Thursday, March 31, 2016

7Ks and Beyond



Are you presently grappling with a writing project? Do you feel you’ve hit a patch of resistance and wonder whether the work’s ever going to gain momentum? I’m in the process of readying my third YA manuscript, Activate, for professional edits. You might think by this stage of the YA series, the creative process would have great traction, but I must confess there’ve been many points of wrestling along that manuscript development path.
When contemplating some early revision challenges, I was reminded of a conversation I’d had with a friend who’d been doing a lot of long distance running. (Think half-marathons.) They mentioned how the 7Km mark still hurt, each and every time they hit it. (Personally, I think the 1Km mark is more where things start to bite ... but anyway ...) No matter how many times they ran longer distances, there was still a point where they had to break through fatigue and bodily resistance, before they’d find their rhythm and settle into their run.

I believe we’re called to share words that move hearts, change lives, and bring hope into a world where things don’t always seem hopeful. Resistance is a given. But my friend’s comment got me thinking. Maybe some of that grappling we experience when developing a manuscript beyond the initial raw draft, is a little like finding our writing rhythm.

A decade ago I began studying creative writing at a post-graduate level. This involved writing to set criteria, including submitting a proposal at the outset of a project, along with providing a sample of a VERY raw early draft. I swiftly learned that once I’d settled onto an idea, there just wasn’t time to mess about changing my mind if it seemed things weren’t working. Another valuable lesson was that I couldn’t edit nothing.

Often when we hit resistance in life, we’re tempted to jump out of the process; to change the topic; to run in the opposite direction. Our writing habits can reflect this general response. (Anyone else out there with half a dozen or more ‘first chapters’ hidden in a folder somewhere?)

As you might remember, I’m a great believe in timing, and resistance may also be an indicator that the timing isn’t quite right for a certain project. Yet, there is an element of discipline we must apply to our writing. I’m beginning to suspect that in every writing project, not matter how many writing years are under our belt, we’ll encounter a ‘7Km mark’ (or few!), where it can be tempting to give up and start something different. But just as sticking at a task eventually sees progress, I believe we grow as writers when we persist in the face of manuscript development challenges, especially when working to set criteria or topics.

Granted, there are times we need to put work aside for a season. To move forward, it’s also important to connect with other more experienced writers, seek feedback and invest in our craft. But if you feel you have a story to share and it’s just not coming together, maybe you’ve met your 7Km mark. Don’t give up. Your rhythm might be found just another kilometre away.

Queensland author Adele Jones writes young adult and historical novels, poetry and short inspirational, fiction and non-fiction works. Her first YA novel Integrate was awarded the 2013 CALEB Prize for unpublished manuscript. Her writing explores issues of social justice, humanity, faith, natural beauty and meaning in life’s journey. For more visit www.adelejonesauthor.com or contact@adelejonesauthor.com

Monday, March 28, 2016

Learning By Judging


I have discovered that there is a great deal to be learned by judging. I don't mean the kind of personal judging that the Word of God warns us against, but judging the work of other writers.

Most writers know that it can be incredibly difficult to edit your own work. That's because of the wonderful (??) propensity our minds have to seek the familiar, and to fill in blanks with what we expect to be there. That's why we will often read, “The boy ran fast” even if what we have actually written is, “The boy ran fats.” We expect a boy to run fast, not fat, so our mind “helpfully” corrects it for us, just like that annoying auto-correct function on a smart phone.

The good news is, that ability of our mind can be harnessed to work in our favour. Recently, I ran the first Short Fiction Award through my imprint, Birdcatcher Books. Along with several other people, I spent a couple of months judging the entries. Stories were marked on a number of criteria, including plot, characterisation, settings, grammar, style and reader appeal. I found myself reading in a whole new way, and when I next looked at my own work, that new way carried over.

It's like red cars. In the normal course of life, you probably hardly even notice red cars. But if you buy a red car, suddenly they are everywhere. Again, it is your mind seeking out the familiar. When problems in the various areas of the stories I was judging became familiar, suddenly they stood out like red lights when I found them in my own writing.

Obviously, not everyone has the opportunity to judge a writing competition (if it is ever offered to you, grab it with both hands), but you can bring the same forces to work in your own writing by pretending to be a judge. Choose a piece in the genre in which you normally write, and analyse it using the criteria above. Does the plot develop satisfactorily? Is there movement? Is there crisis? Does the ending work? Are the characters believable? Is the POV consistent? Is the dialogue appropriate to the characters? Do the settings draw you into the story? Are there any grammar or spelling errors, or typos? Does the style draw you in? If you were marking this story on each of the criteria, what would you give it out of 100?

Do this a few times, and when you return to reviewing your own work you will find that your mind's search for familiarity will kick in, and you will become aware of, and therefore able to correct, failures in any of these areas.



Lynn B. Fowler has published 2 Christian books and a collection of poems under her imprint, Birdcatcher Books. She is currently working on her first novel, which will be published in the name of her fiction-writing alter-ego, Grace L. Sutherland

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Popeye, Frodo and Anne Shirley...and Khi? by Jo Wanmer

What do Popeye, Frodo and Anne Shirley have in common?
No this is not a trick question. I need help so today I have more questions than answers.

If I answer the first question, will you answer the next one? Popeye, Frodo and Anne Shirley are all distinctive, memorable characters, crafted by a creative pen. Whether a reader loves or hates them,
it doesn't matter. They have been quoted, talked about, emulated and taken by film-makers to make both investor and fan richer.

Of the three, my favourite is Anne of Green Gables. Nearly every character in those books and films are wonderfully individual. Anne's use of language, her responses,reactions and impulsiveness warm our hearts.

Let me ask you the main question. How do I create similar characters?  How do I write people we either love or hate, or at the very least stir our empathy? Characters we remember? My current problem is a supporting character. She chews over issues with Milly, encourages Milly, looks after Milly's kids. The book needs her. Milly needs her, but who is she? I determined one day to make her memorable so added to her character chart (you know the one - blue eyes, curly hair 157cm tall...) a big blue bra that acted like a handbag. She could pull anything out of it - from a hanky or dummy to a box of matches and bait for the fishing line. It was so memorable that I completed a full edit of 100,000 words without using that idea once. Her underwear never rated a mention.

Maybe blue bras don't make character? So who is she? Her name is Khi. My friends don't like her name. Originally she was Mia and then she became Shyhla. Neither of those worked. I like Khi but one of my readers thought it was a boy's name and was gender confused for ages. (Maybe she does need that big blue bra.) 

She is a mother, a great friend, wife of an highly successfully business man who abused her behind closed doors. (My readers would have to guess that because she is so embarrassed she doesn't want them to know. I hope she never reads this blog.) Her faith is determined as opposed to passionate. I could tell you about her broken childhood, her low self esteem, her fears and her capability.

But she is colourless, unmemorable. In a recent manuscript assessment Iola said, 'Khi needs further development. It's not that there is anything wrong with her character, but it would be good to know her better'. In other words she's not quite there. I agree. 

So I need help. Would a simple name change work? For instance I could call her Bl...y Mary, or BM for short to avoid offending my Christian readership. Would that add instant character? Or maybe I should....

As you see I'm out of ideas...or ideas that inspire me so that her character falls into the memorable category.

What do you like in characters? How do you build them?  Some writers develop characters sheets, others build an Instagram page, or write an interview of the character. What do you do? How do you get to know the people that carry your story?

I wait eagerly for your comments. Khi needs your help. She is the protagonist in  the sequel which is already written and I want her to have something in common with Popeye, Frodo and Anne. (Images from Wikipedia)

Jo Wanmer cheated when she wrote her first book. The fiction, Though the Bud be Bruised, is based on fact.  She knew all characters very well. It is her own story and she endeavoured to be very honest in every portrayal. As a result, all Zara's faults were on the page and few of her finer qualities. A beta reader who didn't know Jo personally was very critical of Zara and her husband, Sam. After Jo recovered from the shock, she realised her writing needed adjusting and did so.
Jo is very thankful for every person in the Christian writer community who has helped her over the years.
She loves feeling the air in her hair when driving with Steve in their new sports car, communicating the love of God with a pen or a microphone, and spoiling her eight grand-kids.


Monday, March 21, 2016

Pardon Me, But My Activism Is Showing




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. Perhaps they used to go to church, or have friends who talk about their faith, or maybe they’re searching. If I want to communicate effectively with those outside the church how do I write for people who think:

  • it’s extreme to want people to convert to their religion,
  • religion isn’t necessary for good to flourish,
  • religion is a problem and needs to be removed.
We need to be relevant, not just to be cool or popular, but to actually be a part of a counter revolution. We need to bring faith out of the margins and into the community.

We assume people want spiritual answers, but often they don’t. They want to belong to something. So, in order to reach out in our writing to the community, we need to centre our ideas around love. We should write what we’re for and not what we’re against.

I’ve spent the last ten years trying to figure out how to write by showing, not telling. In our writing we need to show God’s love, the value of spiritual answers and most of all an intelligent view of life that doesn’t presume that if they just read our book, or the Bible, or come to church that all will be well.

Real answers, real discussions, real engagement of faith in our writing will bring more people to God.
If enough of us write with that passion, that vision and that heart, perhaps our writing will be counter-cultural enough to make a difference.

 We need to write with moral courage, cross religious lines, get to know our audience, get our hands and feet dirty and have something important to say.

Elaine Fraser
www.elainefraser.co





Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fish and Bread and the Writer's Life


I was looking at a flyer that had been shoved inside our letterbox—it was for “Angela’s Pizzas”, which I am told, taste scrumptious. My son looked at me.

“Did you see that?”
“See what?”
“They’re Christians.”
“Why do you say that?”
He smiled. ‘Look!” he said.


I looked. I saw. Their logo was the word 'Jesus', cleverly camouflaged. Wow! How had I missed it? It was thrilling to discover a Christian Pizza Business. Even better that they let their Christian presence be known. I thought it was subtle but bold. Refreshing. What has Jesus to do with pizzas? Can we put food and Jesus together? Why not? He often ate with people, didn't He? It brought to mind a well known story.

I've been studying John’s gospel this year with my church family, as we focus on the word GRACE. When I read the story of the feeding of the 5000, I pondered on the little boy who was willing to give up his lunch to feed the masses. Wasn’t he a generous little lad? But you know, no matter how altruistic, he could never have fed all those present. Five loaves and two fishes might have fed two or three people. There was no way they would feed 5000. Unless of course a miracle took place! I think that story is like a multi later cake (with gooey delicious icing) which must sliced and eaten slowly, in order to be appreciated.

It’s not what I can do that will bless others. It’s what God does with it.
It’s not just sharing the little I have. It’s offering it to Jesus every day.

Has God called me to write? I believe He has.
Can He use what I write? Of course.
But how was the bread and fish multiplied? Through prayer and thanksgiving.
Ah! Prayer and thanksgiving. The fuel of our Christian journey.


What are the 'fish' I can offer Him in my writing life, I wonder?
1. My walk with God?
2. My hopes and dreams?

And what are the 5 little barley loaves I can give Jesus?

1. My time
2. My experiences
3. My unique giftings
4. My mind, my hands, my feet, and indeed, all of me
5. My desire to share God’s love with His world


If they are all blessed by Jesus, who knows what will happen?
So here’s my challenge today:

1. Be like the little boy —share with others; my gifts are given for the greater good
2. Be like Andrew—discover what God’s providing me with today
3. Be like the disciples—do exactly as He asks.
4. Be like Jesus—Compassionate, thankful, surrendered, prayerful.

And don't forget ... expect a miracle!


Let nothing be wasted, said Jesus.12 baskets full of food were left over. A blessed reminder of the abundance of God’s kingdom. What did the disciples do with them, I wonder. Feed the hungry? Have it for their own dinner? Take it home to their families?

What do those 12 baskets signify in my writing life?
What could be the overflow of my writing?
1. My own life being transformed as I write
2. Readers discovering God’s love for themselves
3. Readers' lives changed by the Holy Spirit
4. Readers blessed and built up
5. God being glorified.

Father God. Thank you for calling us to be Christian writers. This morning, we offer our all to you. Our hearts, our minds, our giftings, our dreams, our desires. Thank you for blessing us richly through them. Please multiply our efforts and use our writing to reach, teach, bless, inspire, edify and build your kingdom. May all that we do, resound to your glory. In the mighty and precious name of our Creator God, Jesus, the Word. Amen.



What are the unique God moments in your own writing journey? Times when you remembered to follow His lead and when blessings followed? Or moments when you, like that little boy, offered all you had to Jesus only to be surprised and thrilled that God had multiplied it? Instances when like Andrew, you were humble enough to lift others up or bold enough to bring them to Jesus? Times when like the disciples, you didn’t comprehend what was about to happen, but obeyed implicitly and witnessed a miracle?

I’d love to hear your God stories.



Anusha’s been on many interesting detours in life, as a lab technician, a computer programmer, a full time Mum, a full time volunteer, a charity director, a full time job chaser, until one golden day (or was it a dark moonless night?) God tapped her on her shoulder and called her to write for Him. She has never recovered from the joy it brought her. She loves to see others enjoying life with God and does her mite to help the process along through her writing and her life. The goodness of God is her theme song each season, as she dances in the rain with Jesus. Please stop by at her website to say G’day. She’d love to see you there. Dancing in the Rain

Monday, March 14, 2016

Is Writing Your 'Calling'? (Sue Jeffrey)



As Christians we use the word ‘call’ a lot. Does God have a calling on our life? Has he called us to write or is writing a distraction from the important things in life such as earning money for our retirement or serving the Lord in a mosquito infested third world country? If writing is part of our calling, what are we called to write?
I remember having this conversation with God almost ten years ago. I was newly married and my husband and I had recently moved to Adelaide from Canberra. I was doing a veterinary locum and I had a couple of hours free in the middle of the day so I decided to go for a walk and talk to God about writing. I’d heard from a friend that the Graduate Diploma in Creative Writing at Tabor-Adelaide was a great course. I wanted to do it, but I wasn’t sure I was meant to. God had given me a clear call to ministry when I was 25 and I’d worked as a pastor for a few years. Was I meant to write fiction? Surely it was more likely that God wanted me to go an above-mentioned mosquito infested country.
I walked through the Payneham streets talking to God about this.
‘I want to do this Lord, but I’m not sure I’m meant to.’
Then God spoke to me by a strong impression in my spirit. ‘Go back to your car, drive to Koorong bookstore, pick a book off the shelf and open it. There you will find your guidance.’
I checked my watch. I had just enough time, so I drove to Koorong and walked inside. The first book that caught my eye was Max Lucado’s, Cure For the Common Life and I opened it (randomly) to page 28 and read:
'That last question trips up a lot of well meaning folks. God wouldn’t let me do what I like to do – would he? According to Paul, he would. “God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.” (Phil. 2:13 NCV).’
I was stunned that the Lord would answer me so quickly and so clearly. He wanted me to write? I was amazed. I enrolled at Tabor the following year and dived into the delight of honing my craft.
Do we all need a story like this to convince us that we have a calling? I don’t believe so. Recently a friend of mine spoke at my church on this subject.  Hoa Stone felt called to go to Vietnam (a mosquito infested country!) to set up an orphanage for abandoned, disabled children. Hoa made these points in his message:
·   Your calling/life purpose is already within you. It’s part of your DNA. Look at your life and the special passion you have and that will be your calling.
·   Your past is your qualification, not your hindrance. Hardships often prepare people for an extraordinary destiny.
·   We need to take steps of faith in God. Tiny, mustard seed steps may be all we can do, but God will honour us.
·   The church is about partnering with God for the healing of the world. Together we can make a difference.
If God has put writing on our hearts I believe he will use us as part of that world-healing process. We may have a heart to encourage other believers or our passion might be to write for the mainstream and ‘build bridges’ between God and the lost. We might have a passion for social justice and write spec-fic with a prophetic edge. Whatever our heart, I believe the Lord is saying, ‘Go for it!’
What is your calling? What is your passion as a writer? Please let me know in the comments below.



Sue Jeffrey was born in Scotland but moved to Brisbane, Australia with her family when she was just a wee lass. After a childhood spent reading, drawing and accumulating stray animals, Sue studied veterinary science and later moved to Adelaide where she worked as both a vet and a pastor. After a sojourn of several years in the Australian Capital Territory,  where she also worked as a TAFE teacher and a freelance science writer, Sue returned to Adelaide with two dogs, a very nice husband, and a deep desire to write. Sue has a MA in creative writing and her short stories and poems have appeared in several anthologies including Tales of the Upper Room, Something in the Blood: Vampire Stories With a Christian Bite, and Glimpses of Light. Her e-book Ruthless The Killer: A Short Story is available on Amazon.com. Sue also paints animal portraits.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I Will Trust in You

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.

Later that morning I sat alone in a quiet room. I was supposed to be spending some time with God before starting my day. I wasn't in the mood. My wife's contract was a short-term one, and it was coming to an end. The hoped-for extension had never eventuated. Due to an injury, she'd used up all her sick leave. Now it seemed we’d be getting a big fat zero on her final pay cheque. We'd been counting on that money.

I released a sigh. We'd trusted God for so long, through my wife's nursing studies and her attempts to begin building a career. With countless setbacks, it hadn't been easy. My wife was amazing. She'd never given up. With the determination worthy of an epic fantasy heroine she'd gritted her teeth and kept going. I'd stuck by her side through it all, the faithful and devoted Samwise Gamgee. When things were finally looking up, we thought we’d made it, another setback. It was a cycle that I was tired of.

I'd have to work that much harder now. My dreams of taking one day per week off work to focus on my writing career dissolved into smoke before my eyes. I shifted my gaze upward. What was he doing? Had he forgotten about us? Didn’t he care? Maybe I had no right to expect God to take in interest in my first world problems.

David had always been honest with God in the Psalms. When he was angry at God he let it go with both barrels. Well, if it’s good enough for David...

I let it fly. I told God I was hurt and disappointed. I expressed how let-down I felt. Couldn’t he have just let my wife have this last week? Well, that felt good to get off my chest. I wasn’t telling God anything he didn’t already know.

I scrolled through Facebook on my phone. I hadn’t yet opened the Bible app. My eyes fell on a post by Ted Dekker - a favourite author of mine. He was talking about the Superbowl - that American football thing. You know, the one where they show all the cool movie trailers. I’d seen a few Americans barracking for their teams in my feed. I’m not into sport - foreign sport least of all - but I noticed a sentence at the end of Ted’s post. "If you’re not interested in the game, take a moment to see it as a metaphor, for you facing off against the challenges in your life" (well, something to that effect anyway). It was a simple statement, but God used it to spark something inside me. Was I really going to give up now? The story wasn’t over yet. Just like all good protagonists, my wife and I would have to face countless challenges before we reached the resolution at the end of the tale.

Even as I told God how disappointed I was with him - he was using Ted to give me an encouragement. Maybe I should have felt ashamed, but mostly I felt grateful. I’d been given what I needed. Time to grit the teeth and keep going.

Are you facing challenges and setbacks? Are you not seeing the answers that you’ve been hoping for? The story isn’t over yet. Just like Dory in the movie Finding Nemo, we need to just keep trusting (well, she just kept swimming, but you get what I mean).

Now I’m going to let Lauren Daigle sing you a song, because she says all this far better than I could.

So how did it all end up? Well we had a couple of challenging weeks. It was a good reminder how to budget when things are tight. My wife will be getting some work again soon through the nursing pool. She still has her strength and determination. She'll never give up. The adventure continues.

See you on the last page...

Trust photo by Prerana Jangam.

Adam David Collings is an author of speculative fiction. He lives in Tasmania, Australia with his wife and two children. Adam draws inspiration for his stories from his over-active imagination, his life experiences and his faith.

Adam is a great lover of stories, enjoying them in books, movies, scripted TV and computer games. Adam discusses these on his own youTube show – Stories with Adam Collings.

Find him at adamdavidcollings.com or sign up to his email list for a free short story.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Do I Have to Have an Author Website?

by Iola Goulton

Last month, Jeanette O’Hagen introduced our 2016 joint posts between Australasian Christian Writers and Christian Writers Downunder with a post on platform, that elusive necessity for modern authors. As Christians, we have an advantage in that we know our platform needs to be built on the Rock, not the shifting sands of popularity and changing trends.

As Jeanette said, while God has a plan for each of us and our writing, we need to use our God-given talents in obedience to God’s plan and the gifts He has given us. This is the one essential of online book marketing that every “expert” agrees on.

You must have a website.

Your website is your online home. It’s where readers will go to find out about you and your books. I asked in a reader group and they confirmed this: they most commonly visit author websites to find out:

  • More about the author
  • When the author's next book releases
  • What other books the author has published 
  • The correct order of a series

And a website is where agents, publishers and editors will look to see if you have that magical platform. And it’s where publicists and bloggers will look to find information about you.

You also need a way for readers to subscribe to your email list—your list provider will probably have a plug-in you can use. I'll talk more about email lists and why they're important in a later post in this series.

 Your website one of the foundational elements of your platform and of your passive marketing. While it's a lot of work to build a website, the ongoing maintenance isn't as difficult, as long as you set it up properly (and remember to keep all your themes and plugins updated, especially security plugins. Learned that the hard way).

What about a blog?

You’ll also want your website to have an integrated blog (so your blog is a page on your website, not a completely separate site). Your blog is where you'll start connecting with readers, through regular blog posts.

This is the part which causes a lot of anxiety among authors, so I'm going to tell you something not many people know: you can be a successful author without blogging. For example, thriller author Nick Stephenson earned a six-figure income last year off his novels, and his website doesn't have a blog (what it does have is a prominent email sign-up list, and Nick uses his email newsletter to build relationships with his readers in the same way that other authors use a blog).

 Personally, I enjoy reading (and contributing to) group blogs, such as Australasian Christian Writers or Christian Writers Downunder. As a reader, I like the variety. As a writer, I like the community. I'm less likely to visit an author website unless it's to find out about their next release or similar.

Don't I have to blog to sell books?

Even a strong blog might not help you sell books. Think of Mike Duran. I often link to his posts in the Australiasian Christian Writers Facebook group, because they are thought-provoking and relevant and he's not afraid to ask the hard questions about Christianity and literature. But he writes Christian horror, and while I think his blog is great, I'm not interested in his fiction (sorry, Mike).

 And no one is going to be interested in your blog if it's a constant infomercial (let your Home and Books pages do the selling). Your website (with integrated blog, if you have one) isn't about selling. It's about connecting with readers. I'll go into this in more detail in a future post.

What does my website have to have?

Actually, not a lot. As long as it's well-designed and consistent with your brand and genre (which I've discussed on Australasian Christian writers here, here, and here). You need the following pages:
  • Home (to bring people into the site and introduce your brand)
  • About (to introduce you as the author, in order to begin to develop a relationship)
  • Books (only once you actually have one, of course!)
  • Contact (to allow people to communicate with you)
Other pages—blog, media kit, reviews, writing advice—are all optional. Which makes it a lot easier to set up a professional author website, and a lot harder to find excuses as to why you can't! The one other essential for an author website is a way of capturing the email addresses. I'll be discussing this next week. Meanwhile, what questions do you have about author websites? What author websites have you visited you particularly liked? What did you like?

About Iola Goulton

I am a freelance editor specialising in Christian fiction, and you can find out more about my services at my website (www.christianediting.co.nz), or follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/christianediting), Twitter (@IolaGoulton) or Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/iolasreads).

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Mustard seed sprouted writer support– Ruth Bonetti


Imagine a publishing house that offers a free seminar—and even lunch!—in a bid to attract new authors. Would you sign up? You bet.

Lutheran church publishing house Open Book was swamped by responses and people were turned away. I saw many familiar faces. I put out an open invitation to meet in my garden and discuss ways to encourage and support each other.

Omega Writers seeds were sown and sprouted in September 1991.

With Sharli Zwart I formed a monthly group to talk and read our writing to encouraging nods. 

Often we heard speakers but the focus was to encourage and support. Our newsletter was the old-fashioned cut and paste with scissors, glue and photocopier.

A recurring theme was ‘How do we find a publisher?’ 
We prayed. And it came to pass; a publisher rose through our ranks, while other Christian publishers faded. Take a bow, Rochelle Manners.

The Lord gave me a vision: a showcase to highlight members’ writing and Christian arts–dance, rap, art exhibition. Pro Hart sent paintings. My husband brought along Brisbane Symphony Orchestra. I illustrated my poem with a slide show in the dark ages before Power Point. We attracted 1000 people to two performances, 9 and 10 July 1993. Nail biting? Yes. Faith stretched.

God sent another vision. (Help, Lord, so BIG picture?) Print an anthology Seasons of Giving to showcase members’ writing. And it came to pass in October 1998. As did my energy.

After Lyn Hurry took over, she and Anne Hamilton produced Grow Magazine and mounted Alpha2Omega conference. Authors from across Australia presented their knowledge, experience and books across multiple rooms.  Lyn didn’t fade, centre right, but meetings downsized to cuppa, chat and read-a-page support.

Annie Hamilton became president in 2008. She urged authors to review each other’s books on the website, (now moved to Goodreads.com)—to bring readers to our books. Her vision led to informative articles on the website, the significant CALEB book prizes (2010) and more conferences.

President since 2015, Simon Kennedy has updated the logo and website to small screen friendly with capacity to pay memberships, advertise and process events online. It provides members with their own profile page, which can include backlinks to their own websites and social media, a bonus for their SEO.

To quote from his recent report at the AGM:
Until recently, Omega’s only local writing group was based in Brisbane. In the past few months, we have either started or affiliated with groups throughout Australia, including in Toowoomba, Sydney, Adelaide and Gold Coast… Locally based and genre specific online writing groups are held every month or two. Omega’s Toowoomba Chapter ran a great weekend retreat in late 2015 and have another one scheduled for May 2016. Also planned;
·       Regional workshops and retreats once a quarter, depending on support in that region.
·       Annual writers conference and national webinars.
·       The Christian Writers Conference will once again fall under the Omega banner in 2016. It will be held in Sydney this year and will change its name to the Omega Writers Conference.Details


Join Omega Writers to access a wealth of information, experience and support through times when our output is in the doldrums. 

It's heartening to look back and realise that God has nurtured the small seeds sown back in 1991 to a thriving community of Christian authors who are published or developing skills towards that goal.

Praise God that our words are going out into the world to preach the gospel.

And that we shall reap a harvest if we don't give up. (Galatians 6:9).

Ruth Bonetti is author/editor of 12 publications through Oxford University Press and her imprint Words and Music to empower presenters of Words and Music. See