Archive for the ‘guest post’ Category




It Takes Someone Special to be a Dad


The women’s Bible study at my church this summer is Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman. It’s about women/mothers embracing their mission field, even if it’s in their own home. I think so much of that can apply to family men as well.


God gave men wives and told them to love her as Christ loved the church. Then He entrusted children to these couples to raise and cherish. Men are charged with providing for the family, which is all too often seen to only mean going to work so the family can pay the bills and have food to eat.


But it is so much more!


We’ve all heard the common adage, “Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.” (Anne Geddes) And how true that quote can be! A father is a biological parent, whether he is involved in the child’s life or not. A father may even provide for the family.


A dad, though, chooses to be involved, to dig in and raise a child. A dad is all about relationship.

One thing the Bible study has already pointed out is that the nurturing aspect and influence of motherhood doesn’t just apply to our children. Rather, it often spills over into other relationships in various forms. Mentoring other women and kids, teaching, offering hospitality, etc. The same thing can be said about men.


Dads are great teachers, wise listeners, and the more laid-back bonders. The characteristics that make dads unique can be applied in relationships outside the family. Children without a good father-figure—or dad-figure—in their lives crave that kind of acceptance and acknowledgement. Young people without guidance can flounder when it comes to charging into adulthood or family life blind.


We’ve all heard stories about men that find themselves making the difference in the lives of children or younger men by taking them under their wing. These people aren’t blood, but the relationships become almost as important.


My father is a wonderful man and an amazing dad. Even though he was a soldier in the Army while I was growing up (which meant he was gone a lot), he always made a point to be involved when he was home. He attended as many sports events and 4-H talks as he could. He was present at awards ceremonies and church functions. Some of my favorite memories, though, are Sunday afternoons on the couch, watching Star Wars and other sci-fi/fantasy movies with him.


I know how lucky I am. I know many people did not grow up with fathers like that. But how many had other male role models in their lives? How many found that kind of relationship with someone outside their immediate family? I know even that number is not enough.


This Father’s Day, let’s remember not only the wonderful dads out there, but also the amazing men who stepped up to be that kind of dad-figure in the life of a child or young adult. And let’s thank God that all these men chose to embrace their roles, blood or not. And pray for those children and young adults out there who are still in need of that kind of relationship!


Happy Father’s Day!



Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone SHINE BEYOND! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for several freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon!

When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website.




#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Ralene Burke, Bellanok

Read Full Post »





Recently I was asked to name my favorite mother character in literature. I mentally went through the zillions of books I’d read, sure that the very best mother would be difficult to single out. Imagine my surprise when I was unable to recall a single one that shone. From the evil stepmothers of fairytales, to the cold, negligent woman who dropped Heidi on the Alp Uncle’s doorstep, to the drug-addicted bring-the-bad-boyfriends-home sort of woman who impacts so many modern novels, it struck me how many mothers were portrayed as villainous.

The second most common thing I found was the missing mother. This is different from the nasty ones. She is gone due to circumstances, personal sacrifice, or death. Those of us who have lost a mother know that emptiness doesn’t end. So it’s no wonder authors choose that route.


No one has such an impact on our personal development as a mother does. If we have a close mother-child bond we will develop differently than if it is distant or critical. A character-building motif in stories often revolves around a difficult parental relationship or a wonderful relationship cut short. Either creates a mother shaped hole the character periodically falls into.

There are, however, some stories with great mothers. In Jojo Moyes’s One plus One, Jess is a single mother trying to make her little girl’s dream of attending a top “maths” school come true. She has collected a goth teenage son whom neither her ex-husband nor the boy’s mother wants. Her generosity (though impoverished) honesty (though cheated and deceived) and compassion (though mistreated) are a beautiful example of a mother’s heart. When she fails in one of these it becomes a lesson to her loved ones and together they make it right.

In The Monk Downstairs / The Monk Upstairs by Tim Farrington, the mother character named Phoebe sees through people’s outer clutter of faults and insecurities to the soul within. Her love is unconditional. She also has a zest for life and delights in the absurd. You can’t read her and not want to be like that.

What stands out for both these characters is their acceptance of their offspring’s natures, desires, fears, and wounds—whether children or adults. Their willingness to protect and develop without forcing their own will and desires resonates in characters like Marmee in Little Women—the Proverbs 31 idealized mother. My tomboy self preferred the story of Jo March in Little Men and her creative parenting. 😊

Charlotte Mason, a 19th century educator said, “Maternal love is the first agent in education.” I love her concept that each child is born a person, equally good and bad, full of wonder, curiosity, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Mothers should be a loving authority in the same way that our Heavenly Father is a loving authority over us.

She advocated that it was the job of especially the mother to develop the child’s will to long for the right and good and just and to train them in habits to achieve that goal. “Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than anything else, future character and conduct depend.”

As in the stories referenced above, mothers are to walk beside, not forcing an action, but allowing room for the Spirit to work in the ones God placed in her care. What an awesome, precarious, and fragile responsibility. Given all that, mothers must also tend themselves.


Kristen Heitzmann is the bestselling author of contemporary romantic suspense, psychological suspense, and historical novels, including Colorado Book Award finalist The Still of Night, Christy Award finalists Indivisible and The Tender Vine, and Christy Award winners Secrets and The Breath of Dawn that won both a Christy Award and Inspirational Readers Choice Award and was a finalist for a people’s choice award in the Netherlands. She is a fiction track and workshop teacher at writers conferences. An artist and musician, she’ll also be found hiking the Colorado Rocky Mountain trails near her home where she lives with her husband, pets, extended family, and wildlife.








#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Kristen Heitzmann, Mothers in Literature

Read Full Post »




Mother’s Day has come and gone now.

And if you’re like me, the day is always a little bittersweet.


On the one hand, I love the chance to celebrate my Mom because a) she’s awesome and b) we’re great friends as well as being mother and daughter. This year, we attended a high tea just for something girly and fun!

On the other hand, I’ve been married for nearly 17 years and have no children. Given my age and my health issues, it is almost a certainty that no one will ever call me “Mom”. Except my dog Zuzu, of course, but she doesn’t really count 😉

I adore my nieces and nephews (a total of almost 10 now between my husband’s side of the family and my own) and I have fully embraced the “cool aunt” title, promising to always have gum. (To date, none of them have asked me for a piece of gum. But when they do, by golly, I’ll be ready!)

Still … being called “Aunt” doesn’t quite complete the heart like “Mom”, does it? And so Mother’s Day for me is always a bit painful in spite of the sweet. Maybe it’s the same for you. Or maybe your children are grown and gone and never with you on Mother’s Day. The ache is still there, either way, isn’t it?


Maybe what makes Mother’s Day bittersweet for you is instead the loss of your mother. Whether too soon or after a life long-lived, I’m told that ache never quite goes away either. Especially on days where everyone is treating their moms to special dinners and flowers and hugs. You would give anything to give (and receive) one more hug from your own mother, and so – while you enjoy the accolades from your children on Mother’s Day – you feel like something is missing. Like someone is missing.


If at least one of these scenarios applies to you, then today you may still be feeling the sting of the bittersweet. The emptiness of wanting to belong – to a mother or to a child – and having no one to belong to. Our hearts were created to never say goodbye (to people or to dreams), so it’s no wonder they break with every cruel reminder of this broken world.


May I encourage you, my sweet girlfriends?

God sees. And He cares. He loves you so tenderly.

You already belong to Someone.

Did you see those last few words? “You are mine.”


I can hear you though. The words forming right now on your lips. “Yeah, that’s great and all… but belonging to God isn’t the same as having my mother back. Belonging to God isn’t the same as having a child of my own.”

I know. I get it. I do.


But Isaiah wants you to know that God knew you would be missing your mother, missing her hugs, wanting the kind of relationship other daughters have with their mothers.

And He wants to draw you close and whisper these words to you –

He has not left you alone, my sweet friend. He longs to bless you beyond your imagination.  He takes great delight in you.


And Isaiah wants you to know that God knew you would be longing for a baby, for a child to call you “mom”, for a prodigal son or daughter to return home.


Listen, dear kindred heart. He is whispering words of purpose to you –

You may not have children that are physically or legally your own. But He longs to fill your heart – and your arms – to overflowing all the same.

And sometimes… in His great graciousness … He brings together someone who needs a mother’s hug with someone who longs to be a mom. As empty arms slip around empty hearts, both become curiously full.

A portrait of grace. A reminder of belonging. A glimpse of heaven.

A promise that one day all the sad things will come untrue.

And all hearts will be full forever.



Carrie Schmidt is an avid reader, book reviewer, story addict, KissingBooks fan, book boyfriend collector, and cool aunt. She loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Carrie lives in Kentucky with her husband Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is a co-founder of the Christian Fiction Readers’ Retreat. She blogs at http://readingismysuperpower.org








#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Carrie Schmidt, Zuzu, Cool Aunt, Mother’s Day, You are Mine, Portrait of Grace


Read Full Post »





Hi Robin, thanks for featuring me on your blog today. With Mother’s Day just six days away I think a post about Mom’s or Motherhood is in order.


In 1966 I was born to a teenage mother who decided that given her age I would be better off given up for adoption. Three days after I was born my mom and dad took me home from the hospital. They were unable to have children and adoption was the way they could have a family. My brother and I always knew we were adopted, it wasn’t a secret. We knew how wanted we were. In fact my mom told me as a child that kids who were born to their parents, their parents were stuck with them, Sean and I were chosen out of a nursery full of babies.


My dad was active duty Navy and stationed in Guam when my mom got the call that her mother, my granny was really sick. My mom flew home to Denver to be with her and on her way she stopped in San Francisco and was greeted by my God-Parents. My God-mother, Pat, was a receptionist at a doctor’s office. The day my mom arrived a young pregnant teen had come into the office and filled out paperwork to give up the baby for adoption. My mom went to the office and filled out all the paperwork to adopt this baby who was due in April, and my mom flew on to Denver. A few weeks later Pat called my mom and told her that a young teen had just come into the office and her profile fit her and my dad better, so back to California she went. My dad wasn’t scheduled to transfer from Guam for eighteen months, but with a baby on the way it took an act of congress, letters from commanding officers and friends from their church friends to get him back stateside. While they were in Guam they had been saving to go on vacation in the Orient. Little did they know that the money they had saved would be used in a different fashion, to pay for a baby they so desperately wanted.

In 1992, when I was pregnant with last child I located and found my birth mother. I never met her face to face. We exchanged letters and pictures. She never forgot about me, she celebrated my birthday every January, and my younger half siblings knew about me. In 2013 I found out more about my birth family, my great grandparents came over from Bologna, Italy. I actually have a ship’s manifest with their names on it. My biological father’s family is of Cajun French decent and are responsible for building the Steel Magnolia house that was in the movie and is now a bed and breakfast.

I have given birth to three amazing daughters, and while I definitely understand the love that caused my birth mother, Angelina, to give me up for adoption, I can’t even imagine doing that, especially at the young age of fourteen.


God ordained my birth, and the adoption to my parents, which saved my life. My birth mother was being pressured by her mother to have me aborted. Abortion wasn’t legal in 1966, but she wanted the family doctor to take my life, and my very young mom said No! I am giving this baby life. I am a blessed woman to know my story and to be able to see God’s hand in my life even before I was born.


Happy Mother’s Day!

Hi, I’m Andi. I am first and foremost a follower of Christ. I am married to my best friend, who is great father to all of our children and grandchildren. Together we have 6 kids, and 12 grandchildren. I am an avid bookworm have been since I was 3, and I believe God has allowed certain things to happen in my life to show His steadfast love and faith.








#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Andi Tubbs, Mothers, Mother’s Day, Adoption

Read Full Post »


022916 - emilie hendryx - banner



I fell in love with writing at a young age. Being an only child I was able to use my imagination in creative ways all the time. I made up stories to amuse myself. Plus, in our home, books were devoured (in the best way) and that grew an appreciation for story in me. It was only natural that I’d want to take that love of story and create my own. I became a writer.


What do you think of when you think of a writer? Maybe a favorite book comes to mind (and the author along with that). Or maybe you think of someone looking pensively out a window with a notepad in hand (or typewriter, or laptop…). Or maybe you think of someone who’s a little eccentric and is always taking notes or muttering about some character or plot.


Whatever your perspective of a writers is, I’d like to give you a little insight into some of the things that make writers great—yes, I’m a lot little bias. We’re a rare breed and should you be lucky enough to have a writer friend, this may help you understand them a little better.


Why Writers Make the Best Friends


Writers are:


We see the world in a different way. We don’t just live life, we experience it. All emotion we feel is an experience. All places, possible locations. All new people we meet, potential characters. In the end, every day is research for us. It’s all material for a book. I think that makes us experience things in a different way than others. If you’re lucky enough to be friends with a writer, you’ll see some of that experience. Let it rub off on you!



Writers don’t just take things at face value. They stew on them. Mull them over in their minds. Make connections to things that others wouldn’t. It makes for some tough, emotion-filled days when the things we’re contemplating are difficult, but in the end, we have a deeper well of thought to pull from. Because of this contemplative nature, we are compassionate and empathetic. We won’t give you empty answers, we’ll truly think through what we say.



It doesn’t matter where we are, we’re always thinking about story. Either the one we’re working on, the one (or many) we’re reading, or the one we want to write. Because of that, we take in everything around us. People, places, smells, actions…we are ultimate people watchers. This can be fun, but it can also be difficult if your writer friend is distracted by a conversation they are listening in on. Don’t worry though, they aren’t eavesdropping so much as gaining insight into better ways to write dialogue or to capture the inflection of the person speaking. They’ll come back to the conversation, and they’ll probably have some great stories to tell too!



Being a writer means we have to be able to focus on the task at hand: our writing. It takes time, energy, and immense effort to write a novel. While some may see this as taking away from “friend-time” I’d challenge you to see past that to the reality of what’s going on. Your writer friend is delving deeply into the wells of emotion inside of them to pour out their hearts on the page. They are focused for a time, but that also means they’ll need a break. Time away from the characters in their heads and the plotlines that are twisting before their eyes. That’s where YOU come in. They’ll turn to you and, with that same focus it takes to write a novel, they’ll be there for you. Because a writer that cares about a little will care about a lot. They’ll want you to share your thoughts, fears, joys, and struggles with them.



Let’s face it. Writers just make things fun! You’ll be standing around in a group of friends talking about something and suddenly they’ll start talking about what will happen when the world ends or zombies invade or how their character got out of a tight spot in their current novel. Story-life and real-life are one in the same to writers and that makes conversation so much more interesting.



Writers understand their friendships in a different way than most people. They see them as investments of time and emotion, not just as people to “hang out” with. Because a writer’s life can be filled with lots of alone time, their real-life friendships are extremely important to them. They may not like being in crowds of people or the center of attention, but they will be there for their friends no matter what. Just like struggles make their characters better, they know that difficult times will strengthen their friendships too. They won’t shy away from the hard things but will push through, staying loyal to their friends.


See? Writers really are the best type of friends to have!


Do you have a friend who’s a writer? Let them know you’re thankful for them today!




Emilie is a freelance writer and photographer living in the heart of Washington, D.C. She’s a member of ACFW and currently working on a romantic suspense series while dreaming up YA Sci-Fi dystopian worlds on the side. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time you can find her playing guitar or reading a book all while drinking too much coffee.


Connect with Emilie:

My blog

Author page on Facebook





Join my Goodreads group: Readers Unite


New Week New Face, #nwnf, Guest Post, Emilie Hendryx, Why Writers are the Best Friends, #Creative, #Contemplative, #Observant, #Focused, #Imaginative, #Loyal

Read Full Post »





Movie Adaptations by Rachel Dixon


Hi Robin! Thank you so much for having me here to today. I am honored to share with your readers.


Today I want to talk about my long and arduous journey of the dreaded “Movie Adaptions”. There will always be a place in my heart that dreads watching the movie adaption of a book that I really enjoy. You name it….The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Divergent, The Help, The Hunger Games….The list goes on.


Because no matter HOW good the movies are, how high tech, or innovative they are…Our bookish hearts have a hard time watching our favorite stories get cut up and changed until sometimes, they are hardly recognizable anymore.


EVERY time a new movie comes out of a book/series that I have read, I always set my expectations unrealistically high. And then I had what I like to call an “apostrophe”…Wait..I mean epiphany.


“I’ve just had an apostrophe.” “I think you mean an epiphany.” – Hook


It all happened one blustery spring day almost exactly 5 years ago. I had just heard about this new movie coming out called The Hunger Games. Naturally, being the bookish sort of person that I am…I decided to read the book first. And I read it in just a couple of days. After I finished it, we went and saw the movie…The VERY next day. OH, I was so disappointed with several aspects of the movie. I had a hard time truly enjoying it. And it was then that I realized the awful truth…I have put an expectation on the production team that they will NEVER meet. That day I learned, that if I EVER want to enjoy a movie adaption of a book…That I MUST learn to appreciate the movie for the movie…and the book for the book.


The beauty about books is that every reader interprets it differently. Different phrases and characteristics will stand out to each of us. And it just so happens that those in charge of putting these books on screen…See things differently than I do. And there are some things that just can’t be described on the silver screen, no matter how talented the actors are, or how beautiful the setting. Some emotions that the reader goes though are too deep to be translated.


NOW, there are some stories out there that really needed to be changed. Such as The Little Mermaid. I don’t know about you, but I am really glad that Ariel and Eric really do end up together…Instead of him married to someone else and Ariel dying.


I also think that J.K. Rowling has the right idea with her new series about Newt Scamander and the Fantastic Beasts series. She is writing the screenplays, instead of the books. This way, we have nothing to compare it too. Granted the screenplays are being published as books which is super fun to read. But it is the same. She gets a story told and shown how she wants it…and the readers, have nothing to compare it to.


All in all, everyone is going to have likes and dislikes of their favorite book to movie adaptions. Are they ever going to produce a movie that contains all the detail and emotions that your favorite book evokes? Probably not. Can we still enjoy seeing our favorite characters come to life on the silver screen? I sure hope so! And there are several books that I would ADORE to see on film. Pepper Basham’s Penned in Time Series and Just the Way You Are, Joanne Bischoff’s The Lady and the Lionheart, Sarah Sundin’s Waves of Freedom Series, and all of Jen Turano and Jody Hedlund’s books…Just to name a few!


What about you? What is your favorite book to movie adaption?


Rachel is a stay at home mom who LOVES to read. She enjoys good (clean) books of all kinds. However, she has a soft spot for historical fiction. There is something magical that can only be found between the covers a book and her desire is to share that piece of magic with you. Rachel has been reviewing books since 2014 and simply adores being immersed in the bookish world. Her husband and 2 beautiful children are her life and joy. Among the 500 things she does a day, she somehow still find time to read.

















#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Rachel Dixon


Links to all movies and books mentioned:

The Hunger Games – IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1392170/

The Hunger Games – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Games-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B002MQYOFW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1489898061&sr=8-2

The Chronicles of Narnia – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Narnia-Complete-7-Book-Collection-ebook/dp/B008LUYSAE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898110&sr=8-1&keywords=the+chronicles+of+narnia

The Help – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Help-Kathryn-Stockett-ebook/dp/B002YKOXB6/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898143&sr=8-3&keywords=the+help

The Lord of the Rings – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hobbit-Lord-Rings/dp/B011AE735O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898171&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lord+of+the+rings

Divergent – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Divergent-Ultimate-Four-Book-Collection-Insurgent-ebook/dp/B00IRCZH3I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898198&sr=8-1&keywords=divergent+series

Harry Potter – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Harry-Potter-Complete-Collection-1-7-ebook/dp/B01B3DIPMW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1489898228&sr=8-1&keywords=harry+potter+books

Fantastic Beasts – IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3183660/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Fantastic Beasts – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Fantastic-Beasts-Where-Find-Them-ebook/dp/B01ETJABQK/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898260&sr=1-3&keywords=fantastic+beasts+and+where+to+find+them

Pepper Basham – Website: https://pepperdbasham.com/

Penned in Time – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Penned-Time-3-Book/dp/B01N3U01VL/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898288&sr=1-5&keywords=penned+in+time+series

Just the Way You Are – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Just-Way-Pleasant-Romance-Book-ebook/dp/B06W54FJM3/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898424&sr=1-1&keywords=just+the+way+you+are+pepper+basham

Joanne Bischof – Website: http://www.joannebischof.com/

The Lady and the Lionheart – Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lady-Lionheart-Joanne-Bischof-ebook/dp/B01FL8C9DG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898493&sr=1-1&keywords=the+lady+and+the+lionheart

Sarah Sundin – Website:http://www.sarahsundin.com/

Waves of Freedom – Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Through-Waters-Deep-Waves-Freedom-ebook/dp/B00QMSCM7I/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489898677&sr=1-3&keywords=waves+of+freedom+series

Jen Turano – Website: http://jenturano.com/

Jody Hedlund – Website: http://jodyhedlund.com/


Read Full Post »




So You Want to See Your Book on the Silver Screen, or Adapting a Novel for the Movies

by Mark David Gerson


It’s March 1995, a chilly spring morning in rural Nova Scotia. With notepad on my lap, pen in hand and a fire crackling in the wood stove, I begin the day’s work on my MoonQuest novel, grateful that this first draft is nearly finished. To my surprise, what emerges onto the page is not the usual third-person narrative. Instead, I find myself writing in the first person as Toshar, the main character.


It doesn’t take me long to realize that Toshar’s voice is the story’s voice and that I will have to rewrite the MoonQuest from scratch, from his perspective. To do it, I know I will have to delete many scenes, add many new ones and subject those that survive to wholesale revision.


My old editor-self would have approached the task as an exercise in left-brain mechanics. My new Muse Stream-self recognizes the need for a more right-brain approach.


(“Writing on the Muse Stream” is my technique for making writing easier than you can ever imagine it being! I write about it in all my books for writers. Look for them on my website, http://www.books4writers.com, on Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/author/markdavidgerson, or from major online booksellers in paperback or ebook. In short, Writing on the Muse Stream means writing with stopping—without stopping to correct, edit…or even think.)


Instead of forcing The MoonQuest into this new, first-person form, I decide to treat the story as its own sentient entity and let it tell me what is necessary and what is expendable. Instead of trying to figure out which scenes to retain and which to cut, I choose to let the story find its own telling.


If my early experiences with The MoonQuest helped me to trust in the wisdom of the story, I now allow myself to trust it even more. The result? The rewrite streams out of me with an ease and speed I never expected or could have imagined.


Why am I telling you this story when it has nothing to do with screenwriting? Because more than a decade later, I would use the identical strategy to adapt my MoonQuest and StarQuest novels into screenplays.



What does that strategy involve?

  • Getting out of your own way.
  • Silencing your critical and judgmental selves.
  • Trusting that your story is smarter than you are, and surrendering to that superior wisdom.
  • Listening to your characters. After all, it’s their story you’re telling!
  • Focusing on story, not structure.
  • Heeding the voice of your Muse and your intuition.
  • Practicing discernment.
  • Writing on the Muse Stream.


Yes, writing on the Muse Stream. Even though you are not writing an original screenplay, the Muse Stream remains your most effective conduit to the story’s essence. If you let it, it is that essence that will guide you as you translate the story from one form to another.
What follows are some basic craft considerations to bear in mind as you read and reread the novel and move forward with your adaptation.
Bear them in mind, but don’t worry about them as you write. Don’t even focus on them. Let them hover on the fringes of your awareness as you listen to the story and as you listen for the story’s best expression as a screenplay. Later, when it’s time for a new draft, you can add them to your revision checklist.



Adapting a novel involves more than stripping out all the novel’s description and copying-and-pasting its dialogue into Final Draft or your preferred screenwriting software. Not all the book’s dialogue will have a place in the film. Some speeches, for example, may run too long. With others, their point might be more eloquently expressed visually. Talk to your characters and and out from them what is necessary and what is superfluous.



In fiction, the presence of a narrator or narrative voice can reveal much to the reader about the story and its characters. Most films have neither a narrator nor a single narrative voice. As screenwriter, you will need to find alternative ways — visually and/or through dialogue — to give viewers the information they need.


Action & Description

You have limited space in your screenplay to paint the scenes and settings your novel can do at its leisure. Evocative, concise writing is critical.


Plot & Theme

Even a simple novel may have multiple themes and subplots. A complex novel will have even more. Unless you are writing a modern-day version of Erich von Stroheim’s Greed (a silent film that originally clocked in at close to eight hours), you may have to streamline your original story to focus on a core plot and theme. In doing so, you may find yourself eliminating subplots, characters and settings that are superfluous and altering or merging others.


One final note. If the novel you want to adapt is not your own, always make sure that there are no legal impediments to your screenplay version, even if the novel you want to adapt is in the public domain. Unless you are the novel’s author, secure the necessary rights before you start writing. If you don’t, chances are your script will never be produced — either because the rights are already spoken for or because the author has no interest in a film adaption.


Adapted from Organic Screenwriting: Writing for Film, Naturally. © 2014 Mark David Gerson. Look for Organic Screenwriting in paperback or ebook from major online booksellers or signed to you by author from http://www.organicscreenwriting.com


Author of more than a dozen books whose readers span the globe, Mark David Gerson electrifies groups and individuals around the world with his inspiring stories and motivational talks and seminars. Mark David’s books include critically acclaimed titles for writers, award-winning fiction and compelling memoirs. His screenplay adaptations of his Q’ntana fantasy novels are on their way to theaters as a trio of epic feature films, he is currently at work on a third book in his popular Sara Stories series, and his latest book for writers is Engage! Winning Social Media Strategies for Authors.


Known as “The Birthing Your Book Guru,” Mark David works with an international roster of clients to help them get their stories onto the page and into the world with ease.


Visit Mark David’s website at http://www.markdavidgerson.com and follow him online @markdavidgerson and http://www.facebook.com/markdavidgerson.page.



Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Mark David Gerson, Organic Screenwriting, Sara’s Year, After Sara’s Year

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Diversity Between the Pages

Your stop for diverse Christian fiction

Petra's Pen

Everything writerly


Just a redheaded woman who is obsessed with books


How to Plan, Plot, Write, Edit, Publish, and Market a Story

Tall Poppy Writers

Bright Authors | Smart Readers | Good Books

Joy of Reading

“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou

Faithfully Bookish

connecting & encouraging

Two Girls and A Book

Two Gals Who Love to Read

Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

The Pilot Wife Life

Flying is his passion and he chooses it. He is my passion and I choose him.

Jessica Kate Writing

Inspirational contemporary fiction with sassy heroines, fun romance and real emotion

Selected Essays and Squibs by Joseph Suglia

The Web log of Dr. Joseph Suglia

Pepper D Basham

Britallachian romance peppered with grace and humor

Crystal Olmos

Olmos There

Seven Angels, Four Kids, One Family

Sometimes sarcasm is the only sane response