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Newsletter: 13/9/28: Write Group Meeting this Wednesday, October 2

Hi everyone,

Relatives and family are a neverending fountain of childhood memories and family history (Gail de Vos). They are key to learning, sharing, communicating and storytelling. How you tell a story to your family is often different from, even more dynamic and suspenseful than, how you tell a story when you write. Remember the excitement you feel whenever Aunty Agnes tells of the trip she made to the East Coast? How exotic that fog and sea breeze are. How fantastic the East Coast is, a place different from any you’ve seen, which you visit each time the story is told. It is even different from the real thing, because it is told. And yet it captures local history, local culture, local environment and local flavour in a way that truly describes the experience and romanticizes it. Should this not be how we tell story? Should not the familiar become unfamiliar and the unfamiliar even more exotic?

Writing is about story, regardless if you are writing fantasy or a business letter. You start with the exotic and the rhythm of language, you envision a story, and you fit these into the structure of what you are writing. Passion entraps the reader, and your tales become unforgettable.

Next Meeting

This Wednesday, October 2, is our second Write Group meeting. I hope you will make it; I look forward to meeting you. Even if you have nothing to share, come join us anyway. There should be plenty to go around. If you have something you would like to share, please do. Our Group thrives on what each person brings.

Also, fill out this poll to let us know what you want to do in our meetings. We are always looking for ways to enrich our Group.

Writing Prompts

If you are unsure what to share, or have not written in a while, you still have time to respond to this month’s prompt: Why a writer? You can interpret this prompt any way you can imagine. You can respond to it in any genre or form you can imagine too. Variety inspires and excites.

October is our Autumn month, the month of Hallowe’en, of Thanksgiving, Fall colours, breezy days, lowering sun and final harvest. This year I plan to pass the prompt around the Group. I think we’ll start this October with a contest. Bring your best October prompt (your own or from any source) to our meeting on Wednesday. We’ll vote on the prompt we want to share at our meeting on November 6 and the winner of the vote gets his or her prompt used. Good luck, but, more importantly, have fun.

If you have other ideas about how we can share prompts, please fill in this poll. Your response will be appreciated and your input will contribute to improving our meetings. I thank you in advance.

Writing Competitions

With that, there are many competition deadlines approaching. Four are in fact due almost right away, either September 30 or October 1. (A few I was just notified about yesterday, so I apologize for the short notice.) Keep a tab on our Competitions page in our wiki for continuous updates. Here is the current list.

  • The Screenplay Replay Contest offers to adapt and publish your full-length screenplay (in any genre) as a novel, written by a ghostwriter in consultation with you. Worth $25,000. Other prizes offered at various levels. Entry fee is $75. Deadline: September 30.
  • The Writer’s Digest Self-published e-Book Awards offers prizes of $2000, $500, $250 plus other perks. There are also Honourable mention prizes. Entry fee: $85 for first entry, $60 for each additional entry. Deadline: October 1.
  • The Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for best independently published book in any genre offers editorial coverage, a year’s worth of full-page ads in Shelf Unbound (rate card value $6,000), and stocking and promotion in all 115 Half Price Books retail stores in 16 states. Entry fee: $30 per book. Deadline: October 1.
  • The Writer’s Digest 8th Annual Poetry Awards offers $1000, publication and a copy of the 2014 Poet’s Market for any poem up to 32 lines. Other prizes also offered. Entry fee: $15 for first poem, $10 for each additional poem. Deadline: October 1.
  • The Writer’s Digest Poetic Form Challenge: Lai offers publication in Poetry Asides in the Writer’s Digest magazine. Entry fee: free. Deadline: October 6.
  • The Your Story Competition is offered every other month by Writer’s Digest. Writer’s Digest provides a short, open-ended prompt. You submit a short story based on that prompt. The winner is published in an upcoming issue of Writer’s Digest. Competition 53: Write a short story, of 750 words or fewer, that begins with the following sentence: A girl puts a quarter in a gumball machine and a human tooth comes out. Current Deadline: October 14.
  • The Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Short Story Competition for best 4000-word-or-less short story in science fiction, thriller, crime, horror, romance and young adult categories has a top prize of $2,500, a trip to the 2013 Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City and much more. Entry fee is $20. Standard Deadline: October 15.
  • The Patricia Bibby First Book Award offers $1000 and publication for 50–84 pages of original poetry in English. Open to all poets writing in English who have not committed to publishing collections of poetry of 36 poems or more in editions of over 400 copies. Entry fee: $30. Deadline: October 31.
  • The Tiger’s Eye Poetry Chapbook Contest offers $100 and 25 copies of your 20-25-page chapbook of poetry. Entry fee is $15. Deadline: October 31.
  • The DIAGRAM Essay Contest offers $1000 and publication in DIAGRAM for a nonfiction essay of up to 10,000 words. The essays can be experimental or formal. Entry Fee: $17. Deadline: October 31. Read the guidelines for more details.
  • The 14th Annual Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition for best short story of 1500 words or less has a $3,000 prize (and more). No categories are listed. Entry fee is $20. Early Deadline: November 15.
  • The Writing Competition is another open-ended contest. You can enter anytime, and your (non-transferrable) entry is judged during the period in which you submitted and paid. Money and publication on the winner’s page are the prizes. Submissions of 500 words are short-listed to the top 20 before judging. Second Judging: November 28.
  • The Bath Novel Award is open to novelists, writing (5000+ words) for adult or young adult readers in any genre, who are seeking commercial publication. First prize is £1000. Entry fee is £15. Deadline: February 28, 2014.
  • The Bath Short Story Competition opens November 1, 2013.

Writer Events

Also, there are several events this October. Check out our Events page [and monthly roundup] for updates. The following events happen this month.

  • From October 16 – 27, Edmonton is hosting LitFest, an international literary festival featuring author readings and workshops for writers. Avid readers of nonfiction content meet creators through a series of events, chic gatherings and gourmet experiences.
  • On Saturday, October 19, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and Strathcona Country Library are holding a Words in the Park Book Sale and Fair. Words in the Park offers an opportunity to network with writers and readers and to promote and sell your work.

I added a few questions to our Events poll to gauge your interest in these events.

Thank You

And so we come to the end of this letter. I hope you are taking advantage of this Indian Summer and enjoying the outdoors. See you on Wednesday (7:00 pm in the Tofield Town Office (library building)).

And keep writing,
Shawn

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