Monday, November 10, 2008

Helping the Whitneys Raise the Literary Bar

I’m such a hermit. I grew up far from the center of the LDS church, attending branches in New Mexico, Wyoming and Alaska where we were lucky to have fifty people out to a sacrament meeting.

When I began writing, I practiced my craft alone, not realizing until I had published my second novel that there were wonderful writers’ groups available to help me hone my abilities as a writer and offer me the camaraderie of like souls at the same time.

American Night Writers Association (ANWA) is one such group. I blogged about ANWA and what a dynamic group it is quite a while ago. Click here to read that blog.

I belong to another group, too, called LDStorymakers. To be a member of Storymakers, you have to be LDS and a published writer. One might say that we are in competition with each other for the small pool of LDS readers, but all I’ve seen in our association is cooperation. We’re there to teach each other, to cheerlead, to advise, to commiserate, and to give a leg up, if we can.

Another goal of LDStorymakers is to raise the standard of writing among LDS writers. We take seriously Orson F. Whitney’s pronouncement:

We will yet have Miltons and Shakespeares of our own.
God's ammunition is not exhausted. His brightest spirits
are held in reserve for the latter times. In God's name
and by his help we will build up a literature whose top
shall touch heaven….

To that end, last year, LDStorymakers instituted the Whitney Awards. The object is to honor excellence in fiction by LDS writers in both general and LDS markets.

Awards are given in these categories:

  • Romance/Women’s Fiction
  • Suspense/Mystery
  • Speculative Fiction
  • Youth Fiction
  • Historical
  • General Fiction
  • Best Novel of the Year
  • Best Novel by a New Author

LDStorymakers is now preparing for the 2009 Whitney Awards and is sponsoring an on-line auction as a fundraiser. I hope you’ll visit the WhitneyAuction Web Site and make a purchase for a very good cause.

This Auction will run for the month of November. You are invited to check the web site often, as new items are added every day. Think Christmas as you peruse the offerings. All items, including shipping, have been donated.

Also, be thinking about the books you have read that were published in 2008 that you would like to see honored by a Whitney, because anyone can nominate a book for consideration. Check out the process on the Whitney Award Web Site.

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