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.

 

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous – March update

A relatively small but hardy group of us, including three new members, met yesterday – thanks for coming out in such bad weather! There was a lot talk about, so if you couldn’t make it, you can catch up here.

The Connecticut Press Club and the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio are co-sponsoring a workshop, Podcasting 101, this Saturday, led by Ben Bogardus. It takes place this weekend, Saturday, March 18, from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. $75. Register here

Patrick McCord of Write Yourself Free in Westport, is offering a free introduction to his Master Class method from 1-3pm this Sunday, March 19. If you’re interested, email them at  writeyourselffreeinfo@gmail.com to reserve a spot (limited places available). Their regular classes begin next week.

The second WritersMic Meetup will take place next Tuesday (March 21st) at Panera’s on the Fairfield/Westport line, from 7-8.45pm. Bring up to around 1000 words to read to a friendly audience of other writers. Sign up at the Meetup link if you can.

classA number of online writing courses have been crossing my desk more frequently recently.

Gotham Writers Workshop of New York runs 33 of them, from how to write articles, to writing for video games, some starting soon. There’s an introductory video you can look at, to see how they work. Cost: $400 for 12 classes.

The Writers’ Store has a range of recorded webinars you can purchase, as well as live classes. Check them out here.

Kristin mentioned a course she had taken at with Tom Bird in Arizona.  He is a proponent of the handwritten manuscript, and believes in accessing one’s interior creative flow. You can try his method online, or sign up for a virtual writing retreats. There’s a free online workshop coming up next Thursday, March 23. He also has a workshop entitled: Write Your Book in a weekend, with an introductory video.

And Westport Continuing Ed is offering online writing classes via Ed2Go. $99 buys you twelve 2-hour classes, and the next series begins today, March 15. There are 24 different classes to choose from, including ones on designing your blog, writing fantasy, children’s and YA fiction, or publishing and selling your eBook, among others.

We talked about the ways to simplify submitting work for publication. One way to find an agent is through Query Tracker who have a list of 1592 agents and a method for keeping tabs on what you’ve sent where.

The Unicorn Writers Conference and the Book Publishing Discussion Meetup are both run by Jan Kardys, an agent herself. The Conference takes place on March 25th and offers a chance to meet agents and editors. The Meetup is monthly and you can take 10 pages to be critiqued, if you want to.

Book Hive is an online service that specializes in focus group research by beta readers in several genres. You get a 35-page report with plenty of feedback to help you perfect your novel/memoir etc.

And new member, Paul, suggested a quirky website Everyone Who’s Anyone in Publishing, that gives you contacts for lots of agents. He warned they might not all be up to date, however, so caveat emptor!

Alex McNab found an interesting article about how to make a perfect pitch (their title) by Sophie Masson, and another  by Brian Klems, published in Writers’ Digest, that explains the differences between Mystery, crime and thriller novels. And here’s an article from Holly Robinson about how to start writing again if you’re stuck

Also from the Writers’ Digest, and article on how to find an online critique group. You can read it here.

I thought The Writers’ Cooperative website looked interesting. It’s a website you join for $3 per month, which offers a chance to publish your articles on writing, as well as giving help and support to writers. If you’ve tried it, please let me know how you liked it, in the comments.

The Writer’s Hotel isn’t a hotel at all, it’s a writers’ conference taking place in NYC from June 7-13 this year. The conference offers Master Classes in Fiction, Nonfiction & Poetry, and as you can see, lasts 6 days. Broadly speaking, (if I’ve understood it correctly) there are workshops in the morning, with lectures and meetings with agents in the afternoon. Cost $2500, plus hotel and dinner.

Last but not least, as a result of submitting with Duotrope, I had a piece of flash fiction accepted by the Dime Show Review within 7 days. You can read it here (only 163 words, so it won’t take long!)

See you next month

Sailing above London in a boat of your own

What’s wrong with this picture? Could it be that there’s a boat perched on – not to say about to fall off of – the top of the Queen Elizabeth Hall at the South Bank Centre in London?  What the heck is it?

Photo: Charles Hosea

It’s a gorgeous one-bedroom ‘installation’ with two decks which provide incredible panoramic views of the Thames and famous London sights like the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s cathedral. It was built by Living Architecture and designed by David Kohn Architects in collaboration with the artist Fiona Banner, and is designed to stay ‘afloat’ through 2012 as part of the London 2012 Festival. It’s called A Room for London

View from the loo – Photo: Charles Hosea

Why?  It’s a studio retreat for artists, musicians and writers – just one at a time. Each month a different writer checks into the Room and spends several days writing a new work. Then the writer records his/her work and it’s available to listen to as a podcast from the Guardian or on this website. There’ll be twelve readings in all under the umbrella title of A London Address.

Projects include a one-off performance by British actor Brian Cox of Orson Welles’ unmade film “ Heart of Darkness” based on the novel by Joseph Conrad.You can watch the video here until June 30th.

International writers, including Caryl Phillips, Jeanette Winterson, Sven Lindqvist  and Michael Ondaatje, have stayed there and written new works under the banner : A London Address, which you can hear via podcasts here:

One of the chief sponsors is Artangel,  a London-based not-for-profit that commissions art projects and installations by contemporary artists around the UK. Here’s what they had to say about the idea behind the boat:

The original Roi des Belges

An intimate space in a cultural quarter with a sweeping view of one of the world’s great cities, A Room for London is more than a hotel room: it’s an observatory, a retreat and a studio, whose design was inspired by the Roi des Belges, the boat that Joseph Conrad navigated up the River Congo in the late nineteenth century, before writing Heart of Darkness. There is a deck, a crow’s nest and a cabinet of visual curios – and a centerpiece bed which slides on rails to make the most of the views over London. Before departure, guests will be invited to fill in a logbook in the ‘bridge’ of the boat, detailing what they have experienced during their stay, out of the window as much as within themselves. An octagonal library with a carefully curated selection of books and twin desks looking out across the river enables visitors to use the Room as a remarkable studio space.

And members of the public have been able to rent it for a one-night stay. They’re sold out now, of course, but there are plans afoot to place it somewhere else next year, so there’s hope.