Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Ask Not What Your Club Can Do For You…



by Jerry Davis

What is a Writers’ Club?
What should it be, what should it do for its members?

Quick answer:
A Writers’ Club should provide, as far as possible, those things the members want from the club.

Are all Writers’ Clubs the same?
By the above definition, no. No two groups of writers are the same, so no two clubs are exactly alike. There is no single formula for a writers’ club, and you can’t successfully copy from another.

Can any Writers’ Club perfectly provide for the desires of every member?
                Doesn’t seem likely. Would take a lot of communication and volunteer effort.

What does the Village Writers’ Club provide for its members?
                The Bylaws, adopted by the membership, lists four primary purposes:

VILLAGE WRITERS’ CLUB BYLAWS

ARTICLE 1:  NAME AND PURPOSE

     1.1  The name of the organization shall be "Village Writers' Club."
     1.2  The purpose of the Club shall be to provide a forum to:
             a.  exchange writing-related experiences, skills and concerns,
             b.  motivate production of original writing by its members,
             c.  improve the writing skills of members,
             d.  assist members in marketing their work.

Does the Village Writers’ Club provide for its members in these areas?
There has been some activity in all these areas within the past year, through programs, workshops, critique groups, and public performance. Some areas were emphasized more than others.

Do the purposes listed in the Bylaws fit the needs of every member?
I don’t know. Doubtful. I don’t even know how to find out, since it is difficult to get timely and reliable information from members.

Does the membership gladly and enthusiastically help with activities need to keep the club going?
Only a few. In fact, the club could fold due to attrition of these few. Some members and frequent guests appear to feel they are entitled to the effort of volunteers, without feeling the impulse to volunteer themselves for supportive roles. Some seem to believe the volunteers who keep it running should be grateful if others attend on occasion. While I gather these attitudes are pervasive in the Village, that doesn’t mean the club will continue without member involvement. Besides, if the same people generally keep things going, only their views will determine club activities, and some members’ interests will not be served.

Am I an old curmudgeon who just wants to complain?
Guilty to the first, but I would like the club to continue. I think its work is valuable for people who would like to write, and especially for senior citizens. That doesn’t mean I want to perform support duties for more years to come without a break. That wouldn’t be good for the club, either. I like certain kinds of programs, diversity would be a good thing.

To paraphrase JFK:
Ask not what your club can do for you, ask, rather, what you can do for your club.

The idea is exactly the same. Volunteer to do as much as you can, split jobs if need, but commit and follow through. That’s how you get something written, isn’t it?

 QUESTIONS:
What do you want from the Village Writers’ Club?
  1. What is the most important activity the club can perform?
  2. Are you willing to volunteer for a responsible position in the club? For how long?
  3. Are you willing to volunteer for a few one-time support activities for the club?
  4. Do you think the Village Writers’ Club had just as well fold up and cease to exist?
Let us hear from you. We really want to know what you think.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Write, Share, Get Involved


I attended my first Village Writers' Club meeting out of curiosity. I had no illusions of ever being considered a writer. I didn't think I was of that caliber--write, that is.

I immediately made friends and was never treated as the novice I was. Instead, I was welcomed and encouraged in my writing. I learned manuscript format, which is a handy little thing to know if you plan to submit anything to anyone. I learned where my weaknesses were and how to improve in a critique group. I gained confidence by participating in area contests. I shared what I wrote at L'Audible Art.

Writer:  Someone who writes something

In short, as with anything else in life, you get out what you are willing to invest. I never would have written any of the things I have written in the last nine years without the encouragement of many Village Writers' Club friends. I never would have shared my writing with anyone else if it weren't for the critique groups and L'Audible Art.
  • If you are willing to invest time working on what you write in order to improve, you get better.
  • If you enter contests to test the waters, and see how you rank with others, you get better.
  • And here is the oddest thing, something I never expected. If you get involved in a club by participating in events, holding an office, and meeting other writers, you get better at writing. It's odd how that works, but it does.
 It's that simple. Write, share, get involved.


WHAT DO YOU THINK? THINK?
  • ·       Why did you join the Village Writers’ Club, and what do you get out of it?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Push "Start" by Jerry Schutz


Last spring, I purchased a book called 642 Things to Write About; a book of writers’ prompts. The book was written in an amazing 24 hours, by a team. The writer of the introduction, Po Bronson, received a call from an editor asking for a book with 642 writers’ prompts. She accepted the challenge, and asked for help from 34 other members of the San Francisco Writers Grotto. She was hoping to have it done in 30 days. Twenty-four hours later she delivered a printed copy of the manuscript to the editor, in person. Some examples of prompts are: I can’t go into this right now, but if I could, I’d tell you this…; Write the lyrics of a catchy jingle--for a plumbing service; and Never underestimate the lives of old men sitting on park benches. The pages are variously divided into quarters (quartered?), thirds, halves, and full page.

               After I had done about 50 of these I decided I wasn’t getting the full potential out of them. It seemed to me that the responses should lead somewhere; not be complete ideas. I then started writing my responses as if I were starting a larger work. Here is an example:

“The toy you most treasured.” My answer: I was at a cocktail party talking to a tall brunette when she asked me what my favorite toy had been as a boy. I couldn’t tell if this was supposed to be a conversation starter, or if she really wanted to know more about me, but it took no time for my response…my Lotus Ford pedal car. Little did I realize what that response would yield.

I never had any such toy, in fact, I doubt that I ever had a pedal car, and I don’t remember any of my toys. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not the point. I thought of a pedal car and looked it up on E-Bay. I scrolled through the innumerable offerings until I found the Lotus Ford, a formula one car. It fit my own history and evoked many memory threads, almost like going through a class annual. My junior year in high school I took a class in journalism. I was interested in writing. My class mates were interested in partying. The teacher had a reputation for liking parties and football players. This eventually got her into a lot of trouble.

Meanwhile, I became a member of a small group within the class interested in sports cars, which became a life-long passion. The following year I was invited to be a member of the pit crew for an older friend of theirs who raced a Porsche in amateur races. I was really hyped about this opportunity. When we got to the track, I stood around waiting for someone to tell me what to do. No one ever did. Afterwards I was told I would not be invited back because I didn’t contribute. This was a lesson I learned over and over in the work world and other places. Do I have enough here to start a novel? I think so. I thought of the title “Sink or Swim.” I looked it up on Amazon. Unfortunately, it has been used over and over by many authors. How about Fish or Cut Bait? Lots of those too. I guess I’ll have to think of something original.

               If you are having a difficult time getting started on your next writing project I recommend you get a copy of 642 Things to Write About, promptly!

Friday, February 10, 2017


Websites for Writers by Mary Lou Moran

Every year Writers' Digest magazine comes out with their list of websites for writers. It's a pretty long list and includes everything from resources to publishing in every genre.

  • What is your favorite or go-to website for writers?
  • Where do you go for research, grammar, writing prompts, and story ideas? 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Blogging Along by Mary Lou Moran


Blogging Along

by Mary Lou Moran
 
In my quest to understand the blogging world, I find I have questions--serious questions. And I need your help. So please read this and answer the questions below.
  1. Do you write your own blog?
  2. If so, why do you blog?
  3. Do you read other peoples' blogs?
  4. What kind of blogs do you like to read? Example:  funny, informative, everyday happenings, specific topics etc.
  5. What kind of blog makes you groan painfully and click to another website?
  6. Do you enjoy discussions started on blogs?
  7. If you are an author, do you consider blogging a part of your platform?
  8. And finally, if you do not blog - why not? 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

We Prevail

The English language attempts to thwart writers' efforts; but, with determination, we overcome its challenges. We prevail!


to set (an object) downDEFINITIONto rest or recline
layPRESENT TENSElie
laidPAST TENSElay
layingPRESENT PARTICIPLE
(with am/is/are)
lying
laidPAST PARTICIPLE
(with has/have/had)
lain

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

L'Audible Authors!

Thanks to the writers who offered selections of their work to be read for L'Audible Art on May 9. The authors who will read and those who submitted work to be read by Carousel Theater volunteers should take rightful pride in sharing their creativity with the Hot Springs Village Community. Following is a list of the authors, their titles, and the genre of their work.

FirstLastTitle & Genre
Charles HeatelyAllenChapter 26 of Living Nightmares,
Excerpt from novel

SuzanneBratcherGuardians of the Canyon, Excerpt
from Chapter of romantic suspense novel

JerryDavisIt's for You, Humorous essay
NancyForisRegrets, Poetry
ElizabethFosterHusbands Are Handy, Essay
NealaGundersonChildren Are Gone, Poem written for
grandchildren

Charles "Chap"HarperJungle Jane & the Diamond Cave of the
Naked Pygmies, Action/adventure

MarleneKloackThe Old Pear Tree, Poetry
Mary LaughlinAn Ode to the Hot Springs Village Firemen,
Humrous essay
Mary LouMoranBack in Time, Personal story

CaroleOhlsenHamburg's Fish Market, Travelogue/memoir
MyraRushtinAll About Joy, Ruthless, Promises Kept,
and Be My Best Friend, Poetry

CaroleSjolanderTitle to be determined
JohnSwinburnTranslucent, Short fiction
JohnThorpeLeo and Louise on the Flying Trapeze,
Excerpt of novel 

JoannaWilliamsThe Street Car Ride, recollections
as a five year old

MadelynYoungHot Pink, personal essay