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About PAINTED STORIES:
WSN Members (and other writers) are invited to submit either a piece of fiction or non-fiction for our next event in this series that can be read aloud in 10-15 minutes and serve as inspiration for an artist to paint behind them as they read.
Excerpts from longer, or previously published works, will also be considered.
FREE TO ENTER!
Deadline: April 30, 2015
HOW TO SUBMIT:
Those interested in participating must submit a clean as possible draft to: nevadawriters at gmail dot com. Please make the subject line: Painted Stories Submission.
In choosing what to submit, remember, a visually evocative piece will give our artist something to use as inspiration. However, merely describing a scene with pretty language won’t satisfy the audience very much.
A good story, even if it’s an excerpt or a short chapter from a longer work, should have a beginning, middle and end. Or at least, end on a compelling hook.
MORE ABOUT PAINTED STORIES:
Our first Painted Stories event was held at the Bootlegger Bistro on Sunday February 8, 2015. It was a lot of fun and WSN got a fair amount of media attention in advance. We were even featured on The Morning Blend talk show on Ch. 13, Las Vegas’ local ABC affiliate. Five authors read as our Guest Artist Mike Davies painted turned blank canvas into an incredible piece of art during each reading. All of his paintings sold out after the show.
One of the biggest challenges writers face (that is before finding an agent, finding a publisher, editing to the publishers specifications and then marketing the crap out of your manuscript) is finding the time and the motivation to write. It seems like a grand joke that the universe plays on us. If we have time to write, our minds are as blank as freshly driven snow that hasn’t been peed on yet. But when we finally have the motivation, the inspiration and the focus… we can’t find the time.
Whether you are caring for a family, climbing the career ladder or just trying to make ends meet, finding time to hit the page can be a challenging venture. Here are a few suggestions. Skip the evening news and use that time to write. I can sum up what you will miss: the economy sucks, another pedestrian got hit and tomorrow will be sunny with a chance of spontaneous combustion. If you have already cut television out of your daily routine, maybe use your bathroom time. No, I’m not suggesting you stop doing that, but maybe bring a small laptop in there with you. Just make sure you don’t answer any Skype calls. If none of that appeals to you, perhaps just train yourself to write while other things are going on. Kids playing on the floor? Write. Lunch break at work? Write. Dinner in the oven? Write.
But what about finding the motivation and the inspiration to create a story from thin air? This is something that I myself am struggling with right now. As a committed practitioner of Yoga, I recently picked up a book called The Journey From The Center To The Page by Jeff Davis. He suggests approaching your writing practice as you do your yoga practice – with a clear intention. Instead of sitting down in front of your computer and waiting for a white clad muse to pop out of your USB port, you need to ask yourself “What am I writing for?” Are you looking to sort out personal problems, make peace with an incident in your past, entertain your reader or create a fictional world for your characters to play in? Whatever the reason, discovering why you write should inspire you to do so. No muses required.
Once you’ve set an intention, take a few deep breaths to settle into the practice of writing. You can even bust out of a few yoga poses to prime your body and your brain. Once you’ve done your breathing exercises, sit down at your computer and write something. Anything.
Davis suggests beginning with a 3-60-15 schedule to ease yourself into a regular writing practice. This means that for the next 15 days, you will write 3 times per week for 1 hour a pop. In the scheme of things, this is nothing. I am committing to this “trial period” to get my writing practice back on track. Will you join me?
I have a confession to make. I don’t like making decisions. In fact, it’s akin to sticking pins in my eyes. I’ve always been like this. It started with shopping. I search and search and then tired and disgusted from the journey, I buy something. I have to shop in stores that allow refunds because I will inevitably be struck with a roaring case of buyer’s remorse and have to go back to the store, tail between my legs, to return my purchase.
The reason I’m outing my skeleton for fellow writers is to explain a recent situation of mine, one which we all hope to be in at some point: I received an offer to publish my first novel. Now, before you jump up and down like a twelve year old girl at a Justin Beiber concert, let me tell you a bit about the specifics. As all writers should, I poured my heart, my soul, and six months of my life into writing this novel. Making light of a serious situation with my signature morbid humor, I felt (and feel) that it is a topic which deserves to be discussed.
After just a few weeks of submitting my manuscript to agents, my inbox was filling up with overly polite form rejection letters. And then came the one email I’ve been waiting my whole life to read: “We love your manuscript and would like to publish it.” I was filled with warm fuzzies. My hard work, my blood, sweat and tears were finally paying off. I lept around the house like a gazelle on Ecstasy and phoned my nearest and dearest.
The high lasted about 48 hours before the reality of the situation struck me. The publishing company was brand new, there would be no advance, and for these reasons, I would not be eligible to join the Writer’s Guild. It’s not that I was expecting a check for three million dollars, or that I was waiting for the president of Penguin to phone me personally to extend his congratulations. It’s just that I really had my heart set on joining the Writer’s Guild. It may sound silly, but I hope to have a long writing career and that will be my signal that it’s begun. I will finally be A Writer.
You might be asking yourself right now, “Is she crazy? She got a publishing offer.” And I might be. I mulled over the decision for months, consulting every writer, life coach, friend, and dog that would listen before, in a moment of false bravado, I turned down the deal.
I still don’t know if I made the right choice, and I’m not sure I ever will. As writer’s we struggle with the decision to take the first offer that comes our way, it’s an offer after all, and may be the only one we get, or to hold out for that amazing deal which will catapult us into fame and fortune (sort of). No one can make that choice for us.
The offer is still on the table and fingers crossed, there’s another one out there with my name on it.
By Sheryl Greenblatt
Whether you are a seasoned writer or just dipping your toes into the craft, you are going to need a critique group. Even if you have a Greek Muse whispering creative brilliance into your ear as you write… they probably can’t spell either. Let’s take a look at seven reasons why everyone needs a critique group.
- Procrastination is an art form that many writers have perfected. Whether it be the dreaded writer’s block or just thinking that you’ll “start that novel next week”, some writers are really good at not getting their backsides in gear. A critique group creates an air of accountability. You will be responsible for a certain number of pages each week, and if you don’t come through, you will be drawn and quartered by your fellow critiquers.
- You cannot critique your own work. Let me repeat that in case you missed it. You cannot critique your own work. You are often too close to your story to notice whether the murder occurred on a Tuesday, the dragon had red scales or blue, or whether during a sex scene, your protagonist was wearing enough layers to be an Eskimo stuck in a strip poker game. Let someone else take a look, they will notice things that you could’ve missed.
- You cannot trust the opinion of anyone who relies on you for food, shelter or sex. The only question that a man likes to answer less than “Does this make me look fat?” is “Do you like my story?” You need a group of impartial writers who will tear you to shreds (in a nice way) and then build you back up.
- Critique groups prevent you from being a lonely hermit who only converses with cats… and inanimate objects. Writing is a lonely calling. Being part of a critique group will ensure that you shower and brush your teeth at least once a week.
- The habits that keep you from being invited to parties (correcting people’s grammar, pointing out spelling mistakes) will be respected and appreciated.
- When you are starting to doubt your skills as a writer, your critique group will prevent you from throwing your computer out a window and becoming a Walmart greeter… or they will get you an application. We all have moments where we feel like the only thing we should be writing is a suicide note. Your critique buddies will be there to tell you how much you’ve improved and remind you that life is worth living.
- If you show me yours, I will show you mine. If you are writing because you just want to write, then good for you. Writing is a wonderful cathartic tool. But, if you have any hopes of being published then you will have to put on your big boy pants and show your work to other people. A critique group provides a safe environment in which to do that. They will also make sure that your writing is in the best possible shape before presenting it to an agent.
So what are you waiting for?
Based in Las Vegas, Nevada, Writers of Southern Nevada is a fellowship of writers, authors, and those who love thewritten word. In fulfillment of its vision to become the preeminent organization of its type in the state, WSN inspires, supports, educates, and encourages writing and writers as they develop their craft and careers through sponsorship of activities, programs, gatherings, and an online community. In addition, WSN provides information about southern Nevada to writers everywhere and showcases the writing community in the Las Vegas Valley. Writers of Southern Nevada is a nonprofit corporation with a board of directors and organizing committee.
Writers of Southern Nevada’s mission is:
“To advance the craft and the business of writing through education, collaboration, networking, and access to resources.”
WSN places particular emphasis on strategies and tactics to help writers adapt to the revolutionary transformation taking place in the publishing industry and related fields. In addition, WSN showcases Las Vegas and its writing community and provides resources for writers seeking a greater understanding of the city’s evolving culture, unique influence and colorful history.