|Coming Soon||Recent Events(below): click for details|
March 15, 2015 "Targeting Your Pitch"
Note: This is the 3rd Sunday
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* * *The most recent issue of The WAG Digest is now online in Newsletters.
Writer's Alliance is on FACEBOOK
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WAG members may join critique pods. To improve your writing, contact Pod Coordinator Skipper Hammond and get involved!
Writer's Alliance members are filling the pages of journals and magazines with brilliant works of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.
See Wag Tales (and below) for the latest.
Good stuff here!
Click here for the latest issue of
The WAG Digest, Vol. 4, Issue 9/10, Sept.-Oct. 2013.
"A Land Remembered"
Thanks to Rick Smith for his wonderful WAG presentation Mar 1 titled: "A Land Remembered,"and to all WAG volunteers who made it possible, especially Carol Skipper.
Rick Smith, son of the late Patrick D. Smith, shared his dad's story in this visually entertaining presentation about the elder Mr. Smith and his life as a writer.
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The Virtues of Brevity
Confessions of a Newspaper Man
Ron Cunningham said he has given serious consideration to changing his business card to include the words “Trained Observer of the Human Condition.”
“That may be actually the best definition of a writer I can give you today,” he said, followed by a wry grin.
Cunningham, former editorial page editor of the Gainesville Sun, served up 45 minutes of gems and wisdom on Feb. 8 during the Writers Alliance of Gainesville’s monthly meeting at the Millhopper Branch Library.
His self-titled talk was called, ironically, “Life, the Universe and Everything in 500 Words or Less: On the Virtue of Brevity.”
“The dirty little secret of our business is that writing short is harder than writing long,” he said. “There’s an old saying in the newspaper business that goes, ‘I didn’t have time to write short!’”
Cunningham reflected on a newspaper career that began in the 1970s, as editor of the Independent Florida Alligator in the years immediately after the University of Florida campus newspaper became “independent.”
The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel hired Cunningham directly out of journalism school, but he soon returned to Gainesville to cover politics for the Sun. Now retired, he still contributes a Sunday column focusing on environmental issues and serves as the Sun’s theater critic. He also is executive director of the nonprofit Bike Florida, which promotes responsible cycling and bicycle tourism in the state.
For all the writing Cunningham has done, however, he said he doesn’t have the discipline or interest to write anything long form.
“I really have no desire to write a book,” he said matter-of-factly. “You could hold a gun to my head and I couldn’t write a book.”
That doesn’t mean Cunningham doesn’t appreciate a good read. In fact, he is a voracious reader.
“If you want to write well, you have to read well,” he said. “Reading ought to be as essential to your life as eating and drinking and, indeed, breathing.”
Cunningham was turned on to reading at age 16 when he discovered Webb Miller’s “I Found No Peace” in an attic while working a summer job at a New England inn.
“From the time I learned to read, I wanted to write,” Miller wrote at the very start of his book.
“And I thought, ‘Me, too,’” Cunningham said. “And from that summer, I never wanted to be anything but a newspaper man.”
Cunningham offered tips on which he believes makes for effective writing:
· * Brevity is indeed a virtue, “especially in this social media/Tweeting era when attention spans seem to be growing shorter by the very hour.”·
* Write about things that are relevant to your life and that you are passionate about.
· * Keep the tone conversational by avoiding the language of lawyers, academics, engineers or, “even worse, land-use planners.”
· * Grab your readers’ attention by making the first paragraph interesting, intriguing and provocative.
· * Be careful using irony, satire and sarcasm because “some people will take you literally.”
· * Don’t get personal. “If you can’t sway your audience on the basis of reasoning and the facts, you shouldn’t do it.”
· * Don’t be afraid to be in love with the sound of your own words.
For his final tip, Cunningham quoted “Alice in Wonderland’s” Red Queen—“Start at the beginning. Go through to the end. And stop!”
Looking back at a half-century of writing, Cunningham mused:
“I still have this recurring nightmare that one day somebody is going to walk up to me while I’m typing away, put his hand on my shoulder and say, ‘How long did you think you could get away with this?’”
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Writing About Place
Although WAG's annual member shindig on Sunday, Dec. 14, was a holiday party, there was little doubt that the evening was more about a changing of the guard. Outgoing WAG president Art Crummer handed over the reins to Susie Baxter in the symbolic form of a 9-pound hammer and a large bucket of gravel (Susie had suggested by eMail a ceromony where Art passed the gavel, but spell check had changed it to "gravel").
In return, Art received an Amazon gift card and a six-pack of a brew whose identity was kept secret, for he cleverly left it part way in the lighted gift bag, which blinked merrily away.
The potluck dinner allowed WAG members to showcase their favorite dishes and desserts.
Food tables overflowed with baked ham, chicken salad, black-eyed peas, casseroles, corn
pudding, green salad, fruit salads, key lime pie, apple pie, brownies, fudge, tea and water.
Some members even contributed bottles of wine.
The diversity of the food offerings contributed to the success of the party, said WAG member Joan Carter."Worked out better than having a caterer, though it was a puzzle for those like me who don't cook!"
Art serenaded those in attendance with his unique brand of folk, blues, and swing music, beginning with Don Groom's ode to Payne's Prairie, "Vitachoocho," followed by Will McLean's "Wild Hog" (in keeping with some of the organic, free-range pork Mary Crummer provided).
A number of original compositions followed (I Never Ever Sing Old Lost Love Songs, I'd Rather be Your Number Three, Interstate I-75 Rag, and Lovebug Blues)and h closed with Elmer's Tune and My Blue Heaven. He was accompanied by WAG members Patsy Murray, on fiddle (or was it violin?) and Jeffrey Shapiro, his clarinet adding wind under Art's lyrics.
Interstate I-75 Rag...
Credit goes to Ann~Marie Magnï¿½ for organizing the fun-filled event, held at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Gainesville, 4225 NW 34th Street, Gainesville, FL (UUFG) .
By the way, this is the location for the WAG-sponsored March 1 appearance of Rick Smith, with a multimedia presentation of "A Land Remembered," written by his father, Patrick D. Smith, a one-of-a-kind event. WAG encourages everyone to attend this enjoyable, informative program. Click here for more info
On Nov 20, local authors discussed inpirations they have taken from the history, culture and natural wonders of Florida.
Sandra Lambert (Fiction)
Larry Brasington (Sci-Fi )
Rhonda Riley (Fiction)
Steven Noll (Non-Fiction, history)
Susie Baxter (Memoir) and
Wendy Thornton (Nonfiction & poetry)
Art Crummer opened and closed with a few songs of Florida, its culture, history, natural beauty, and dangers, written by locally famous Florida songwriters no longer with us.WAG provided refreshments for this event,
which we hope will become the first in a series.
For future events at the
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Contest winners (receiving cash awards and publication) were announced and
other selected submissions from BACOPA 2014 were read at the launch Nov 9.
The beautiful print copies are free to WAG members (pick up at any monthy meeting).
Books and Brew
WAG sponsored a reading at the Brew Spot, 1000 NE 16th Ave, Gainesville, FL, Sat Oct25.
A variety of readings included fiction, poetry, flash and memoir.
We also had some great music courtesy of the Red-Headed Nephews and WAG President, Art Crummer.
WAG hopes to sponsor future events at The Brew Spot, a pleasant a coffee/beer
cafe with good food, reasonable prices, and perfect room for such meetings.
Thanks to the following contributers
Shellie Zacharia is the author of a story collection Now Playing (Keyhole Press) and a flash chapbook, Not Everything Lovely and Strange Is a Dream (Monkey Puzzle Press).
Clete Collum majored in theatre in college, but spent the last decade working in data. Recently he transitioned to work for Enterprise, giving him a renewed dose of good social atmosphere, helpful to his writing. He uses his craft to explore the smaller moments and mysteries of interpersonal relationships.
Felicia A. Lee is a Gainesville-based writer and editor and former UF faculty member. She earned a BA with honors and MA in English from Stanford, and a Ph.D. in linguistics from UCLA. Her short fiction has appeared in SQ Mag, Encounters, and Black Petals. Her non-fiction has appeared in the Los Angeles Times magazine and Salon.com. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association and has published a full-length book, Remnant Movement and VSO Clausal Architecture: A Case Study of San Lucas Quiavinï¿½ Zapotec (Springer, 2006), whose royalties just about covered the photocopying expenses of the project.
Ann Marie Magne, born in Miami, earned an AA from (then) Miami-Dade Junior College, married Lee in 1985, became a Hypnotist in 1999, retired (young) in 2001 from BAPCO (Bellsouth's Yellow Pages Publishing Division), have one daughter, two step-sons, and seven grandchildren. Ta-da.
Carol Ray Skipper was born and raised in Goldsboro, North Carolina. Her first published chapter book is Coco, The Homeless Labradoodle. Carol has recently completed a children's picture book, illustrated by pediatric patients at UF Health Shands. Her poetry has been published in Senior Times and in Bacopa.
David Maas has been twisting words in Gainesville 28 years. He used to produce "The Word Is Spoken!" - a long-running weekly-to-monthly series of features, open mic and shenanigans. Last year, he moved to Washington, D.C. and is now living back in Gainesville.
Wendy Thornton has been published in a number of literary journals and has written the books, Dear Oprah: How I Beat Cancer and Learned to Love Daytime TV and Bear Trapped: In a Trashy Hollywood Novel, a mystery due out in November, 2014. She teaches publishing classes at Santa Fe College.
Arthur Crummer is a musician, farmer, poet and novelist who earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Ph.D. in mathematics to support those and other habits. He is the current president of Writers Alliance, and holds ten blue ribbons in the Florida Old-Time Championships in singing and multiple instruments, for which his punishment was appointment as a contest judge. Art received the 2008 Edward Flemming, Jr. award for excellence in and promotion of Old Time Music, has produced music instructional booklets and music CD's, and written numerous original songs. His first novel, Wrestling God, available softcover and eBook on Amazon.com, is Book 1 of his two-book trilogy Fixing Things. He teaches guitar and Dobro to labradoodles and tilapia, and plays with language.
Arleen Wolf gave her first reading ever, from her new book, in process with the help of her pod. We thank her for this courageous and delightful plunge into public reading.
illuminated the wide field of Poetry in Medicine
at the October WAG meeting, presenting her experiences with patients, medical personnel and caregivers and discussing how poetry promotes healing.
For example, with The Alzheimers Poetry Project, something tactile (such as a rose) is presented. The person is asked to tell a memory of which they are reminded. Arranging their words on the spot, the poet presents them (to their delight) a poem they just wrote.
Right: Rachel Roman
Q&A with attendees.
Roman uses poetry bedside with patients and in workshops for patients and staff. She is also writing a history of the intersections between poetry and medicine throughout time.
She suggested a list of books, journals, and Web sites. This list will appear in the next WAG Digest.
Roman works with Alzheimer's patients to help spark memories via poetry and song. The Patient-Centered Alzheimers Poetry Project http://www.alzpoetry.com/book includes a list of readings one might like to puruse.
Rachel discusses with medical students how poetry helps bring to light the power, connotation and flexibility of language; how words might affect patients. For instance, the perceived difference between "The patient claims that ..." versus "The patient reports that...".
She works in the prison system with 13 to 18-year-old incarcerated females and finds them eager to write, wanting their voices to be heard.
when to share your work with others and what type of feedback you should give and accept.
DeStefano suggests that at the early stages of the writing process, you should not show your work to anyone. "In the invention stage, your work is fragile and so are you." In other words, as Stephen King says, "Write with the door closed." Your draft should be an exploration of your topic. You do not have to write everything in order. Go where the words lead.
Part II: Imaginative Revision
Still keep the door closed. This is the part where you revise, revise and revise some more. Don't let people convince you that you're going in the wrong direction. Work your vision.
Part IV: Copyediting
You want to hire a professional for copyediting, or find a talented, experienced friend. You're close to completing your work, but this section is crucial.
|Sharon Ketts||Word Play||Susie Baxter||Wendy Thornton|
"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." Maya Angelou
|We invite all members of WAG to let us
know when your work
is (or will be) published.
We will happily refer fans of this site to read and enjoy.
Let authors and publishers know of your accomplishments.
Gainesville author and WAG member Larry Brasington has published "Saving Sonya,"
a fantasy story set in another world (behind George Street in St. Augustine).
A man who meets the girl of his dreams, but she's an elf.
Available on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble.
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WAG member Darlene Marshall's romance Castaway Dreams is one of three finalists
(in Historicals) for the Aspen Gold Reader's Choice Award for Published Authors,
from the Heart of Denver Romance Writers of America chapter.
"I'm especially pleased because the first round of judges are my fellow romance writers, so their approval means a lot to me ... I'm honored to be a finalist."
WAG's Kaye Linden has been accepted into "another MFA program, this time, in prose poetry, haiku and some flash. Kaye not long ago graduated from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts on Whidbey Island (NILA) with an MFA in fiction. Her current online credentialing school is Lindenwood University in St. Louis. Check her blog for special insights.
WAG's newsletter/digest editor Wendy Thornton has a story titled "Inside Voices" accepted for the January issue of Blue Lake Review, published by Mitchell and Diana May-Waldman. As a testimony to persistence, that never-give-up attitude that leads eventually to rewriting and publication, Wendy notes, "I can't believe this story is finally being published. I sent it out a lot!"
Rick Sapp's feature article, published as "Learning to Sail on a Weeklong Cruise - A Primer" was published in the September 2014 issue of Southwinds: News & Views for Southern Sailors.
"Taking up a hobby, at this stage in my life," Rick says, "means trying to make it self-sustaining, pay some of the bills! Plus, drive over a high bridge and see a sailboat below, your first reaction is 'Oh, how beautiful,' but what you don't realize - and what I didn't realize before I began learning about sailing and working a few cruises - is that down below the bridge and beneath those billowing sails, somebody is working his or her ass off!"
New Book Features WAG Member's Participation
WAG member Rick Sapp claims that he was recruited to tell the story of the women's movement in the Middle East. The actual compilation of the four-volume saga which delineates the untold hisory of that struggle begins in Book 1: Great Uncle and the Fog of War. Rick says he acted more as a facilitator, an interpreter, for a person who must - for obvious reasons - simply be thought of as "Companion."
Now elderly, Companion has had sufficient strength to relate Book 2 - Great Uncle in Love - which, Rick says, will also be available this fall. Because Companion is fragile and felt the story needed to be told soon - as it appears the U.S. role in the Mid-East is expanding - the book was rushed directly to Amazon.com and is available either as a paperback or in a Kindle version.
In Book 1, Great Uncle has perpetrated an international barbarity, which he laughs at as "an inconvenience" but The West sees it differently. Expect many narrators and no heroes in this action-packed adventure.
Daniel Blumberg's book Harmonizer, the first of a five-part series, is available now on Amazon.com. This book follows Dan Corden, sent to a military school after he discovers his father's affair. After an earthquake, Dan finds something buried deep beneath the school, and it has international consequences.
Richard Gartee has a poem included in the recent Ann Arbor Review: International Journal of Poetry. Called Soda Fountain Days it will remind some of poodle skirts and soft drinks made by hand. Younger people ... not so much. " Ann Arbor Review is an independent international journal and ezine."
WAG Recording Secretary Felicia Lee has let us know that her story Watching Paint Dry was published in Encounters magazine. Felicia gives a shout out to her writing family who "helped me through multiple drafts!" Encounters is a free bi-monthly digital publication featuring science fiction, fantasy, horror and paranormal short fiction." Read on and find out what exactly was in Skeeter's drawing ....
Wendy Thornton's fiction piece Hanging at the Library was published by Belle Reve Litarary Journal. Discover why anyone would name a child "Erasmo" and whether it would be better to have a lawyer in the family or a knife through the hand.
Wendy also received Honorable Mention in the New Millennium Writing Awards for her essay The Affairs of Dragons which was published last month in Hippocampus Magazine. So, how could a 14-year-old know such intimate and shocking things?
Ever busy, Wendy's poem Exit Covenant was accepted by editors of the journal Fiction Fix for a summer 2015 release, "Poetry Fix." She sends this hint to other WAG writers, "They are still looking for poetry for this special issue."
She has also had two stories recently in one of the publications edited by WAG friend Albert Isaacs, Senior Times. Her cover story in January told the story of the local slow-pitch softball club Ralph Bowden has put together. The second, in the March issue, interview a 97-year-old man who rose from private to colonel and served the United States in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Felicia, who always writes with a fine eye to suspense, also published the short story "Watching Paint Dry" in Encounters, a free bi-monthly digital publication featuring science fiction, fantasy, horror and paranormal short fiction.
"I'm published!" writes WAG member Aileen McCready. "Telling Our Stories Press has published an anthology entitled Reverie: Ultra Short Memoirs featuring a piece I wrote called 'Conversation with my Father.' (When I got their notice that it was being included, I thought it was for a different piece. I completely forgot that I had even submitted this one!)" Read about small things that matter to Aileen at aileenrmccready.wordpress.com. An "independent literary imprint with a focus on the art of short memoir and personal narrative," Telling Our Stories Press is found here. Reverie is available as a paperback and in most ebook formats.
Have you checked the WAG Tales section of your WAG website yet?
If not, dive in right now and check out insightful writing tips from published WAG members:
Frank Fiordalisi - The Secret Ingredient - "I can do better ..."
Michael Wallace "MW" Gordon - Reinventing Life at 80
Linden, Thornton & Owen "You Wrote It - Now Promote It"
Art Crummer "The Writer's Life"
Karen Majorowicz "Top reasons for writing poetry"
Bonnie Ogle "Luck? No way!"
Rick Sapp "To Fiction or Not to Fiction ..."
Larry Brasington "Science Fiction Lives!"
Stephanie Seguin "Flying Like An Eagle"
Darlene Marshall (Eve Ackerman) "The Joy Moment"
Jennifer Grant "ADD about Genre"
Kal Rosenberg "Good Writing vs. Good Fiction"
Jack Owen "Being a Map Engineer"
Felicia Lee "Why blog?"
Kaye Linden "Writing Through a Slump"
Susie Baxter "Editing & Deadlines"
Wendy Thornton "Desire"
The Bacopa Literary Review 2015 is now alive on Twitter at @BacopaLitReview says Editor-in-Chief Gen Aris,
a great way to read up-to-the-minute news and information from this Writer's Alliance of Gainesville initiative.
Writers Alliance of Gainesville
P.O. Box 358396
Gainesville, FL 32635-8396