Monday, March 07, 2016


When I received the following letter this is the visual I got.

Donna has a lot going on in her creative mind. Way to go, Donna!

Donna Mork Reed sent me the following letter and I'm posting it with her permission. I love the energy in this letter.

Since you asked ...

Okay, for nanowrimo this year I did write a Christian fiction. I'm just starting the edit part. How do you find someone to look at your work to decide whether it is publishable. I'm a librarian so cost is a factor. Should I edit the heck out of it and do a self publish and hope someone likes it enough to pick it up? Last year I submitted to Guideposts and awaited my rejection letter ... and they wanted to publish my story! (it's now in The Joy's of Christmas 2015!!)

I was shocked. Then I thought maybe I do have some talent. So then I joined a local group late in the year and entered the final contest they hold (a picture prompt story contest) ... and I won 2nd place! So now I'm writing every spare moment. I wrote a picture book (about Frogs in the Library, based on a slightly exaggerated true story) and I've been sending it in to various agents and publishers. And I have an idea for a series of picture books about a Truck Driving Dog (actually the human drives, the dog rides, but the story is from his point of view). I have another idea for another Christian fiction and a sci fi and etc. I also write poetry. I'm not good with the whole cover letter or query letter or whatever you want to call it, so I'd love if you could address that on your blog sometime, how to write a killer query. And whether querying an agent is better than querying a publisher, or how do you find an agent etc. etc. See I'm full of questions and this is just me as I run out the door for church this morning. I'm sure there are/will be more questions. This is all for now. Thanks!

Donna, thank you for contacting me. Congratulations on your successes. You are doing so much right, and I love how you think - you're in nearly unrestrained creative mode. Not all writers have a lot of ideas flying around at one time, but some do. I've been writing many years and I still have way more ideas than I'll ever complete in my lifetime.

There are a lot of good questions here, but I'll only address one today. 

Right up front you ask, 

  • How do you find someone to look at your work?
  This is a good question and there isn't one answer. But I have a few suggestions, one you mentioned. You've got to begin with your very best writing, which means you must do a lot of editing ... go through your manuscript again and again. I once read that James Michener worked through his novels seventeen times before he felt confident that he'd done his best work. If you've read a Michener novel you know that is a mountain of work. We don't want to edit the life out of a story, but we've got to refine the work, tighten the writing, find powerful, unusual images and use uncommon similes and metaphors. I love the book, Word Painting written by Rebecca McClanahan. If you don't have this book, get it.
  Something else you need to do is attend writing conferences. Mingle with people in the business, get to know them. And while you're at a conference schedule appointments with editors and agents. Face to face time is valuable. If you meet with people who are looking for good writing your chances of your amazing work being discovered is much better..
  Do an online search of agents and find those who are looking for the kind of writing you do. Sometimes you might have a better chance of landing an agent if they are just getting off the ground, but remember you want someone who knows what they are doing so choose wisely. Ask those who might know what they do know. When you've found an agency submit your fabulous work while being careful to follow the guidelines to the letter. If you don't submit in the format they request they won't think you are serious.

Okay, that's all I have time for tonight. I will definitely be back, and I'll be watching for your questions and comments. We can help one another along this journey. Let's do it. 

You can contact me privately on my contact page,, or at my email address, which is Make sure to put Writer's Life in the subject line.

Grace and peace to you from God,


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