Upcoming Events

The following events are coming up for Writers in the Grove members and the general public.

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2018 Author Conference: Poet Paulann Petersen

Foot steps on leaves and announces Writers in the Grove 2018 Author Conference.

A special afternoon session at the 2018 Authors Conference on January 27, 2018, in Forest Grove, Oregon, will be presented by Paulann Petersen.

Paulann Peterson Author PhotoPaulann Petersen is an award-winning poet and former Oregon State Poet Laureate. She is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and author of several books of poetry including The Wild Awake, Blood-Silk, A Bride of Narrow Escape, Kindle, The Voluptuary, and Understory. She has also published five chapbooks and her work has been published in many anthologies, magazines, and websites.

Paulann teaches poetry workshops for colleges, libraries, and writer’s conferences, and serves on the National Advisory Board for Friends of William Stafford. She will be presenting an afternoon poetry workshop to help you not only improve your poetry but also move toward publishing your work.

She joins a group of extraordinary professional editors, writers, and poets in our first writer’s conference. Other speakers include Deborah Reed, Chip MacGregor, Holly Lorincz, Jessica Morrell, MaryJane Nordgren, and Kristin Thiel.

Register today to learn from Paulann Petersen on professional poetry writing at the 2018 Authors Conference in January as space is limited.

About Writers in the Grove 2018 Authors Conference

This is a fundraiser for the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center, a non-profit community center and the host of Writers in the Grove weekly meetings. The Center provides free and low cost meals through their dining services and Meals On Wheels outreach program, as well as a wide range of educational, recreational, wellness, and community events and educational opportunities.

Writers in the Grove is a free weekly workshop for those wishing to develop their creative writing skills. The group meets Mondays at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center on Mondays from 9-11am, and on the second Saturday of the month at the Forest Grove Public Library from 10:30-noon. Writers in the Grove supports the freedom of expression and creative writing spirit in Forest Grove, Oregon, and around the world.

Science Fiction-Fantasy Writers Retreat in April

The annual Science Fiction/Fantasy Story Weekend with Wordcrafters writing group in Eugene, Oregon, is April 13-15 in the mountains along a river in the Oregon Cascades. The weekend is limited to 15 participants and you will be staying in lovely 3-bedroom cabins with others members of the team. There is time for gathering and solitude for writing. The group is lead by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, author of adult and YA novels and more than 250 science fiction and fantasy stories.

Disclosure: I attended this even a couple years ago and had a wonderful time. I would be going again if it didn’t conflict with another activity. I highly recommend it. Nina takes time to spend with each person once or several times throughout the weekend to hep walk you through your writing challenges, plot, the “science,” and offer any help you need with your writing. Other frequent attendees are also well-published and experienced to help you through your writing process, but don’t let that intimidate you. There are writers at all levels of experience attending, all there dedicated to the writing process.

Voice Catcher: Member Ann Farley Featured

VoiceCatcher is an online magazine that features the creative writing voices of women. Published in the Portland, Oregon, area, Writers in the Grove member, Ann Farley is featured in this month’s issue with her poem, suRReal WOman walked oFF Canvas.

Ann will be among the featured readers at a special event for VoiceCatcher on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, at The Corkscrew in Sellwood, South Portland at 7PM.

Congrats to Ann!

NaNoWriMo Tips: Time Management

In “What I Learned Doing NaNoWriMo for the First Time” by Patrick Allen on Lifehacker, he describes the lessons he’s learned this year from participating in the annual writer’s challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Most importantly, though, I learned that there is always time to create things. No matter how busy I was—with my full-time job, other writing projects, multiple weekend trips to San Diego, business trips to New York, running tables at multi-day conventions—there was always a little time to sit down and spill out some words for my story. I even managed to write on my birthday. Eat your heart out, Stephen King. NaNoWriMo, more than any other creative endeavor I’ve undertaken, gave me a serious lesson in time management. I knew that “finding” the time was never going to work. You don’t find time, you “make” time. But this challenge proved that concept for me tenfold, especially as the month dragged on and staying on track got harder and harder. Falling behind a little every day means being behind a lot near the end. If I didn’t write enough one day, I knew I’d have to make it up later, and that really became apparent in the second half of the month. There’s no doubt in my mind this lesson would not have sunk in the way it did for me had I given up after 10 days. You need the whole month.

We know this. This isn’t new, but the delivery system that is NaNoWriMo slams this lesson home in everyone who participates, no matter what happens, to complete the month.

Among those in Writers in the Grove who participated, even if for a week or so, it was fascinating to hear their excuses for not continuing on. For our group, members could participate in NaNoWriMo with the goal of 50,000 words, or 30 hours, one hour of writing a day. We have many writers who are poets and write by hand, so we changed the word count to a minimum one hour a day to create the same challenge as the word count.

  • It was just too much to ask of myself.
  • I couldn’t concentrate on just one thing.
  • I had too much to do.
  • It was intimidating.
  • I had too much to write about and couldn’t get started.
  • I fell behind the second week and knew I couldn’t keep up, so I stopped.

For those who kept going until the end of the month, they reported:

  • It was fascinating to set a writing schedule for myself. I loved it.
  • I found I could break up the hour (or word count) through out the day, 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there.
  • I learned to write better and faster by turning off my internal editor.
  • When I let it happen, I found my story going off in new, fascinating directions.
  • I found myself loving that I was making and keeping an appointment with myself every day.
  • As I got closer to the end of the month, I’d have bursts of energy and write two and three days worth in a single day.

Fascinating to compare these statements with the lesson in time management learned by Patrick Allen. It really boils down to the fact that you don’t find time, you make time. You make a commitment to yourself and you keep it.

Either way, for our members, there is no right or wrong. There are the lessons learned, and this is one of them. Whatever gets in your way during November’s NaNoWriMo challenge are the things that get in your way the rest of the year. That’s the real lesson.

What gets in your way? NaNoWriMo’s methodology is a great way to test your self-sabotaging techniques in a condensed month-long process. I’m the expert in self-sabotage when it comes to creative writing. Over the years of participating in NaNoWriMo, I’ve met many of my ghosts and demons and survived my personal mental torture chamber of self-doubt, and lived to tell about it. Surviving makes me a better writer, there is no doubt, but finishing makes me a better finisher.

Don’t despair because you didn’t finish or didn’t participate this year. You can NaNoWriMo any time, any month, or even across a single week. Set a goal. Keep it. And whatever you do, don’t stop writing.

Gaston 3rd Grade

It’s almost winter! It’s already pretty cold here. How cold is it there? Is it snowing? It’s not here.

Do you like hamburgers? If you do have you always liked them? I love hamburgers but I haven’t always like them. I used to hate them but on one Fourth of July I ate one and loved it.

P.S. The thing that made me love it was the cheese.

J.

 

What We Learned from Harry Potter

In “Twenty years of Harry Potter – the 20 things we have learned” in The Guardian, Sam Leith listed factoids that tell a fascinating story of one of the most successful book stories in history.

Harry Potter - Hogwarts at Florida Disney World - Wikipedia

These are also great lessons for authors. A few highlights included:

  • Only 500 hardback copies were originally published in 1997. Three hundred went to libraries. Today, these may be worth tens of thousands of dollars and expected to increase in value.
  • Writer and editing errors made in the original published book were changed in later editions. So there is hope for fixing our published errors.
  • Rowling aged her characters in each book, growing more and more adult right along with the aging process of her readers, something rarely done in children and young adult series that keep the age of the character the same through multiple books.
  • Rowling wrote not just for children and young adults, but for parents and adults. To accommodate the every-growing adult customer, the covers were redesigned to look more “adult” with somber designed covers.
  • There are now degree programs and classes using Harry Potter for academic studies.
  • Harry Potter books were burned in the southern United States as witchcraft and satanic, thus a threat to children. Really? Still, any publicity is good publicity.
  • A reviewer in the New York Times dissed the first book, earning angry responses from fans. Sometimes even critics can get trashed by fans.
  • Rowling and her publishers set up an environment for fan fiction to allow it to thrive while retaining control and rights by not allowing settings inside Hogwarts (outside is fine), and no smut nor commercial publishing. The fan fiction community for Harry Potter represents hundreds of thousands of amateur writers today.
  • If you play the game right, book merchandise licensing can generate great income for the publishers and author, as well as attorneys protecting those rights.

We live in an era where books can grow into television shows and movies, and become entire industries if the game is played right and the fans stay loyal. Luckily, we have a few great authors who’ve paved the path well for us to follow.

Want to learn more about publishing? We have the Writers in the Grove 2018 Authors Conference coming up in January. Register now to ensure a place as seating is limited.

Prompt: Precepts

Like a motto! Like a famous quote. Like a line from a fortune cookie. Any saying or ground rule that can motivate you. Basically, a precept is anything that helps guide us when making decisions about really important things.

Mr. Browne, Wonder

The prompt this week is from the book and movie, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio.

Write your precept and explain why.

Sketches of Anticipation

The following is by Writers in the Grove member, Bunny Hansen.

A letter arrives.
A price is paid.
A lover returns.
Anticipation rises.
Sometimes a morning sun
Warming new beginnings
Sometimes a midnight moon
Cooling dark endings.

Spring sap, anticipations pulse
Surges through sleeping branches
Inciting covert riots, among
Winter started roots.
Dormant blossoms provoked
Into multi-hued revolutions
Overthrow cold suns and short days.

A stalking tiger watches, waits in ambush
Frozen in stealth, muscles twitching
Stripes screened by sun-streaked grass
Saliva drips from emblematic fangs.
Hunt’s end, foreseen from the beginning.

Anticipation, gallant, armored knight
Charges onto epic battlefields
Reclaims golden fleeces of the heart
Slays doubt breathing Dragons
Plundering priceless dreams.

A dazzling gold vein exposed in white quartz
Detonates a miner’s expectations: “Mother Lode.”
A silver candelabra, darkened, tarnish-shrouded
Is rubbed and polished until purity appears.
A trickling brook meanders, swallowed by
A desert flash-flood, it carves a grand canyon.

Expectant prisoners, tenacious caterpillars
Anticipation etched on their hearts
Push against restriction’s limit
Struggle with confinement’s boundary
Natures mutate, time tempered
Finally, sentence served,
They catch the wind.

Opening nighters are seated
Orchestra, mezzanine, balcony
Critics view, review and preview
Backstage nerves infiltrate anticipation
Costumed in repetitious rehearsals
An actor reruns his lines
A tenor re-trills his scales
A dancer perfects a last leap
The theater strains, tension taunt
Listening for the call: Curtain up!

2018 Authors Conference: Keynote Deborah Reed

Foot steps on leaves and announces Writers in the Grove 2018 Author Conference.

The keynote speaker at the 2018 Authors Conference on January 27, 2018, in Forest Grove, Oregon, will be Deborah Reed, author of the novels The Days When Birds Come Back, Olivay, Things We Set on Fire, Carry Yourself Back to Me, A Small Fortune, and its sequel, Fortune’s Deadly Descent.

Deborah Reed Author PhotoDeborah is frequently featured in Poets & Writers, and holds a Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (fiction) from Pacific University. She is also the co-director of the Black Forest Writing Seminars at the University of Freiburg in Germany. She lives in Manzanita, Oregon.

She joins a group of extraordinary professional editors, writers, and poets in our first writer’s conference. Other speakers include Paulann Petersen, Chip MacGregor, Holly Lorincz, Jessica Morrell, MaryJane Nordgren, and Kristin Thiel.

Register today to learn from Deborah Reed on professional writing at the 2018 Authors Conference in January as space is limited.

About Writers in the Grove 2018 Authors Conference

This is a fundraiser for the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center, a non-profit community center and the host of Writers in the Grove weekly meetings. The Center provides free and low cost meals through their dining services and Meals On Wheels outreach program, as well as a wide range of educational, recreational, wellness, and community events and educational opportunities.

Writers in the Grove is a free weekly workshop for those wishing to develop their creative writing skills. The group meets Mondays at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center on Mondays from 9-11am, and on the second Saturday of the month at the Forest Grove Public Library from 10:30-noon. Writers in the Grove supports the freedom of expression and creative writing spirit in Forest Grove, Oregon, and around the world.