We Need to Talk About Writer’s Block

I don’t know if it’s shame, denial, or something else that makes us cling to the concept of writer’s block when life provides so many real roadblocks to writing. We can’t set aside work, family, and other responsibilities; we can’t control how illness, disaster, and trauma swallow up our energy and skills. Why enable more barriers we can’t control? Maybe artistic pursuits are so romanticized that we don’t like to admit how much hard work, patience, and failure goes into them, especially when we don’t always know what our efforts will yield. How do we excuse the days spent staring … Continue reading We Need to Talk About Writer’s Block

Looking Forward

Now that you’re through the crush of finals and have (hopefully) had a chance to relax, it’s a good time to think about your summer writing goals. It can be hard to imagine finding time to write while working, taking summer classes, or planning vacations, but during the last two semesters we found that we were better able to make the most of our scant writing time when we had other writers to encourage us. The writing group was a source of inspiration, encouragement, accountability, even commiseration when needed. Whatever the topic, our discussions always left us inspired and eager … Continue reading Looking Forward

Minutes from April 15, 2019 Meeting

Thursday, April 18 is Poem in Your Pocket Day! Share your favorite poem down in the comments if you’d like us to add it to the packet we’ll be sharing from throughout the day. Yesterday we shared some original poems and talked a bit about our relationship to poetry. We’d had a great time creating found poems last week but struggled when it came to putting together a satisfying poem using our own words. While all art is subjective, poetry doesn’t have as many concrete rules as fiction does. It’s harder to gauge a poem’s quality—even its doneness is a … Continue reading Minutes from April 15, 2019 Meeting

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 18, 2019 Meeting

Sounds like everyone made good use of their time off! A couple of us have been working on unfinished novels and a couple more have been editing finished work, but we still had brain space to tackle a few difficult questions yesterday. Over Spring Break a question about finding an editor turned into a discussion about knowing when your work is ready to be put out into the world. We continued that discussion in the meeting yesterday and managed to tie it to another question, how things become canon in a work of fiction, sparked by J.K. Rowling doing that thing … Continue reading Minutes from March 18, 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

Minutes from February 11, 2019 Meeting

This week’s meeting focused on the query letter. The topic can be a little mystifying, but Thomasa’s been querying her novels for a while now and was able to break down the process for us: its importance if you’ve chosen the traditional publishing route, how to research and choose agents who are both trustworthy and a good fit for your work, how to write a query letter, and how to approach a contract once your letter is successful. You can get the handout from the meeting here. It includes a formatting guide and a sample query letter broken down and … Continue reading Minutes from February 11, 2019 Meeting

Minutes from January 28, 2019 meeting

First off, from here on out meetings will be limited to one hour. Anyone is welcome to hang out longer than that, but the time limit will help keep some of our discussions on track and ensure no one’s driving home too late on winter roads. Our next meeting will be Monday, February 4th at 5pm in the library. There’s no discussion on the agenda for next week so everyone can focus on their own projects, bearing in mind everything we learned about dialogue. We talked about its many roles in a narrative, how it contributes to plot and characterization, … Continue reading Minutes from January 28, 2019 meeting

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