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

Rules of Writing

We’ve shared a lot of writing advice lately, and it’s had me thinking about the nature of the thing. Just about every writer has “rules” they live by; many have lists, whole books, even, of steps you must follow and things you must avoid at all costs if you hope to be published and successful. However, following someone else’s rules to the letter can sometimes do more harm than good, especially if a rule is internalized as law. My first book on writing was Robert’s Rules of Writing: 101 Unconventional Lessons Every Writer Needs to Know by Robert Masello. I was 15 … Continue reading Rules of Writing

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