Tuesday, January 26, 2016

February 22, 2016 Village Writers' Club Meeting

Click on each image to enlarge so you can more easily read it. Here are details of our February 22, 2016 meeting; please plan on attending, and pass the word!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Writing from Reality

Pay sufficient attention to the rhythm of each day and we're assured of noticing moments worthy of preservation, memories worth capturing for periodic return visits. Those memories do not necessarily involve close friends or family or even people we know, though they well might. But, regardless, they find ways of carving their initials in our soul, making permanent marks that want to find their way onto the page. The "sufficient attention" becomes second nature to many writers; we're always on the prowl for moments that connect us to broader humanity, along with its triumphs and failures.

We watch for and passionately engage with instances that bridge the span between people or, conversely, splinter relationships. Consider these real-world experiences that, with warmth and sensitivity, can become interesting stories evocative of our own recollections: a reassuring embrace that becomes an awkward but welcome kiss; a chance encounter with strangers who laugh at the same salty comments; an unexpectedly happy interchange between enemies; the rapid disintegration of relationships that took decades to build; the dissolution of friendships that, on close examination, are in fact unhealthy co-dependent relationships.

We've all been witness to the ups and downs of life around us. The daily rhythm of our lives provides ample fodder for stories, happy and sad, we want and need to capture.

During the drive home from our recent writing retreat at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow, three of us chatted about writing from experience. In my view, we always write from experience. Even if we concoct fabulous stories of aliens in distant galaxies, the emotions and interactions we attribute to characters emerge from people and experiences familiar to us. One of the three of us passed on advice she had read about making characters real: Describe, in detail, every aspect of some of the people with whom you are closest and love or like very much; do the same for people you dislike, loathe, or downright hate. Mix and match attributes from those people to create living, breathing characters.

The same can be said for creating scenes, and even novel-length interactions between characters. Pay attention to the rhythm of life and record actual circumstances. Mix and match them, along with characters, to create a riveting story.

Every scene we write and every character we create is based on our experiences with the real world, in one form or another. The more attentive we are to the world around us, the more believable the worlds we create, or reflect about, will be.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year Writers!

It has been a busy year for me.I finally finished the short-short stories I have been continually revising and editing. I could read, edit and change them for the rest of my life and never get anything else accomplished. But with Jerry Davis' encouragement and collaboration, I finished them and we combined our stories into one book titled She Writes, He's Wrong. Guess who came up with that title. I learned a lot from this whole process and I'm glad it's finished so I can move on to the next one. New projects, new territory, new ventures. That's what I see for me in 2016.

My goal this year is to write. I would like to get down to business and seriously write more often, finish what I write, and either put it to bed or attempt to publish.

I think a lot of writers like myself, put off the writing process to the point of apathy. The words are in there rolling around in our brain cells, but we just don't let them out. It comes down to habit. If we quit exercising, it's difficult to get started again. If we quit writing, it's just as difficult. The writing muscles seize and resist as we begin to use them and the excuses not to write are abundant. But if we persist, we enjoy the benefits. Writing gets easier as our writing muscles begin to remember the process and rewards.

So my wish for all of my fellow writers is that this year you make a pledge to get off your duffs and write. Write something. Write anything and share it with someone. Find a fellow writer you trust and venture into new territory. Take a risk. Toss out the excuses, sit in the chair and write.

See you all at the next meeting. Kai Coggin is our presenter. If you do not know Kai, you have not been paying attention. Kai is a very popular Hot Springs writer and teacher who knows how to reach inside and pull out what you didn't know you were capable of. The meeting is Monday, January  25 at the Coronado Community Center at 1pm. No reservations are necessary. Hope to see you there.

Mary Lou Moran, President Village Writers' Club