Writing Advice from an Avid Football Fan

Today’s writing advice comes to us from
Fine Lines friend Jennifer Lovett Herbranson a loyal ‘Bama Fan.

Born into the Lessons

I was raised down South by a strong Southern woman who felt every challenge was an opportunity for character growth, and she lived by the mantra, “Hardwork gets you what you want.” In Alabama, football is like a religion and coaches are like gods. University of Alabama legendary Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant is one of them. My father played for him in the mid-1960s and raised us on Coach Bryant’s life lessons. Combined with my mother’s strong will, Alabama football lessons taught us everything we needed to be successful in life.

I’m also a serial procrastinator

I find nothing compelling about doing something early. But give me hard deadlines and 24 to 48 hours out, I’m on fire. Recently, though, I’ve noticed something troubling among writers I’ve met. They are dissatisfied with their writing lives. They can’t find enough time in the day or they can’t wrap their heads around their ideas or they have no idea how the business runs.

If you want to be a writer, you have to accept that it is not easy. But then again, when it’s hard, it’s worth it. So get on up, dust yourself off, grab whatever tool you need to succeed and get to work. You know you want to do this and you know you can succeed. Here are three ways to help you:

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Fine Lines, Good Writing

The Fine Lines project is all about good writing.

Good Writing

What we want to do is make the clear thinking of our authors visible in print and on our website. Since 1991, Fine Lines has provided a place where creative writers share their written ideas. Our quarterly publications are dedicated to the writing development of all its members. What started out as a single classroom project is now a fifty-state network of authors who love the written word, and it has developed into a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit educational organization.

New Publishing Frontiers

When we found out that WriteLife, our publisher for the last six years, closed its doors at the end of July, we knew Fine Lines would have to evolve once more. As we pursue the many options available writers, we have chosen to start by sharing the summer 2014 issue via our website, www.finelines.org. It will be there, by September 15, 2014. In the future, we may try to publish in both mediums. Time will tell.

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What I Have in My Heart I Must Out

ondays with martin“Have you ever had a realization that the whole beautiful, terrible crazy drama of life was perfect? Sometimes, this realization comes during holy moments, those brief suspensions of time when eternity steals over us, and we feel the inherent integrity of life” (Joan Borysenko, Fire in the Soul).

Recently, I was reading a CD cover on Ludwig van Beethoven’s concertos and came across his quote:

“I have never thought of writing for renown and glory. What I have in my heart I must out: That is why I write.”

Beethoven’s story still inspires many people. He discovered at age 26 that he was losing his hearing, became moody and withdrawn due to his embarrassment of impending deafness, and was ashamed to tell people to “speak up.” “Alas! How could I possibly refer to the impairing of a sense which should be more perfectly developed in me than in others, a sense which once was perfect.”

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Creative Non-Fiction: What You Need to Know

There often seems to be a consensus among folks when talking about writing, that creating creative non-fiction is difficult, and only for the most expert writers. However, this is a monstrous falsehood! Anyone can write creative non-fiction; here’s what you need to know ->

The Non-Fiction in Creative Non-Fiction

The first rule to writing non-fiction is to be as truthful as possible. Yes, the word creative means you’ve created bits, but that doesn’t mean you’ve created something from scratch. For example, begin with a place you’ve visited, an interesting person you met, an experience you had, a funny joke you were told, and start your story there. The place, the people, the sounds, the smells, those are all real things you’ve experienced. Remember; the definition of non-fiction writing is a story based on real facts and information.

The Creative in Creative Non-Fiction

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Operation Chrysalis – First of Mondays with Martin

*From Fine Lines Founder and Managing Editor David Martin


23 Years In…

ondays with martinThe Fine Lines project is now in its twenty-third year of publishing our members’ creative writing. When we prepared our first issue of four pages in 1992, no one could have imagined that we would come this far. Developing our quarterly issues remains a challenge, and every day, we think of new ways to reach more writers of all ages and encourage them to improve their craft as wordsmiths.

Who We Are

During this time, Fine Lines evolved from a newsletter to a magazine to a quarterly journal, from four pages to three hundred pages, from an initial audience of one high school class to one of national scope, from local submissions only to international contributors in thirty-three foreign countries, from second grade haiku poets to college professors, from “wannabe” authors of every genre to a nuclear scientist, a congressman, and a Native American chief.

When we found out that our publisher for the last six years is changing its path, we knew Fine Lines would evolve once more. As we pursue the many options available regarding publishing, we have chosen to start by sharing the Summer 2014 issue via our website, www.finelines.org. In the future, we may try to publish in both mediums. Time will tell.

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Market-Write Tip #1

I have good news and bad news. The good news is that it only takes one book to earn you the title of published author and all of the benefits thereof. The bad news is: One book isn’t enough.

However, back to the good news, you are an artist and the most important process you are involved in is creating. Then creating more.

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Market-Write Tip #1: Create a body of work.


The first thing a body of work gives you is authority.

And, in business terms, consumer confidence. Keep in mind for many authors, their first consumer is a potential agent or publisher. Having works published via literary journals, winning contests, and magazine publications are all part of the resume to garner attention and recognition.

The second point to continual creation is the mastering of the craft.

Every author wants to create a break-out first-time novel. For example The Book Thief is praised as a “sensational debut novel,” when in fact this is Markus Zusak’s 4th published book. On his website, Zusak’s primary writing goal is “I’m always trying to write a better book than the last one. I want to grow with every book.” Authors, like every artist, clarify their voice and perfect their craft first and foremost through creation.

There are certain artist who strive for fame, musicians in particular, like the legendary band Kiss who set out from the start to become rock stars. One of the many marketing tools they utilized was to aggressively create and release new albums, even early on. Before Kiss really “hit it big” they released 4 albums in less than 3 years. Kiss’s commercial success came with their live double album, something that was only possible with a backlog of original music. This live album was recorded in Detroit, Cleveland, Wildwood, and Davenport – not in giant arenas. However, the release gave the impression of longevity and stardom, just what they needed to gain the necessary momentum into mainstream popularity.

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