February 1 sees the beginning of Library Lovers’ Month, and for writers, local libraries can offer a number of benefits – apart from the obvious ones, like books on craft and a quiet place to write. Here’s what’s going on close to me here in Connecticut, but check out your own libraries for similar offerings.
All writing is telling a story of some kind, and I have found that learning to tell a story aloud can be helpful in making one think about the structure, setting, and character arc and how to convert those into a complete tale in a limited time. The Darien Library is offering a free online workshop, Introduction to Personal Storytelling, with Terry Wolfisch Cole on Wednesday, February 2, from 7- 8pm. The session will include an opportunity to hear Terry tell a story as well as tips and techniques for effective storytelling. She is a Moth GrandSLAM champion and the founder and host of Tell Me Another, a live storytelling show in the Hartford area. Register here
Memoir Writing Workshops for beginners and experienced memoir writers are offered by the Westport Library. Led by bestselling author, personal essayist and memoir writer Mary-Lou Weisman. Introductory Memoir Writing Workshop takes place on Tuesdays, February 15 thru March 29, 12:30-2:30pm. The six-session workshop includes instruction, writing exercises, collaboration, and development of your own work. The Advanced Memoir Writing Class is held Thursdays, February 17 thru May 17 from 12:30-2:30pm This eight-session workshop is for those who have had some experience in writing memoir and personal essay. Students will share their writing with the others in the class for critique.
Westport Writers Workshop is offering its first-ever hybrid publishing conference in collaboration with the Westport Library, on April 2 from 8am-6pm, both in person at the Westport Library and online with a full agenda of panels, talks, and networking opportunities for commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction writers. The events will all be recorded and attendees will have access to watch and replay the sessions. The conference will include interactive panel discussions with prominent New York City literary agents, major publishing house editors, and public relations professionals, agent and author talk with Q&A, and a rare opportunity to pitch your book in a one-to-one session with agents. We hope you’ll join us for this unprecedented event! $575 until February 1, then $675. Register Here
I’ve mentioned Jane Friedman’s online webinars before. They’re an amazing value at $25 each, and you get the recording of them even if you can’t attend on the day. Here are some that are coming up: How Memoirs Resonate with Dinty W. Moore (1/28/22), Write Your Novel from the Middle with James Scott Bell (2/9/22); The Magical Marketing Trifecta for Writers with Jane Friedman (2/26/22); and Finding and Working with the Right Literary Agent with Howard Yoon (3/3/22).
The Connecticut Book Awards will be opening for submissions in February for books published in 2021. If you’re an author or illustrator who has written a book either in or about Connecticut, you should enter. Categories include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and books for young readers. Award winners receive exposure in CT media outlets and personal appearances in Connecticut locations.
And there’s still time to enter the Connecticut Press Club awards – with 64 different categories, from poetry to websites, to books, blogs, and advertising or PR campaigns, there’s bound to be something you’ve created that deserves an award.
If you’re looking for software to help you plot your novel, check out this article from Kindlepreneur. Dave Chesson has rated four different software, Plottr, Scrivener, Novel Factory, and Plot Factory, and rated them on various criteria, with links to pricing information, etc. If you’re planning a novel, or even if you’ve started one and found yourself wishing you’d outlined it first, this should help.
The oft-quoted website, Authors Publish, has its own Writers Workshop and is offering 13 Hours of Free Lectures from World Class Authors. I think they’re doing this to encourage people to attend their new classes, and that’s fine, because they’re worth checking out. Here are just some of them: How to Write a Memoir that Wins Over Readers and Publishers with Nellwyn Lampert, The First Twenty Pages: with Emily Harstone, The Art of Fresh Imagery in Poetry with Meghan Sterling; How to Write Quickly & Effortlessly with Vi Khi Nao, and The Art of Book Reviewing – How to Write & Get Paid for Book Reviews with Rebecca Ruth Gould. Check out the full list here.
One of the things people tell me they like about the WritersMic and the Writers Rendezvous Meetups that I run is the sense of community that they enjoy by being members. There are other places you can find your writing peers, and one of them is in Facebook groups. You can post questions, get help and suggestions for your writing, and meet people you might not meet otherwise. Here are a couple you might want to check out: The Fairfield County Writers Group, Connecticut Women Writers, 10-minute Novelists, The Writers Group, Bloggers & Writers of CT, Humor Writers of America, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors and Readers, Aspiring Writers United, Mystery Writers of America, and Instagram for Authors. And if they aren’t what you’re looking for, start your own!
Have a great writing month – see you around Valentine’s day!