Learning from the Masters

Program presented by Louise Pelzl

Having worked in marketing and sales for years, there is one vital bit of knowledge I gained. It’s okay to borrow ideas that work well instead of reinventing them. We can’t use other authors’ exact words in our writing, that is plagiarism, but we can use the concept of how their work is put together – hence Learning from the Masters.

At the January meeting, I will present the first paragraphs from three or four books written by bestselling authors. Over the years it has been pointed out to me in magazine articles and numerous writing classes that the first paragraph in many books should make the potential reader want to discover more. Entice the reader to wonder where the story is going. It can set the tone of the book or it can supply a mystery clue. It can intrigue the reader enough to purchase the novel. We will explore this as a means to improving our writing. It might just take our writing to a new level.

Later in the year, we will discuss covers, back cover blurbs, red herrings (no it is not a fish), and finally the synopsis.

For the January meeting, please bring your first paragraph from any of your written works to share with the members. The members will offer a critique, if you would like.

See you January 19th, usual place, usual time.

August 18th Meeting

The August 18th meeting will be a time of learning, a time of sharing our experiences on the subjects of the month.

Drum roll here… The subjects are Cliff Hangers, Plot, and Theme. Kathy Pritchett will present a program to start the discussions off.

Come prepared to learn something new. Come prepared to share your experiences pertaining to these subjects as a writer.

And don’t forget to try one of the writing prompt challenges. Or come up with your own writing prompt.

Jan 20 Monthly Meeting – An attorney visits

If you saw the original post about a meeting on Cliffhangers and Plotting, disregard that. We will have that program later in the year. Instead we will be having an attorney visit our group. He will answer questions about what an attorney can and cannot do. This information should be helpful to anyone writing about attorneys, or just plain interesting.

It’s a new year and time to get motivated with your writing again. That’s what KWA is about: helping each other with motivation, education, and support in many ways.

To help with Motivation, maybe you need to do some practice writing. Here are the writing prompts provided by Louise for January, from Brian A. Klems and Zachary Petit – The Writing Prompt Book Camp.

1. You’re downtown, and see graffiti on an unlikely place – graffiti like you’ve never seen before, concerning someone you know.
2. They tour the house with the real estate agent. “We love it,” he said, “Is there anything we should know about the house’s past?” The agent looked down.
3. Write an obituary for your favorite fictional character (literary, television, etc.) including how the death occurred.

Share your writing at the January 20th meeting.

August 19 Meeting Change – Prompts and More

There has been a change to our planned August 19th meeting. Our guest speaker had to change her presentation to September 16th.

Writing prompts will be discussed. The following are some suggested ones to try out.

  1. Harry Potter comes to your house for dinner. Write this scene as if you were a teenager.
  2. Job Swap – Take a character from one of your stories and place them in your current job. How does the office respond?
  3. Hiring a New villain – Your old villain quit over creative differences, so put yourself in charge of hiring a new villain for your novel.

Critique of your work – In an envelope preferably, bring something you would like to have critiqued: a scene, a chapter, a poem, a memoir piece, or an article. We will explain the process at the meeting. The hope is that another member will take it home with them to critique. Put your contact information and the type of project on the outside of the envelope.

Dialogue – We will continue discussing dialogue. Bring questions you may have and something to read for feedback. Keep the piece you bring brief so that we have time for everyone.

August 19 Meeting – How to Become an Indie Author and The Steps You Need to Take

We will have a special guest speaker at the August 19th meeting: Victoria M. Patton. She will talk about “How to Become an Indie Author and the Steps You Need to Take.”

Patton will do a quick overview and have some handouts that will have resources. She will give some marketing pointers and will offer advice on how the KWA members can set themselves up as a self-published author that will help set up the marketing aspect. And she will be happy to answer any questions.

Contact information for Victoria M. Patton:

Website – www.whiskeyandwriting.com

Facebook – @victoriampattonauthor

Instagram – @victoriampatton

July meeting wrap-up…and new fun things

Words from Louise…

We had an excellent meeting in July. Members read their dialogue and then it was open for general discussion. I have to say I was impressed that everyone at the meeting participated. We all know how to the write good dialogue.

Dialogue is a vast subject that cannot be completed at one meeting. With that said, we will continue a discussion, when possible, about our characters dialogue at each meeting. So bring your questions and writing to share. 

Writing Prompts

Everyone agreed that it would be interesting to get writing prompts well before the next meeting, so those members who can’t write on the fly or don’t like to could participate using writing prompts. Anyone who wants to can bring their written prompts to share at the meeting. For now, I looked on the Internet and found an interesting group called The Writing Prompt Boot Camp.

I have listed three prompts, and you get to pick the one you want to use. Or come up with your own. Have fun with them.

  1. Harry Potterc comes to your house.

What if Harry Potter came to your house for dinner? Write this scene as if you were a teenager, he’s new to your school, and you’re introducing him to your parents. Also after dinner, he makes a request of you. What is it?

  1. Job Swap

Take a character from one of your stories and place them in your current job. How does the office respond? Do they do a good job filling your place, or are they all play and no work?

  1. Hiring a New Villain

Your old villain quit over creative differences, so you put yourself in charge of hiring a new villain for your novel. What questions do you ask? What does the new villain’s resume say? Write this scene as if it were a job interview.

Depending on how many members want to read their writing prompt, you might be limited to the amount you can read.

Critique of our work – Another great idea!

Bring a piece of your writing that you want to be critiqued in an envelope. I will have some envelops for member use. You need to place your name, genre, and word count on the envelope. If you want the reader to email you their response before the next meeting, write your email address on the envelope too.

If any of the above doesn’t make sense, please come to the next meeting- August 19th.  We are looking for ways to make our meetings more enjoyable as well as be  a learning process for everyone.  See you soon.  Louise


July 15 – Meeting – Working with Dialogue

July’s meeting will cover working with dialogue using a unique method so the all attending members can be involved.

Without dialogue, you can only watch the action, and you will never be able to understand the emotional message. Different characters speak in a variety of ways. Real dialogue is getting into your character’s head. You have to know your character well before you can write their dialogue. Dialogue needs to be kept interesting, or you lose the reader.

Louise will have tidbits of information from a class called “Mastering Dialogue” that she took from Creative Writing Now.

Member Participation: Rather than just have a discussion, she asks that anyone who has work in progress or a completed novel to bring copies of any dialogue they want to share. You are also welcome to bring dialogue from a recent book you have read.

Bring a page for each character speaking and enough copies so each reader has their own copy. (Two characters speaking, bring two pages and two copies; three characters speaking, bring three pages and three copies, etc.) A member will then speak the character dialogue with another member, i.e. playing out the scene. She thinks it will make the reading more realistic and more enjoyable for everyone.

Each writer will have a few minutes to explain the set-up for why the conversation is taking place. Then the readers will read their dialogue. The listening members will have no more than 10 minutes to critique the conversation.

March 18 Monthly Meeting – Discussion on Agents

Do we need to find an agent? This month the conversations will concern agents. We will share our experiences.

We will also discuss Synopsis…what they are and are they hard to do. Along with that, we will talk about Query Letters, which is often another puzzling part of the writing process.

Bring an example of your synopsis or query letter to share.

Also, remember to come and share good books you have read, and share what you liked about the book.

Don’t forget about our “take away” table. Bring books, magazines, or anything you no longer need and would like to share with someone else.

KWA is all about sharing with our members and writers who visit our group, looking for a place to network with other writers.

February 18 – Monthly Meeting – Show, Don’t Tell & More

We’re continuing the year by offering more than one topic for discussion. Essentially you get “more bang for your buck” at these meetings.

This month we will have discussions on the following topics:

  • Show, Don’t Tell (something every writer struggles with).
  • Plots: What are good plots and where to find them.
  • Settings: What are novel settings and how to find them.

Come and join the members conversations on the above-mentioned topics. Bring your ideas and thoughts to share.

Let us know your problems and see if anyone can offer some suggestions. That’s what we’re here for…each other. We learn from each other and we support each other.