January 2020 Newletter

Next Meeting

Our first meeting of 2020 will be

January 11 at Scheels at Legends. Meeting will start at 10 a.m. and last until around noon.

Program: Linda Enos will be presenting her new plans for  the Critique Groups. Read her article below for more of what she has in mind.

FIRST PAGES: Matt is back from his holiday vacation and will be doing First Pages at this meeting. Please bring in your first page, double spaced in 12 point type. It helps to identify genre, but do not put your name on the page. 

From the President

 The holidays are over. Let’s get back to work.Fingers flying over the keyboard will soon burn enough calories to get rid of that extra five pounds that Santa delivered. (OK, I have nothing to back that up, but it sounds good, doesn’t it? One can dream.)

Over several years, January has become our month for planning what guests we’ll have in the coming year and the month in which we evaluate our critique groups.

This year we’re going to shake things up. We’re revamping our critique groups and introducing something which I think you’ll really like. Every time we’ve surveyed the members, the number one area you’ve asked for help has been in craft. If you want more hands-on help with your writing, we’ve figured out a way to deliver. See Linda Enos’ article on a new group and come to the January meeting to find out more.

We’ll also have First Pages, so bring in that all-important start to your manuscript and get detailed feedback.

Happy New Year,


And the Big Reveal is …
A New Critique Group

 By Linda Enos

 Yes, a new critique group, led by me, is the BIG REVEAL. (Hope y’all aren’t too disappointed…J)

 Some specifics about the group are listed below. If you’re interested in participating, please take a moment to read. There will be an extensive discussion of this group at the January meeting, as well as a signup sheet. Also, at the Jan meeting, we’ll go over the proper etiquette for giving/receiving critiques. Additionally, leaders from current groups will be there to answer any questions you may have.

 Before getting to information about the new group, here’s a bit of background for the reasoning behind establishing it:

When speaking to current (and past) group leaders, their concerns for bringing in “new” people could usually be put into two buckets:

Bucket #1 – they (new people) don’t have strong writing skills.

Bucket #2 – they (new people) don’t know how to give/receive critiques.  

With luck, these concerns will be addressed with this new group.

 Other issues newly formed groups have encountered include, but aren’t limited to:

  1. People not knowing each other and thus have a harder time communicating.
  2. People not understanding how to give/receive critiques.

Again, hopefully this group will alleviate these problems.

 Basics of How It Will Work

 This group will be led by moi, Linda Enos. You can email me at linda.r.enos@gmail.com with any questions or concerns.

  1. You must be an HSW member to participate in this group.
  2. This group will meet monthly after the regular HSW meeting on the second Saturday of the month, starting in February. If there is an all-day presentation set for the regular meeting day, an alternate weekend day will be designated for the group. The meeting(s) will still be held at Scheels.
  3. This will be a “homework” group so pages must be submitted in advance. Only the first five submissions sent to me will be accepted. The next five will be addressed the next month.
  4. Details about submissions and where to send them will be discussed at the HSW meeting in January. Information covering critiquing will also be discussed.

After the meeting, full details about the process will be published on the HSW web site, www.highsierrawriters.org

It’s a New Year – Time to Renew!

That’s right. As we move into a new year and a new decade, it’s time to recommit to your goals as a writer. If HSW is helping you and you feel it’s valuable, then become a member by renewing your membership or joining the group. We believe that if you’ve come to three meetings and you think it’s giving your value, inspiration, insight, and help, then $25 is a small price to pay to be a part of the group and enjoy the benefits.

To everyone who has already renewed, thank you! To everyone else, it’s time to get on board.

We have several speakers and workshops lined up for 2020. Your membership gives you first access to these, Some are free, while others have a fee attached and the member fee is always lower than the one for people who are not members. 

Other events,  writing competitions, and our critique groups are member benefits. Renew or join now to get the full benefit of membership. Go to http://highsierrawriters.org/dues_payments/ to pay with PayPal or you can mail a check, payable to High Sierra Writers, to the HSW mailbox at:

High Sierra Writers
PO Box 12241
Reno, NV 89510

You can also give a check or cash to Rene at the next HSW meeting. 


Some might say it’s as long as it needs to be. But that might not always be true. Is it one scene? Two scenes? More than that.  

The reality is that chapters vary quite a bit depending on genre, content, and writer’s preference. Some writers make every chapter around 2500 words, some go for 3700 to 4500, while I’ve seen some as short as 1250 or less. Sometimes, you have a good instinct at where to end your chapter, even if it is in the middle of a scene. Other times, the defining point may not be as clear, and your chapter continues when it should have stopped. 

The key part is to make sure your chapter has one or more beginnings, middles, and ends, just like the scene does. And a hook… You want something at the end of every chapter to pull the reader to the next one. 

I just happened to run across this article from Book Baby, talking about chapters. If you want a little more insight about them, go to this link. http://preview.alturl.com/hgyd3

Plotting Group Resumes on January 31st

After taking the holiday off, we will fire up the plot assistance think tank again on January 31st at the IHOP on South Virginia in the Win-Co shopping center. We’ll start at 6:30 pm and go to about 9 pm. If you have some writing problem of any sort that you want to talk through with other HSW writers, then bring your problem and join us. If you just want to offer suggestions, then come along also. Even if we don’t have any troubleshooting to do, we can usually find something to discuss. If nothing else, have a piece of pie and coffee. Look for Rene, who is usually in the back room on the right hand side as you come in.



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