Donna Crow: How to Create Characters That Breathe Friday, Mar 11 2011 

Donna Crow on Characterization and creating characters that seem real to readers.


Sandra Bishop: The Future of Publishing is Here Friday, Mar 11 2011 

2010 ACFW Agent of the Year Sandra Bishop discusses how ebooks have already transformed the publishing world.

Lunch for the Conference Thursday, Feb 24 2011 

It is not too late to register for the 2011 Annual Idahope Christian Writers Conference.

Late registration is available at the door for $30, Saturday, February 26. Registration begins at 8 a.m.


We will provide coffee and pastries at registration and coffee service throughout the day. The conference begins at 8:30 a.m. Our schedule allows for a 75 minute lunch from 11:45 to 1 p.m. The lunch meal is not included in the $30 conference fee.


However, Idahope will have a catering service provide a boxed lunch (sandwiches) for $10/person. **To order a boxed lunch by Thursday, please read below. If you choose not to participate in the box lunch here are a few other options.


  • There are a few fast food chains nearby the conference location including pizza hut, Sonic Drive-in and Quiznos Sandwich. (See map below.)
  • You could bring a sack lunch or have someone deliver something for you during the lunch hour.


The catering service will be provided by “3 Girls Catering” and you have two choices for lunch.


Option 1—It’s a Wrap

Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap

With Chopped Romaine, Diced Tomatoes & Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Tangy Caesar Dressing & Cracked Pepper

Sweet & Savory Orzo Salad with Dried Cranberries & Apricots, Toasted Walnuts, Caramelized Onions & Veggies

Option 2—All American

Roast Beef ‘n Cheddar Sandwich with Green Leaf, Red Onion & Horsey Sauce

Garden Salad with Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Red Onion & Ranch


Unfortunately there cannot be modifications to the sandwiches, so if you have dietary needs, please consider bringing your own bagged lunch.


**To order: The catering must be finalized by noon, Thursday, February 24. You must order by emailing Hilarey Johnson with your sandwich choice. Orders must be paid for ($10) at the registration table the morning of the conference. Then you will receive your meal ticket.


We apologize for the late notice and the limited time response. If you do not make the deadline you still have the other two options. It is our hope to encourage people to stay at the conference location for the noon meal for two reasons. One, there are very few fast food options and two, we hope attendees will be able to relax, socialize and network with fellow writers between sessions.


Below is a link and a map of Cole Community so you will see some of the meal options in the area.


Cole Community Church

8775 West Ustick Road
Boise, ID 83704
(208) 375-3565


Idahope Writer’s Contest Tuesday, Dec 28 2010 

Mail the first 1,000 words of your current work-in-progress (novel or short story) or a completed story up to 1,000 words in length, along with a check in the amount of $10.00 (members) or $15.00 (non-members) to: IdaHope Writers, PO Box 16221, Boise, ID 83715-6221. Or submit your manuscript as an email attachment to and pay the contest feethrough the PayPal link on our Website: (Mail-in submissions can pay by check or through PayPal.)1st Prize — B&N Nook Reader2nd Prize — $50 B&N gift certificate3rd Prize — $25 B&N gift certificate

*Every entry “wins” judges’ comments!*

Rules: Use standard formatting (one-inch margins, Times New Roman or Courier New 12-pt. font, paragraphs indented five spaces and double-spaced). Include only the title of the story and page number at the top of each manuscript page (NOT the author’s name), but add a title page that lists the title plus the author’s name and contact information (address, telephone, email).

Please, no published works or erotica.

1st Prize — B&N Nook Reader

2nd Prize — $50 B&N gift certificate

3rd Prize — $25 B&N gift certificate

*Every entry “wins” judges’ comments!*

Rules: Use standard formatting (one-inch margins, Times New Roman or Courier New 12-pt. font, paragraphs indented five spaces and double-spaced). Include only the title of the story and page number at the top of each manuscript page (NOT the author’s name), but add a title page that lists the title plus the author’s name and contact information…

Membership Status
Idahope Member $10.00
Non-members $15.00

Winners will be announced at the annual Idahope Writers conference on February 26, 2011 (check or email for conference information).

The Opportunity of Ebooks Friday, Nov 5 2010 

This is the first in a series of posts from Idahope members on the Book Extravaganza and the Booktober Fest.

Imagine being able to reach more readers and make more money on a book by cutting your price? With normal books, this is not going to happen. But ebooks, may be another story.

One of the highlights of my visit to the Friday night session of the Book Extravaganza was Stonehouse Publisher Aaron Patterson explaining how his ebook’s popularity and profit rose as he cut its price.  Patterson, at one point cut the ebook’s price down to 99 cents. He’s since increased it to $2.99, a happy medium in the ebook world between profitability and high sales when you consider that Amazon pays a 70% royalty on each ebook sold at the $2.99 price.

This is great for both writers and readers. People can read books for far less than they’d pay for a paper version and writers are still able to make a good profit, and by having an inexpensive ebook version of a past release, the writer is able to compete with people selling used copies of their book which don’t net the writer any new royalties.

I saw another Ebook author speak and became curious about his writing. I went on to Amazon and found that he had something called a “digital short” for sale. This digital short, it turns out, was a short story turned into a 99 cent ebook.

The digital short gave me a chance for a low risk sampling of the author’s work. He also included an excerpt from his novel at the end of the short, so if I liked the short story, I’d then have reason to take the next step and buy his  novel as well.

This is great for readers as they can sample a writer’s work and get a taste of their style and storytelling method in a complete story for only 99 cents.

For writers, this can be a great way to introduce readers to your work.  For those who are a published, a short that bears some similarity to their novel in style can be used to whet readers appetites for more with a sample that catches their interest.

It’ll be interesting to see how widely these practices are adopted as the future of ebooks takes shape.

Idahope Writers Welcomes Robin Lee Hatcher Thursday, Oct 14 2010 

Idahope Writers is pleased to welcome award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher as the speaker for its October meeting.

Hatcher is the author of more than 60 novels, with 30 having been written for the General Market, and 30 for the Christian Market.  Hatcher is past President of the Romance Writers of America (1992-94) and winner of the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction and the RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance.

Idahope Writers is a chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers set up with the goal of providing fellowship for Christian writers and opportunities to work towards publication.  The Idahope Writers Group has presented two writers conferences in 2009 and 2010 and is looking for the 2011 conference. 

More information is available on Idahope writers by e-mailing  Adam Graham, president of Idahope Writers.

Tips for Giving a Successful Critique Monday, Apr 19 2010 

Being a large man, I’ve crushed many things by mistake. It’s quite embarrassing. But I’ll never forget when I accidentally crushed another writer in a group critique. I could tell as we were delivering our critiques that we were loading him down with an Empire State Building of criticism that he couldn’t withstand.

The right reason to critique a manuscript is to help others get better. After hearing Jon Colson’s speech at our recent writer’s conference, I realized we can’t do that by being like Simon Cowell. Here are some guidelines for giving critiques in large groups:

1) Focus on Specific Issues

The show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is notable because viewers get to see a house built from the ground up. That model of a house being built should drive our group critique. Books, like houses, are built over a process of time. If writers are doing their job in submitting their critiques and asking for the specific issues they want you to critique for, then give them what they asked for and no more.

You may notice a manuscript needs a lot of work, but your job isn’t to fix the whole manuscript. Your job is to help with the specific areas of feedback they requested. If they’re asking you to help them put up the side wall, trust they’ll figure out the house needs plumbing. If they do indicate they think this is the book’s only issue, and love irresistibly compels you to confront them, please wait until after the meeting is over and gently tell them the truth in private. Public humiliation never helps anyone.

2) Give a Thoughtful Critique

Be specific in your critique and avoid using generalities. For example, these cut and paste critiques are not helpful:

“You need more description.”

“You need to work on having less telling.”

Instead, try:

“We spent the whole six pages in that kitchen, but we have no idea what it looks like. What color is the chair they’re sitting in? Is there wallpaper? What makes this kitchen unique?”

“Instead of telling us, ‘Joe is angry,’ show him raising his voice, clinching his fists, and with his cheeks turning red. Let’s hear him use angry words.”

If possible, before you share your critique, say it out loud so you can hear how the critique will sound to the writer. This is doubly important if you’re e-mailing a critique. The written word can come off as harsh and bossy to the recipient. Say it out loud to ensure you have an appropriate tone.

3) Provide Positive Feedback

Point out the good in the manuscript and the things you like. Particularly, if you’ve critiqued a manuscript for an issue before, remark on what they’ve improved. Praise what’s good. This encourages them to be better writers.

4) Don’t Argue

It is up to the writer whether to accept or reject your advice. Having provided your advice, don’t argue with the writer or try to push them into doing it your way. Some personalities tend towards arguments; don’t get hooked.

Be careful not to command writers. “I hate this! Change it!” is beyond your scope unless you’re an editor of a large press able to offer a generous advance. If you are, please e-mail me at this address. Otherwise, be respectful of the writer’s vision. Suggest ways to make their vision work and leave whether they implement it up to them.

Tips for Getting a Successful Critique Thursday, Apr 1 2010 

“Group Critique.” The words can send shivers down a writer’s spine. Any writer who has been doing group critiques for any amount of time has been through group critiques that have been as pleasant and helpful as getting dental work while delivering a public speech.

How do you ensure your group critique experience is positive? Let’s take a look:

1)      Know what you want and ask for it

Never send an item in for critique simply because it’s time to do critiques. Only submit if you really want help with your work.

In general, doing a line-by-line critique in a group session is not advisable. It demands a lot of time from those who are critiquing, and you may not get the feedback you really need. It’s quite easy to get overwhelmed by too much at once in a group setting.

So ask your fellow participants to focus on a known issue or two that you have. For example, a few potential issues to ask for assistance on are:


  • Point of View
  • Description
  • Realism
  • Flow
  • Show, don’t Tell

 If you don’t yet know the weaknesses of the project, ask a question that invites open, but limited feedback such as, “What did you like best, what is the biggest weakness, and how do I make it better?”

 Your aim in asking for a critique should not be to simply make the section being critiqued better, but to obtain principles that will help you improve as a writer.

 2)      Provide clean copies to the group

 In a group critique, you shouldn’t be critiqued on grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. but it is reasonable to expect you’ve been over your copy a couple times and removed glaring mistakes that would distract your fellow writers from the issue at hand. Doing this shows professionalism and courtesy and sets the mood for a good critique.

 3)      Respect Time and Space Requirements

 Time and space limits are set to make sure everyone has the time to review all the critiqued items and provide thoughtful feedback. So be a professional and follow them. If  manuscripts are to be submitted within a week of the meeting, have your work in well in advance or, at minimum, the day of the deadline, not the day after the deadline. Likewise, if you’re asked to provide eight pages to critique, submit eight pages, not thirty pages.

       4) Remember, you asked for it!

 As you get feedback from your fellow writers, take their opinions into consideration. Ask for clarification if you have a question, but let them provide their feedback.

 Don’t argue or try to correct their understanding of your story for the sake of defending your work. If you do honestly want help better communicating “what it really means” in the book, consider again the time limitations. Otherwise, simply accept that not every book is everyone’s cup of tea and respect that they may not be your audience.

 Take notes and be gracious even if a critique isn’t delivered graciously. Becoming upset over the critique won’t improve their opinion of your book or make you feel better.

Remember, in submitting your manuscript for critique, you do not hand the group control of the book. You don’t have to convince them. You can disregard advice you find unhelpful and accept advice that you do find helpful. Take the meat and throw away the bones. That’s the key to getting the most out of a critique.

Adam Graham is a columnist and President of Idahope Writers.

Jon Colson: How to Critique Thursday, Apr 1 2010 

Inspirational speaker and author Jon Colson provides insight on how to provide constructive critiques.

Click here to download.

Jill Williamson: Promoting Your Novel on a Limited Budget Thursday, Apr 1 2010 

Author Jill Williamson provides her tips on how to promote your novel on a small budget. From our 2010 conference.

Click here to download.

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