Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ramona K. Cecil: What She Taught the Teacher

(Pictured left: Ramona K. Cecil, seated on the grass, shortly before she began her writing career.)

I love to do interviews. Maybe I'm just nosey and like to nib into other people's lives. Yesterday's interview with Ramona was especially fun because she's also a friend.

She has the heart of a teacher. As I wrote up the interview, I kept thinking of the things she has taught me through the years about the craft of writing, things I want to share.

  • If you're a follower of Jesus Christ and you write fiction, you should join American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Their website says it all. Members gain "education, inspiration, and connections." Ramona enlightened me on the benefits of ACFW and encouraged me to attend a conference.
  • Write in deep point of view (POV) for today's market. Let your readers experience the action and setting through the senses, thoughts, and emotions of the character who has the most to lose in any given scene.
  • Use "action beats." Lose most of the "he saids/she saids" by introducing or following a line of dialogue with an action:
Jake set down the cup of coffee, splashing some on the table. "I think we need to have a talk. A long talk."
Instead of:
"I think we need to have a talk," Jake said. "A long talk."
  • Show; don't tell, which incorporates the use of deep POV and action beats. In addition, it eliminates long paragraphs of narration.
  • Weave bits of back-story into the scene gently. 
  • Get to know your main characters really well before you begin writing. Interview them, as a newspaper journalist would do. Ask probing questions, and let them answer in their own words.
  • Plot. Plan your crises. Be flexible, so you can change plans, if need be.
  • Listen for God's direction.
  • Attend conferences and workshops; always be prepared to give your "elevator pitch," because you just never know when you'll meet up with an editor or agent.
  • Be real when you meet with agents and/or editors. They know you're nervous. Many of them have been in your shoes. Just be natural and trust in the Lord. His timing is always best.
  • Write on! Don't write, submit, and wait. Write, submit, and keep writing!
  • Understand you'll get far more rejections than acceptance. Keep writing. Keep improving your craft. Join critique groups--good ones, ones that are equal or better at writing than you.
  • And did I mention, "WRITE ON!"
Thank you, Kathy.

Because of Christ,


  1. Great writing advice.

    Jodie Wolfe

  2. Wonderful advice from a wonderful writer! This was a very nice article, and Sharon, your blog is awesome. :)

  3. Hey I guess I should read your blog more often and win something, but it is nice to just read what you have to say and see how you are growing as a writer. our inter view wasvery interesting and a learning time for me about someone I did't know. Mike Maze a long time friend