Friday, November 1, 2013

Targeting Love Inspired? Get the Insider Details from Autho Mindy Obenhaus

Casey here: I love Mindy Obenhaus. One of the nicest ladies you'll ever have the pleasure to meet, Mindy has been a friend since the first time I met her. A past Carol Award Coordinator, now a debut author on her way to win the very award she used to coordinator (I'm absolutely sure of this fact :-), I've invited her here today to share about her journey with Love Inspired. LI is one of the lines that acquires more debut authors than any other in the CBA. Mindy gives some great tips below! And btw, be sure and check out her debut novel. A sweet LI story if ever I've read one. :-)

Target: Love Inspired

So you want to write for Love Inspired? Me too! I can't tell you how excited I was the day I got THE CALL from Melissa Endlich. It was a dream come true. And while that call may have been the fulfillment of one journey, it was just the beginning of another. For starters, I suddenly had deadlines. And I'd signed a contract, which meant no more procrastinating.

From the beginning of my writing journey, Love Inspired was my target. Why? Because it's what I read. Still there were things that slipped right past me until my editor pointed them out.

The first one was like a "duh!" moment for me. I don't know how I could have missed this, but I did. So, in case you're having a blonde moment like me, LI wants both the hero and heroine's point of view in each chapter. You might have hers, then his, then hers again, then his again, so long as each POV is represented in the chapters.

LI wants the hero and heroine to meet, or be on stage together, in the first chapter. And we should know each of their story goals by the end of that chapter. Story goals are not the same as their dream. Story goals are what they want that they can potentially achieve during the course of the story.

Then there's that dreaded conflict. Conflict is what drives our story, but our characters need both internal and external conflict. Internal conflict is usually what's holding them back from love. In my September release, The Doctor's Family Reunion, the heroine's internal conflict was that the hero had betrayed her a decade ago. How could ever trust him again?

Another note on internal conflict. Be sure that whatever is keeping your hero and heroine apart is real, not simply a misunderstanding or something that can be cleared up in a conversation. The internal conflict has to play into that push and pull throughout the entire story until the characters realize they can't live without the other person regardless the cost.

External conflict is what's going on around them that keeps them from achieving those minor goals of each scene. In the same story, my heroine has inherited her grandfather's Jeep tour company. And while she's worked with him for years, she wasn't familiar with all aspects of the company. Suddenly, she's battling payroll, computer crashes, a fire, and a nasty rival. But it's those external conflicts that drive the story forward. As Donald Maass is fond of saying, think of the worst thing that can happen to your character in a scene, then find a way to make it happen.

Finally, if you want to write for Love Inspired, you need to be teachable, flexible, and willing to listen. When I got that call, Melissa said she liked my story, but it still needed work. I had to make some tough changes but, in the end, they made it a much stronger story.


Thanks, Casey, for inviting me to join you at the Writer's Alley. It's been fun. I hope your readers, especially those targeting Love Inspired, will be able to glean some valuable information.

Mindy Obenhaus always dreamed of being a wife and mother. Yet as her youngest of five children started
kindergarten, a new dream emerged—to write stories of true love that would glorify God. Her debut novel, The Doctor’s Family Reunion, from Love Inspired Books released in September. When she’s not penning her latest romance, she likes cooking, reading, traveling, and spending time with her grandkids. Learn more about her at www.mindyobenhaus.com, www.facebook.com/authormindyobenhaus, or https://twitter.com/MindyObenhaus.

4 comments:

Susan Anne Mason said...

Thanks, Mindy, for that great advice. I have a story in with LI now and I hope I managed to do all of the above.

I think my conflict may be a bit weak in parts, so I was really glad to hear that the editors are willing to work with their authors to make the book better. To point out the weaknesses and give us a chance to improve it!

Congrats on your debut! Hope you have many more books out with LI!

Cheers,
Sue

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Hi, Sue! Congrats on submitting your story. Don't you hate that waiting game, though. Ugh! We've got to keep the momentum going, though, and channel that nervous energy into the next story.

And if you get a revision letter like I did, heed the editor's advice, make the suggested changes and resubmit. It really is worth it.

Angie said...

Sorry to be late on reading this! Thanks so much for this post, Mindy. Love Inspired Historical is a line I've targeted in the past, and I love hearing specifics about what the story should include.

Mindy Obenhaus said...

Hi, Angie! I hope you were able to glean a little information that might help you with LIH. :)