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Newsletter: 16/12/1: Write Group Meeting December 2 (this Friday)

Hi everyone,

There is nothing like a productive Write Group meeting. Not only do we share prose and poetry, fiction and nonfiction, but we discuss writing, help each other, and provide a sense of belonging, of camaraderie and community. I try to offer you up-to-date events, prompts, observances and other information on our blog and other sites, so you aren’t reliant on me or attendance to get this information. And, yes, I am behind on the contests; there does not seem to be any interest in them this year. But the meetings provide the heart of our group, the personal touch that our blog and other resources can not.

For instance, last month I was asked to evaluate a writing magazine, Writer’s Digest Yearbook Writer’s Workbook (samples, more), that one of our members is interested in subscribing to. The Workbook is chock-full of writing craft advice, with sections on fiction, nonfiction and general craft (see the list of articles in the first link). It seems to be a yearly publication, rather than a weekly or monthly one, and may need subscribing to the Writer’s Digest magazine to get it. This is a different magazine. It does not have glossy pages; the pages are greyed paper. It feels and is designed as a workbook or writer’s reference. There is no advertising, except for a few relevant contests and other resources tucked nicely at the beginning and end of the magazine rather than disruptively within and between the articles. The articles themselves — articles like making time for writing (it really takes less time than you might think), using music and other muses to inspire and motivate you, working on dialogue, having a purpose (teaching children, rather than just writing children’s books), and editing and rewriting to sharpen your work’s impact — appear well written and well thought with the writer and writing in mind. Many of them have exercises you can work on. All of them have advice. Had this been a weekly or monthly publication I would highly recommend subscribing to it for at least a year, with the option of continuing a subscription afterward. I would set this limit only because sometimes magazines can stagnate — they repeat topics and messages and do not really progress. With one issue to evaluate, I can’t judge this magazine’s staying power.

One of the articles that I flagged to discuss tomorrow night tackles the topic of whose story the reader reads — a favourite topic of mine as many of you know. This article nicely approaches this topic as a guide to writers: what is the right balance of showing and telling, of avoiding and using adjectives and adverbs​, of level of description and enabling the reader’s imagination. This last point opens the door to the source of the read and heard story. Come to our meeting tomorrow and bring your ideas. Let’s start a craft-building discussion.

Our blog is ready for you this month. Everything, except for the competitions, is up to date. The Christmas/Winter Seasonal prompts will be up later tonight; the December ones are already on our blog. And, of course, don’t forget our other prompts.

I hope to see you tomorrow night, Friday December 2, in the Tofield Town Office, at 7:00 pm. As usually we run until we stop, 9:00 pm at the latest. If you haven’t tried, please join us. Your community awaits.

Until then, enjoy the weather before it cools, and keep writing,
Shawn

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