Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Nokomis Fire Station, located just a few blocks south of Albee Road (where Matthews-Currie Ford is located) at Pavonia Road. We are on the west, or bay side, of U.S. 41, by the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are just north of Dona Bay. Turn on Pavonia and pull to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room on the far side of the complex. Gathering time: 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August 16, 2017

It was a small group this week but we managed to have an interesting discussion anyway.

Research and character development seems to come up in many of our discussions. Each member of the group is striving to write well and develop characters as believable individuals. 

Pieces we've read from various sources, print, e-books, and online fell under our literary microscope. We agreed, there are a lot of poorly written works out there and many of these are taking away from the quality indie works published. Much of which could be made better by proper editing and the use of a quality writer’s group.

As writers, we want to publish only quality work that meets the test of our readers and lend credence to our name. Also, good writing and popular works gives a boost to all authors whether traditionally or self-published.

Each of tonight’s readers gave us something to think about and welcomed our comments. 

Continuing the reading of his memoir, Don regaled us with Chapter 14, F84-F. The Indiana Air National Guard received a shipment of F84's, planes considered less than acceptable by the Air Force after the Korean War, but our National Guard units managed to fly them for 20 or more years with a distinguished record. When Don saw the list of planes available he immediately picked out a plane with a tail number matching his address and phone number; what a coincidence. In another incident about the same time, the FAA hadn't approved a device designed to catch a plane at the end of the runway if it couldn't stop. The catch net was installed and operational but the tower was ordered not to use the device until approved. While awaiting approval, a pilot blew a tire on takeoff. Calling for the safety barrier to be raised, his wingman watched as the pilot crashed and burned at the end of the runway.

As a Toastmaster member, Ernie was tasked with writing a speech about something in his life. He chose to speak about his writing in a piece entitled "The Accidental Writer." His speech included recognition of our group, singling out several members. We much appreciated his shout out.

Tish read a portion of a chapter from her memoir, still in its infancy. She is attacking some sensitive issues and it take a lot of guts to write her story. She admits, it's therapeutic and the group encourages her to get her story on paper, worry about editing later. She's a good writer and has a lot to tell.

A mystery writer whose detective, Yale Larsson, has come to life in previous pieces, Doug once again delivered a nice piece. Yale is a Private Investigator who stands up for the little guy. In this case, it’s a blind homeless veteran and Medal of Honor winner. Local authorities make little headway in finding the thugs who beat the disabled man and stole his things, including his Medal of Honor. Yale goes undercover, trash bags in hand to find the perpetrators.  

The second draft of the second chapter in the latest Charlie Bascomb Adventure was offered for critique. When Charlie confides in his wife and tells her about an incident involving his unit in Baghdad, the group questioned whether this character would do such a thing. Maybe a rewrite is in the works.

We have a good time but it will seem a lot longer until our next meeting, this month has five Wednesdays. Our next meeting is September 6th, at 6:30 PM in the Nokomis Fire Station training room. We hope you can join us. The discussions are lively and we would like your input, plus, we want to hear your stories, memoirs, poems, or anything else you write. Please join us.

Keep on Writing,

Rod

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

It was another good meeting

August 2nd, 2017

Another good meeting even with the inclement weather. We welcomed Lee, a first-time attendee who braved the downpour in order to visit with us, we hope he enjoyed our company and will return.

Our discussion centered on eight questions addressing a single question; ARE THERE GAPS IN YOUR STORY ARC?

In our previous blog I introduced the subject and previewed the questions as follows:
  1. Who is your main character (MC)?
  2. What does the MC want?
  3. What's the main conflict that keeps the MC from getting that want?
  4. What's the event/situation that sets the MC in motion to achieve the want?
  5. What are the obstacles the MC encounters, keeping him/her from the want? (Obstacles should escalate, building tension)
  6. What's the event/situation that makes the MC go "All-or-Nothing" to win the want? (This is a moment in which there is no turning back)
  7. Does the MC win or lose?
  8. What's the effect of the win or loss on the MC

Our discussion took off with the first question and we were into it hot and heavy. Some of our authors do not write fiction but even they contributed saying, "Many of the perspectives used in developing fiction stories can be use in non-fiction pieces as well."

Using a biography for a fictional character is as important as using a true biography for a person in real life. In writing the details of a person's life, the author must be accurate in stating facts, dates, and happenings. If inaccuracies occur in even a minor detail, the entire work comes into question. 

A similar thing happens in fiction. Making a mistake about your character's history often leads to confusion and the reader will pick up on the error. Two things may happen, the reader will ignore the faux pas and continue, the best of circumstances or, the reader will lose interest and close the book never to pick it up again; nor will they purchase a work with the author's name attached in the future. 
Even in fiction accuracy counts.

We rolled on with many thoughts and opinions, the characters cannot be bland, they must have a personality, they must grow and change with emotional rifts, highs and lows, love, hate, anger, happiness, sadness, selfish thoughts, and all the good and bad things people face everyday. We can make them too good to be true or too bad to believe, it's up to the author. But, no matter how we make them, we must make them true in their world, the world we create for them.

Our discussion went on a bit longer than normal but we finally wound down and coasted to a stopping point. After a short break we heard from six of our authors, reading from the latest work and looking for opinions and guidance. 

Darienne read the travelogue detailing her summer vacation in touring some of the most beautiful vistas in the United States. Her descriptions were graphic and filled the pages with wonder. Some suggestions were given and she is going to do some editing and present the piece again in the near future.

Peter, in his ever magnificent style, read from his collection of letters. This one was from Morier, a friend of the Colonel, espousing the qualities and failing of Manon, a beautiful and seductive woman who is vying for the Colonel's love a second time. A wonderful and complicated story of love won and lost. Peter also read five selections of his poetry, Memory, Victim, Skin, Baboons, and Rising Sun.

Ed's poem, Songbird, taken from a bluebird remembered from childhood, gave us a metaphorical look at life.

Rod read the first chapter of his Charlie Bascomb Adventure still under construction. 

Bruce gave us another installment of Promontory Castle, a wonderful tale in iambic pentameter. In this episode, the prince and princess escape the evil invaders and learn to become citizens of the realm, a boon if they ever regain the throne.

Noreen's wonderful wit and Irish brogue create a combination that brings happiness to whatever she reads. This piece entitled, God's Waiting Room, was not about Florida as one might expect but instead it was a humorous look a death and what it might be like awaiting assignment in the afterlife.

Because of our extended discussion we ran out of time and look forward to two readers, Don and Ernie, at our next session. We don't know where they'll take us but, we await the journey.

Our next meeting is on August 16th, at the Nokomis Fire Station, as usual. We hope to see you there and until then, KEEP ON WRITING!

Rod
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