Writers’ Rendezvous – December update

In spite of a gray day during which many people were out running holiday errands before the predicted foot of snow began to fall, nine people showed up for the Writers’ Rendezvous. This gave us a chance to discuss some ideas in more depth than we usually have time for. We covered flash fiction, whether to outline or not when writing a novel, and that pesky internal editor that haunts us as we write, and holds us back. Time to focus on what comes next. And if you feel stuck about even starting, let me know if you’d like to join me on Monday mornings from 10-11:45 for a Zoom meeting where all we do is write. It’s surprising how much gets written!
Get a jump on your New Year’s goals by taking a class. We’re very lucky around here to have so many to choose from. The Fairfield County Writers’ Studio offers classes beginning January 5. Among the ones on offer: writing fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, writing for children, short stories, memoir, and food writing.
Westport Writers Workshop will be running their Winter Workshops beginning in mid-January. They include: novel writing, screenwriting, thriller/mystery writing, and our own Libby Waterford will be interviewed about what she learned from self-publishing her series of books. (This is a one-time session and a steal at $35)
‘Tis the season for entering contests. Not just the Connecticut Press Club competition, which I assume you’ll enter if you’ve published anything this year. Here’s a list from Arthur Klepchukov of 30 Writing contests you can enter. Submissions from now through February 28.
Our local publisher, Fairfield Scribes, is starting a new online journal devoted to short writing: Scribes Micro-Fiction. The name is something of a misnomer since they accept poetry, drabbles (fiction), and creative non-fiction. The catch is that submissions must be between 90-110 words. This is a great opportunity to flex your writing muscles if you’ve been feeling uninspired over the last few months. You know you can write 100 words!
I don’t believe in mixing politics with my writing endeavors, but I found this interesting. Extinction Rebellion, the activist group that works on behalf of the environment, has just started the Extinction Rebellion Creative Hub, where they are featuring writing (poetry, fiction, flash, and songs) on the theme of the environment. There are some interesting dystopian flash fiction pieces there. Check out the currently published pieces and their submission guidelines here.
For those of you looking to outline your novel, or who finished NaNoWriMo and realized that you need some structure to what you’ve written, this might prove useful.  K.M. Weiland, author of gaslamp fantasies like Wayfarer and many books about writing, also writes a regular newsletter for writers, which is well worth subscribing to. One of her recent articles concerned using Scrivener to outline your novel. Scrivener was new to her when she began to use it this way, so if you’re starting out with Scrivener, or even if you’re using it in a limited way now, you may find it helpful.
There is a variety of reasons you may want to volunteer as a reader for a literary magazine or journal. Some of the benefits are that you gain experience in publishing, you get to meet other writers, and you can hone your submission skills by seeing how others do/or don’t do it right. And if you’re looking to submit to that journal yourself, your submission will likely go to the top of the slush pile. No guarantees they’ll take it, but at least they’ll see it. The article I linked to above lists nine places that are currently looking for readers.
The WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writers Assn) held a webinar in October on Understanding Diversity: Avoiding Harmful Depictions in Your Writing.  The panelists included literary agent Kim Lionetti, diversity consultant Patricia Evelyn Green-Rodgers, and author Nancy Johnson. Although originally only members had access to it, they’ve decided to make it available to anyone who wants to watch it. Check it out at the link above.

Well, we’ve made it through this very strange year. Have a good holiday season, and I’ll see you in 2021, if not before.

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