Our Mission Statement:

The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011



Greetings to those that are new to eBlogger Pens & Pages Writers Guild page! This is a great site. Thanks to our facilitator who maintains it for us. Hope your session on the Library Computer Lab went well and you can visit the site often and add your own unique wisdom!

Go! NaNoWrimo-ers, go! Check out http://www.nanowrimo.org/ to see the fun members are having. Hope you can join the fun next year! If you get the bug before then you can participate in April's Script Frenzy sponosored by the same kind people.

One other way to motivate yourself to write is join a poetry challenge in February. This is a little less hectic month for many than November. Be watching for more info.

Time Management Exercise

At the library meeting (Nov. 8) of Pens & Pages, our Fearless Leader suggested that we just maybe might need to work on the most important stuff first. She had us list five things that we felt were most important that needed doing this week. Then as we looked over the list, we put a star beside the thing that should get done first. Before the end of the meeting we had established three lists: "Things to do this Week," "Things of Writing Importance," and "Things to improve my Writing." Some of these overlapped, but it made us more aware of how to accomplish more in less time. In my case, "Straightening up the mess around my desk" seemed to end up as more important than anything else. That should take up the rest of this week. Who knows --- I might actually get some writing done NEXT week. I hope the rest of you are more efficient.

Free Ebooks from Writersdigest.com

I haven't tried this, but just found out about it this morning:

There are 6 or 7 free e-books available in various formats (Nook, Kindle, I-Tunes, etc) on writersdigest.com until the end of the week (November 12), in honor of Nanowrimo. As far as I can tell, they are the full versions of these books, and though it is in honor of Nanowrimo, you don't have to be a participant to get the free e-books.

Link is: http://writersdigest.com/nanowrimo

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Total today

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Keepin On Keepin On

Sept. 26
780 words today
6670 approximate total word count
Wrote 14 days

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sept. total through 9/25 is 7951

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September 20 word count

Word count Sept. 20 365

Thursday, September 15, 2011


word count today: 284
total word count 5523

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

word count for Sept. 12 is 262
word count for Sept. 13 is 299

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sept. 11
word count 274

Saturday, September 10, 2011

word count for Sept.9 and 10 : 1103

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Some Thoughts on the Skeleton

So, at the meeting where I presented Angela Hunt's skeleton diagram for outlining a story, I said I wasn't sure that the part about the character reaching a point of despair and receiving outside help held true for all stories. I'm still not sure it does, but from watching movies, I've decided that part of the problem for me is that it may be presented much more subtly than Glenda's help to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

For example: in the movie Hidalgo, the main character (an ex-cavalry soldier from the American West, whose name escapes me) is involved in an endurance race on a mustang named Hidalgo in the deserts of the Middle East, against all-purebred Arabian horses and Bedouin riders. Near the end, he reaches a moment of despair, and is about to shoot his horse, who has succumbed to the heat, lack of water, and injuries, and seems unable to go on. He is deeply attached to the horse, and can't, when the moment comes, bring himself to do it. At that time, the heat also begins affecting him, and he sees a mirage/vision of Sioux ghost dancers, his ancestors, one of whom may or may not have been the his mother. Seeing them allows him to embrace the Sioux half of his ancestry, which is his Hidden Need, and that decision, coupled with Hidalgo's near-miraculous recovery, allows him to finish the race bareback and win.

When I was thinking of "help", I was not thinking of heat-induced hallucinations that gave no explicit advice. I've noticed in other movies that both the moment of despair and the "help" are even more subtle and hard to spot. However, this makes it easier for me in working on my current novel, where the outside help is similarly difficult to spot. At least, it makes me feel better.

On an unrelated note: there is a great article by Holly Lisle here about creating conflict.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Notes on the Keynote Adress at the 2011 PPW Banquet

Julia asked me to share my notes on Angela Hunt's speech with her, and I thought I'd just go ahead and post them here for everyone while I was at it.

The Writer's Toolkit

Writing is like building -- a writer can write anything (any genre) with the right tools and blueprint.

Tape Measure - a love for reading. You need to love to read and do it often.

Screwdriver -- for joining and prying. A willingness and ability to ask questions, both of yourself (what if? What next?) and of others (interviewing, listening) and to ask yourself what the reader needs to know.

Hammer - a drive to communicate - writing is hard work.

Saw - enables the builder to make things that fit - the writer must understand and adhere to genre guidelines; must check fact and do research.

Stud-finder (get your mind out of the gutter, romance writers!) -- you have to know where you can anchor -- how to be true to yourself in what you write -- don't prostitute your skill just to make a buck.

Vise -- perseverance holds the writer together, especially at the beginning; there WILL BE a learning curve. You must have willingness to keep learning and working to improve. Learn to wait.

- Someone who likes you and can give an honest critique of your work. The professional writer needs perspective - we can't see all the flaws in our own work.

A blank sheet of paper - the builder can build whatever he can sketch (subject to skill and budget restraints). The writer can write whatever his/her imagination can create.

Glue -- we need it to keep us in our chairs. Sit, write, repeat.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stuff to look forward to...

Pens and Pages writer's group is in the middle of hosting Lauraine Snelling's "Writing Great Fiction" cd seminar at the Library. The group is currently on the fifth of seven discs but the group owns the set so if you missed a session, I'm sure you'll be able to catch up!

Our group is also hosting Dianne Sagan on April 16th, starting at 10:00 a.m. From 10:00 a.m. to noon, Ms. Sagan will present a workshop on Plotting and Character Arc, followed by a member-provided potluck from noon to 1:00 p.m. Ms. Sagan's husband will then present a workshop on Rewriting and Editing Your Manuscript from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Members are collecting gas money for the Sagan's. You can make your contribution to Diane or Brenda.

And from my perspective...
After a little bit of a rough start with Ms. Snelling's workshop (technical difficulties, etc) I can say that I'm actually taking a lot of useful stuff away from her presentation. I'm in the middle of reading a book by Larry Brooks (an affiliate of Writer's Digest) titled, Story Engineering. I have a great deal of difficulty grasping story structure - call it a mental block. (For me, Ms. Sagan's upcoming workshop couldn't come to soon.) Mr. Brooks' Story Engineering clearly and concisely outlines the architecture of a story and I think I'm gaining the insight I've desperately searched for lo these many years. I highly recommend it if you are looking for some advice on the more technical aspects of storytelling.

I haven't "written" anything lately... but I've been furiously jotting down little scraps of characterization, scene outlines, and possible plot points for my two flagging NaNo novels. I'm getting excited again - but I'm trying to temper my excitement with caution.

See, I tend to "binge" on "writing procrastination". I can come up with a million reasons why writing every day just isn't convenient, or not possible because I lack inspiration or a topic or any number of real and imagined road blocks. Just like a person who procrastinates in developing that healthy lifestyle through daily moderation, exercise and nutritious food choices, I put off developing the daily practice in writing that will make me a "healthy" writer. Then, I will get excited about something, and I'll go on a writing "diet" - much like the person trying to lose 10 pounds before some event - and I'll write like crazy... for a while. But eventually, I start cheating, and before I know it, I'm off my "diet" and haven't written anything for a week... and well, you know the end of that story. Once you've gone so long, you tell yourself you can't get back on that wagon again.

So, I'm trying to change that pattern, hence the caution, this time. I want to develop a writing habit... not a writing diet.

How about y'all? What's going on with you?