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Aspiring authors emerging as writers’ conference matures


GLORIETA, N.M. (BP)–“I actually wrote something that may minister to someone I will never meet. It’s a high peak of my life,” Gail Ottemiller, an aspiring writer and a participant in the Nov. 9-13 Glorieta Christian Writers Conference, said.
Ottemiller, who has attended the annual conference since its beginning in 1997, got a break last year when an editor purchased her poem, “Star.” Ottemiller wasn’t alone.
“Within the first few hours of my arrival,” Bob Hostetler said, “four people told me they had signed book contracts as a result of an ongoing class I taught two years ago.” Hostetler’s students returned this year to attend his workshop, “The Advanced Writing Life.”
The Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference was hosted by Glorieta, a LifeWay Conference Center, at Glorieta, N.M. Editors from LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention joined other editors and professional writers on the faculty.
Janice Whipple, project editor for trade books at Broadman & Holman Publishers, a division of LifeWay, said she believes the Glorieta Christian Writers’ Conference is improving each year and, in tandem, “The quality of writing I’ve seen has improved.”
Brad Cope, associate editor for Focus on the Family’s “Single-Parent Family” agreed, “The writers we are seeing this year are a mark above the ones we saw the first year.”
The participants listened to addresses, attended workshops to improve their writing skills and met with editors to solicit writing opportunities. Many of the veteran writers left with assignments, but so did a couple of first-time writers.
Editor Doug Newton said Marcus Norris, an attorney from Killeen, Texas, will write an article on civil disobedience for “Light and Life” Magazine. “This is going to be new territory for him,” Newton said of Norris. “He was real encouraged at the conference … he is discovering he can write [for publication].”
Bonnie Shepherd, editor of “LifeWise,” a Focus on the Family publication, made five writing assignments, one of them to Laura Burn, a first-time writer. “She will write an article for the ‘Family Archives’ section that shows ways families pass along their heritage to their children,” Shepherd said.
This year’s conference had 250 registered participants and 48 staff members, up from the 135 participants and 33 staff members its inaugural year.
The fourth annual Glorieta Christian writer’s Conference will be Oct. 17-21, 2000. Keynote speakers will be, Jan Johnson, the author of 12 books, including her latest volume, “When the Soul Listens,” and Barbara Nicolosi, a screenwriter and director of “Act One: Writing for Hollywood,” a new program sponsored by Inter-Mission. Featured musician will be Randy Thompson, songwriter and recording artist. To register, call 1-800-797-4222 or for more information e-mail the conference coordinator, Mona Hodgson, at mona@sedona.net.

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  • Jim L. Wilson