These meetings trigger a lot of writing. Wednesday night we hosted 18 Writers and most of them had items to share. We usually allow readers enough time to read the portions of a piece with which they are having some difficulty. The input from the writers in the room are great, ranging from suggestions of how to enhance the piece to questions as to whom the reader is trying to reach with their work. Unless the piece is unusually complicated, a five-minute read is sufficient for the group to offer multiple suggestions.
We originally planned to have a presenter at the next meeting but there's been a change of plans. We've had to postpone the presenter until the second meeting, March 20th. Ed Ellis will be presenting, Abstractions, the blood in the veins of the writer.Join us for an informative session.
This meeting opened with a discussion about the process of judging a writing competition. Ernie, our FWA group leader, is one of the judges in this year's Royal Palm Literary Award Competition. We looked at what judges look for in a piece submitted for the competition. The scoring is based on ten overall areas with marks of 1 to 10 points given in each category.
- Genre - Does the piece meet the specification of the genre in which it's entered?
- Hook - Does the piece interest the reader in the first paragraphs?
- Language and POV - Is the language used consistent with the era in which the story unfolds, is it appropriate for the target audience, and does it sound natural? Does the Point Of View change appropriately within the story?
- Creativity - Does the story show imagination and originality?
- Description - Are locations and people within the story shown as real and easily seen by the reader.
- Character - Are the characters developed and definable?
- Dialogue - Is there too little, too much, or just the right amount of dialogue?
- Plot - Does the plot develop within the story?
- Mechanics - Did the writer use the proper writing tools, ie. commas, periods, quotation marks, etc.
- Overall Impression - What is the judges overall impression of the story?
The discussion was energetic and questions meaningful. Thank you Ernie for bringing this to us.
As we moved into the reading portion of the evening, three readers who did not have the opportunity to read at the last meeting were called upon to present their work.
Debbie MacAvoy introduced us to two new characters in her work, The Manipulator. Teddy's parents, Frank and Pearl enter with a discussion about the real reason Frank wants to buy the farm in upstate New York and leave the city. Great dialogue and description of expressions and body language gave us good insight into the characters and their relationship. The group expressed some really good ideas as to how Debbie might expand these characters. We'll have to wait and see how this turns out. Good job Debbie.
William Beebe is a favorite author of Dennis Cathcart and Dennis wants to use a quote from him published in 1918. He read the quote to the group and received feedback on how to incorporate it.
When Sue Haley read her poem The Very Core of Me, the room took a deep communal breath as they heard the lament of our Mother Earth. As always, Sue hit the nail on the head in expressing her feelings and drawing her audience into the moment.
The second day of the battle at Gettysburg dawned with Jim Kelly II reading a snippet from the historical novel about the life of General Winfield Scott Hancock. It was almost a though we could smell death and hear the moans of the wounded from the previous day even as he delved into the thoughts of the General's planning.
Reading a selection of short poems, Peter Frickel took us on a journey through the labyrinth of his thoughts. Peter urges us to write with concision as we put forth our ideas and stories.
A poet who is not a member of our group but is represented by his sister, Barbara Frickel, wrote a beautiful piece entitled 3 Suns Up. Barbara's rendition of the happenings on a farm as seen from the Sun's point of view was beautiful and expressive, we could feel the sun's warmth and cool dampness of the morning dew.
Can you imagine eating a half-century-old piece of cake. Well, Linda Bond shared the experience and history of a piece of wedding cake reclaimed and shared at a 50th anniversary celebration.
When Ed Ellis brought a new poem to the floor, we looked forward to it with pleasure as Ed always finds a new twist in his active brain. This was no exception, In Here Out There was all we expected. Great job Ed.
The continuing story of a young boy in Castro's Cuba is taking shape in the biographical novel of Amari. Jeffrey Kutcher paints a picture of a boy who despite economic shortcomings in his everyday life manages to have some fun and obtain a reasonable education. When his friends loosen the screws in his school desk, Amari gets in trouble with the teacher who is teaching the history of Cuba as seen by Castro's politics.
In her last meeting of the season before returning to the north, Lois Stern shared a story from the upcoming book in the Tales2Inspire series. A Gentle Voice for Social Justice follows a young Dominican through his formidable years as he leaves home to join his father in the United States. There he is educated and dedicates his life to making life better for others here and in his home country.
As the evening drew to a close, the group still seemed reluctant to leave as they clustered in small groups and continued conversation. It took the extinguishing of lights to finally move them outside.
We hope to see you at the next meeting on March the 6th, same time, same place. Until then, KEEP ON WRITING.