July 2018 Newsletter

NY Times Best Selling Author
 Will Speak at HSW Meeting!

July 14 Meeting Features New York Times #1 Bestseller, Ellen Hopkins

Ever want to question how a New York Times #1 author got there? Here’s your chance. Our July meeting will be devoted to one of the biggies: Ellen Hopkins.

Join us for a discussion on craft, Q&A, and what it takes to become a wildly successful author. Starting with the massively successful novel, CRANK, we’ll discuss how her career developed into her worldwide popularity.
Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty non-fiction titles, three novels for adults, and thirteen NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to wine-growing. Ellen is a regular speaker at schools, book festivals, and writers’ conferences across the US, and now throughout the world.

If you want her to autograph a copy of one of her titles, bring it with you. Just don’t steal one from the library shelves. They get prickly when we do that.

Photo credit: Ellen Hopkins at the 2011 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States. Larry D. Moore (Wikipedia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Hopkins#/media/File:Ellen_hopkins_2011.jpg
Photo & book graphic design by Rene Averett

From the HSW President

In previous HSW meetings, we’ve sometimes discussed the relationship of poetry to prose. Mostly we’ve focused on how the intensity and compression of poetry can be used to develop short, crisp images to replace rambling description.

Our July guest, Ellen Hopkins, has taken poetry into an even more difficult area. She has successfully used poetry to shrink prose to its absolute narrative core. She captures the interactions of characters in a distillation that is amazingly powerful in the sparseness of its approach.

I read her first novel, CRANK, in preparation for her visit. Apart from the gripping nature of the work, I got schooled on how bloated my own writing now seems in comparison. If you don’t attend another meeting this year, attend this one on July 14.


Membership Renewals

A reminder that if you are joining or renewing your HSW membership by mailing in a check, please include your email address on the check or on a note in the envelope. This way, we can ensure that you get on the newsletter email list. 

If you haven’t renewed your membership, please do so soon to continue all the great benefits of being an HSW member. Thanks!

Critique Group Shakeup!

Get excited, everyone; we’re going to try something new in the land of Critique Group Wrangling! 

We will now have all of our current groups, as well as those looking for a group, listed on the website. There are two parts to our new system: 

1. The current groups (whether open or currently closed to new members) are listed so the leader of an open group can be contacted directly by a looker.

2. There will also be a list of those looking for a group, and they can contact each other and either choose to stay on the list as a looker, or form a group and be taken off the looker list and put on the ‘group’ list (as either open or closed). 

So head on over to the website and check out the lists. And if you have a group to be added (or deleted or altered), and/or if you’d like to join the list of those looking for groups, (either a finish group or an on-going group), let Critique Group Wrangler Nicole know!

New HSW Writing Contest

At last month’s meeting, Donna Stegman announced this year’s writing contest and it is something special. If you weren’t at the meeting and haven’t gotten the word, the information and rules are posted on the High Sierra Writers website at www.highsierrawriters.org. 

Look for 2018-2019 Novel Writing Contest in the Menu bar at the top. Or click on this link: 

This will be a great opportunity for the winner, so check it out.  Image: checkmark


Your Book on the HSW Website

Just a reminder, if you are an HSW member and you’ve published a book, we are happy to add your book cover and a link to the sales page on the HSW website. We are proud of our members who publish and would like to highlight their achievements. 

If you have a book or books to list, please send a cover image and the address link to Rene at ruamor@sbcglobal.net 

While you’re at it, peruse the listings at:

Quick Grammar Tips

Grammar can be a big stumbling block for writers, particularly when words sound the same but are spelled differently or are used in more than one way. I’ll be posting a quick tip each month to help you figure out when to use what word.

This month: Is it toward or towards? Or backward or backwards?

If you’re not sure which one to use, you’re not alone. I used to ponder over that question myself, but it isn’t as hard as it seems. The rule applies to toward, backward, forward, and most any other -ward word. It’s a basic preference in usage. The only difference is the s. Most Americans prefer to omit the while most Europeans use the s. You can use the one you prefer.

There is an argument that the word without the is an adjective and with the s, it’s an adverb. But that’s only a guideline, not a rule. 

The real rule here is consistency. Whichever style you chose to use, stay consistent with it in your writing. At least, for the book you’re working on. Feel free to change it for a different book.



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