Contest Submissions are Due at the August 10th Meeting!
Is your contest entry ready to go? Have you double-checked to be sure you have all the requires pieces as stated in the Contest Rules. I recently clarified these a little, so check the website to make sure you have yours done correctly. Look for More Details mid-way down the page.
Is Your Book Ready for Prime Time?
Your completed story has worked its way through a critique group (maybe even more than once), yet how can you make sure the book of your heart is ready for prime time? Hiring an editor to put on the finishing touches is one option. And if you can’t afford an editor, what do you do then?
Please join some of our HSW established authors as they share their “self-editing” tricks and tips. They’ll also talk about their “pet peeves” when it comes to reading for pleasure…something every author should be aware of in order to avoid those pitfalls.
Bring in the first page of your story or novel! It’s the most important page in your manuscript, so let’s talk about how to get it right. Completely anonymous. Turn in your first page to Matt Bayan at the start of the meeting. Don’t put your name on the page, but please show the title and genre of the work. Print on letter paper, 1-inch margins, preferably 12 point in Times New Roman or Arial (14 pt would help Matt maintain his eyesight).
August HSW Meeting
The next meeting will be August 10th at Scheels at Legends 1200 Scheels Drive in Sparks beginning at 10 am.
Our meeting will delve into the editing process and what you, as a writer, can do to self-edit your manuscript. You don’t want to miss this one if you want to know the tips that can make your book a winner.
From the HSW President – Matt Bayan
Today, Linda Enos and I were discussing the recent disaster in my life. No, nobody died, though I don’t preclude the possibility that someone could die in the near future. By my hand.
My wife and I moved into a new house two months ago. Within three days, the sewer line backed up due to a contractor plumbing error and flooded the entire first floor. They call it gray water, which is less dangerous than black water, though the distinction escapes me. Bottom line, our house became a petri dish for E coli.
For two months they’ve ripped out flooring and walls and disinfected. Lab tests. We can’t live in the house for at least another month. But I had already moved my office into the second-floor loft.
Circle back to Linda Enos. “Matt, are you still able to write?”
“How are you able to do that?”
Because HSW meetings have sometimes taken on the discussion of finding the time to write, Linda suggested I explain how I’ve been able to continue in the midst of chaos.
Answer? At first, I didn’t have one. I had to think about it.
Answer? Habit and compartmentalization.
I got my first laptop in 1995. Suddenly, sitting in an airport, or taking a long flight, or getting bored at some conference was no longer wasted time. I could write on my laptop! Yes, at first, I got distracted by violent turbulence and imminent plane crashes, by people blathering about problems fertilizing their lawns. Then over time I developed an ability to compartmentalize my writing. I no longer heard squalling babies. I learned to ignore distractions and to focus on my work.
No, I don’t write every day. I don’t write at a certain time of day. But I think about stories and characters whenever I have dead time. Mowing the lawn, driving to the store. Standing in line at the bank I might hear a woman use an interesting turn of phrase. I think about how I might work that into dialogue. Which character might say that?
The habit part? If I’m not doing something that requires my full attention, my habit is to observe the world around me or daydream. I’m doing this constantly. I know this is my staging area in the writing process. When my staging area has enough to use, I turn on computer, enter mental compartment, write.
You might develop different habits. Whatever works. But habit combined with compartmentalization can dramatically increase your output.
Even in chaos.
Even in a petri dish.
Online Writing Classes
Linda Enos (w/a Lynda Bailey) here. Hope everyone’s enjoying all our lovely hot August days and nights. (Can I get an “ugh” from the crowd?)
I’ve put together a short list of websites where you can learn new things about writing – because there’s always something new to learn, right? – or where you can polish up areas of your storytelling which need a good buffing. I provided the links, a brief commentary, and the price factor.
- Creative Writing Now
The site covers everything from fiction writing to poetry to memoir. They also have classes which deal with specific topics such as dialogue and characterization. There’s no charge, so make of that what you will. (As my mama used to say, you get what you pay for.)
I’ve taken many of these classes because they’re mostly focused on romance. However, they also provide classes on writing the dreaded synopsis and/or query letter. The bummer is the instructors are also full-time authors, so the class you just hafta have might only be offered once/twice a year. But they also have a (free) blog where you can glean vital information. The cost is incredibly reasonable…approximately $35-$50 for a month-long class.
- Book Fox
This site showcases the “16 Best Online Writing Classes.” Everything from screen writing (with Aaron Sorkin, no less!) to writing a children’s book in two weeks to a “Master Class” with the likes of James Patterson, David Mamet and Judy Blume. Some of the classes use downloaded books, others use videos while some use both. The cost depends on what you want to do…you can pay a $15/month for a subscription (billed annually so it’d be a $180 bite) or you can buy the course outright. Prices will vary.
- Writer’s Digest University
This site breaks down their online workshops by forum, goal and element so you can decide what you want to tackle first. They also have workshops on marketing and building your platform. Unfortunately, these guys are asking for big bucks…at least to me it’s big bucks. The classes can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to five or six hundred. Also, not all the classes have an actual instructor, which means you won’t get feedback on the assignments, so check carefully if feedback is important to you. I wasn’t able to discern the length of these classes without actually registering. (Also, there may be some overlap between Writer’s Digest and Book Fox.)
This is the last site I’ll talk about. When you click on the “course schedule” there’s a plethora of classes to choose from – Hero’s Journey for Storytellers, First Fifty Pages of Your Novel, Starting to Write, and everything in between. The cost is kinda hefty, but what I appreciated most is you see the cost, the course length and the instructor all in one glance.
That’s all for today. I hope you found at least some of this information helpful. Until next time…
Barnes & Noble Critique Sessions with Matt Bayan
Matt hosts a critique session at Barnes and Noble on Wednesday nights IF he has at least three people who want to do it.
Here’s how it works. If you have a few pages you want feedback on from other writers, contact Matt before Wednesday to let him know. If Matt has at least three people for the session, he will email all participants after noon (12:00 pm) on Wednesday to let them know the session is on. If you do NOT receive an email confirming it from Matt, then there will be no session.
This is important because he will not be there unless he has confirmed.
Matt’s email is MattBayan@aol.com
Plotting Think Tank Group Meeting
The next meeting is August 30th, at 6:30 pm at the IHOP in the Win-Co Shopping Center at 9786 S. Virginia Street. Exit the freeway at South Meadows and go west. The shopping center is on the right hand corner of S. Virginia at the light.
The plan is for HSW members to drop in to get help with plot challenges in your work or any other writing roadblocks that present themselves. The idea is to use the synergy of the group to help generate ideas to solve the problems..
Bring any questions or challenges you have and also be ready to help others. Food and drink are available at IHOP. They are gracious enough to let us use their meeting space, so let’s order something.