen Curtis

The other day, as I walked into my lounge room to relax with some Netflix and a nice hot cuppa, my eye caught something on the heart jumped, and an expectant cold shiver ran down my spine.

A spider.

A big spider.

A HUGE spider!

Okay, it was a medium sized huntsman. But it was there. And its presence affected my ability to unwind.

I stood there for a few minutes and debated my options; kill it, trap it and release it, or live with it. 
.... Read more here.

4. Indie Book Pricing by Narelle Atkins

The pricing of eBooks is a popular conversation topic among indie authors. A big advantage of independent publishing is the author has control of the price of their print and ebooks. Indie authors set the price for their eBooks, and can adjust the price at any time ... Read more here.

5. An Immersion Excursion by Nola Passmore

A few weeks ago, I was immersed.  Totally submerged.  Out of my depth.  Drowning in a sea of visceral responses.  Diving for a fresh metaphor.  And loving it!

The occasion was a writing immersion course run by the inimitable Margie Lawson (pronounced Marj-ie, as in Marge Simpson only without the blue hair).  Over three full days and two half days, we lapped up fabulous instruction, applied lessons to our manuscripts, discussed examples, and worked one-on-one with Margie to make our words dance off the page.  ... Read more here.

6. Searching for Treasure by Pamela Heemskerk

I dig around – it must be in here somewhere. I’m sure it’s here…

I keep searching – going deeper – getting to the bottom and finding fluff and broken bits and things that haven’t seen the light of day for a while.

I strain my eyes – sometimes when looking for something, my eyes pass right over it. I’m sure you’ve done the same. So I look at each item and name it, just so I can’t miss what I’m looking for.

There’s a lot of stuff in here: treasures, junk, forgotten things, insights, incomplete thoughts, words from other people, words that belong to other people, half-started piece of writing…

Surely amidst all the experiences of my life, I can find something to write about. ... Read more here.

7.  Silver linings | Use your tragedy to encourage others by Cecily Paterson

I was eleven. I was away from home for the first time ever, and I was crying into my pillow.

But this wasn’t a case of ‘I miss my mum and three days of camp is soooo loooong’. This was boarding school, stuck out in the pine forests of the Himalayan mountains. I’d been away from home for ten weeks, and I was going to be away for another ten. There were no breaks.

There was also no phone, no internet, no messaging and no Skype (nup, it hadn't been invented yet). So my pillow got wet. Almost every night.

It would have been easier to cope if I’d been at boarding with my best friend. ... Read more here.

8.  The Review Revue by Nola Passmore

A revue is a form of theatre that consists of songs, dances, and funny sketches.  Oh wait!  Wrong kind of revue.  I was thinking of book reviews.  But in deference to its theatrical homophone, here are some short sketches that outline what you need to know in order to write book reviews. ... Read more here.

9. My Love Of Serials (not Cereals) by Buffy Greentree

Today I’m spreading my love for writing serials, and not just because I’m currently publishing one. That just happens to be an added bonus.

Serials, unlike series, are the TV of fiction. Each episode is a nice, neat story that takes the reader through the usual ups and downs, and leaves them with some feeling of completeness. However, each episode is part of a larger overarching plotline - the season if you will.

Being an avid TV and movie watcher myself, I understand the subtle difference between those times when you want to curl up and spend an evening meeting new people and finding out all about them, and those when you just want to have a quick chat with friends, catch up on what's happening in their lives, and still get to bed early. This is when you want a serial. ... Read more here.

10. It’s all a bit harder than I thought by Jenny Glazebrook

It’s all a bit harder than I thought.”

I groan when I hear myself say these words.
And not because I have a feeling my editor would point out they're not grammatically correct and I'm using superfluous words.
It's because I find myself using them so often.
It’s a habit of mine to be optimistic and dive into something with great plans, dreaming how wonderful it's going to be.

Then, suddenly I realise there is more work involved than I anticipated.

I keep trying until it becomes clear I just can't do it. ... Read more here.

11. Shoes, Bare Feet and a Christian Book Fair by Jeanette O'Hagan

 You have probably heard the story about the two shoe salesmen sent to Africa in the early 1900's to scout the territory.
      One telegraphed back: "Situation hopeless. Stop. No one wears shoes."
      The other telegraphed: "Glorious business opportunity. Stop. They have no shoes."
Now, I’ve seen a couple of interpretations of this probably apocryphal story – most laud the second salesman for seeing opportunity. Some point out that modern marketing often exploits people by creating a yearning for false and even unhealthy 'needs' (the beauty industry, for instance), while one suggested that salesman A went back to Europe to a lucrative career while salesman B struggled to sell shoes to people who didn’t want them.

Whichever way we look at the story, sometimes I feel that being an Australian or New Zealand Christian author is a little be like trying to sell shoes to barefooted people. We often struggle to interest people in our books. ... Read more here.

12. Exploring the Tangible Terrible & the Magical, Mystical Mystery By Charis Joy Jackson

"If we discover a desire within us that nothing in this world can satisfy, also we should begin to wonder if perhaps we were created for another world."
-C.S. Lewis
The first time I found this quote, by one of my favorite authors, I longed for some portal that would transport me to this other world I knew I was really created for.

Could I be like Lucy Pevensie and step into some magical wardrobe where all the Daughters of Eve were revealed in their true form to be Princesses and Queens? Where could I find the ship that would carry me to the shores of Middle Earth or Faerie?

My desire for this other world was so strong I decided to start breaking it down. What was it about those places that seemed more real than this place called Earth?  ... Read more here.

13. Pardon Me, But My Activism Is Showing by Elaine Fraser 

 For the past two years I’ve been working on a novel. A novel that scares the life out of me. It scares me because it raises issues around sexuality and faith. I shared some of the journey in a recent blog entitled Scary Writing.

I attended a Q Commons event a few days ago and one of the speakers told us that:  
Over 46% of our neighbors believe religion and people of faith are part of the problem in our communities, not the solution. As a growing list of contentious issues present themselves on the cultural front—such as racism, gender, euthanasia, sexuality, religious freedom and more—the Church finds itself on the margins of the mainstream conversation perplexed about how to engage. David Kinnaman

It got me thinking about who I write for and how I tell my stories. Am I writing for the converted? The people who cling to traditional religious structures? Or am I writing for those who are outside faith, or of another faith?

I am firmly placed in writing for those on the fringes of faith ... Read more here.

14. I Will Trust in You by Adam Collings

My wife’s alarm yanked me into wakefulness. Another hour and mine would be going off as well.
"Adam," she groaned. "I'm in pain and I haven't slept all night." My heart plunged. "I'm going to have to call in sick."
I put my arm around her. The stupid injury kept coming back to taunt her. I re-assured her that she was doing the right thing. She wasn't in a state where she could give her patients the care they needed. A bitter seed began to germinate inside me.  ... Read more here.

15.  Writing to Discover Truth … and Yourself by Ian Acheson

... During the course of the last couple of years of struggling with the story I was also grappling within myself. Sorting through my own mess, my light and dark.

Having completed the first draft early in the year I was able to reflect a little on the process. What become apparent was I needed to go through my own season of discovery about myself to be able to write the story.

I recently read an article Francine Rivers wrote in a recent Christianity Today where she talked through how most of her novels came out of her “questions of faith.” ... Read more here.

Images © Jeanette O'Hagan 


  1. Great writing all you bloggers! Many thanks for inspiring us on our journey and for helping us become better writers through your input. A special thanks to Jenny for putting it all together so beautifully too. Looking forward to reading more in 2017. Every warm wish for the New Year and happy writing!

  2. Thanks Anusha. It was fun to look through all the wonderful blogs of 2016. I second your vote of thanks to our bloggers 'inspiring us on our journey and for helping us become better writers'. Looking forward to 2017 :)

  3. Thanks for those picks Jenny. It's great to recap on the wonderful input we've had through the year. I know there were a few times when I got extra busy and couldn't keep up with all the blogs, so it's a great reminder to go back and have another look.

  4. A great and varied selection. Now, sitting here and re-reading them all could take some time well spent :)