Writer’s Salon #10 Recap

The good news is that we have now met ten times. The bad news is that our last meeting was almost ten months ago! Now that we’ve finally met again, we are hoping to get back into the groove.

For our tenth meeting, we met at Susannah’s. Kim, Nicole, Bethany, and Jon were also in attendance. We started with dinner and a brief celebration of Bethany and Jon’s purchase of a new house and then quickly moved on to writing.

Our warm up exercises were to write an alphabetical list of advice (from “Always look both ways before crossing the street” to “Zebras do not make good pets”) and to describe each day of the week as a person. In between, we broke for a gorgeous literary-themed cake from The Bakery Nook.

The rest of the evening was spent writing a short story, set in a scene provided by Bethany and Jon. We had our choice of three levels of detail to get us started:

  • A busy airport
  • Baggage claim at 4:10am
  • TSA officer sitting on side of baggage carousel, reading. Man in turban buying coffee. Woman with blue hair and a service dog, eating a bagel. A drowsy-looking Chinese man sitting on a bench holding sleeping twin toddlers. A large, strangely-shaped package on the baggage carousel. One flickering overhead light.

In addition, we used Rory’s Story cubes and added a new item to the mix every five minutes:

  • A clock, with the hands at 4 o’clock
  • A hand
  • A rook/castle tower
  • A lock
  • A bridge
  • A cell phone

Writer’s Salon #2 Recap

On Thursday we had our 2nd Writer’s Salon. In attendance were a mix of new and familiar faces: Jon, Bethany, Jennifer, Nicole, Kim, Mike, and Susannah.

We started with the following warm up: Write directions to your house from the nearest highway exit, without using street names or house numbers. It was fun to see how we all used a variety of landmarks, distances, cardinal directions, and elapsed times to explain how to get around the Lehigh Valley. The main purpose, however, was just to get our writing brains turned on and our wrists limbered up. In fact, we even had a brief side bar about fountain pens. If you haven’t tried writing with one, you really owe it to yourself (and to your writing) to try one out. Personally I have a Lamy safari, which can be found on Amazon for $20+, but Jon and Bethany bought some locally—I believe at Michael’s.

Sam had sent a link to a very inspirational comic featuring a quote by Ira Glass, so I shared that with the group. He stressed that the opening sentence should read “WHAT nobody tells people who are beginners…” so keep that in mind when you look at it.

We spent the majority of our writing time on what I’m calling the “Choose Your Own Adventure Character Exercise” because I wanted to focus on characters this time around. Along those lines, I made another shameless plug for one of my favorite books on writing, Getting Into Character. If anyone else has books to recommend, please let me know. I’d be happy to give you a log in for the blog so you can post something like Nicole did last month.

We wrapped up by deciding that we’d next like to meet in May. I’ll send out a follow-up email. Nicole has also offered to organize dinner out before one of the upcoming GLVWG Writers Cafe nights. Stay tuned for more details on that.


GroupWrite I

One of the planned activities at the Writer’s Salon was to write some stories as a group. Each of us took the time to jot down an opening sentence/paragraph, but we ran out of time to pass them around. I thought it might be fun to try it here. I’ll start a story in the comments on this post, and then anyone can add to it with another comment below. Feel free to write a sentence or a paragraph – whatever strikes your fancy. You can comment as many times as you like during the process. We’ll just bounce it around until it comes to a conclusion.

January Articles

I’ve come across quite a few articles this month that I want to share with the group. The first two are from the NaNoWriMo site. For anyone who doesn’t know what that stands for, it’s National Novel Writing Month, which is a movement each November to inspire people to write the first draft of a novel in thirty days. It started in 1999, with less than two dozen people and has grown by leaps and bounds. This year, there was even a crowd-sourced novel produced, which Vicki and I had the fun of contributing to.

Both articles are about editing, since that’s what the NaNoWriMo community is doing at this time of year, having hopefully completed a first draft in November. The first, When to Listen to Your Readers… And When to Ignore Them, is about seeking out those sacred cows. The premise is that it’s not so much other people’s feedback but rather your reaction to their feedback that will help you know what to change. The second, A 7-Step Guide to Big Picture Revision (With Bonus Checklists!), is about revising using a color-schemed outline.

The next two articles are from Writers Write, a South African group that offers training courses. Don’t ask me how I stumbled across them originally. Both are quick hitters. Persuasive Writing – Emotional vs Intellectual Words is a list of almost 100 use-this-word-rather-than-that-word suggestions to up the emotional ante of your writing. 50 Lyric Titles As Writing Prompts is exactly what it sounds like.

Lastly, for Harry Potter fans, we have Tossing Snowballs at Your Clues, which talks about using patterns of imagery as a foreshadowing tool and That Extra Zing, which offers thoughts on setting and world building.

Enjoy! Go forth and write!