Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. We meet the first and third Wednesday of each month at the Nokomis Fire Station. Coming from Sarasota or North, proceed a few blocks south of Albee Road on US 41 (past Matthews-Currie Ford) to Pavonia Road. Turn right (West, toward the bay) at the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are 2 blocks north of Dona Bay. Turn left onto Pavonia Road at the flashing yellow caution light. At the Fire Station, drive to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room at the far end of the complex. We Gather for a meet and greet at 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten-minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Adjourned: 9:00 pm

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Saturday Morning Workshop

Some of our folks are unable to attend day or evening workshops and presentations because of job and family commitments. Here's a chance to attend a Saturday morning session. South County residents should take special note.

On Saturday, November 6th at 10:30 a.m. the Suncoast Writers Guild will be holding a meeting on the second floor of the Elsie Quirk Library on Dearborn Street in Englewood.

The speaker that day will be Gaile Harpan, a local writer who has published several children's books. Gaile's presentation will cover a wide variety of writing-related subjects such as how to turn an idea into a published book, tips on marketing your book, and turning your writing hobby into a small business for tax purposes and for foundation work.

She will also talk about the advantages of joining writing groups and attending writing conferences. For those who haven't done so yet, Gaile will also discuss book-signings: how to prepare for them, and what to expect.

For additional information about Gaile's talk or about the Suncoast Writers Guild contact Ann Favreau at or Ed Ellis at

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Your Loss, Our Gain

For those who missed our meeting last night, see above. Ryan Van Cleave had an outstanding presentation plus a valuable handout for all who were there. He also graciously and thoroughly answered a lot of questions about a broad range of writing-related topics: agents, publishers, memoirs, ebooks, platforms, marketing, etc. There was something for nearly everyone.

Ryan is an advocate of "creative nonfiction"--using fiction techniques for nonfiction works. He talked about Freytag's Pyramid that includes the primary ingredients of any story: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

The helpful handout distributed was specifically about writing memoirs.

By using and analyzing popular movies as examples, Dr. Van Cleave also discussed how stories are built, how they are structured--whether the stories are developed in a fiction or a nonfiction genre.

He also talked about the necessity of having a "platform" and a clear-cut and aggressive marketing campaign no matter what your book is about or who publishes it. Ryan verified once again the mantra we've heard from all traditionally and non-traditionally published writers: it doesn't matter who publishes your book, you, the writer, will be required to do most if not all of the marketing or selling of it.

Thanks, Ryan, for an excellent presentation!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wednesday Meeting--October 20th

A quick reminder. Our general meeting this coming Wednesday night, October 20th, will feature Ryan VanCleave, a successful and widely published author whose new memoir, UNPLUGGED, is an Amazon bestseller in four different categories.

UNPLUGGED's explanatory subtitle, MY JOURNEY INTO THE DARK WORLD OF VIDEO GAME ADDICTION, gives a clear indication of what the book is about.

Ryan is the author or co-author of sixteen books and he has taught creative writing and literature at Clemson University, Eckerd College, Florida State University, and the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Ryan lives in Sarasota and works as a freelance writer, editor, ghostwriter, script doctor, and an addiction & recovery consultant. Additional information about Ryan can be found at his website:

After Ryan's presentation he will be open for comments and discussions. So bring all your questions about writing in general, memoir writing in particular, computer addictions, publishing, editing, or any other writing-related topic.

Following Ryan's talk -- if time permits -- we will also be open to readings, so bring your short, three-pagers. See you then: same time, same place.

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Library Science

Hi from Pennsylvania!

It's a cold, rainy day here in Harrisburg, a perfect day to do some web checking.
Library Science Degree is one I was asked to check out and I'm thrilled I took the
time to do it! I found it to be interesting and most informative.

Lindsay Samuels, the owner of the site, asked if I found it worth sharing would I
do so on our blog. I found it worthy. Enjoy and feel free to pass it along to any
writer or reader you feel would be interested. Since our motto is Writers Helping
Writers and my principle is networking for success, let's show Linday how it
works! And, learn some interesting tidbits of information at the same time. You'll
find the informative articles on the Blog linked off the top of the home page!

I'm off to Michigan tomorrow morning to visit my family there for the weekend and
will return to Florida before the snow blows on November 1st. In addition, I must
do my patriotic duty on November 2nd! Actually, truth is I'm freezing to death!

Burrr . . . . . .

Miss you all,

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Can You Take A Hint?

We've said it before. You never know who's reading our blogs. Here's another example. Andre Becker, President of the Gotham Writers' Workshop in New York City, saw our recent posting about Hint Fiction and sent me an email. Here's what he said.

"I saw your posting regarding the recent FWA meeting and thought your members might be interested in the HINT FICTION WRITING CONTEST that Gotham Writers' Workshop is hosting. ENTRY IS FREE. First Prize is $100 plus a 10-week online creative writing class."

Here's the catch. You must send in your 25 words or less submission by Monday, October 11th. So that's your assignment for this weekend. Can't be too hard, right? Twenty-five words? That's about two sentences. Piece of cake.

Enter online at

And ... GOOD LUCK!

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Meeting Recap for October 6th

We had another good meeting last night, and a busy one at that. Three visitors: Patricia Deeder, Krista Gorman and Kathy Question Mark who didn't sign our sign-in sheet but is interested in quantum physics. All introduced themselves and told us a bit about their writing interests and goals. Patricia also shared with us some of her writings. We hope to see all three ladies again at our future meetings and encourage them to bring any questions or comments and perhaps something to read at our next "reading meeting."

Charles Meyer from the Sarasota County Film and Entertainment Office told us about Sarasota's burgeoning interest in TV and movie production and the possible building of a full-fledged soundstage production facility in our community. He also encouraged all of us to submit "fresh and creative" ideas for a contest about a possible television series that might even be filmed right here in Sarasota County. Check out his website,, for information about the program and click on the banner/logo "TV ME" for info about the contest. The grand prize winner of the competition will get a free, expense-paid trip to the LA/Hollywood area and a chance to pitch their TV show ideas to the people who make the decisions about new nationally broadcast TV shows. Deadline for the competition is November 30. Check the above-mentioned website for details about the contest and the categories for entries.

Rod DiGruttolo also asked me to remind everyone that he and Kerri Dieffenwierth are starting an on-line critique group which could possibly turn into an in-person critique group later on. Anyone who is interested in learning more about this on-line critique group should write to me at and I'll send you Rod's and Kerri's email addresses.

We also had a full slate of readers for this "reading meeting," starting off with another humorous story from our Writer Emeritus Ed Lyman. The title of Ed's story was A NEEDLESS TRAGEDY which had to do with relationships, in general, and (Sly Old Dog that he is) sexual relationships, in particular. Phil Dobrin read another humorous excerpt from his newly released book, ADVENTURES OF A SURGICAL RESIDENT. Joanne Phillips read a short piece from the book she's working on. Peter Frickel's cultured and refined "radio voice" was put to work reading several pieces that other folks had brought in, including a short piece of his own. Joe Porter read a couple pieces about his earlier days traveling around the country. Andrew Parker read the synopsis of a possible novel about a paraplegic who is crossisng the country on a bicycle while promoting euthanasia. Andrew always seems to be working on topics that are fresh and unusual. Kerri Dieffenwierth also read an amusing story about her adventures with a surfboard.

Jim Kelly, Cecil Bell, and Cathy Marine also attended the meeting but didn't participate in the readings.

As a reminder for those who weren't at this meeting, our next meeting on October 20th will have a special speaker, Ryan Van Cleve, who will be talking about his new book about a new medical/psychological malady that is affecting more and more computer owners: computer game addiction. No, that's not a joke. Computer game addiction really is becoming a serious health issue throughout the computerized world. Some psychology and sociology experts tell us it is becoming just as serious and damaging as addictions to alcohol and drugs. Ryan will also discuss the writing of memoirs, a topic that is popular with quite a few of our local FWA attendees.

Madeline Mora-Summonte, one of our elusive FWA members who only appears at our meetings every now and then, has another impressive "published" credit to her name. A devotee of Flash Fiction, Madeline also has a flare for another short fiction genre called Hint Fiction, which is limited to -- believe it or not -- 25 words or fewer! Hint Fiction was inspired by Ernest Hemingway's well-known "six-word novel:"For sale: baby shoes, never worn." Madeline's Hint Fiction story, THE EMPTY NEST, was selected to appear in a new collection HINT FICTION: AN ANTHOLOGY OF STORIES IN 25 WORDS OR FEWER which is being published by W.W. Norton. This collection will be released November 1st and can be pre-ordered through most of the major booksellers including Amazon, Borders, and Barnes & Noble. The collection includes Hint Fiction stories by Joyce Carol Oates, James Frey, Peter Straub, and Ha Jin so once again, Madeline has surrounded herself with very good company. For more information about Hint Fiction go to

A final note, Susan Haley will be returning to Sarasota in November and expects to be back in the saddle for the November 3rd meeting. See you then, Susan. Hope to see the rest of you for our October 20th meeting.

Posted by
Russ Heitz

Sunday, October 03, 2010

First Five Pages Only - Announcement from Susan

Thought everyone may get a kick out of this info. Most of you know I do monthly columns in other publications. One being, The Fox and Quill and the other, The Infinite Writer's Poet Nook. Continually, I'm encouraging you all to take advantage of these exposure opportunities. All submissions will be considered and if you have poetry in your portfolio, I make the call on what goes in that. Dahris Clair gives me complete reign over that section. In addition, I'm on the selection team for all entries. Jack Wolf of Fox and Quill has already become well known to many of you and rarely, if ever, turns down a submission from our group. I thought it interesting this month that both 'zine and Poet's Nook are made up of submissions from our group. It's like old home week. :) In Fox and Quill, you'll find Russ Heitz, James Kelly, and my article written for the FWA History about our group. In the IW Poet's Nook, you'll find Rod DiGruttolo, Kris Palmer, James Kelly, myself and Bart Stamper's Viet Nam War Memorial Tribute under the Index of Articles. Each page has its own key on the side bar. The links are to your left on the Blog under links. With these opportunities 'out there', you can ALL be published authors and poets!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Below are the details for a First Five Pages Novel Contest. I find this rather interesting and may give it a go myself! Nothing Ventured - Nothing Gained.

Sponsored by Smoke City Narrators

ENTRY FEE - $8.50
DEADLINE - Postmarked or Emailed by November 15, 2010.

First prize - $150. Second prize - $75. Third prize - $40. 6 HM.
Feedback posted on website.

JUDGE - Agent Jeff Kleinman, Folio Literary Management, NY, NY.

Email/Snail Mail:
1. First 5 pages of a novel, 1,500 words max.
2. One-sentence synopsis of the novel, 25 words or less.
(Novel does not have to be complete.)

Entry pages not published. Authors keep all rights.
Open Internationally. Checks (US bank), Money Orders or PayPal.
Please see website for complete rules.