Monday, March 31, 2014

Inspiring Creativity In A Novel Series

Today's April 1 and I'm happy to say hello from Gail Gaymer Martin at

As I prepared this post it reminded me of a blog post to the ACFW blog  on Inspiring Rejection. Weird topic but it was based on things I’d learned from my April Love Inspired release, Rescuing The Firefighter. As I wrote about the creative ways I dealt with changes I had to make in the final story, I also thought about the way research can also inspire a novelist.

Researching, I had learned so much about firefighting from both online research, phone calls and numerous other ways, but mainly, I learned the most important from two firefighter’s I met on Facebook. Yes, you heard me. I posted that I needed real life information, and I was contacted by two men willing to provide me with practical and real life details on their day to day encounters. One wrote and asked, if I would you like to know the psychological and emotional struggles of a firefighter. Writers will gasp here, since there’s nothing greater than that type of information.

Both men’s willingness to take time and share their experiences and feelings was truly a gift. So don’t
pass  up the opportunity to seek help outside normal methods. The Internet is very helpful, telephone calls to the local fire station and even a tour of the building helps, but reality details is a gift. And the same men asked if I would like him to read the scenes that involved these incidents so that he could offer suggestions if they were needed. That was a moment that will always stand out in my mind. He was extremely helpful and made very few changes.

After my author copies for the first firefighter novel arrived, The Firefighter’s New Family, I sent each man a thank you note and an autographed copy of the novel that included their names in the acknowledgments. The same man wrote back and after expressing his thanks for the book and acknowledgment, this is what he said, “I thought you did a great job of including the technical aspects we talked about. Good details, proper terms, sequenced correctly-excellent work. But what really got to me was the story itself. When I first started reading the story, I was looking to see if the issues you and I talked about ended up being part of the book. Before I knew it, I found myself lost in the story. I was rooting for Devon and Ashley to become a couple. I loved the way you interjected wisdom into the story line. Devon and Ashley are really role models-from the way they respected each other, to the way Devon respected Ashley’s relationship with her first husband, the way Devon and Ashley related to his ex-wife, the way Ashley and Devon related to Joey and Kaylee, etc. You were able to show the  struggles they faced had a solution, and that solution included following God's word. Really nice work. You now have another fan!”

The research was amazing. While writing the first book involving firefighters, I hadn’t noticed at the time how much I would set up characters for Rescuing The Firefighter. I had submitted a different storyline to my editor, but that idea was rejected and, I had to get creative. As I reviewed the second story, I realized I had already built my third novel hero and heroine into the second book. It had been done unintentionally, and it reminds me how the Lord works in His mysterious ways guiding us to into meaningful themes for our fiction.
Research and rejection can result in unexpected gifts to authors by inspiring new novel ideas that are both creative and meaningful to readers.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

This Blog has moved to

This blog has been moved to  Please visit my Writing Fiction Blog there filled with the same comprehensive information and many more new posts.  Thanks you.

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Writing Fiction Site

If you're looking for my comprehensive Writing Fiction Blog, it has been moved to my new website at

Thanks and hope you find everything you need.  If not, please comment or ask questions. I've been blessed with fifty-two published novels and over 3-1/2 million books in print, and I teach writing at conferences across the US so this is my way of giving back.  You can learn what I teach at no cost to you.  You can also subscribe to the Writing Fiction blog so you see any new post that interests you.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Website for Writing Fiction Blog from Gail Gail Gaymer Martin



Award-winning novelist, Gail Gaymer Martin writes Christian fiction for Love Inspired with fifty-two contracted novels and three and a half million books in print. She is the author of Writers Digest’s Writing the Christian Romance and.a co-founder of ACFW. Gail is a keynote speaker at churches, libraries and civic organizations  and presents writing workshops across the US. She was named one of the four best novelists in the Detroit area by CBS local news.


Writing Fiction is a comprehensive blog covering all techniques and elements of writing ficiton for all genre. I have taught writing through writers' workshops and at writers' conferences across the United States.

Please visit the new location of the Writing Fiction Blog at

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Writing Prompt for Speculative Fiction

Jeff Gerke, Publisher of Lord Marcher Press for speculative fiction, shared a promote he had developed by another author friend, Randy Ingermanson, better know as the Snowflake Man. This prompt will stimulate story ideas for give your creativity a nudge for a novel you're presently writing.

Take a look at this interesting, prompt, and I know all of us who don't write speculative fiction would love to see this kind of prompt for other genres.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Different Take on Vanity Press Vs. Traditional Publishing

For years, vanity presses---another name for paying to have a book published and another form of self-publishing---has been contrasted in a negative light to traditional publishing. Some of the arguments are legitimate, but with the rise of digital publishing, some authors have taken a new look at self-publishing.

Recently I read an article that pointed out the argument to going through the traditional process of honing your craft and submitting to an agent and/or editor, then using their knowledge in the rejection letter to continue to work at making your writing the best it can be.  After years of honing, studying, critiquing and paying your dues, you finally hit pay dirt and a contract is issued. This contract means your book would be in print on paper and sold in bookstores across the country. This is  the prize most authors long to have in their lives.

But the digital market has opened new doors and has changed the views regarding the benefits of digital publishing. Many well-established authors have hit a new kind of pay dirt as they watch money roll in from the books now sold online in the digital market.

Bernard Starr's blog article, printed in the Huffington Post, offers a thoughtful take on the arguments for and against the vanity press. It will open your eyes but also give you hope if you are still struggling to sell that first book.  Here's the link:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Filter To Enhance Story

Authors often set up perimeters for a storyline by weighing it with backstory or details when they provide readers with information to help them understand the motivation for the characters. As we’ve heard many times, backstory or details can bog down a novel when it’s piled into the beginning of a novel. Too much emphasis on story theme or message can do the same. Think about these alternatives.

The old saying action can speak louder than words is true. Use action to filter the character’s motivation or the theme of the story. Instead of telling the reader through narrative or dialogue, find visual ways to show a character’s longing or need.

Filter the backstory
I sometimes suggest using weather or nature to enhance the mood of a scene. Sunshine obviously reflects a sunny situation. Rain does the opposite. But be more subtle. Sun beams down on a woman reading a letter as she sits on the porch steps. Her expression darkens as a cloud sweeps over the sun and throws a shadow on her. This doesn’t need explanation.

Now we know the letter has something unpleasant. She could crumple the paper, tear it to shreds or drop it on the porch steps as she hurries inside. Let the reader wonder for a moment while she reacts. Details come later. Have a character look at a photograph and reflect an emotion. Wipe away a tear. Smile. The reader knows the character’s feelings through his reaction to the photograph.

Filter the Storyline or Premise
Don’t open a novel with the obvious. Draw interest by suggesting the premise or storyline before being blatant. Use a discarded newspaper headline to set up a situation. Serial Killer Strikes Third Victim. A young woman glances at the newspaper, frowns and peers over her shoulder. We get the point.

Perhaps a radio program or billboard announces an event—a rodeo, beauty contest, or state lottery offering millions. Nothing need be said, but it sets a question for the reader. Will this become a major event in the story?

Using the lottery idea, a young woman steps into a shop and purchases a lottery ticket with the comment, “Here goes another five dollars down the drain.” She smiles and leaves. We get the point. Something will happen. We’re curious. Will she be a winner? Will the winning ticket put her in danger? This sets the stage with a subtle hint of things to come.

Filter the Subplot
Subplots need to connect with the main characters, but subplot can help develop a theme, message or storyline by mirroring the same or similar problem in the life of a main character. Don’t let the main character realize this. Instead as the main character observes his friend’s problem give him the insight to eventually find the solution to her own struggle.

Readers are intelligent. They enjoy deciphering the hints and clues the author gives as to the problem and the reason. Don’t take away from their enjoyment by laying all the details in front of them. Use offhand comments, radio bulletins, newspaper articles, signs, overheard conversations, and even nature to provide a more subtle way to build the storyline and enhance it.