Next Meeting

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May 11th- 14 Ways to Find More Writing Time (speakers Liza Garcia & Shirley Jump)
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June 8th- topic pending (speaker Ricko Donovan)
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July 13th- Facts, Rules, and Myths of Book Copyrights (speaker Gary "Dutch" Hinkle)
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Aug 10th- topic pending (speaker Heloise Jones)
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Sept 14th- topic pending (speaker Shana Smith)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Got Stuck? Ideas to help get unstuck

Writing for me creates an escape. A kind of hide away where words dance joyfully in my head. I know it may sound a bit silly, but writing stimulates joy in me. Well, most of the time. Except when I get stuck and have trouble thinking of the next thing to write.

I am sure you have found yourself getting stuck and not knowing where the next scene is going or what your character may do next.

Here are a few things I thought may help the next time you get stuck:

Think about the reason why you started writing. Put yourself in the place of joy and happiness and start writing about how you are feeling. Pull in everything you are receiving from your senses and write it down.

Take time to refocus. You may be focusing on being stuck and not focusing on the possibilities of where your story can go to next. You can create a new story. Think about what you would be doing if you weren't stuck. Concentrate on the character's reaction to being in a hard position and how they would get out of it.

Move around. Change the scenery. Go for a walk. Put on some music and dance. Exercise. You could just be in the same place for too long and if you move and have new things to see, smell and interact with, it could possible allow you to move forward with your story.

I hope these help when you get stuck with your writing.

Do you have strategies, ideas or suggestions you have done when you have gotten stuck with your writing?
If so, please feel free to share them with us. Let's help each other keep writing.

Friday, March 20, 2009

New addition to site

Hi all!

We've added a new section to our blog called Getting Published Without Getting Taken. We will add to it as more links are received. Use this section to check out agents and publishers before making a deal that could cost you money. Personally, I write because I have to, to express what's inside. If I never get published, that wouldn't stop me from writing. However, the thrill of being in print motivates me to write the best I can, to be critiqued, to edit and revise, and to avoid the urge to just get something printed as fast as I can, no matter the cost. I'm sure you've read of all the rejections famous writers have received before their first publication. It will be a while before I give up and go the self-published route in the areas where that route is not the best (fiction, especially).

Let me know what you think of this section, what additional links we can post here, and what else you'd like to see on the blog. It's here for your benefit. Thanks for inspiring me to continue this journey.

John

Friday, March 13, 2009

Molli Marks Up the First Page



Publishing consultant Molli Nickell reviewed first pages, spoke on the state of the publishing industry and encouraged a captive audience to review their use of adjectives, adverbs and weak verbs in order to polish the first page (and others, as well) of their manuscript. She emphasized the need to grab attention, mentioning that most editors know within six or seven sentences if you are a writer. She also remarked that Times Roman is the new font standard, and cautioned against fudging on double-spacing to get more lines on the first page.

Though focused on fiction, Molli included advice for the non-fiction writer and reviewed several non-fiction works.

She concluded by mentioning four books that she has found very useful for the writer:
1. How to Write a Book Proposal - by Michael Larson (good for non-fiction, especially)
2. What's Your Story? - by Marion Dane Bauer (good overall plus for young writers - fiction)
3. Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook - by Donald Maass
4. The First Five Pages - by Noah Lukeman

You can read Sam's review of the third book, by Maass, on an earlier posting on this blog and I can second the motion that the fourth book is valuable, as I've read it and learned a lot.

UPDATE: Molli will return in October to review your synopsis!

Monday, March 2, 2009

On Conferences

I have returned from Sleuthfest 2009, tired but happy. I've already written about my experience at Sleuthfest on my personal blog. Short version: Wow. I met wonderful people ranging from beginners to best-selling authors. I attended fantastic panels and sessions where I picked up dozens of tips on craft. And I came back energized and encouraged, ready to write and now regretting that I must sleep--I'd rather be awake and writing.

Because I've been busy preparing for and then attending the conference, I don't have a book review for you this month. I do want to take this opportunity to plug not only Sleuthfest but conferences in general.

If you write genre fiction, a writer's conference for that genre is an excellent way to network with other writers in your field. From those who have only recently realized that they want to write on up to best-selling superstars, you'll make contacts who will help you--and be helped by you--throughout your writing career. Panels and lectures covering topics specific to your genre will provide you with information you didn't even realize you needed to know, and of course there will be craft-oriented sessions as well. In addition, most conferences off opportunities to meet directly with agents and editors.

If you don't write genre fiction, or write non-fiction, look for general writer's conferences. You'll get the same chances to pitch your work directly agents and editors, panels and lectures that will help you improve your craft, and the chance to network with other writers. There's nothing like spending several days among a crowd of people who value writing as much as you do. It will energize and inspire you.

Regardless of the path you plan to take in your writing career, attending a conference has benefits that far outweigh the costs. The FWA conference is scheduled for October 23-25 this year. Plan to attend. You won't regret it.