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: 8:00 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

Monday, March 20, 2017

April 5th

Ed Ellis will make a presentation at our next meeting.

The presentation is entitled:

ORGANIZATIONAL MODELS FOR QUALITY WRITING

Meeting Date: April 5th, 2017
Location: Nokomis Fire Station Training Room, (rear of building) Parking available behind fire station
Time: Doors open at 6 PM, presentation will be at 6:30 PM
Everyone is invited, if you have special need, such as limited driving at night, please let Ed know and suitable arrangements will be made.

We hope to see you there.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 15th Meeting

Wow!
Our meeting began with a report from Florida Writers Association. Several workshops are available and well worth the nominal membership fees and event charges. We urge all writers to consider joining the FWA.
Our discussion began with a look at websites and design. Many of our members have websites and maintain them, most on a less-than-daily basis; once a month is more common. Several expressed financial reasons for not hiring a professional but others say the simply want more control and feel they can "do it themselves" while keeping it simple. 
The discussion morphed in blogging and continued its transformation as we moved on to reasons for writing. Although all seemed to be interested in having their work read, it was not always for commercial reasons. Most of us seem to write for pleasure and to put forth ideas in whatever genre we've chosen. Few, if any, expressed a desire to become rich and famous from our craft but all wished to share our work with others. 
This was an interesting, if not enlightening, discussion and was well worth the time.
Russ Heitz, one of the founders of the group, joined us this evening, it’s been a while and we always enjoy his visits. I hope we’re holding up our end.

We took an early break around 7:30 and reconvened at 7:45 for readings. In Ian Schagen’s work presented for our consideration, we heard of a Flying Mermaid. This remarkable creature was based on a statue at the foot of the Pyrenees mountain range in Spain created to honor those men and women who aided refugees fleeing the persecution of the Nazis during WWII.
In that vein, Darienne Oaks offered an edited version of a previous chapter wherein a young Jewish boy is separated from his family while fleeing the Nazis and finding refuge in a Romanian Village where he plays a violin his father made for the village, including the commandant of the German garrison and his wife.
Hearing two poems written by the son of Peter Frickel, one of our regular contributors, was refreshing and proved the talent stays in the family.
Joe Giorgianni brought us a piece called The Other Side, here a man who lost his beloved wife is given a dog to help fill the void. As years pass they develop a bond that lasts until he is once again able to join his true love. Touching, it drew comments and suggestions from the audience aimed at making it even more powerful.
 Bill Elam gave us a fresh chapter and viewpoint of an emotional experience. The officer charged with delivering the news a man’s wife was the victim of a murder has a connection with the victim but must do his duty. Powerful and well written, this piece gives an outlook not normally seen in print or visual media.
Jim Kelly read two of his poems. Charley Horse had the group in stiches with its imagery and humor while Time presented a though provoking look at life. Jim’s work is always met with a desire to hear more.
The final chapter of Don Westerfield’s It’s Only Business gave us the conclusion to a fascinating look at life surrounding the finest brothel in early 20th century San Francisco.

It was a great meeting but not all members had a chance to read. Next meeting is April 5th and we will hear first from those who did not read this time. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at that meeting. I’m looking for subject(s) to research and discuss at that meeting. Please email me your suggestions and I will do my best to get a discussion ready. No matter how mundane it may seem, we always learn something with the talent represented by our group.

Hang in there,
Keep on writing!

Rod

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wednesday, 15 March, 2017

Tonight I thought we might discuss web site design and how to use it to our best advantage.
How many of us have a website?
Which company did you use to design it?
From whom did you acquire the domain name?
Does it link to social media? Is that necessary?
Has it helped you achieve some recognition?
These are but a few questions we should answer. I do have another however, how do you handle all the calls soliciting design business even after you've chosen a designer?

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Wednesday, March 1 2017

As I came to the meeting, I'd drawn a blank coming up with a subject for our discussion.  As the meet and greet portion of the night was winding up, five minutes before calling the meeting to order, Bruce Haedrich approached me with a question. "What are we discussing tonight?"
I looked square in his eye and said, "I have no idea. I've been trying to come up with something but come up blank. Nobody's suggested a subject either."
He shrugged and said, "Too bad. I think I'm going to read a piece from one of my Dan Marin mysteries."
As we talked, Bruce said, "All my mystery stories are in the first person."
An epiphany, my brain slammed into gear and we had a discussion for the evening. As usual, when I broached the subject, it took on a life of its own. Numerous facets of writing in Past, Present, and Future tenses, First Person, Third Person, Narrative, or Point of View came into play and, the subject turned to dialog and how to employ it, even in the first person, to express a thought in the proper tense.
As the discussion wound down, we concluded, if you are going to break from the conventional style of writing, do it well and know what you are doing. Nothing turns a reader off faster than poor writing.

Moving into the reading portion of the evening, we heard from six of our members and enjoyed each offering. All readers were met with valuable comments and suggestions. 

A story of a Fighter Pilot engaged in a dogfight with a worthy enemy left us on the edge of our seats as, instead of concentrating on killing the enemy pilot, the victorious pilot was content to kill only the machine.

Next, the theme of mercy continued with the story of a fisherman doing battle with a huge fish. After a long and arduous struggle, the fisherman reigned victorious. But, in honor of his worthy adversary's valiant struggle, did the angler release his catch and make sure the huge sea creature was sufficiently recovered to return to his home in the deep or, did he feed an entire village with the catch?

Once again, we heard an installment in the saga of the Landis House, a luxurious house of ill repute in San Francisco following the great earthquake of 1906. We eagerly await the story's conclusion at the next meeting.

Lois Stern, creator of Tales2Inspire, brought some book cover blurbs seeking the group's opinion on the content. Such blurbs and elevator pitches are tough to write; too few words and too little time.

As the final reader, Linda read from her memoir, she's using an interesting twist. The membership made numerous suggestions and offered suggestions to streamline the piece. We can't wait for the next installment.

During the readings, Ed Ellis presented his article on dialog, or dialogue if you please. The following is a copy of that article.

Enjoy!

The Four Horsemen of Dialogue by Edwin R. Ellis
As a writer you have an obligation to the reader to study and deploy the techniques and skill of dialogue. This means as writers we need to pay special attention to this subject. It’s a structural backbone of fictional stories.
Most of the writers of our generation either have forgotten, never learned, or don’t know about the four Horsemen of dialogue (David Kantor’s Four Player System). Each horse leaves a mark when designed into dialogue. Why? In the readers mind, they know intuitively about the Horsemen, simply because they (the reader) is alive and human. We all should realize that each sentence we write is designed to communicate ideas, ideas from our heads via ink on paper and into the mind of the reader.
So what are these Horsemen and what do they do?
Horsemen #1 rides a horse named “Mover.” Moving an idea into action.
Horsemen #2 rides high in the saddle of “Opposer.” They stuff anyone’s and everyone’s ideas into a sealed wooden barrel and then walk away to see what happens?
Horsemen #3 is bareback upon the stallion “Follower.” They follow an idea as if they were sheep. They join other’s ideas without question.
Horsemen #4 rides a pony named “Bystander.” as the word implies, they stand to the side of the idea and simply observe what is taking place.
Let’s provide a simple example:
Pretend for a moment you are on a double date cruising down the boulevard being cool with another couple in the backseat of your 1957 Ford convertible. You have one hand firmly gripped upon the steering wheel, the other on your date’s leg. “Let’s head down to the Regal Cinema and watch the Rising Sun starring Clark Gable.” This character has assumed the role of the first horsemen ridding atop the horse called “Mover.”
The gentlemen from the backseat; “no way, last time we went to the Regal we got kicked out because Sam caused a problem.” This character assumed the role of the opposer throwing up roadblocks.
The gorgeous blonde in the front seat; “I really don’t care where we go, I’m along because I’m with Ed.” This character is in bed with horsemen number three, and might end up between a rock and a hard space.
The stunning brunette in the backseat; “I wish I had a tape recorder to record the three of you. You make me sick with all the syrup in the front seat. You three are something else. It was an experience just sitting here listening.” This last character has assumed the role of a bystander.
Okay, now that we have this in our minds, how can we use this valuable information as we write? If you are creating your work in a word processor, simply choose a color for each horsemen and highlight that portion in your dialogue. Who knows, you may create red, white, and blue sentences.
Here are the principles behind Kantor’s Four Player System.
“Without movers, there is no direction.”
“Without followers, there is no completion.”
“Without opposers, there is no correction”
“Without bystanders, there is no perspective”
There may be some questions brewing in the back of your minds.
Can a single character assume the roles of each horsemen or a portion of each horsemen in the same dialogue frame? Absolutely yes.
Does each character need to be attached to one or more horsemen? Absolutely yes.
Each time you focus on the power and strength of the horsemen, your character or characters will start to leave their world of flat. It’s like connecting an air hose from a hand tire pump to round out your characters.
We all know the four Horsemen from the moment we started communicating via speech. The complete stable forms from our own personal experiences. We have witnessed all of them over the years.
The difficulty is; this is so hardwired in our brains we except the behavior without thought or question. Think about this for a moment. I’m a character. I’ve stood here in a one-way dialogue frame using all four Horsemen, capturing what I believe is the immense power of the human mind to communicate clearly.
Before concluding there is one more example: this is a test. Get out your pencil and paper. After reading my concluding sentence, see if you can determine what horse or horses are at play.
Ready?
“I’m the reason the beer is always gone.”

Hang in there; keep on writing,
See you on the 15th, 
Rod