Full House for Benefits of Conference Connection

Turn-out was great for yesterday’s Writers Forum program, Benefits of Conference Connection.

Published author and professional speaker  Lezlie Winberry prepared attendees to attend any writers conference and to maximize the value out of that conference.

IMG_9430

There are several key points to remember about attending a writers conference.

  • Attend the right conference for your writing
  • Prepare your 30-second elevator pitch before you go
  • Socialize and have fun!

Do your homework before you go to a conference. Some conferences are geared towards a particular writing genre. Make sure that your writing will fit in to the focus of the conference. Even general writing conferences across several genres will have focused seminars, workshops, and speakers. Check out the schedule in advance and plan your time well. Schedules are subject to change, so be sure to keep checking back with the schedule.

At the conference, you will be meeting people that you need to meet to publish your writing. You will be running across agents and editors all of the time. Be as professional as possible. One way to do this is to have your 30-second elevator pitch prepped and polished, and ready for delivery. What is a 30-second elevator pitch? It is the essence of your story distilled down to two or three sentences. You need to hook your listeners attention quickly. Think of your pitch as the minimal TV episode description in the TV Guide, or the satellite channel guide. The better you can quickly sell your story idea to a listener, the better your odds of success.

Above all else, the point of writers conferences is to meet other writers and people in the industry. This is tough for naturally introverted writers, but get out of your comfort zone at the conference! Mingle! Socialize! Especially after all of the official conference activities are done for the day. Don’t just retreat to your room. Go out to dinner with new people. Lean some names. Have fun!

What are some other ideas that you took away from Lezlie’s program? Leave a comment!

 

Who has been to a writers conference? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

This Saturday: BENEFITS OF CONFERENCE CONNECTION

BENEFITS OF CONFERENCE CONNECTION

Presented by
Lezlie Winberry

Published author and professional speaker Lezlie Winberry will present a guide to making the most of writing conferences. Her talk will cover how to self-evaluate goals and expectations before attending a conference and the pros and cons of making a commitment to attend. There will be optional audience participation. Lezlie’s most exciting conference included an Alaskan cruise with Writer’s Digest. Come prepared to take notes, meet new people, and brainstorm conference topics.

After earning her Bachelor Degree in Liberal Arts from CSU-Chico, Lezlie has worked as an elementary teacher, taught community writing classes at Shasta College, and she’s been a member of ToastMasters International. Recently retired from teaching, she relishes her time spent in the area of her passion: speaking and writing.
 
Lezlie’s writing began as a healing process in 1990.  When I Cried Out is a personal story about the loss of her daughter. In 2013, she wrote an adventurous chapter book, Chinese Exchange, brainstormed by one of her previous 4th grade classes. Currently, she is working on a contemporary novel about a mother who is faced with a secret choice of her past. Lezlie’s writing has been published in several books and magazines and online, and she has spoken in varies venues over the past decades.

 

Writers Forum meets from 10:30am – 12:30pm monthly (except for July and August) in the All Saints Episcopal Church located at 2150 Benton Drive, Redding, CA. Doors open at 10am. The public is welcome to get acquainted with two free visits before joining. Annual membership dues are $25.

 

Other upcoming programs:

 

June 8: Read Around
Our semi-annual event in which Writers Forum members can read short pieces from their own works. Be prepared to read for five minutes.

July, August: No Meetings

September 14: Tentative title: What Makes a Poem?
What make a poem a poem if not content expressed in rhyme and meter? Susan Woodbridge, a popular presenter at Writers Forum, discusses writing free verse poetry.

October 12: What Editors Expect You to Know About Word Processing
WF members Sharon Owen and George Parker will offer tips on using Microsoft Word and Scrivener, either as separate programs or in combination. Sharon will demonstrate the expanded functions of Word, such as the Track Changes feature. George will introduce an alternate writing program while discussing the strengths and weaknesses to look out for in other writing software.

November 9: Authors Fair
Our regularly scheduled meeting will be preempted by the revived Authors Fair.

December 14: Read Around
Our semi-annual event in which Writers Forum members can read short pieces from their own works. Be prepared to read for five minutes. This is also our Christmas potluck, so bring holiday finger food to share!

This Saturday: Manuscript Ailing? Call the (Book) Doctor!

Important announcement to follow!

On Saturday, January 12, CF member George Winship will speak about the process he uses to help his clients restructure their book manuscripts and polish them for publication. With a wealth of experience as a ghostwriter, editor and researcher, George will explain how he diagnoses manuscripts that are ailing to come up with just the right prescription for success.

George earned his MA in Journalism from the University of Oregon in 1980.

He then spent nearly 34 years writing nonfiction articles, features and columns for newspapers in Oregon, Montana and northern California. For seven years, from 2007-2014, he was Editor of the Anderson Valley Post, a weekly newspaper.

In 2005, George launched The Village Wordsmith, a business that specializes in helping writers get published in print or, more recently, on digital platforms such as Kindle, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble’s Book Nook, Smashwords and Apple’s iBooks.

Writers Forum meets from 10:30am – 12:30pm monthly (except for July and August) in the All Saints Episcopal Church located at 2150 Benton Drive, Redding, CA. Doors open at 10am. The public is welcome to get acquainted with two free visits before joining. Annual membership dues are $25.

This Saturday only, we will not meet in our regular room,  Memorial Hall, due to a church function in Memorial Hall. We will instead meet in  Eaton Hall East, the building behind Memorial Hall. We will be at the same location, and use the same parking lot, but in a different building. Follow the signs when you get there. Thanks.

Poetry Lessons…and Healing

The program for last Saturday’s Writers Forum meeting was how to Jump Start Your Writing With Poetry. WF member and published author Linda Boyden shared with the group some techniques she has learned for writing poetry that also give us great tools for other types of writing as well.

One of those techniques was called writing a Sensory Poem.

The first step in writing a sensory poem is to pick a topic. Then you brainstorm words and phrases for that topic from each of the five senses. For instance, suppose you pick the topic A Winter Day. You would brainstorm words and phrases that describe sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings that you would associate with a winter day. When you have collected a good number of words, grab a few from that list and shape them into a poem.

The beautiful thing about these techniques is that the rules are few. “How many words do you need to write write down from your brainstorm?” Enough to give yourself a good selection of words to choose for your poem. Some people might write ten words and then see a poem in them. Some people might write thirty or forty words and still have to play around with them like letter tiles on a Scrabble rack to find a poem. “Do you have to use all of the words that you brainstorm?” Only if you want to. That might be a fun challenge, but don’t feel like you have to. “Can I only use words from my list?” No, the words on the list are the bricks you will use to build your poem. You still need mortar to connect them and make them solid, right?

Don’t feel like you should be obligated to spending a lot of time on this, either. Think quickly and write, and then move on. This is, after all, intended to jump start your other writing projects. Once you have your creativity flowing with a poem, hopefully it will be easier for you to move onto your other writing projects with a fresh dose of creativity. It works for me!

Here is a poem that was written at the program by WF member Carolyn Faubel. Carolyn drew upon intense images from the devastating Carr Fire. Writing poetry about the disaster might be one way to help ourselves heal.

 

The Carr Fire

By Carolyn Faubel

9/8/18

 

Perfect black leaves are floating down into my back yard,

A strange snow of destruction.

Gentle and persistent, ashfall is silent,

Unless you count the dogs howling as fire trucks and police cars go screaming by.

 

Stinking yellow smoke moves from piney campfire to burning plastic,

And other smells that must not be named.

Everywhere, sharp unforgiving branches spray out, their protection

Blasted off by the monster’s breath.

 

From the dun dry fallen leaves, a soft

Sooty fragment of upholstery fabric

The size of a moth

Balances delicately.

When I pick it up, the light shows through the thin weave of

Carbonized black thread.

And when I stroke the tufts of

Black velvet,

It crumbles and disappears in the breeze.

Was it your couch?

I am sorry.

 

If you attended the program and would like to share your poetry from the poetry program, or even if you would like to try the exercise now and write a new poem, please send them to Writers Forum at writersforumeditor@gmail.com for posting in the future.

Thanks!

 

 

It’s Time to Read!

It’s time for our semi-annual Writers Forum Read Around.
Both members and the general public are invited to the Writers Forum to read a selection from their writings.
To remind everybody…
  • Readings are limited to five minutes. This includes any explanations for your piece you think you made need. If it takes you two minutes to set up your piece, you only have three minutes left to read. The clock starts when you get up in front. Plan accordingly!
  • Everybody is welcome to read, but Writers Forum members have priority and will read first.
Our Read Arounds can be the most popular meetings of the year. Writers have shared poetry, short stories, novel excerpts, essays, memoir, humor, and non-fiction. We have a diverse group. Come and support one another!

Read Around is also a potluck! Bring a finger-food to share. Remember…bring items ready to serve. We do not have access to the refrigerator or the microwave.

Writers Forum meets at All Saints Episcopal Church, 2150 Benton Drive, Redding, CA. The meeting runs from 10:30-12:30.

Wild Horses in Redding

Okay…not actual wild horses, but last Saturday (November 11), the Writers Forum hosted a talk from award winning author and wild horse advocate Terri Farley.

Terri presented her workshop on Nonfiction Writing for Fiction Writers. Her premise is that fiction writers collect an enormous amount of research while working on their projects, so why not  maximize the use of all of that solid research? Terri demonstrated research and documentation strategies for strengthening our nonfiction writing, and shared with us pitfalls and hazards to avoid.

About forty people attended the workshop.

I was curious about which of Terri’s passions came first: writing or horses? She doesn’t have a simple answer for that. She was riding horses before she started putting pen to paper, but on her earliest Southern California rides, she was already crafting stories in her head while on horseback. Unfortunately, horses fell by the wayside for a time. Writing and teaching took prominence for a while, but her love of horses was rekindled after college. They both merged in her first best selling series on The Phantom Stallion, set on the ranges of northern Nevada. The Phantom Stallion series has twenty-four volumes. Her passion for both continues today in her latest book, a nonfiction book titled Wild at Heart.

Terri is being honored tonight, November 16, along with two other inductees into the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame in Reno, Nevada.

Congratulations, Terri!

 

Our Pilgrimage of Poetry

About forty Writers Forum members and guests attended last Saturday’s meeting, a presentation by poet Anna Elkins of her workshop, ‘The Pilgrimage of Poetry’.

anna

Anna opened her presentation to likening poetry’s search for the right words and images to a pilgrimage. Participants were then given an assignment: Go outside and find something that interests you. Then capture the sensory images…from all five senses…you can of that thing.

By the end of the program, participants had crafted those images into poetry.

writing

Several participants shared those poems with the group.

reading

reading2

Here is the poem by WF Secretary Vickie Linnet:

 

The Little Library

You are another world, hiding in plain view from the rest of the world.

You are the chatter coming from the pages of the books.

You are the flowers and trees that surround your stand.

You are the raindrops that trickle down the shingles of your roof.

You are intriguing, luring us to enter and wander through the pages of the books.

Bring me the stories that tempt me to lose myself in.

I give you credence and appreciation for these books.

Vickie Linnet

If you were at last Saturday’s meeting and would like to share your piece from the workshop, send them to writersforumeditor@gmail.com .