Next Meeting

June 20th~
Hook Your Readers with Effective World-Building
Speaker: Bria Burton

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

We're Moving Back!


As you'll notice at the top of this page, we are moving back to the Main library for the next 6 months. Renovations have been completed and the library opens on the 9th. Our first meeting is on the 12th, featuring that bubbly, crazy, celebrity ghostwriter, Bev Browning. She's coming from Gainesville, and will present a workshop on subtext, the art of how to put things between the lines. Her workshop is titled 'Shimmer' and everyone who experienced it at the Anhinga Summer Workshop gave it rave reviews.

I'm starting NaNoWriMo in a couple days (Sunday, to be exact), and my name is JohnnyStPete. If you join the national novel writing month website to keep track of trying to write 50,000 words in a month, look me up!

Hope to see you soon, and keep on writing,


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Final Day!

The final day is here, but hasn't yet begun. I'm exhausted, but had a great time getting to know old friends better, meet new people, create scenes here and there. Just having fun. I won't name all those who made this conference one I'll remember, that would probably be as interesting as the Oscar acceptance speech for best gaffer. There is one workshop left. I am skipping the one that started 25 minutes ago, a choice between two different writing prompts. I've written enough, revising my first page each night, completing 3 more reflections (poetry) to finish November, and adding posts here when I could.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the November meeting. I will begin email reminders mid-week once I've established our meeting place. I intend to have that task completed by Wednesday night.

Keep writing, and keep talking to writers!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday Evening Post

Oh man! What a blast this conference has been. Not only have some of the workshop presentations been very good (though way too short, but it's a conference, not a workshop!), but meeting all the people has been a blast. I think that's one of the most valuable if not the most valuable things to take away from a conference. It's about meeting people, listening to them, figuring out what the current trends are or how people view their jobs (in the publishing business), and just getting to a certain comfort level around those you want to be able to impress when the time comes. (For me, that's not quite yet here.) Gotta get ready for the dinner. I'll squeeze one more in if I can. Post, not dinner. There's too much food here! (Not enough water/soda.)


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Night Before Conference and all through the hotel...

The volunteers were getting instructions on what to do, which should make this conference the smoothest running! Preparations sound really great, and I hope it will contribute to a great experience for everyone.

Note for next month! I've been in touch with Bev, who is following our blog from New York (where she is currently working), and she's excited to be presenting her Shimmer workshop here, a hands-on workshop on creating subtext. (The underlying ideas and messages in your story.) She is bringing another member of Anhinga with her, whom I'm sure you'll enjoy meeting, a girl named Sue. (That's right, not a boy!)

And lest I forget, she sends cream cheese greetings! This lady is phenomenal, and someone from whom I think you would learn so much. (I hate those kinds of sentences, but hey, I think that's grammatically correct.)

I'll bring a copy of the Collections book to our next meeting if anyone would like to see what it looks like. I'd like to set up some kind of group to help those interested in submitting for next year that would offer guidance and critique prior to the submission deadline. It would be great to see more of us get published!

I'm also bringing back information on Margie's offerings, which I'll share at the next couple of meetings.

Gotta grab some sleep before the early start. Registration opens at 6:30am!!!


Margie Lawson Afternoon Impressions

Margie Lawson's workshop wrapped up this afternoon, and tomorrow begins the conference. She whipped through the material like a whirling dervish, trying to cover as much as possible while still giving the attendees the understanding needed to use her tool, the EDITS system.

I think there are several important things I took from this workshop. Any tool you find, if you want to see if it's for you or not, you have to USE it. You can't just look at it and say, 'oh, maybe, maybe not.' So I've tried the snowflake method, I've tried several other things, and have come to understand what works for me. With this understanding I can say that Margie's tool looks very good, and is something I will use, at least on some scenes or chapters.

I've already discovered I need to rewrite my most important scenes, in order to ramp up their emotional impact. It reminded me of what some of my readers (editors, critiquers) have said. 'You just did something major to a character and the character didn't respond. Huh?'

Margie took a passage from a well-known author's book and went over it showing how she would use her system of highlighting on it. Someone looked for a 'hard and fast' rule, but she demurred. There is not right or wrong pattern of highlighting. It's purpose is for you to discover the tone of your story, and whether it makes sense the way you've written it.

Based on what I've seen from her, I'd recommend getting more of her information. It could definitely help!

Tomorrow starts the conference, and I'll post as I can, outside of my volunteering duties. I also took a first look at the FWA Family Collections book (Chrissy let me take a look), and I found it to be very professional. I highly encourage everyone to take a shot at next year's collection, and will do something with our group for those that want to work on a submission.


Margie Lawson mid-day 1st Impression - She rocks! Hits the nail on the...!

Oh, that's so cliche! And she'd be the first to point it out to me. The morning of this session has been filled with great information, and in looking at the first page of my story for maybe the hundredth time, I still found it woefully weak! (Alliteration, a tool that can be used to good effect, sometimes.) She has promoted her work during this time, and I intend to take a closer look at it. Based on Sam's recommendation, she is everything promised, and more.

Of course, implementing her system, even part of it, requires work. Are you up to it? Or do you like to just write and think, it's really good just the way it is. She mentioned a technique I first learned at Anhinga, that of recording your reading so you can listen to it. I think it might make all the difference to listen after the fact rather than while you read out loud. So, I'm going to try it.

Check out her website and sign up for her newsletter. It also comes with good tips, as some have mentioned in the class today just by pointing things out to everyone.

Later, and keep on writing!

FWA Conference Blog! Margie's Day

Greetings, members!
I apologize for getting Molli's review up so late, right as the workshop prior to the conference begins. But, as always, I want to send out blogs while I'm here for those who can't make it. For those going to the Times Festival and/or Necronomicon, I'd love to hear about those, too.

Today is Margie Lawson's workshop, which begins in a few short hours. I'll send updates, maybe at lunch and the end, as to how it goes, and how it compares to some other things I've come across. (Though to be fair, it's difficult to compare something you've read with someone you hear. They are two different types of learning experiences.) Chrissy mentioned we have 100 people attending the workshop, so that in itself will make it interesting. Sounds a little bit like a college class!!!


Synopses Dissected by Molli

Molli Nickell dissected the synopsis for an enthusiastic crowd at the October 8th meeting, going over the requirements, showing us a method to make it easier to write them, and tearing apart, gently, our own struggling attempts at this most dreaded part of the writing process. Did we sweat? You bet! (Okay, now I'm picking up phrases from Sunny Fader!) Molli's clear directions were a big help and everyone raved about the benefits of having had her go over their first or second or third paragraphs. Why is this so hard? We write tens of thousands of words to a story, then can't seem to condense it into a single page. I boggles my mind, but also reminds me that when we get into the detail of our story, we tend to have difficulty pulling back to describe the forest.

Thanks to all those who attended, and I hope to see some of you at the conference!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Viewpoint Workshop by Diane Marcou

I attended the Viewpoint workshop sponsored by PINAWOR today, led by Diane Marcou (one of our presenters earlier this year). I thought, if I'm promoting these workshops, I ought to try one out to see how they are.

The workshop ran 2 hours for $10. Diane covered the topic well, and though I had heard some of this before in conversation with her, it was good to hear it in a group setting, where a lively discussion took place. In addition, she ran us through an exercise for the last quarter of the meeting that was very informative. (It also revealed to me how slow I first begin to write when presented with a topic!)

Based on my experience, I recommend these workshops for anyone who wants to get a good grounding in the topic, and get feedback on things they may be unsure of. Here's the schedule for the remaining three:

10/10  Dialogue  Susan Adger and Barbara Schrefer
10/17  Character Development Ann O'Farrell
11/14 Editing   Elenora Sabin

You'll recognize Elenora as another one who has presented to our group earlier this year on revising and editing. If you missed that, or would like a refresher, this promises to be a good one.

The classes are held at the Highland Rec Center in Largo from 1:30pm to 3:30pm.
For more information, visit their website:

Happy writing!