January 17, 2015 Meeting

We will open our new year with a guest speaker from the Collections Development department of the Central Library here in Wichita. We will learn how to submit our books for circulation in the library system. If you have books on-hand (4 copies are preferable), bring them for consideration as additions to our local libraries inventories. After, we will discuss our upcoming year’s agenda and writer’s block. We also ask all members to remember that our fiscal year has also restarted, so dues are due before March to remain a member in good standing.

Election Results for 2015 Board

Officers of the 2015 KWA board were elected at our November meeting and will be taking over at our January 17, 2015, meeting. All were voted in unanimously by the 21 members in attendance. They will appreciate your inputs for programs you would like to have presented in 2015, and more importantly, will be looking for people to present programs. Our holiday party in December will be a perfect time to let the board know your thoughts. 2015 Board Members: Kurt Campbell, president; Lisette Walker, vice president; Linda Marie, recording secretary; Kae Bartleheimer, treasurer; with Sonny Collins and Brad McDowell as members at large.

December 20 Meeting

Come and celebrate the end of another fabulous writing year with your KWA friends. We can discuss NaNoWriMo successes and our goals for 2015, but mostly we will be socializing and munching on the side dishes we are all bringing. Plus, a holiday party wouldn’t be official without Santa. We will have a gift exchange: bring one of your books (wrapped please), whether it’s from your library shelf or (hopefully) one you’ve written and we will have drawings to see “who” you take home. Plan for lots of fun!

Jun 21 Meeting

Our treasurer, Kae, wowed the group with a sterling Power Point presentation on Building Story Worlds (view it in our “handouts” tab). It set the bar pretty high (not that our presenters are competitors) for our former president, Gordon Kessler, as he presents our next topic: Hooks, Cliffhangers and the first 1-5 Pages. Gordon is the charismatic author of several novels so come prepared with some note-taking materials to jot down ideas that will help you benefit from his many successes.

May 17 Meeting

Thanks to our president, Lisette, for the helpful presentation on Pitches given at our April meeting. This month we can hear how beneficial the information was to those attending the Oklahoma conference and to anyone asked, “What’s your book about?”. Our May topic, Building Story Worlds, is being led by Kae, our treasurer and will prove helpful to all fiction writers. You don’t have to be creating some science fiction or fantasy location to employ world building. The Old Man and the Sea comes to mind; what could be more simple–a small boat and an ocean. Yet, creating that world to the point where you can feel the sea spray and grit of drying salt water on your face made it a classic. Hope to see you there.

April 19 Meeting

It’s time to prepare for our April 19 KWA Meeting which will feature panel discussions on Pitches. We will be focusing on how to get your writing project(s) noticed (and hopefully sold) by agents, publishers and editors who will be attending the OWI conference in Oklahoma City in May. Bring your sample pitches (or query letters) to the meeting so our fellow members can help you fine tune them.
Our KWA March meeting was loads of fun with interactive presentations by Louise Pelzl, Kathy Pritchett (who braved a storm to drive in from Pratt), and Linda Marie. We learned a lot about character development and now have more tools to put in our author’s tool box. Thank you to all who attended: Sonny, Kay, Kurt, David, Kae, Dave, Tom, Niki, Cheryl, Wes, Ernestine, Raymond, Louise, Kathy and Linda.

March 15 Meeting

After a dynamic Feb meeting on Outlining and Storyboarding by our VP, Starla, the bar has been set high for the rest of the year! Please join us for our March 15 meeting which will feature presentations on developing Characters and using Archetypes. Audience participation is always welcome so come prepared to add your own thoughts.

February: Outlining and Storyboarding

Do you identify as a pantser or a plotter?  I start off as a panster (someone who writes by the seat of her pants) and slowly become a plotter (someone who has things, or at least most things, figured out).  Outlining has come a long way since the rigid Roman numerals approach they teach in school.  Even if you are a pantser, chances are you’ll need to use an outline at some point: the story may be written, but you may need to go back and figure out if it’s consistent.

I’m excited to learn about storyboarding.  I currently have no plans to write a graphic novel, but I’ve always been curious about how the stories are created and designed.  I’m quite sure I’ll be thieving an idea of two to help me in my writing!  And, who knows, maybe I’ll be inspired to include writing a graphic novel on my bucket list.

Next Saturday’s meeting will feature VP Starla Criser speaking about outlining and Daniel Love talking about how to story board a graphic novel.  Starla is also going to lead the indie segment.

What’s this about an indie (independent) segment?

After January’s meeting, the Board met and reviewed the suggestions people gave us regarding meeting topics.  We want to present “how-to” programs that are helpful to both the beginning and advanced writer and an “indie” segment that is intended as a mutual sharing of information on subjects such as e-publishers and small presses, social media, websites, etc.  Not yet ready to publish, but  need some feedback?  Bring a few pages of your writing!

Although our meetings technically run from 1:30 to 4:00, we actually rent the room until 6:00.  After some discussion, it was decided that while that makes for a long day, we might as well use the time and try to present specific program blocks.  The third portion will be the “indie” portion:

  • 1:30: Introductions and Announcements
  • 1:45: First Program
  • 2:30: Break
  • 2:45: Second Program
  • 3:30: Break
  • 3:45: Indie Program (Discussion / Critique / Craft)

KWA is going to provide water.  Feel free to bring a beverage with you.  The room temperature can be difficult to moderate, so you may want to dress in layers to ensure that you are comfortable.

See you next Saturday!  Happy scribbling!  Lisette

Build an Idea Bank

I’ve always been one of those people that jots down the random ideas that float in my head.  The other day I was driving down McLean, on a route I’ve taken to work for the past four years.  For some reason, the statue of the bull marking the Chisholm Trail caught my attention, and I thought: well, I bet they had a hard time finding water.  What they needed was a water witch.  Boom!  Random idea that could potentially turn into a story with some work.

Of course, you can’t depend on those ideas to fall into your head when you need them.  That’s why it’s nice to develop a few and bank them.  I think all writers struggle with the Bright Shiny Tempting Idea appearing when we’re drudging through the middle part of the book we thought was awesome when we first started and now seems dreadfully pointless.  Hopefully we’ve all learned that the Bright Shiny Tempting Ideas are mirages.  There’s no reason you can’t write the idea down to return to later.

I like the idea of specifically developing ideas.  There’s two distinct ways I’ve learned to work on idea generation.

One: write a list of everything you like to read about.  Not only can you have fun merging some of these things together, but they can also serve to get you out of a writing bind.  Is what you’re writing about what you like to read about?   As Chris Baty puts it in his book No Plot, No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days: “The things that you appreciate as a reader are also likely the things you’ll excel at as a writer (page 86).” Keep the list and build on it over time. Baty also recommends writing a list of things you don’t like, as those are often the things we think are “important” and we “should” like, and for that reason we try to include them in our works.  “If you won’t enjoy reading it, you won’t enjoy writing it (page 88).”

Two: write a list of 50 first sentences.  Don’t spend too much time at it – take about an hour.  Later on, pick about half of those sentences and write the first paragraph.  From there, you will probably generate about 10 stories.  I first encountered this process in a workshop lead by Kelly Link, an acclaimed short-story author (Magic for Beginners).  For me, inspiration can come from the exercise itself or from knowing that I’ve generated ideas before and can do so again.  I never have to stare at a blank screen because I always have some idea to put there. I might play around with it and find I don’t like it – but by that time, something will have come along.

Here are some of the first sentences I shared at the January meeting.  If they inspire you, please feel free to use them.

  • There was a man who wore out two pair of shoes looking for his woman.
  • Bridget Anwar never got around to telling me what the color of my aura meant.
  • It all started when Maisie Tompkins sat on a squirrel.
  • Sorceresses are notoriously bad at cooking.  Consider Circe, turning all of those men into pigs.  Luckily I didn’t do anything quite so spectacular.  I only turned some of the men green.  And a few grew tails.  I was taken off the duty roster the next day.

If you have other methods you use, please leave them in the comments!  We’d love to hear about them!