The Word for Writers
The FaithWriters' Heartbeat Week 2
by Deborah Porter
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Hi everyone. Itís time to catch up on all the weekís news and information at FaithWriters.com.
First of all, if you donít want to risk missing the Heartbeat each week, it might be a good idea to hit the ďTrack this AuthorĒ link at the top of this page. That way youíll always get a notice whenever a new Heartbeat is posted. But donít forget, if you have a Yahoo/Hotmail/AOL account, you may need to keep an eye on your bulk mail or junk mail boxes.
Anyway, now for all the latest news, starting with the Challenge.
Well, what an incredible result in the Adventure Challenge! I am almost positive that we have never had so many Level 1 entries make it into the Editorsí Choice at one time. Wow! It was almost a Level 1 landslide, and must have been a great encouragement to all our beginners. Congratulations to all the winners, but particularly to the four from Level 1. That was an outstanding result.
Of course, that means these four Level 1 winners will now need to move up to Level 2. As soon as you place in your level, itís time to move up. The only time this doesnít apply is with the move from Level 3 to Level 4. Before you can make that move, you need to place three times in the Editorsí Choice. Once that happens, itís up to Level 4 you go (even if with shaking knees).
Oh, and remember, the Teen/Young Adult Challenge this week is our last for the quarter. Weíll be taking a break for a few weeks after this topic, so this is your last chance to enter until early July. Itís also your last chance to be in the running for our annual Best of the Best awards. Judging for these very important awards is just about to begin.
Every first place Editorsí Choice winner for the last 12 months is a contender for the Best of the Best awards. Not only is there the prestige of being judged the very best entry out of nearly 8,000 entries, but there are also cash prizes for the three entries judged to be the very best of the best. The big announcement is on the 1st July.
The thing with the Best of the Best awards is that it isnít the author being judged, but their entries. This means that if someone has multiple entries in the running, they could quite possibly scoop the pool. Who will take the prizes this year? Stay tuned!
With a new quarter of the Challenge just around the corner, Iím on the search for new volunteers to help with judging. If you have ever placed in the Editorsí Choice, or placed twice in level 3, I would love to have your help on the judging panel. If you think this is something you would like to do, please send me a private message straight away. Judges are only on duty for one topic per quarter.
So, speaking about the Challenge, what are the biggest boo-boos people make with their entries? Well, here are the top 4:
1. Submitting an entry that is over or under the word count limits. The minimum word count allowed is 150, and the maximum is 750, and we do check every entry. This is probably the most obvious boo-boo of all.
2. Leaving names and other identifying information on the actual entry. This is fairly easy to do if you have included a title and your name on your original document and then copied and pasted your work straight into the submission box. Make sure you donít include your name anywhere in the submission box. Itís really important that your identity be hidden until after the judges have finished reading and rating. (We donít want anyone thinking we play favorites.)
3. Submitting previously written entries. This is VERY common, but very hard to police. We do catch some, but many slip by. We know this isnít a deliberate flaunting of the rules, but more a case of people not being aware of the rules. Entries have to be written after the topic is announced (thatís part of the ďchallengeĒ).
4. Entries not really being on topic. This has been probably the biggest boo-boo in the current quarter, with people writing about the word, rather than writing to fit the genre. In other words, instead of writing something suitable for children, many people wrote something about children.
So the best advice to help avoid the boo-boos is to always carefully check the rules, guidelines and topic of the week to make sure you are on track, and then make sure you preview your entry before hitting that very final ďsubmitĒ button.
Now moving from the Challenge to another contest, this is a reminder to all the 500 members that we are in the final weeks for entries to this yearís Page Turner Contest. This is a HUGE contest, with big prizes. So if you are a 500 member, and you havenít checked it out yet, please log in to FaithWriters and go to the 500 area for all the information.
Iím really excited about the Page Turner contest. Weíve had a very good response so far, and I canít wait to see whoíll take the prize this year. The winner will be announced much later this year. This contest is the biggest thing FaithWriters has offered to date, so donít let it slip by. The next Page Turner contest will be announced on 1st January, 2008, and will be for non-fiction writers. So if you are a 500 member, get busy writing!
Well, my passport paperwork is now in being processed, and that means Iím one step closer to making the big trip to Michigan for the FaithWriters Conference in August. The time is flying by, and the excitement is building.
There are quite a lot of posts on the message boards about the Conference, right down to what everyone is planning to pack for the weekend. You might find this fun checklist handy:
Of course, the most important thing to bring is yourself! I canít wait to see you there.
Donít forget, we will all be meeting for dinner at a local restaurant on Friday night, so if you are coming to the conference, I hope youíll make the time to come along for this special social get together. I know itís going to be a really fun night.
Oh, and before I forget ... a very quick heads up about the week 15th to 23rd June. The FaithWriters office will be closed during that week (for a well deserved vacation), so please avoid sending any emails to the office during that time. Iíll still be here, but I canít help you with any account queries you may have, so please hold on to them until after the 23rd, or at least expect there to be a quite lengthy delay in receiving a reply.
For all general queries about the site, itís always best to check for answers first on the message boards. Youíll always find someone ready to help you, or at least point you in the right direction.
The June Issue of FaithWritersí Magazine is online and looking very good (if I do say so myself ... and I do!). If you havenít already checked it out, I hope youíll visit this month. Make sure you read Brad Paulsonís front page story, A Change for the Better. It made me laugh out loud.
FaithWritersí Magazine has been online for almost three years now and has given so many FaithWriters members an opportunity to showcase their work in that time. So what do you have to do to get your work in FaithWritersí Magazine? Well, here are some guidelines:
1. You need to be a FaithWriters 500 member. We only use material by 500 members, so thatís the most important thing.
2. Make sure you regularly post material in the regular articles at FaithWriters, or even better, in the Free Reprints section at FaithWriters. This makes it very easy for us to find and use your work.
3. Keep an eye out on the Message Boards for information about the Front Page Quest. Although Iím not running one this month, we do regularly have a quest to find the front page feature for FaithWritersí Magazine. Thatís how we found Bradís great story for June. Not only that, but I make every effort to use every single article submitted for the Quest in future issues. So it is definitely a great way to get noticed.
4. Thereís a long list of departments we use on a rotating basis in the magazine. Hereís where you can find out what they are:
FaithWriters' Magazine Departments
Although we donít take submissions, as such, if you are a 500 member and you think you have something that would fit one of those sections, submit it as a free reprint or in the general articles section at FaithWriters, and then send me a quick private message with the url (link) to your article and the department you think it would best suit.
Well, thatís nearly it for this weekís Heartbeat, but before I go, itís time to point you in the direction of a piece of writing that caught my eye this week. Very powerful, no punches pulled message to the church by FaithWriters newcomer, Michelle Lowrie:
Make sure you leave Michelle some feedback. In fact, why not take the time this week to leave some feedback on new articles, or Challenge entries. You may just give someone a real boost of encouragement.
Well, thatís it for this week. Donít forget, if thereís anything you would really like to know about FaithWriters, leave a note in the feedback.
Until next week, keep writing, rising to the Challenge, and being a shining light for His glory!
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Hi Deb! Praise God for your dedication and work at Faithwriters. I've been participating in the writing challenge since I joined Faithwriters last Oct. 28, 2008. It's been quite an experience. Of course I would l love to be a winner someday. I've made it to the 5th, 9th, 11th and 12th places at the beginner's level. However, primarily, it is not really the winning that matters here for me. I've reached a point in my life (I'm 53) wherein I consider lessons learned, friendships developed, and the ability to express and use one's talent for God's glory to be of prime importance over winning accolades and trophies. I really admire your passion in helping spread God's word through this wonderful website. I am an English teacher from the Philippines, a mother and best of all, a Christian. If there is anything I can do to help Faithwriters, I am volunteering my services. For example, I can send letters of encouragements to new members and budding writers. Please let me know. My email address: email@example.com. God bless you and your family, Deb. Love you with the love of Christ! ^-^
Always great to find out a bit more information about the challenges, and indeed all the goings on at FW. Thanks!
Deb, I think the Heartbeat is one of your best ideas--so informative for newbies, as well as those who have been here for a while. May God continue to bless you in your leadership here.
Excellent and informative, Deb. I had NEVER read the profiles of the FW staff - didn't even know they were there! Thanks for that link especially. See ya in TWO months! (can you believe it?)
Love these Heartbeats..... Seems to make all our hearts beat as one..... Good stuff! Keep up the good work!
Great job, as usual, Deb! :-) Hehe, it's still surprises me to see myself in the behind the scene's section. LOL! I think I need to update that, too...