January 2019 Newsletter


Plot-driven? Character driven? Sounds like “what came first the chicken or the egg?”

Matt Bayan, HSW president, will unravel the connections between plot and character and offer tips on how to get from Page One to The End.


Last month we did a live demonstration on how to load a book and cover to Amazon’s KDP site. But other platforms exist: Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble. Instead of uploading a book to each of these platforms, our Communications Guru, Rene Averett, will show how to load a book to all of these platforms at the same time. Live demo. (We are getting SO techie.) Presenter: Rene Averett  website: http://pynhavyn.com/writers/


For those of you who are querying, right now is a good time. Agents have returned from holiday vacations, and with the new year, they have acquisition targets that they need to achieve for the new year. In our January meeting,  We have a contact who will be discussing the expected genres that will be hot in the coming year. 


Donna Stegman will also explain the rules and deadlines of this unique contest. The winner of this contest will get an opportunity to to skip the agent, skip the slush pile, and capture the eyeballs of an editor who can actually buy your work. Don’t miss Donna’s presentation unless you have no interest of leapfrogging to the front of the line.


Last month, we ran out of time and didn’t get to some of the submissions. If you’re one of the writers who didn’t get feedback, please bring in your work again and make sure to tell Matt your status. Your pages will go first.

For those not familiar with this feature, you may submit the first page of your book anonymously to be critiqued by the group. Please submit double-spaced, 12-point print with the genre at the top of the page.

January 2019 Meeting

The first meeting of 2019 will be Saturday, January 12 at the South Valleys Library, 15650 Wedge Pkwy in south Reno. The library opens at 10 am and the meeting will start as soon as we get the room set up and run until around noon to 12:30 pm. 

From the HSW President Matt Bayan

climbing mountainOne of the most difficult factors in writing a novel is developing a plot. Some writers outline. Others just start writing and let twists and turns lead to a resolution. That’s a matter of taste. But at its core, a plot is a story which must revolve around characters. The plot becomes the result of choices that main characters make on their mental or physical journey from one state of being to another. The change in the main character – either for better or worse – is the force that drives the plot. Characters, particularly the main character, are inextricably woven together with the obstacles of success and failure that occur in the plot. The choice of “character-driven vs. plot-driven” is largely a false choice.

At our January meeting, we’ll unravel the links between character and plot and help to simplify the process of constructing a novel.

Bring in your questions, whether you’re far along in your manuscript or starting a new project.

Matt Bayan

Novel Writing Contest

We’ve talked about it at our meetings and the full information is on the web site, but if you aren’t into the editing process of your novel entry, you’d better get crackin’. Need I remind you that the full novel will need to be completed, edited, and ready to go by the August 2019 meeting (Saturday August 10, 2019)?

Also, you need to be working on those blurbs for it. Try to come up with at least three or more for your novel. Try these out with fellow-writers to see reactions and learn which ones work better than others. Use your critique partners to help you tweak them. As defined in the rules, they must be three paragraphs long, no more. 

You will also need your query letter for the editor who, if you are selected the winner, will be reading it. So the query also needs to be polished to be submitted with the entry in August.

Here’s the exact requirements for your entry as presented on the web site from Donna’s handout:

 You must submit pages – in this order — Cover sheet with name and title. Query letter (including word count and genre), 3-paragraph blurb, and the first four pages of your manuscript. Pages are to be stapled, not paper clipped, together.

A reminder of the length requirements — minimum for adult fiction is 70,000; young adult is 65,000 and the maximum for both is 100,000.

For all the rules and requirements, please go to this link at our web site.

Happy 2019! 
Will this be your breakthrough year? 

Who knows when luck will strike? But in the meantime, High Sierra Writers will continue to help you improve your writing, strengthen your stories, and give you tips and help to get it to the market whether by traditional or independent publishing. 

Like all non-profit organizations, HSW does need a little operating money to help cover the costs of the speakers, contests, and meeting space. Our $25 annual membership fee covers these costs and in return, you get tips, workshops, successful speakers like Michael C. Grumley and Mignon Fogerty, critique groups, and more. Our aim is to help every writer achieve their goals. 

So, please renew your membership in HSW if you haven’t already done so. It’s easy. Just go to the link below and click on the Buy Now button that will take you to PayPal to securely pay via credit card.

If you don’t have a credit card, you can still send a check or money order to us by mail. Make the check payable to High Sierra Writers and send it to:
High Sierra Writers

PO Box 7825 
Reno, NV 89510

Let’s make 2019 our best year yet!

Increase your Income Streams Easily

Self-published authors, do you want to earn more with your books than just what you’re getting from Amazon? While Amazon has the lion’s share of the market, many more distributors and readers are in the fray than Kindle reaches.

At the January HSW  meeting, Rene Averett will provide a quick overview of one of the alternate publishing sites to Amazon. Draft2Digital is an easy to use publishing application that can get your self-published book to multiple other markets, such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and others.

Rene will give you the pros and cons of using other markets than Amazon and will go through a demonstration of how to upload and price your books for Draft2Digital and explain the various features of this program.

If you’ve thought about taking your market wider, then you should be at this meeting to learn more about this tool.

Coming in April!  Mignon Fogerty

Mark your calendars for this workshop with Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogerty. She will be the featured presenter at the April 13 meeting and extended paid session to talk about how to have success using your social media outlets. More details and workshop registrations will be coming next month.



Administrator for account
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.