Once a week I meet with a special group of writers known as the Writers Inspiration Group. Each person takes a turn at leading for the week and comes prepared with two or three prompts to share with the group.
Prompts can be a sentence story-starter, pictures from magazines, a newspaper article, an artifact of some kind or anything.
Once all the writers have the prompt they start writing as quickly as possible. We don’t think about where the writing is going, or grammar, or spelling. We just let the story or memory unfold, writing quickly for about ten minutes. Then we share what we wrote or pass. We don’t critique or judge. We just share. Then move on to the next prompt.
This week the leader brought in some old writers magazines: Poets and Writers, Writer’s Digest and The Writer. We were to open one up and find something that caught our eye and start writing.
I found the following sentence:
“Many surprises come with writing.”
Here’s what I came up with:
Creating characters and worlds and moments in time. I often hear “I don’t know where that came from” which is one of the joys of writing. Having a basic idea grow on the page and become something more than you ever imagined, or thought you could imagine.
Characters that develop from a basic vision or someone you saw at the lunch counter to somebody with a back ground, loves and hates, fears and dreams.
Finding a way to voice your inner most thoughts by letting words flow freely – writing stream-of-conscious and having your head and heart flow down your arm and onto the page.
Seeing a story in a newspaper or on the Internet that has you asking “What if?” and finding answers in your imagination.
That is where I find my joy as a writer and why I will never stop putting pen to paper.
Energy was high at the Authorpalooza sponsored by the Dog-Eared Pages Bookstore in North Phoenix last Saturday.
Not only was this a great opportunity for local authors; it brought new and fun people to the bookstore. Stop by Dog-Eared Pages to find any of these books and a wealth of other treasures.
J. J. M Czep who’s latest book Blackstrap’s Ecstacy is about . . . you guessed it, a pirate. Interestingly Czep also
teaches belly dancing and reads Tarot cards. I won the drawing for a free Tarot reading and can’t wait to go meet
with her next week.
V. S. Nelson writes paranormal romance and her series Sekhmet’s Guardians was named the best new PNR series in 2013.
She also has a blog and is active in the local romance writer’s group.
Mona K. Oshana has two books. Look Beyond The Fire: Daily Struggles Under Saddam’s Regime
based on her own life experiences with a look at the heart of the people of Iraq. Her latest book Dear Man is
directed to people who want to work with others to tackle the problems in human relationships.
Her books are published by Tate Publishing.
Eduardo C. Brierfield and his wife Les are both writers with many books and short stories to their credit. Eduardo brings images from his world travels to each of his books.
They write science fiction, paranormal mystery, historical fiction and whatever else their imaginations may suggest.
You can tell by her smile that C. L. Gilmore is a friendly and sharing author. She writes novels and poetry.
An educator for many years she now writes full-time. Except when playing with her French bulldog “Pitty Pat.”
Ann Narcisian Videan wears many hats. She is a
writer/editor, self-publishing consultant and helps with word-of-mouth marketing strategies. Her book Song of the Ocarina
combines music, New Zealand, mythical animals, romance and burned-out-rock-star spell casters. Her blog contains a wealth of information and inspiration.
Mary J. Wagner is the author of We Walk Among Angels, a compilation of thirty
short stories to inspire the reader to see the gifts of God and learn to call on
His Angels for help in time of need. On Fire For God relates Mary’s death
death experiences and the help of Angels to rise above all odds.
When not teaching, tutoring, riding her horses in the desert
north of Phoenix, teaching yoga or writing poetry,
Michele Venne is writing and editing her books. Scenes roll in front of her like a movie screen and
she is well-practiced at putting them on the page. Her books include Of Gifts and Goddesses set in historical Ireland,
Of Dolphins and Desires set in Mexicao and California and Of Stars and Secrets and the sequel Of Prophecies and
Promises set on imaginary planets in outer space. She is working on a trilogy set in Montana. She also has two blogs:
one on writing and the other on yoga.
Alan Black is another multi genre writer. I am
currently reading his Friendship Stones trilogy about a spunky young lady in the Ozarks in the 1920s. Most of his books are
science fiction and have been noted as #1 bestsellers on Amazon.
Kris Tualla‘s romance series set in Norway (“the new Scotland”) are full of history and romance. Kris is member of Romance
Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and the Historical Novel Society. She created Arizona Dreamin’ the first romance-reader
event in Arizona. It will occur May 29 – 31, 2015. Visit the Web Site for more information. Kris is an energetic speaker.
She will be the featured speaker at the Phoenix Writers Club on November 15th, 2014. (You must preregister to
attend the meeting. Guests are always welcome. Cost for lunch is $20.00 per guest.)
Bill Lamperes is a former Arizona resident who now lives in Colorado.
Arizona still claims him as one of our own. Bill writes a number of genres with his latest a thoroughly researched novel of the gun Adolf Hitler
used to commit suicide at the end of WWII titled The Artifact. Bill is an amazing story teller and caught my attention quickly with a story that
came out of a news story in Central Arizona. Voices involves the paranormal and describes some of the great old hotels of the state.
How he comes up with the stories is a story in itself. He also writes ans talks about being a writer and what it takes to get the job done.
Dr. Fran Orenstein writes chapter books, ‘tween and teen novels, adult novels and poetry. Her books are set in
various countries and cover an array of issues for each age group. She grew up in New York and has a long list of
degrees in education and counseling. She published her first poem at age 8 and her first short story in a magazine
at age 12. Her books include Death in D Minor an historical murder/romance novel, One Amber Too Many for kids,
The Calling of the Flute and others.
Ethan Russell Erway is the author of the Adventures of Michael
Belmont fantasy series which he describes as a cross between Harry Potter and Indiana Jones. He also writes adult
novellas as The Bleeding Star Chronicles. Ethan and his wife have two sons and live north of Phoenix.
Melanie who writes as Anna Questerly is the co-owner of Dog-Eared Pages Used Books in north east Phoenix. Besides promoting local authors, teaching classes, leading book groups she works with children to promote reading and writing. Her books include The Minstrel’s Tales a series of adventures about a wandering minstrel in Fourteenth Century France and England. She also authored Strategic Rewriting in which she shares her tips and tricks to make rewriting and editing fun. It includes a guide for critique groups.
As I make the effort to get involved in the Arizona writing community I am constantly amazed at how many talented people there are. I am thankful for each one who shares their talents, insights and imagination with the rest of the world. This blog is part of my thank you to this amazing community. Please keep your eyes open for local authors, events and bookstores to help promote these poets, writers, authors, artists and all the creatives who live in this wonderful state.
Spend time with any group of writers this time of year and you are sure to hear “NaNoWriMo” mentioned at least once. Some of the speakers will be cursing the very thought and others will be filled with excitement about this phenomenon.
NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writer’s Month. Every year about this time thousands of writers around the world join an Internet frenzy to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days.
Think that’s too short or too fast? A number of Wrimo’s have gone on to publishing success. Two of my favorites are Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
NaNoWriMo started in 1999 when a group of San Francisco Bay area writers decided to challenge themselves to write as freely and quickly as possible.
Since then they have developed a Web site where Wrimos sign up to be a part of the frenzy. There they can find pep talks, forums on all genres and writing questions imaginable. There are municipal liaisons who plan pre-NaNo parties and write-ins throughout the month. There is also “Thank God it’s over party.”
Chris Baty, the head founder has written books on how to prepare and endure the 50,000 word goal. No Plot? No Problem? is a fun and helpful book for all writers who want to get the job done.
I’ve done NaNoWriMo off-and-on over the years. I haven’t gone back and edited or tried to get any of the novels published. I may participate this year.
I’m sure you are asking “Why bother?”
I have many reasons for doing this:
It frees up my writing and quiets that inner critic.
It gets me excited about writing every single day.
I enjoy the write-ins. Making new friends and the energy is amazing. I learn a lot from fellow WriMos.
Although I don’t consider myself a novelist (I write historical non-fiction) it is fun to try, and maybe one day I will decide to go on with a story. In the meantime, I enjoy the free and open-minded spirit that NaNo ignites.
Here’s where to sign up. I suggest every writer try it at least once. What do you have to lose?
Dog-Eared Pages Used Bookstore put on another helpful Friday Night Writes program.
This week the speaker was Michele Venne: school teacher, tutor, yoga teacher, horse trainer and the author of seven books ranging from poetry to yoga tips to romantic thrillers which are contemporary and futuristic. She is currently editing the second in a trilogy of books set in Montana.
Michele stressed that writers don’t have to write with the goal of publication. We all have reasons we write and it pays to take time to figure our your own reasons for writing. She had us write a few paragraphs from a prompt she gave us and then asked us to think about how we felt and to come up with a couple of sentences on our own reasons for writing. For her, writing is a way to understand herself and humanity and to share that understanding with others.
Understanding why you write will help to bring you focus in your writing and help you get past the slow times often called brick walls. She suggests writing by hand to make the connection between fine and gross motor skills and creativity.
Keep writing. You have to have something to edit and then to submit. if that is your goal. Use beta readers and editors. She had six readers for one book and they all made different changes.
Things to help you keep writing: someplace different to write, keep a journal, jot ideas on note cards, good nutrition and plenty of sleep and exercise, a full well of ideas and inspiration, daily writing, knowledge, patience and self-care. Networking and spending time with positive people whether they are writers or not is important.
Michele’s website is http://www.myjoyenterprises.com. You can learn more about her and her books there. The books are also available through Amazon and now at Dog-Eared Pages Bookstore. You can also find her blogs at: michelevenne.wordpress.com and michelevenneyoga.wordpress.com.