Category: Sudbury Writers’ Guild Meeting
URGENT – ATTENTION – ALL
We’re moving the location of April 27th, 2017 meeting!
We will be convening at College Boreal in RM3606 on the 3rd Floor.
Doors open at 6pm Meeting Starts at 6:30 pm.
Tom and Vera will be leading a discussion on poetry with music and lyrics being the focus.
If you need directions or have questions please contact us!
In addition to Canada celebrating its 150th Anniversary this year, we also have another milestone to celebrate in 2017 namely the 25th Anniversary of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild.
Founded in 1992, the Guild has gone through a lot of changes over the years, but one thing remains constant – our desire to help our fellow writers achieve their goals. Whether it be learning the basics of fiction writing, or its more specialised help like learning how to draft that killer query letter we’re here for each other. As individuals we may not have all the answers or the experience, but as a collective we have a very broad and diverse range of experiences that serve us well.
At our first meeting of the New Year on January 26th, I hope you will join me in sharing your personal writing goals for 2017. Maybe you’re the type that always itemizes your writing goals for the year complete with spreadsheet and timeline, but more likely than not you’re more like me and you have some vague goal of finishing that book, or getting published. That’s where we need to spend some time thinking about what it is we want to accomplish and what are things we can do to make it happen. We need to focus on what we have control over and what concrete steps we can do to make things happen.
One of my own goals this year is to read more books about writing craft. I tend to get in comfortable spot in my writing where I think I know enough to be a decent writer, but then I stop and read a book and I realize that I don’t know everything. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know everything! For me the great thing about reading about other people’s writing experiences is that they often are able to put into words concepts and ideas about writing that you have been poking around the edges at for years. Suddenly something someone says about plotting or characterization clicks for you and you’ve got a new tool in your writer’s toolbox.
The problems with goals (and New Year’s resolutions in general) is that if we don’t put concrete plans in place to making them happen, they tend to be pie-in-the-sky wishful statements. Even my goal of reading more books on writing is too vague. How many? Over what time? You may have heard about writing SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
If I say I want to read 4 books on writing in the 2017, that’s a pretty good start. But is it specific enough. What would be even better is if I said what TYPE of books I wanted to read. Do I want to read about outlining, grammar, or something else? Even better would be to list the titles of the books I am going to read. That way, when the time comes I don’t use the excuse that I couldn’t find a book I wanted to read on the topic.
Also my current goal allows me to procrastinate to December 2017. It would be better if I planned to read 1 book by end of March, the 2nd on by end of June, etc. So you can see I even need to work on my 2017 goals a bit more before the end of the month. That would make it more measurable and allow me to correct if it was taking me too long to complete the reading. Maybe I need to read fewer books, or maybe switch from paperback to audio.
Is it attainable? Have I chosen a goal that I am capable of achieving given everything I know about myself and my other commitments. I’d like to think so. I typically read around 24 books a year. Fitting in 4 books on craft should be attainable. Measuring whether something is attainable is more important when stating goals like “I want to write 1,000 words a day” or “be published by my next birthday.” In that case I would ask – How fast do you normally write? Do you write everyday? Or with regard to the publishing goal unless you have an agent and a contract with a publishing house, the chances of a book coming out in the next 12 months is not attainable (Unless you’re self-publishing it).
Is it relevant? Does it help further your overall goal? My reading 4 books on writing craft definitely helps me provided they are relevant to areas I want to improve on. While reading a book about the history of hip-hop, while might be interesting an great fodder for story ideas, may not fit with my goal and may not be relevant.
Is it time-bound? Yes – I said up front that I am planning on reading it before the end of the 2017 and that now that I have thought about it I will plan to read one book per quarter (or one every-three months). THat gives me some time to balance other goals and also to absorb what I learn from one book before diving into another one.
There are a lot of resources on the internet about setting goals and especially about writing goals. Here’s one website where I took some information from.
See you at our next meeting – Thursday January 26th, 2017 at 6:30. Doors open at 6pm.
Our first meeting of 2016 has been pre-empted by a workshop being hosted by Barbara Kyle on January 21st, 2016.
The workshop will be conducted via Skype and members of the guild will be participating as a group from the Older Adult Centre at the YMCA in Kinsmen Room “C”. We’ll meet at 6 pm and the workshop is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm.
The topic will be “Crafting the Page-Turner: Magic and Verve in Your First 30 Pages.” The talk will be approx. 45 minutes, followed by a Q&A session.
As part of the workshops Barbara is conducting in January she is hosting a draw to win a free manuscript evaluation of the first 25 pages of the winner’s WIP. There will be one winner from across all the workshops.
For more information on Barbara Kyle please visit her website – http://www.BarbaraKyle.com
The Sudbury Writers’ Guild meeting scheduled for January 28th, 2016 has been cancelled.
The next regularly scheduled meeting will be February 25th, 2016.
Come out to our next meeting of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild on Thursday November 26th at 6:30 pm. Location is at Parkside Older Adult Centre located in the YMCA on Durham Street. Doors open at 6 pm and we will be in Kinsmen Room C.
At November’s meeting we’ll be checking in with those participating in NaNoWriMo to see how they are doing heading into the final stretch.
We’ll also be critiquing work submitted by members of the guild.
This will be our last meeting before the new year. We have a Member’s Only get together schedule for early December. Details of which will be discussed at this up coming meeting.
People looking to see what we are about are welcome to come to November’s Meeting or wait and come out in January.
You can also drop us a line via our Contact Us form in the lower right of the website window.
Come out to our next meeting of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild on Thursday October 29th at 6:30 pm. Location is at Older Adult Centre located in the YMCA on 41 Durham Street. The Doors open at 6 pm and we are usually in Kinsmen Room B.
For our next meeting Clay Campbell with be discussing the upcoming NaNoWriMo (aka Nation Novel Writing Month) and with the assistance of the regional municipal liaisons for NaNoWriMo.
We also have a special presentation/dramatic reading from Roger and Chris Nash.
We will be discussing upcoming Critiquing Sessions and reading from last month’s Writing Challenge.
Hope to see you there!
Writing tips — much like inspiration — can be found almost anywhere. Every writer has thoughts on their craft and most are happy to share these. The late Elmore Leonard — author of numerous bestsellers, such as Glitz, Get Shorty, Maximum Bob, and Rum Punch — limited himself to ten. He wrote the following list to explain his writing and help others looking to improve their own work.
10 tricks for good writing:
1. Never open a book with weather.
2. Avoid prologues.
3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said”…he admonished gravely.
5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.
My most important rule is one that sums up the 10 — If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.
October’s meeting of the SWG will be based around writing tips. Members are asked to bring tips they’ve found helpful and share them with the group. (No limit on subject — structure, ideas, even scheduling/organizational tips are welcome — but please bring between two and five total. Thanks.)
We here at the Guild try to encourage each other to write whenever possible. To that end we issue prompts once a year. These can be items — I wrote a funny story about demon babies and witches based on a such a prompt (a baby soother) — photographs, snatches of dialogue, or even randomly selected words/phrases. At our March 27th meeting (rescheduled to April 3rd) I offered the following exercise:
Gene Roddenbery, the creator of Star Trek, didn’t start out as a writer. He was a police officer for years before deciding that television was his true calling. Not having a lot of money or free time he couldn’t afford classes in writing so he taught himself using a simple trick — he watched TV. First he would watch with the sound off and try to write dialogue to fit the action. Then he would sit with his back to the TV and write action to the dialogue he heard. In that spirit I ask you to think of a favourite movie and write part of it (the opening, a favourite scene, etc.) in prose. Don’t mention what movie it is and see if we can guess the title just from the brief (500 word) sample. Below is an example I wrote many years ago — it’s a bit rough, but conveys the opening shot of one of my favourite movies (hint: it stars Richard Pryor, John Candy, and Hume Cronin).
The sun gaped like open wound in the sky. Bloated and sickly it hung against the washed out blue background. A blue only matched by overused urinal cakes, with not a porcelain white cloud in sight. What little warmth the gaseous orb shed fell limp upon the mostly yellow, threadbare grass.
That stretch of dying growth, which only a true believer would call an “out-field,” worked hard to make the shitty dirt look magical and inviting. Like every other aspect of the old ballpark, it failed miserably.
Crooked chalk baselines marked the field’s wobbly diamond. The fence, a collection of mostly vertical boards that had been painted years ago with a colour now little more than a memory, threatened to collapse with every stale breath of wind.
There were two dugouts. Twin pits not even fit for an animal. Both moldy. Neither had a working fountain … just rusting pipes that groaned and dinged before releasing a trickle of thick, disgusting slime.
Each dugout was built around a long bench, roughly cut pine, little more than a squared off log. The bench was a place most of the players were intimately familiar with, having spent plenty of time sitting on it – or others like it – throughout their careers. Knots covered its length, explaining why it hadn’t been cut for timber. Small holes marked where various species of insects resided … those that weren’t busy afflicting the players.
Behind the dugouts lurked the fans. A surly lot, more interested in the overpriced beer than the laughably inept action on the field, they jeered the home team and tried to find a comfortable spot in the unforgiving steel and concrete stands. Built to house six thousand, it echoed pathetically with a few hundred in the seats. The public address system screeched like a scalded cat, thankfully failing to convey the announcer’s incoherent ramblings.
All things considered, it was a ballpark worthy of the city of Hakensack.
None of this was noticed by the scrawny figure standing alone by the scared rubber of the uneven mound. Sixty-two feet six inches from home plate, give or take a foot, he was oblivious to his surroundings. Standing in a much-mended uniform, complete with a more pink than red bull rampant on his breast, he existed in his own little world.
Montgomery Brewster was unaware of the curses rising from the half empty stands or the obvious disrepair of the stadium around him. In his mind he was back at Wrigley Field pitching for the Cubs. Living, once again, the high life of The Show.