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

Sunday, August 19, 2018

August 15, 2018

Hello again, another energizing meeting to renew our spirit and encourage a greater desire to put pen to paper.

Before we moved into the discussion portion of our meeting, we were honored by the presence of a Nokomis Fire Department Battalion Chief to accept our semi-annual donation to the Department for allowing us the privilege of using their training room for our meetings. These guys are wonderful, and we ask that you support this Volunteer Fire Department every chance you get.

Another evening of great discussion and awesome reading began with the group mulling over the use of photographs, song lyrics, and quotes for publication. Although we all agreed, it’s best to get permission before using intellectual property than to beg forgiveness later. That forgiveness may be costly.

The reading portion of our meeting began with Peter Frickel. Peter demonstrated how he once wrote a piece in answer to a challenge in the group, it was to write something about wine. Having written this piece, he found a reason to incorporate it into another story he was working on. His, I Remember, tale includes the story Umbachara, woven into its heart. All of the writers I know, including myself, do not discard written work. We save scraps of paper and print-outs while files fill our hard drives, a plethora of thumb drives, and discs. These seemingly discarded works often find their way into our stories. Thank you, Peter, for reminding us of this abundant material resource.

Ernie Ovitz returned to the fourth century and Emperor Constantine with his reading of another chapter in the imagined daily workings of the Roman court. Filled with intrigue, spies, and traitors lurking in every corner. At the Saturnalia festivities in the Roman tradition, a sensual and suggestive encounter between an influential senator and the beautiful wife of a distinguished general lends a bit of spice to what is already an engaging tale.

The conclusion of Don Westerfield’s, Emma, was as entertaining as the first two installments had been. With the Admiral, the Queen, and their son all facing the truth, the conclusion is a classic Westerfield tale. Look for it in an upcoming publication.

An op-ed workshop inspired Anne Moore to write a piece she’s entitled, Steppin in High Cotton. It is a well-written piece highlighting, in some cases unique, facts about life in Florida. She explores places and activities that range from shopping at Publix to nudist camps. Fun is the keyword for this piece.

Hadley, Pennsylvania is a fictional town with familiar people and problems almost every small town in America face. A product of Bruce Heidrich’s mind, the story, Skin Deep, is a love story. Two people meet in grammar school and grow to adulthood with twists and turns dictated in real life. Look for Bruce’s book on Amazon and read these fascinating stories.

Returning with wonderful changes to the story, Lost and Found, Doug Sahlin read his story in which a brother seeks a bother lost. The search leads him to a homeless camp in Florida.

How I Met Ukie came to us from the pen of Leah Sherzer. A school psychologist struggles to complete the written evaluations of students while visited by the spirit of her departed daughter. This story bears the weight and aura of truth. We only heard a small part, the first few pages, but we all want more.

Peter McNally continues the work on the true story, Rewired, in which he relates the issues encountered when he suffers two strokes in short succession. Frustrated by his progress and the problems he faces in recalling the details of his ordeal, Peter is a novice writer and often faces a strong desire to quit writing. Encouraged by the group, we hope he stays with the project as it is a fascinating subject with the potential to aid many others facing similar disabilities. Hang in there Peter, we’re all pulling for you and offer our assistance.

As we ran out of time, a single reader was waiting in the wings. Jeff, don’t despair, you are first on the list for the next meeting.

Until next time, keep on writing and join us September 5th, 6:30 PM, at the Nokomis Fire Station. 

Thursday, August 09, 2018

A Learning Opportunity

Received by Ernie Ovitz this week:

Hi Creative Person,
This is Jeanne Corcoran, the director of the Sarasota County Film & Entertainment Office in Florida.  I just wanted to be sure you knew about the extraordinary event our film commission is helping to bring to Sarasota for the first time ever - October 19 thru 21, at the Ringling College academic auditorium: 
Robert McKee himself, presenting the legendary STORY seminar, which is world-acclaimed for providing writers of all kinds “an opportunity to apply classic story design – the kind that has resulted in masterpieces of all kinds – to your own cinematic, theatrical or literary premise.”
Mr. McKee’s students have won hundreds of major awards and nominations, from Oscars to Emmys to DGA and WGA awards, to name just a few.  I studied under him myself, and his teaching transformed my writing.  Robert McKee’s teaching took me completely to another level in how I conceived and conveyed the worlds of my stories.
After taking Mr. McKee’s STORY seminar, I continued on as a paid professional scriptwriter for more than 300 clients’ projects, sold three of my own screenplays on spec, and have written children’s books, novels, and multimedia, including having had my own children’s TV program air on 48 stations across the country.  I also administered the State of Nevada’s screenplay competition (the oldest state-sponsored contest of its kind) for a decade.
Would the STORY seminar impact you or someone you know who writes and creates, the way it did me?  There’s no way of knowing until someone takes the seminar and discovers for themselves what they individually might learn.  If you or someone you know is interested in attending or just wants more information, please copy and paste this link (or click through if it’s live in your email), to read a bit more about the exceptional work of Robert McKee (“one of the best story brains in the business”): 
You can also call our film office toll-free (888-765-5777, extension 104) and speak with our production coordinator for more details if I’m not available.
May Creativity imbue and enrich your life, always!

Jeanne D. Corcoran

Sunday, August 05, 2018

AUGUST 1st, 2018

Our first meeting in August was on the 1st, a great way to start the month.

Two new attendees were at the meeting, Ann and Jeffery. Both are writers and have extensive work completed, or at least in draft form. It’s great to have them here and hope they enjoyed the group.

For the first part of the meeting, a discussion among the attendees covered numerous subjects. Chief among those was, what writing tools are used by our authors and, what techniques for getting the work or paper (electronic or manual methods). 

Even though our group this week numbered only about a dozen, we pretty much covered the most popular writing techniques. All use electronic equipment to finalize their work while more than a third of the writers use a pen or pencil and paper to work with the drafts.

The use of electronic programs also varied. Many use the Microsoft Office Word while some use Scrivner and still others use; Final Draft, Storyist, iA Writer, Celtx or even Evernote. There are a lot of tools out there for a writer to use. Explore a little and choose the one that works the best for you.

We moved from the discussion into the reading portion of the meeting and heard some results of these techniques and methods.

Peter Frickel was first on the list this evening. As usual, he was delightful in his comments. He brought a group of short works, simple ideas that give us an insight into his thinking. Again, as is the case most evenings when Peter speaks, it was a definitive lesson in how to take the basic happenings around us and put them on paper in a manner which draws in the reader and makes them want to read more. Each of his examples left me wanting to hear more of the story. Entitled, I Saw Her, was about child-rearing, an act that birds may do better than humans. Another offering explored the antics and habits of wild creatures in Africa, Baboons showed us a pack of raucous creature faced with a perceived threat. A dying man in an African city was the Victim. When he finished up with a short story, The Veldt and the Hunter, we hung on each word as a dangerous confrontation evolved into a revelation which could surely have a dire conclusion.

Moving from the Veldt of the African plains to the Spanish colonies of the Roman Empire, Ernie Ovitz took us inside the camp of Constantine and the court of his brother-in-law as they vie for control of the empire. Intrigue, military might, and cunning are well crafted in this novel. Look for Ernie’s trilogy in the future.

As Don Westerfield began to read the third installment of Emma, we wondered what was going to happen? In this segment, it’s twenty years later and our young Lieutenant is now an Admiral dispatched to the small country of Monte Rosa whose Queen is his old lover, Emma. The Vice President gives the Admiral some advice, it resonates as to twenty years prior; “Keep in your pants!” The Admiral is married to the Navy while the Queen is married and has a son, a son who is now almost twenty years old and the Queen insists on the Admiral meeting the boy.

In Doug Sahlin’s, Lost and Found, a man searches for his half-brother and the search leads him to Sarasota. He meets a homeless couple who know his brother and tell him what he needs to know.

Flash fiction is unique in its structure and few do it better than 
Bruce Haedrich. In Chance, Victoria Blake Dietrich traces her family tree and finds an astonishing number of places where chance intervened to bring her existence to being. Ever wonder, Why am I here?

Alligator Creek, by Leah Sherzer takes us for a walk along the meandering stream with a little dog for company. After spotting a golden fish seemingly in a life and death struggle, she realizes, upon closer inspection, the fish is in the jaws of an otter swimming upstream, taking the fish home to feed its family. Her curiosity has led her to the edge of the stream where she’s often seen large alligators. She retreats to safer footing but doesn’t regret her lapse of caution as it was a rewarding stroll.

Rewrites are part of writing, after an extensive critique at our last meeting, Peter McNally returned with his work, Rewired. A second critique and more suggestions followed his reading to which Peter responded with gratitude and enthusiasm. This looks to be a great beginning and is going to be a fascinating read.

Well, it was an interesting evening and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it. So, until next time:
Keep on Writing!