June 2019 Newsletter

Featured Speaker for June is Mignon Fogarty!

At the June 8th High Sierra Writers Meeting, our featured guest will be Mignon Fogarty, also known as Grammar Girl. But Mignon is also aces with using social media. Starting with a podcast from her closet, she built up her brand to a national level and a book deal. She also happens to be an expert in using social media. So, at our next meeting, she will talk about how she did it and offer some tips during the public meeting from 10 am to noon.

Then, after the lunch break in the paid workshop, she will delve into the details of how to make Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter build our book sales or business. She’ll teach us the tricks to get people to follow to you and respond to your posts. Bring your computer and make sure you have an active account at at least a couple of social media sites to get the most out of this workshop.

Don’t forget to bring your POWER cords and/or backup battery. You don’t want to run out of juice in the middle of this!

The meeting is Saturday, June 8th at Scheels at Legends in Sparks in the meeting room on the second floor. It begins at 10 am for the public session. We break at noon for lunch for one hour, then back for the afternoon session at 1 pm. A coffee shop  is located downstairs at Scheels or you can go to several restaurants and fast food places in the area.

We still have openings for the afternoon workshop. It is $30 for members and $50 for non-members (includes an HSW membership). SIgn up at our website using PayPal or pay at the meeting via cash or check. 

From the HSW President 


Last month, we had an interesting workshop on Story Grid. The emphasis was on structuring scenes to create an engaging experience that hooks the reader. The attendees got copies of the Story Grid book, which I’m sure we’re all still digesting.

The presenters mentioned style but didn’t focus on it because the session was about scene structure. But we shouldn’t forget style in search of the perfect structure.

Spelling and grammar are basics. If you can’t be at least semi-proficient in them, well, need I say more? Beyond that we get into how sentences and paragraphs convey information. That’s where style comes in.

We can say, “Little Ellie wore a yellow dress,” or “Little Ellie’s new dress made her look like a dandelion against the backdrop of the freshly mown lawn.” The first is a blunt statement of fact; the second uses a simile to create an image. Depending on the situation, either might work.

Eliminating passive verbs, creating images instead of detailed descriptions, writing distinctive dialogue, etc. – we’ve had presentations and workshops on many style-related topics.

Being a great storyteller is about the what. Let’s not forget the how of the process. 


Plotting Woes?

Whether you find that you need a little push organizing your story thoughts, or could use some more ideas for conflict, help is on the way!  We’ll be offering an on-going monthly plotting session for all who need, or want to, help  

The idea is that when you need assistance (or want to offer up your ideas to others), we’ll gather together and see what we can do to infuse each other with ideas. Maybe someone else has THE idea that you need, or will just say something to spark your interest and set you off in a new direction, hopefully everyone will come away with something useful.

But first things first – we’d like to take a quick poll to find out when is the ideal time to meet up. So if you think you’ll be using this group in the future/now, send a quick email to Nicole at NicoleFrens@gmail.com with your druthers, and we’ll get it set up asap!  Feel free  to be more specific, or at least give me your A, B, C, and/or D response: 

     A. Week nights 
     B. Weekend day
     C. Weekend evening
     D. Post HSW meeting

Critique Groups / Editing Groups

After our last workshop speakers, I’ve had many requests to form editing groups similar to Anne and Rachelle’s, where the focus is on story structure mostly, and discerning whether a scene or chapter works (does it have the needed elements of beginning hook, middle build, ending payoff for instance). Of course to put such groups together, each member would need to be have a similar take on what they’re looking for, but with a little reading, perhaps, that’s easily done!  

Meanwhile, I’ve also had some recent requests from some to join ‘regular’ critique groups. I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t know anymore about whether I think critique groups need to be single genre-focused, or if a wide range of genres in one group is ok. I think it depends on the tolerance of the group. 

Which leaves us with this: Let Nicole know if you’d like to be added to the online list of people looking for a group – editing or critique, and if you’re open to multiple genres, or want to narrow your group down. Also, please look at the existing list of ‘lookers’ and contact anyone you think might be a good fit and start the conversation with them.   Our new meeting facility (Scheels) has a very lovely cafe that would be ideal for potential groups to meet together for a few minutes after a HSW meeting.

What a delight to meet Anne-Elizabeth Hawley and Rachelle Ramirez at the Story Grid workshop last month, then to go chat and exchange stories over drinks afterward.
Here’s a photo of Anne from up close and personal as we enjoyed some appetizers at BJ’s in Sparks. Workshop materials have been emailed to all afternoon participants, so if you didn’t get yours, let us know. They might have gotten a wrong email address, although be sure to check your spam folders. Sometimes they take an alternate route.

June  HSW Meeting
Saturday June 8th -10 am to noon
Scheels at Legends in Sparks!

For those who didn’t come last month, the meeting rooms are upstairs on the left as you enter the building from the south parking lot. Take the escalator to the second floor and go left, follow the signs toward the restrooms, and the meeting rooms are through the secure door (which is open)  next to them.

Program includes our guest speaker: Mignon Fogarty, Grammar Girl and First Pages with Matt Bayan. If you have the first page of your novel that you would like the group to critique, bring it printed, double-spaced in 12 point type on 8 1/2 x 11 paper. Do not put your name on it although you may include the title and genre. These are meant to be anonymous.

Program for the July 13th 2019 meeting will be announced as soon as it is set. 

2019 Writing Contest Update!

Not trying to alarm you, but… You now have 70 days until your contest submission is due to be turned in at the August 10th meeting! 

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.

In case you need them again, the rules are on the HSW website. Click here.



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