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

Monday, March 10, 2014

"Non-Fiction and Other Lies: Writing the Stories in Your Life."

Florida Gulf Coast University will offer the four week series "Non-Fiction and Other Lies: Writing the Stories in Your Life." Robert J. Taylor will be the instructor. Sessions will be held Thursdays from 10 AM to Noon starting April 3, 2014, at Harold Court, Punta Gorda.



Robert Taylor, Instructor

A fun and highly interactive course on writing memoirs that draws on the skills,
experiences and insights of the participants. In four, two-hour sessions, partici-
pants will discover the stories in their own lives, practice using dialogue and other
techniques to recreate a scene, sort out the wheat of their story from the chaff,
explore ways to drive their story forward, and examine options for publishing their
writings for their family or the wider world.

Week ONE

Finding the stories on your life. Who am I writing for, anyway? Writing in your
voice. Telling the truth with lies.

Week TWO

Recreating a scene: dialogue and other fiction. Using all your senses. Show don’t
tell and avoiding clich├ęs.


The arc of the story: throwing out the good to save the relevant. Respecting your
reader: no preaching, condescension, no boredom. Manipulating your reader:
playing to base instincts, transitions that draw the reader on. Playing nicey-nicey
or being ostracized by your family.


The joys and satisfactions of editing. What’s an m-dash? - for crying out loud - and
other obscure rules of editing. Human and unhuman help. Publishing and printing
choices and resources.

Preparation and Materials:

Participants are expected to share their experience and samples of their own
writing, especially prose they’re proud of or are struggling with. Samples may be
in hard copy (with a copy for each class member) or on a thumb drive for pro-
jecting on a screen. Those attending will also be expected to participate in con-
structive critique, writing exercises, and discussion. Handouts will be distributed
and readings and resource's suggested.


DATE: April 3, 10, 17, 24

TIME: 10am-12pm

COST: $50

LOCATION: Florida Gulf Coast University @ Herald Court

117 Herald Court, Ste 211, Punta Gorda, FL 33950


Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We were fortunate to have a special guest presenter, Jayne Ann McLachlan, an award winning published author specializing in short stories who was visiting from Canada. She took us through a workshop to help us connect with our characters in our works in progress, understanding their motivations and who they are, and why that's even more important in a short story. She also went over other details like the end goal and how to plot out your steps to get there.

If you visit her website, which I've linked in through her name, you'll have an opportunity to see more about the things she's done and connect to her blog. Thank you for sharing with us.

After Jayne Ann's very interactive workshop, Peter Frickel, author of My Frog Sings and Lotha and the Three Crosses shared from his current work in progress, "Lillies of the Vlei" a chapter he called "Soul of Africa." This particular chapter found him walking the length and breadth of Africa in search of his "soul." At the beginning of his journey he tracked landmarks, marked time. After a while he became one with the land, the need to mark passage forgotten. He wondered if he was safe. After all, he was travelling the wilds of Africa by foot. One day he crossed paths with a stranger, and shared the road. Through this journey he discovered the ability to appreciate aloneness, but also felt he'd discovered his connection with God. The group really enjoyed hearing about his voyage through the author's voice.

Educator/writer, Suzi Lynch, shared with us a piece she called "Invite Into the Mind of a Teacher." In this piece she states very clearly that she does not have 'data', more passionate moments that occur in teaching. In her piece she describes an interaction with a student who isn't "model" by grades. It becomes very obvious based on the dialogue that this particular 3rd grader is basically raising his younger siblings and left to his own devices. Although he struggles with ADD, he's not getting his medication regularly. He's already, within the last year, been bounced from house to house, relative to relative. Being an educator in the public school system and the way that they're expected to be so concerned with test scores could lose an opportunity to really help a child like this, and it tears at teachers. The heart and frustration...the power of her words, had everyone in the room empathizing with the teacher and wishing for a way to help save this child.

Jeff Cochran revisited his time travel work in progress. This scene brings us to Rebecca, who was 19 when she'd originally travelled back in time, watching her 5 year old son, Horace. She is now a mother of two children since she and Asa were transported back to 1900. She is holding her baby, Mary, and wondering a bit about how differently her life turned out as she watches Horace splash and play in the water. After a time she gathers the children and heads home to start supper. Jeff has a way of infusing reality of the past and blending it with the more modern thought process of his characters.

Bill Elam followed, revisiting his current work in progress with a chapter called "The Pastor." In this chapter, a public school that had deteriorated had been converted into a church called "The Mission." Although this was built to help those who were truly in need, the sad truth is, that even a ministry is considered "a business" and needs money to run. The pastor was not a 'businessman,' but rather a shepherd of people, so it appeared that despite the great need in this area, the church would be shut down due to inability to pay. That Sunday, preaching a sermon of hope, the pastor's heart was heavy at the thought that this might be the last sermon he'd be able to share. However, in the offering plate, was an envelope from an anonymous donor with a cashiers check that would allow him to pay off in full, the debt for the church, and still have money left over to minister to those in need. Turns out, this was the same place where 'The Old Man' saw that mural discussed earlier in the chapter called "The Artist." Those of us who've been with Bill on this ride were moved.

Sara Lee, a fellow writer from our FWA chapter on the other coast, came by to visit and shared a part of her work in progress, "Boomer Love." She kicked it off with the quote, "An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away." That's all it took to sell us as she shared her chapter which found her protagonist having phone sex with her boyfriend after coitus interruptus happened, thanks to her son. This was her first foray into this area, but with the guidance of her boyfriend, she donned a black lace nighty and went to get "Junior," their nickname for her vibrator. Marty, her boyfriend, of course, carried "Senior" with him in his pants. Yup! The room loved it and laughed at all the right moments. We hope she comes back to share more.

Our final reader of the night was Maris Soule, author of more than 25 books through various presses, was kind enough to share with us an excerpt from her book, The Crows. This mystery had us glued to our seats from the beginning as it kicked off with the protagonist hearing 3 shots, crows cawing a warning...and it wasn't deer hunting season. Furthermore, her dog had not been with her when the shots fired. As she heard noise in the brush, she hid, unsure of the danger. We were all thrilled to know her dog was not injured when he came out of the tall grass towards her. Of course, we went straight back into concern when she finally headed home only to see a trail of blood leading into her house as she raced home to call the police. Yup! Wounded man, laying on the floor, no idea if he's friend or foe. We were definitely hooked! Maris was also kind enough to write about our group in her blog. You can read about that here!