April 2019 Newsletter

April Meeting Saturday April 13th

Join Grammar Girl for a Workshop on Social Media!

Our April meeting will feature Mignon Fogarty who will talk during the free public session about social media. The paid afternoon session will go into more specifics as Mignon shows us how to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to grow our business and make more sales. If you have not yet signed up for the afternoon session, it is $30 for members and $50 for non-members. The non-member price includes a High Sierra Writers membership, so if you want to sign up for the Story Grid Workshop or any other one we present, you get the members price along with the rest of the benefits of HSW membership.

The morning session will also include First Pages and a short presentation by Matt Bayan about editing tips. For those in the editing process, this will help you to tighten your work and improve your phrasing.

The Meeting begins at 10 am at the South Valleys Public Library, 15650 Wedge Parkway in South Reno. 

To sign up for the workshop, go to:

Remember, we cannot accept any payments for workshops or dues renewals at the library due to library policies. So, please sign up in advance. It also helps our presenter to determine how many copies of handout materials to print.





You’ve spent hours on the chapter. Your time is valuable. Ergo, the words you’ve written are also valuable. You expect to see them again in your finished manuscript. You set down your pen or close your computer with a sense of satisfaction over a day well spent.

Not so fast.

Most of my editing clients are verbal-retentive. They cling to their words. I’ve had writers fight me over a comma. I’ve had writers stalk out of the room, fuming, because I cut out some bloated description. It usually goes like this:

“These are my words, my ideas.”

“Yes, they are. But why are you writing them? To put in a locked cabinet and hoard like Silas Marner or to have people read them?”

“To have people read them.”

“Then to do that you have to write in a way that holds the reader’s interest. You’re not doing that.”

“That’s your opinion.”

“Yes, it is. But you’re paying me for that opinion. And I’m telling you, you have to be willing to kill your babies. Your words are not sacrosanct. Some of them need to get tossed.”

At this point, they either calm down or we part ways.

Each time you sit down to write, try to inure yourself to the idea that the words you are writing may not be permanent. They may get red-lined. Be ready to drown them, incinerate them, and throttle them in their cradles. Their bodies will form the bridge that will eventually get you to a finished manuscript that’s reader-ready.

Matt Bayan

Does Your Story Work?

Story Grid Workshop on Saturday May 11. Register soon!

Join us for an all day workshop May 11th with certified SG editors as they teach us what the SG method is, and how to use it from our first idea to final draft to make a story that truly works.  We all know that writing a novel goes far beyond that first draft, requiring the hard and often confusing work of editing and rewriting. The Story Grid is a way to for that work to make sense, and in the end will leave you with a solid story that others will want to read!

Two lucky HSW members will have their  scene (3000 words or less)  evaluated through the Story Grid lens during the workshop. If you’d like to have your scene considered, send it (Word or pdf format) to NicoleFrens@gmail.com no later than April 23rd. 

The workshop will start with a hour during our general meeting, then, after a BYO lunch, continue with the scene analysis and more, including how to make Super Hardcore Editing Groups of our own!  Spaces are filling up fast, so go to http://highsierrawriters.org/workshop-payments/ to sign up now! It’s only $20 for paid members and $30 for all others. The first 35 to sign up will receive a free copy of the Story Grid book.  For questions, contact Nicole at NicoleFrens@gmail.com

The August 10 deadline is coming up in a few months. 

We are now a little over four months away from the end of the contest entry period. What stage is your novel in? You should be through the draft and possibly the first edit by now. Have you sent it to beta readers or gotten involved in a finish critique group to get feedback and help to improve your novel? Time is flying by, and you need to make sure you have a completed, clean book before you submit it. This needs to be 100% complete by the August meeting even though you are only submitting the first four pages for the contest.

How about your query letter and blurb? Have you started working on those yet? They are due at the same time as the four pages. 

As a reminder, this contest is for novels only. They must not have been previously published, and the minimum length of the finished manuscript is 70,000 words for adult fiction; 65,000 for YA, and a maximum length of 100,000 words.

All the rules and format information are available on the web site at http://highsierrawriters.org/2018-2019-novel-writing-contest/

This is a great opportunity, so if you’re aiming to get it done, then make sure you’re on schedule to make the deadline.

Dues and Workshop Payments on PayPal

A reminder that you can now pay your annual dues renewals and workshop payments using PayPal. You do not need to have a PayPal account, simply use your credit card to pay. Your transaction is safe through PayPal’s secure server. Go here to pay dues if you haven’t renewed for 2019 yet.

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it, and the writing will be just as it should be.” 

― Mark Twain

Book Blurb Writing

One of the more challenging things for me to write is a book blurb. Sometimes it feels like the whole novel is easier to do than to write these three short paragraphs that will hook the reader into buying your book. Just recently, I’ve been struggling with this. As usual, I turn to the internet for the latest tips on how to do this. I also run my potential blurbs by my regular critique group. If you have a willing group, this is a great resource to fine-tuning or reworking your blurb. If you have a reader group, share your blurbs with them and see which one they like the best.

What exactly is a book blurb and what should it do?

The sole purpose of a blurb is to convince your readers they want to read your book. It’s a short description of your characters and your story. On a paperback book, it’s the teaser on the back page. When publishing an e-book, it’s the description that will be displayed with the book cover.

According to editor Rebecca Heyman in a Reedsy article, “The opening of your blurb has to be incredibly precise and dynamic.”

A blurb shouldn’t tell backstory or any world setting. What it should do is focus on these things:

1) Main character(s) – the characters define the story and are the emotional hook to it. In the first paragraph, you need to introduce the characters by telling the reader what they want.

2) Primary conflict — the conflict drives the story, so it needs to be something readers will get pulled into with your characters.

3) Establish the stakes– you must have consequences. Without them, your story will lack drama, so there has to be a price for failure.

4) Show readers why this book is one they want to read. If you do everything right, your blurb will let the readers know this is the kind of book they love.

You have three short paragraphs to sell your potential readers, so the words need to be precise and efficient and end with a hook. Check out best-selling books in your genre to see how the blurbs are written. If it’s a series book, look at the first one of the series rather than the subsequent novels.

To read the entire Reedsy article, click here.

Another good article is from Kindlepreneur. You can read it here.



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