Writers Rendezvous – July update Part 1

This week’s Writers Rendezvous was our first real attempt at a hybrid meeting – both in person and on Zoom – since the pandemic began, courtesy of the Westport Library. Nine of us came in person (including some newcomers) and four showed up on Zoom! It was great to see people I’d never met IRL before. Talking of Libraries and the wonderful way they help writers…

The Norwalk Library – huge supporters of local and indie authors, is hosting two of them at this month’s Author Speak this Saturday, July 23, from 12-1:30pm. The topic “Antici…pation: Writing Suspense and Thrillers for Adult and Middle-Grade readers“should appeal to anyone who enjoys writing or reading horror, thrillers and crime. Lorien Lawrence is a middle-grade horror author of the Fright Watch series, out now from Amulet Books. V.P. Morris is an award-winning thriller author and podcast host. Her interest in criminal psychology inspired both of her novels Dead Ringer and ShadowCast. She’ll be discussing the basics of writing suspense for adult readers and common mistakes to avoid. A light lunch will be provided by the Library. To register, email clahey@norwalkpl.org

My fellow author, Tessa Smith McGovern, has been running two writing sprints online every week hosted by the Westport Library. They include writing to prompts, and a mini-lesson on some aspect of the writing craft. Details here. Now, she’s added a free write-in on Friday mornings from 10-10:45, for anyone who wants to join. They’re currently running through July, and if there’s sufficient demand, will be extended into August and beyond. Email tessasmithmcgovern@gmail.com for the Zoo link if you’re interested. Since I run one on Monday mornings, I can attest that they do help to get writing done. Something about sitting silently together and writing seems to make things happen!

The Pequot Library‘s fantastic Summer Book Sale starts on Friday, July 22, and continues through the 26th, with thousands of bargain books, CDs, and DVDs for sale. I’ll be there from 11-1pm signing my books – stop by and say hello!

The Westport Writers’ Workshop community, will open for registration for their fall workshops on July 25. This fall they have over thirty offerings, including six one-session workshops, and twenty-four 6-week courses. Topics include writing science fiction and fantasy, advanced screenwriting, preparing for NaNoWriMo, creating social media content, and more.

Gotham Writers is back in Bryant Park this summer, offering free (in-person) writing classes. Come to the Bryant Park Reading Room for 90-minute craft lessons on a handful of topics, including Flash Fiction, Memoir, and TV Writing this July and August. Find more details here. Their next class will be Memoir Writing with David Seigerman on August 4 from 6:30-8:00pm ET.

Gotham also has classes beginning almost daily all year round. Some are in-person in NYC, some online and some on Zoom. A note on the difference between online and Zoom classes – this probably applies to other organizations too. An online class is handled entirely online, making it more flexible in terms of when you do the work. But it also means that you never see your classmates or get to converse with them, or get a sense of where their critique is coming from. They don’t get to know you either. I recently received some critiques about having my British characters doing un-British things like drinking coffee in 1920. If they’d heard my British accent, they might have had more confidence in me! Zoom classes offer much more of a chance to interact – the experience is more like an in-person class. Gotham sometimes offers several formats of the same class, so choose carefully!

NYC Midnight continues its range of writing contests with its Short Screenplay Challenge 2022, which kicks off on August 5. This is a competition where writers create short screenplays – 5 pages max. – based on genre, location, and object assignments in 48 hours. Each writer participates in at least two writing challenges and as many as four depending on how well they place in each challenge. For more details on how these work, check here.

The Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) is asking for submissions for its prestigious Benjamin Franklin Awards. All independently published and self-published books and audiobooks with a copyright date of 2022 are eligible. There are 57 categories including fiction, nonfiction, children, design, new voices, and first-time publishers. You can enter in multiple categories. Winners will be announced on May 5, 2023. Enter anytime under two deadlines: September 30 (mostly for books published Jan-Sept 2022) and December 15 (mostly for books published Oct-Dec 2022). The awards are unique in that entrants receive constructive feedback on their submissions, with the actual judging forms returned to all publishers.

There’s more to come over the weekend! In the meantime – get out there and meet some fellow writers…



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