Westport Writers’ Rendezvous – October update

The Westport Writers’ Rendezvous had a great get-together last week, as always. Here’s a round-up of the news:

Jan Karon of the Unicorn Writers’ Conference, is beginning a series of 90 minute classes to teach writers abut publishing and writing a compelling book. They cost $25 per class and they’ll be presented 3 times a week, on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. They started on Wednesday the 21st, but there’s no obligation to take all the classes. The last classes will be at the end of January. To sign up or get more information email: unicorn4writers@gmail.com.

Meet  best-selling authors (including Jane Green and Linda Fairstein) as well as top literary agents and editors at Barnes and Noble next Tuesday, October 27 from 6.30-8. Free If you can’t be there, you can watch it on Periscope or BookGirlTV on YouTube.

Fairfield Public Library is having a Publish and Polish Writing Workshop on November 7, from 1-3pm. It’s designed for people writing for magazines. It’s free but you need to register.

Write Yourself Free in Westport is running four creative writing workshops on Wednesday evenings starting November 4. $195

Tessa MGovern and Carol Dannhauser, writing teachers and authors. are opening the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio in Westport, CT. Classes and writing retreats begin on November 4. The first class begins November 4 – The Art & Craft of Novel Writing and the second starts November 6: Write Your Novel to Prompts. For more information, email editor@echook.com or call 203 226 6971

If you haven’t signed up to follow it yet, you should follow the Fairfield Writers’ Blog, written by Alex McNab and other guest writers.

Places to submit:

Commuterlit.com is looking for pieces in any genre fro 500-4000 words

NewPopLit.com is looking for short stories (not much more in the way of guidelines

Mused – the Bella Online Literary Review. Deadline for Winter Issue – November 20th

One of our members, Anita Evenson, mentioned (via email to me) that her husband has designed a new app for writers, Novelize: www.getnovelize.com. There’s a special deal if you’d like to try it for 6 months at half price ($2.50 instead of $5 a month). The coupon code is HALFOFF6MOMEET.

Here are a couple of podcasts for writers/readers you might like: The Creative Penn , Helping writers become authors,  and Writing Excuses.

Writers’ Rendezvous Roundup

Once a month, here in Westport, CT, I run a Meetup for writers’ at the local Barnes & Noble store. The September one was held in September 16th, and here’s a summary of what we discussed – good tips and hints for any writer, though some of the activities are local. 🙂
We had another great meeting, with two last-minute guests, Carol Dannhauser and Tessa Smith McGovern.
Carol came just to see what it was like, but I asked her to talk about the writing classes she leads that are starting today (September 21). The first is a class of memoir prompts, which you can find out about here. The second is her Writers’ Workshop of Fairfield for writers with some experience. The classes are held at Birdcraft Museum and begin Sept 21. Email dannhauser@aol.com for info.

Tessa McGovern wanted to sound us out on the various courses and services local writers might need. Tessa teaches at Sarah Lawrence and her company, Book Girl TV does various things, including interviewing well-known authors and running online classes in social media for writers. She is organizing a free evening event at Barnes & Noble in Westport on October 27th at 6.30pm, with a panel of writers and publishing insiders, with a chance to mix and mingle afterwards. Among the panellists are authors Linda Fairstein, Jane Green, Pat Dunn and top editor Caitlin Alexander, publishing consultant Cynthia Mason and literary agent and author Marilyn Allen. Unmissable.
Tessa also mentioned the New York Pitch Conference for novelists to be held on December 10-13. It seems like an extraordinary chance to find out whether your book has a chance of being published, but it’s not inexpensive. It’s part of the Algonkian conferences, which include some writers’ retreats too.
New member Leigh Stein told us about the conference, Bindercon,she’s helping to organize for women and gender non-conforming writers in New York on November 7 and 8. Check the link above for information.

Online Scrivener classes started last Monday (14th) but I’ve just signed up today because I’m already somewhat familiar with Scrivener and want to brush up rather than begin as a compete novice. I’m including a link here to the site which is run by Gwen Hernandez, author of Scrivener for Dummies. The advantage of the courses is that they can be tailored for either Mac or Windows. And you can sign up for her newsletter on her site.

Adair Heitmann is leading a prompts-based monthly workshop, free at the Pequot Library in Southport, CT. It’s on a drop-in basis so you can attend any month on the third Saturday from 10-12pm. And the Darien Library (CT) is starting a fiction writing class on September 22nd.

We talked about writing productivity and one of us said they used the Pomodoro technique to make sure they wrote. You can find a description of it here. And there’s an app called Freedom which turns off your internet for times you specify so that you can’t be distracted and are forced to write (or clean out the garage).

For those who want to know how to write a good query letter for your fiction, there’s a blog called Query Shark
which has draconian rules for submitting a query letter to be critiqued. But the critiques themselves are interesting.

And for those of you interested in joining a writers’ community online, here are a couple, recommended by Writers’ Relief.

A theatre-going innovation

Here’s an interesting development in the world of books and writing. Our local theatre, the Westport Country Playhouse, a venerable institution, is starting a new “literary salon series” called Books Worth Talking About!  The program starts in June and consists of a pre-show discussion with an author whose writing complements the production. I’ve not heard about this kind of collaboration before, but it makes perfect sense to have writers and theatre-goers discussing what they have in common. In particular, the first in the series relates to memoir as a healing medium. Those among us who write memoir will surely find the comparison between two different authors’ work helpful.

Nina Sankovitch

The first discussion, on June 13, will feature Nina Sankovitch, author of  Tolstoy and the Purple Chair:  A Year of Magical Reading,” a memoir in dealing with the death of her sister. She’ll be interviewed from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. by Tessa Smith McGovern, memoir collection editor,  writing professor at Sarah Lawrence and founder of eChook Digital Publishing.

Maureen Anderman

The play that follows is The Year of Magical Thinking, based on the National Book Award-winning memoir by Joan Didion.  Featuring Maureen Anderman, the play is about hope and renewal following the author’s loss of her husband.

If you have a ticket for the play in that evening, you can attend the salon.

Two more salons are scheduled – on  July 18, prior to a performance of Molière’s “Tartuffe”; and on August 29, before the world premiere of the comedy “Harbor,” by Tony Award-nominated playwright Chad Beguelin.

If you’re interested in this new collaboration, you can buy a ticket by calling the box office at (203) 227-4177, or toll-free at 1-888-927-7529. Tickets are available online 24/7 at www.westportplayhouse.org.

Re-Post from eChook – Free short story app until February 12th

This is a re-post from Tessa Smith McGovern, award-winning author, founder of eChook and teacher at Sarah Lawrence College. She founded eChook in 2010, and after creating an app of her own short stories for iPhone, iPad, and Android, Tessa realized that she had, in effect, become a publisher. eChook’s goal is to give readers around the globe unprecedented access to quality prose by providing them with transformative short stories that they can read on their phones. I have to admit an interest here: Tessa published one of my memoir stories as part of her first collection of other people’s writing: Memoir 1. You can find out more here: http://echook.com/products-page/ Here’s her original post:

How Writers Can Build a Global Readership and Flash Sales in iTunes

Every now and then, we hold a sale in iTunes and every time, we’re delighted with the results. We get hundreds of downloads from dozens of countries around the world – China, Russia, Japan, Australia and England, to name just a few. It’s a wonderfully simple way for our writers to be read by hundreds of people and build a global readership – all with just a few clicks. And it’s all because of the technology that supports iTunes apps.

Here’s how it works: People all around the world download free apps that monitor price changes in the app store. (To find them, go to the app store on your device, search for ‘app price change’ or ‘app deals’ or ‘apps on sale’ and you’ll see different ones pop up. There are about a dozen.) Then these people check their newly downloaded apps to see what’s on sale (reduced price or free) and they download the ones that take their fancy.

But wait, there’s more, and this is the best part…because people around the world are buying new iPhones and iPads every day, there’s a constant influx of new readers coming to the app store. In fact, Apple doubled sales of iPhones and iPads in 2011, and sold 37m iPhones and 15m iPads in that year’s last quarter alone. Common wisdom has it that there are still many unpenetrated markets and that Apple is still far from saturation, so the future looks bright.

What can we say? We love Apple.

Memoir, Vol. 1 and London Road: Linked Stories are free in iTunes now until Sunday 12th Feb at midnight. Just go to the iTunes store and search for eChook.