Minutes from April 1, 2019 Meeting

April is National Poetry Month! At our next meeting, Monday, April 8th at 5pm, if you have a favorite poem or find one you like over the course of your reading this week, please bring it along to share with the group. We’ll also do some found poetry exercises—words and materials will be provided, so no pressure! On Monday we wrapped up our diverse fiction discussion by pointing out that no one discussion is going to do the trick. The topic is vast and complicated—we’re talking about the full range of human experience, after all. We picked up a few threads from last week … Continue reading Minutes from April 1, 2019 Meeting

Minutes from March 4, 2019 Meeting

Yesterday we wrapped up our workshop from last week and did a little brainstorming with the writers. Afterward we talked about the four basic types of writing: expository, descriptive, narrative, and persuasive writing. The first three types are crucial elements of fiction writing, and exposition was a frequent topic in this workshop—some of our stories could have benefited from a little more of it, others from a little less or some fine-tuning of what was there. It’s not always easy to tell when you need more exposition to fuel your story and when your exposition is bogging everything down. There … Continue reading Minutes from March 4, 2019 Meeting

Resolve, Review, Persist

New Year’s resolutions tend to start gathering dust around February, and the artistic kind can be especially difficult to justify, especially when things get busy. But there’s no shame in starting over, and in fact there’s something to be said for not even starting until February. Whether you’re a month into a new habit and reassessing your goals for the year or just starting yours out, here’s a reminder of why you made those writing resolutions in the first place, and permission to take them seriously, in case you need it: In 2019: Persist, Persist, Persist.   Continue reading Resolve, Review, Persist

Dialogue

This week’s discussion was all about dialogue. If you missed the meeting and didn’t get the handout, you can find Thomasa’s tips for writing good dialogue over here, and here’s the rest of what the group came up with: How your characters speak is just as important as what is said. Be descriptive, but resist the urge to get too fancy with your dialogue tags—”said” is perfectly fine, and leaning too heavily on more interesting synonyms and adverbs can clutter up your writing; basically, make them count. Realistic speech isn’t grammatically correct, so dialogue doesn’t have to be and can … Continue reading Dialogue

Minutes from December 14, 2018 Meeting

For our final meeting of 2018, following up on our character discussions of the last couple weeks, each of our writers brought in a character, major or minor, to introduce to the group. Some came with lists, while others had chosen to stage interviews with their characters.  Pooled together, we had a range of internal and external details—family dynamics, educational background, personality quirks, physical appearance, religion, favorite foods, full family history, personal traumas, professional history, social skills, etc., and how some of those traits inform the others. It sounds like everybody came out of this exercise knowing more about our characters … Continue reading Minutes from December 14, 2018 Meeting

More on Character

We’re all hard at work on our character trait lists (or interviews, or spreadsheets, or whatever route you’ve chosen) for Friday. I can’t wait to meet everybody’s characters, but I’m having more trouble than I expected boiling mine down to traits on a list without going off on a lot of tangents. So I started looking around the internet for useful tips from established writers. Here’s Chuck Wendig on two nifty visual aids for writing characters: the mind map—a sort of visual-meets-textual reference of multiple characters’ basic traits—and a purely visual collection of abstract images that call to mind who a … Continue reading More on Character

Minutes from December 3, 2018 Meeting: Character Building

This week’s meeting focused on character building. We covered a lot of ground, so settle in. First off, let me refer you to this helpful post on creating a well-rounded character. We went over those five points and discussed how they can help address some common snags a writer may hit when crafting a character, including something called “the superhero problem” in which a character is too powerful to identify with, too invulnerable to allow the plot any sense of urgency, or too prominent in the plot to allow room to explore how other characters matter and are affected by … Continue reading Minutes from December 3, 2018 Meeting: Character Building

Worldbuilding: Culture

Writing advice: “Write what you know.” Me: “But what I know is boring!” It’s one of many reasons why I tend more toward the speculative in my reading and writing. But even speculative fiction requires some grounding in reality, and I only have one short life’s worth of very limited experience. I know the people around me, how they live, what they look like, what they value. I can write about those lives, and there’s no reason not to. But I’m building a world here. If I fill it only with what I know, I will very quickly lose interest, … Continue reading Worldbuilding: Culture