Saturday, April 24, 2010

Wannabe's Journal for April 2010

Our April meeting was held on Friday April 23rd at 9 AM. We all had our morning coffee and sat down to discuss the recent seminars and workshops we had been fortunate to attend at Sinclair Community College and Miami University-Hamilton. Our meeting are open to the public and free. The best part is that you are also eligible for a free cup of coffee at Panera if you attend. Here is a summary of what we discussed.

Wannabe's Journal

Saturday, April 24th

Our meeting yesterday morning was very informative. Our group discussed the most recent workshops(Sinclair and Mad Anthony's). The following is a review of some of the favorite speakers at both sessions.

Sinclair: Featured Speaker was Ron Carlson.

Ron Carlson writes in the morning, when the mind still is quiet, before the world and all its distractions intrude.
Before the coffee is finished brewing, he slips out the kitchen door, crosses the small patio behind his Huntington Beach bungalow and settles into his desk in an office carved out of an old garage. "What you need to do is get up and be a raw beast and go and type," he says. "Be as dirty as you can. And if you do that for 20 minutes, you'll be great. "You can clean your house in the evening. If you want your book, you've got to be ferocious about your draft."(From the Orange County Register).

Ron is an outstanding speaker, educator and author of five novels and five collections of short stories. One of his current books, The Signal has been listed on the NYT best seller list. His philosophical tidbit's were worth the price of admission. Once you get to your morning or afternoon writing place "close the door" Write in the Dark and Edit in the Light! Divide yourself and don't worry about names. Use all your senses in decribing the scene and the event you are witing about in the dark. When editing Read Out-loud to someone. Multitasking is doing two things poorly at the same time. The real story should start with an event. Put your character into a situation to see how they will react...tolerate the ambiguity of the moment. Trust yourself. Spend at least 20 min a day on writing and don't open your email until after 4 PM each day.

I wish I could have remembered more of his great talk...

Other noted speakers at Sinclair

Charles Freeland Writing Poetry
Gary Braunbeck Writing Great Dialogue
Lucy A Snyder Writing Urban Fantasy

Note of Interest: One of the "Goodies" of the Workshop was a copy of Flights, the literary Journal of Sinclair Community College. One of our own Wannabe's: Larry Kelly has three poems published in this publication. Larry has won the Sinclair Poetry writing contest in previous years. Congrats Larry.

Mad Anthony Writers Conference

This conference was held at Miami University's Hamilton campus. The conference was two days with a Friday evening session entitled: Murder and Mayhem. After Registration at 8 AM participants were treated to talks on such topics as Arson/Fire, SWAT, K9 and to top off the night participants got transported the County Morgue, Police Training Facility and witnessed a mock trail in the historic courthouse in downtown Hamilton. For those interested in writing a fictional novel in this genre this would have been a good session to attend. Put this on your schedule for next year.

A number of Wannabe's participated in the Saturday session. I will provide some insight on the sessions that I attended.

Regina Doman: What Editors Look For:

Her handout spelled it out accurately. "Rx for a Writing Career"

Establish a strong voice and know your audience. How ironic...this is exactly what Alice Pope recommend to me back in December at another Writers conference. Study the Market...use google to search for your subject matter. Be honest with yourself and be prepared to do a lot of marketing.

Vicki Moss: Creative Non-Fiction

Creative Non-fiction can be Essay's Articles, book length Memoir or even short stories in a memoir style. Creative non-fiction reads like fiction but the stories are true. Ms. Moss recommends Lee Gutkind's book The Art of Creative Nonfiction. Writing in this style is like making a homemade pizza. You start out with the facts of the story which is based on truth....a basic cheese pizza. Then you add the other ingredients to make it more zesty.

She suggests to take a picture and create a story from the picture. Interesting...for my current project I took pictures of the place where the settings of my story took place. It helps me in setting up the scenes. I also recorded the my interviews of some the characters in the novel. For those of us who are doing genelogy research this might be a good technique for publishing a audio book for your family history. Research is everything...use all the tools at hand. She was similar to Ron Carlson in her writing regiment: Put your butt in the chair and write 500 words and get in the habit of doing it.

She also pointed out that voice is very important in creative nonfiction. She referenced Rhonda Rich's book My Life in the Pits. She also recommend a book by Rick Bragg All Over but the Shouting. She indicated that is is one of the best books for Creative Nonfiction.

Viciki's Blog site is one of the best:

Jane Friedman: Marketing Using the Latest Tools. Ms. Friedman was our luncheon Keynote speaker. I have spoken of Ms. Friedman's talents in prevous blogs in the past.

Jane's four principles of Audience Development:

Join a social networking site and observe
Contribute and help others
Ask for something only after people trust you.

Build your own Blog. Posting on Facebook and Twitter will attract similar type people.

Measure your audience....use something like Google Analytic s.

Use on-line sites as a resource to find education and networking opportunities.

Participate long before you try to use social networking sites to market. Be positive in your postings. I can attest to that. "You partner with do not rely on them".

Sammie Justesen What Agents want you to know

This session was conducted by a husband and wife team from Northern Lights Literary Services. Mrs Justesen is a literay Agent and Mr "Dee" Justesen is the Publisher.

Sending Query Letters to Agents:

Cut and past the first 10 pages of your completed manuscript into the email. Send all emails to yourself first so that you can see that the format of the email looks OK. Great suggestion. Most agents do not like Word type attachments...they will delete them. Also do not do stupid things like " My brother thinks this book with sell well" Will he buy 10,000 copies?

Women buy the most books...63%. Younger people are the growing segment for ebooks and the older generation is the group buying the most traditional books.

Book Proposals: A must for non fiction Includes overview, info on the author, target market for your book, and a marketing plan.

Red Flags: Pay no fees for an agent to represent your work.

Publishers want to sell at-least 5,000 copies or a book in order to recoup their costs. Consider your rights to audio books and video's when negotiating your contract.

Nancy Pinard: Reading like a Writer

What can I say...that I have not already. Our original leader gave another one of her very information and inspirational lectures on how the writer can craft a brilliant short story with the correct use of powerful words. Ms. Pinard used a short story(2 pages) by Mary Robison entitled Yours to show the power of words in crafting a compelling short story. A short story is a formed story of a character testing conflict told from a viewpoint. The use of the correct word in a sentence can make the difference is how the reader interrupts the scene and how characters interact with one another.

We also discussed the fact that a short story is like a piece of Art. Wow that is similar to what Ms. Moss said when she recommended taking pictures and then using the scene as a resource for your writing.

The last session of the day was conducted by Jane Friedman. The title of her session was entitled: Building Your Author Website.

The session was conducted in the computer lab. Each person attending was able to create a Blog site using Google Blogger or The current Wannabe's blog site can be found on Blogger. and are two sites which are easy to use. Wordpress has more functionality. If you want to have your own website and own your own domain then and a web hosting site like Go would be the better combination. Start with Go and search to see if your domain name is available to rent. Most sites are priced reasonably for two years. You will also need to set up a host site which together with your name will run less than $ 80. After you have secured your name and hosting you can download the tools available at to design your web/blog site. You have many theme's and design's to choose from. I would also suggest that you check out the functionality that is included in the Premium Designs. Especially if you have already had books that have been published.

Great Material and well worth the price of admission.

There were many other featured speakers at the day long conference on Saturday.


Creative Writing Classes at Sinclair:

Poetry: Jamey Dunham T/Thurs 2-4:30 PM
Charles Freeland WWW

Fiction Tim Waggoner T/ Thurs 2-4:30 PM
Rebecca Morean WWW

Screenwriting Rebecca Morean T/ Thurs 8-10:40 PM

Antioch Writers Workshop

July 10 to the 16th. Many different sessions. This year the Workshop provides an al-a-cart menu for selecting the right conbination of classes and sessions for your literary appetite. Deadline for signing up is June 1st.

Some other notes:

Any suggestions on how a writers can go back to environment where they are writing in the dark? That was a question posed yesterday at our meeting. In our workshops we heard that you should write anywhere from 20 minutes to 500 words a day. But how do you get that "butt" in the chair? Any suggestions? What is your routine?

What about the wife who is being pressured to write her memoirs by her husband. She is the youngest of a large family and all of her sibblings are either deceased or not interested in helping. Maybe create a book that has family tree into but create a video or podcast of family stories of her sibblings for her family. What do you think?

Bill Foreman is writing a young adult novel about a whale and two children. I will include some of the titles of the chapters in our next letter.

Since we have so many "Santa's" in our group maybe we should have a seminar through the LLI that discusses what makes for a good Santa: makeup, clothing, flexible schedule, good listener... Would you attend? I am sure you would hear many great stories.

I thnk I hear my bride calling my name. Besides my fingers are sore and my brain is tired. Please be sure to visit our blog site to view our lastest picture.

We have not set a date for our next meeting yet but I will set a new date in early May. Have a great safe.