Writers’ Rendezvous – September update

Elizabeth Chatsworth

Thank you to the members who persevered to get into the meeting when I had a Zoom fail this month. On the plus side, we were a select group, which gave us a chance to talk things over. Feeling overwhelmed by the current situation seemed to be a theme, so it was nice to have something to celebrate.

I’m delighted to tell you that Rendezvous member Elizabeth Chatsworth‘s debut novel was featured on the cover of Publisher’s Weekly on August 31. Please support her by marking it as want-to-read on your Goodreads page, or better yet, pre-ordering. (It takes a village, folks!) It’s called The Brass Queen and is a great read. Check out the details including an excerpt at the link.

Fairfield County Writers’ Studio is beginning its virtual fall classes this week. Each class lasts six or seven weeks and is limited to six students, so everyone gets personal attention. They include a class on food writing, taught by Rebecca Dimyan, A creative writing craft class taught by member Carol Dannhauser, two classes on writing for children and teens Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous: August update – Part 2

Here’s more information you may find of interest. Among other things, I will be running the Monday morning write-ins from 10-11:30ish indefinitely. So if you’ve had trouble concentrating, or sitting down to write, do not despair. Contact me for the … Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous July update – Part 2

If you need a “room of your own” in which to write, Fairfield County Writers’ Studio in Westport is offering a chance to use their Story Lab, with Open Studio Days planned through August. You can write in their space … Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous – July update: Part 1

I’ve always thought that living here in Connecticut, we’re blessed with almost unlimited resources for writers. Nowadays, with so many meetings and events held on Zoom and similar platforms, distance is no bar to attending whatever you want. I’ve been making the most of this, joining write-in meetings with writers in California, Texas, The Carolinas, and even Canada and Europe. Much safer than actually traveling there. And I’ve made new friends along the way.

All the events listed here are via Zoom, and if I know the link I’ve included it.. If I don’t, I’ve shown you where to get it. The next Zoom event I’m running is a write-in on Mondays from 10-11:30am EST. Join us and write for two 45-minute sessions, It’s amazing how much writing gets done!

Next Tuesday evening, July 21, it’s time for WritersMic, our open mic session, from 7-9pm. You can come to read, or to listen. Contact me for the link if you’d like to be there. Or sign up at Meetup, which will provide the link immediately.

The Connecticut Chapter of the Romance Writers Association (CTRWA) is hosting a writers’ hang out via Zoom this evening, July 16 from 7-8pm. All fiction writers welcome.  The link is highlighted above.

The Westport Library has a couple of author events worth Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous: June update – Part 1

I’ve been asking friends what they find most difficult about writing during lockdown, and to my surprise, yet understandably, the most frequent problem seems to be getting started. I’ve been joining free daily write-ins run by the Women’s Fiction Writers’ Association (members only) and also the ones run by the Fairfield County Story Lab (see below).

To encourage people to get going or keep going, I’ll be leading Monday Write-ins at the Pequot, beginning June 29 from 10-11:30 EST, and running through the end of August. Zoom in from anywhere and write. Not much talking, just a chance to write in the virtual company of your friends, old and new. I’m not sure exactly why it works, but it does. Register here, or email me for the link.

Carol Dannhauser, of the Fairfield County Story Lab is running a series of ongoing free events for writers during the lockdown, including two 90-minute write-ins: Wednesdays at 9am and Sundays at 3pm EST. Register here for those, and for other free events for writers, including Writing to Prompts (Tuesdays 2-3pm EST) and several others.

Starting next Tuesday, 23 June, from 12-1pm EST, Tessa McGovern will be leading free weekly Writing Sprints to Prompts on behalf of the Westport Library. Write for 45 minutes, and spend the last 15 mins discussing writing goals and obstacles for the following week. Currently scheduled indefinitely, you’ll find more information at the link above.

This time of social upheaval has brought home to me that I need to learn more about racism and its effects on me and the country I live in. So I’ve been, reading, and signing up for events and classes to help me do just that.

We Rise Storytelling Collective, based in Bridgeport, CT. is planning a Zoom event tonight June 19 at 7pm EST. It’s time for those of us in the majority to listen to the people around us. So join me at When They Hear Us: Voices in Color. Writers you know will be among the Storytellers and the event is free. Show your support for people of color by joining them tomorrow. Zoom link here.

Writing outside of your personal, generational, or cultural experience can be a treacherous road to travel for today’s author. Even with the best intentions, it’s easy to create problematic or harmful content when you’re unaware of what you don’t know. I’ve signed up to learn how to use literary theory and criticism to view my work through an alternative lens. By using literary frameworks, it’s possible to gain insight into alternative perspectives that can help you identify and eliminate problematic and harmful content before you publish. The Beau Monde Chapter of the Romance Writers’ Association is offering a special workshop, Critical Lens,  from July 1-31 given by LaQuette, an author who writes bold, provocative love stories featuring multicultural characters. Friends who have taken the class have told me that it has helped immeasurably in helping them successfully include characters of various backgrounds in their writing. The class is open to non-members, and costs $40.


I can always use some help when it comes to starting a book or story off with a bang. Jane Cleland, author of the Josie Prescott mystery series, is offering a free virtual one-hour writing workshop, Openings that Kill It, on June 20 at 1pm EST. She’ll be discussing a three-step process that will help you figure out where to start your stories and the importance of layering narrative questions. Her latest book is Antique Blues.

Next Tuesday looks like it’s a very busy day for writers, with plenty of online activities to choose from. Among them is a free Introduction to Drabble Writing on June 23 at 3 pm EST. Drabbles are short stories of exactly 100 words. This free introductory seminar explores the basics of what makes drabbles appealing and reviews the 10 Key Drabble Writing Tips. Register Here!

Gotham Writers Institute in New York is offering a series of  Intensive courses that teach a lot in a little time. In this case, two three-hour sessions on separate days. Brief lectures alternating with writing exercises. Taught in “real time” via Zoom. Cost: $165 per intensive. Courses begin on various dates starting June 19 and include Humor, Character, Children’s Book Writing, Editor’s Eye, Dialogue, Creative Writing 101, Blog Writing, and more.

There’s a lot more for writers to come. Check for Part 2 on Monday. And meanwhile, keep writing…

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Writers’ Rendezvous: May update – Part 1

IMG_6690_ResizedWe had another great Zoom meeting yesterday. I love seeing new people, as well as the usual suspects. This is a strange time for us all, but I see many positives coming out of it – in particular the creative ways in which writing and publishing are being supported. Check below for excellent online events you can get to without moving from your living room. Member Lauren Busser (right) had several useful links for you. (Thank you, Lauren!) I’ve marked her contributions LB.

If you’re having trouble getting down to writing, and you’d like some accountability, you might try writing 1000 words a day for two weeks, with author Jami Attenberg’s #1000WordsofSummer challenge.  The 2020 session will be from May 29-June 11. You’ll receive a daily email encouraging you to write and all levels of writers are welcome. LB

images (1)The annual BookExpo in New York is the largest book fair in the country, and part of it, BookCon, is devoted to the public, rather than to the business of publishing. This year they’re doing it virtually, Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous: April update – Part 2

Here, as promised, is Part Two of the April update. In addition to all the activities for writers that have specific dates attached, there are several things you can do that require almost no effort at all. (Hooray!)

yellow birdFor example, the Westport Library is offering a whole lot of online programming, from 6-minute yoga sessions with Kerri Gawreluk, to a video series (10 Questions for… which are video interviews with a number of authors with interesting things to say. If you missed any of their great author events recently, this will bring you up to speed. They also have several short author podcasts on their website, featuring local authors. Among them are Jennifer Rosner, author of The Yellow Bird Sings, interviewed by book reviewer Jennifer Blankfein, and a series of three talks on the publishing process by Jane Green. They include: Getting Published, Genres, Editors, and Literary Agents, and most important: Money and Other Insights.

Author Cheryl Strayed is interviewing writers like Margaret Atwood and George Saunders in her New York Times Podcast, Sugar Calling. Listen to them while you’re taking that walk you’ve been planning…

Several people in the group were interested in submitting their work, having realized that they had things they’d written and never submitted. Two places that can help you choose where to send your work are Submittable (free) and Duotrope ($50 a year).

And if you feel you need fresh eyes on your work, you can find critiques at Scribophile

chickensoup_logoAmong the places currently looking for submissions, is the publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. They have several volumes for which they’re currently looking for pieces, including, Age is Just a Number, Christmas is in the Air and Self-Care and Me Time. Check the site for submission guidelines and deadlines.

The Discord App is a forum that allows communication over voice, video, and text. The Screenwriters Network server offers insightful discussions on scripts, writing prompts, technique, script feedback, table reads, and writing groups. It also hosts contests and has a hub of over 15,000 screenplays – and it’s free.images

Hybrid Publisher She Writes Press is offering free webinars focusing on different aspects of publishing and promoting your book. They’re free until May 31st. Teachers include Wendy Walker, Kelly Corrigan, and Abigail Thomas, among others. The classes range from 30 minutes to an hour. You can do this!

If you like the idea of learning something, you might try flash fiction. This course comes recommended: Fast Flash© is a ten-day (two weeks, Monday thru Friday) intensive and generative online flash fiction workshop created and designed by Kathy Fish that focuses on craft with daily exercises and prompts aimed at skill-building while allowing for artistry and innovation. Writers participate on their own schedule in a private WordPress site.

Another source of learning is Masterclass, which I expect you’ve all seen in online ads. They’re currently offering unlimited access to their classes for two people for a year for $180, and their teachers include David Baldacci, Margaret Atwood, Judy Blume, and David Sedaris, among others.

Sandy Beckwith, of BuildBookBuzz.com, has a huge number of book marketing tips available. Here’s a list of useful resources from her site. Sign up for her newsletter to access more suggestions.

For those of you looking for places to pitch your essays and articles, member Lauren Busser recommends https://soniaweiser.wordpress.com/opportunities-of-the-week-newsletter/ and https://wheretopitch.com. And if you have a particular expertise that you’d like to share, you can offer to Help a Reporter Out. Check their website to find out how it works.

If you’re writing memoir, you may find this newsletter interesting, It’s recommended by member Kate Mayer. Memoir Monday is a weekly newsletter and quarterly reading series brought to you by NarrativelyThe RumpusCatapultLongreadsGranta, and Guernica. Each essay in this newsletter has been selected by the editors at the above publications as the best of the week, delivered to you all in one place.

 

Writers’ Rendezvous: February update

Around twenty of us gathered at Barnes & Noble in Westport this month, to chat, encourage and suggest writing solutions for each other. Poets, fiction and non-fiction writers including journalists – everyone had something constructive to offer. We are a great community!

And now, first things first. The Westport Library is presenting a performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues tomorrow night, Friday, February 21, to benefit the Center for Family Justice and the Rowan Center – both organizations are dedicated to helping people in crisis. Among the many women appearing, will be yours truly and Mitzy Sky, one of the Rendezvous members. If you can come, please do. The suggested donation of $20 will go to an excellent cause, and if that’s too much for your budget, come anyway. Sign up here.

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Westport Writers Workshop is offering a series of write-ins Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous: October update – Part 2

Hello again! Here’s the second part of the update, as promised, including more events that have just appeared in my inbox.

purnellJoin British author Sonia Purnell (First Lady: The Life and Wars of Clementine Churchill and Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition) at the Fairfield University Bookstore from 4-5:30 on November 3, as she discusses her latest book A Woman of No Importance, the astonishing but true-life tale of Virginia Hall. Hall, a young American socialite with a wooden leg, was a female spy in WWII who helped fan the flames of French Resistance. The rights to the book have already been sold to Paramount for a major film starring Daisy Ridley.

nunezAlso on November 3, Sigrid Nunez, author of The Friend will be appearing at the Norwalk Public Library from 2-4pm as part of their AuthorSpeak series.

The Norwalk Library runs a regular series of AuthorSpeak events, and they provide lunch, too. If you are a local author Continue reading

Writers’ Rendezvous: October update – Part 1

We had another successful meeting on Wednesday, and covered a variety of topics, from classes to contests. I’ll start with upcoming events for writers. If you want more suggestions, or have an event you’d like to add, check the calendar on this page. Part 2 of this update will be appearing on Monday.

Red Dove coverFirst of all, I’ll be facilitating a conversation with author Sonia Antaki about her novel Red Dove: Listen to the Wind at the Westport Playhouse on October 24, at 7pm. Contact me for details if you’d like to attend. Free

pam paulOn Monday, October 21, Pamela Paul, Editor of the New York Times Book Review, will be Continue reading