Prompt-a-Month: Sunshine

Writers in the Grove Prompt-a-Month badge.The May prompt-a-month for our Writers in the Grove members is:

Sunshine

The deadline for submissions is 6/1/2017. Submissions will be published during the next 30 days.

Writers in the Grove members may hand in their submissions during the workshops or use our members only submission form. Check out the guidelines and instructions for submissions in the announcement.

Lend an Ear 2017 on July 8, 2017

Lend an Ear 2015 - Audience listen to Veronica read.The 8th Annual Lend an Ear, Come and Hear reading event is July 8, 2017, at Plum Hill Winery in Gaston, Oregon. It begins at 10:30AM and goes to approximately 1PM, and is produced by Writers in the Grove.

July 8, 2017
Saturday 11am-1pm
Plum Hill Vineyards
6505 SW Old Highway 47
Gaston OR 97119

The event is free and open to the public.

For eight years, writers from around Forest Grove and Washington County have submitted and read their work to dozens. Last year we broke records with over a hundred attendees. This free event is held in a beautiful winery in the foothills near Hagg Lake overlooking the Tualitin Valley. There will be food from several food wagons and, of course, some wine from Plum Hill Winery, our fabulous hosts. Come laugh, cry, and sigh as you listen to our marvelous readers sharing their creative writing and storytelling skills.

Enter Your Submission: If you would like to participate as one of our readers, submit your poems or prose of four-minute readings per the instructions on our submission form for Lend an Ear, available as a downloadable Word document or PDF file to complete and return to Writers in the Grove by June 12, 2017. Submissions must be original and able to be read out loud for no more than 4 minutes. This is a juried event. Pieces will be selected on the basis or originality, writing style, and quality of work. All genres are welcome, however, they must be family friendly. Submissions should reflect content suitable for mixed age groups.

Come join Writers in the Grove for this fun, family event at Plum Hill Winery.

Prompt: Sensations Without Sight

The prompt this week was:

Think of an episode or event in life, childhood, or adulthood. Think of where it occurred, when, what season, and those involved. Think in terms of senses other than sight. If you were a sculpture, what would the texture be for the sculpture you would make of this? What are the sounds, smells, touch, sensations other than sight? Use sight minimally or not at all to tell your story.

Writers in the Grove News: Local Pen Pals

News - Writers in the Grove - News Time Article on Local Pen Pals April 2017 Forest Grove Oregon - CoverAt the beginning of this school year 2016-2017, a local parent and volunteer with the nearby Gaston, Oregon, elementary school contacted Writers in the Grove about a local pen pal program. Many members volunteered to correspond with the children at the school, and it has changed lives on both ends of the mailbox.

Words bring old and young writers together in special partnership” features the unique program of connecting local writers with local elementary students for a pen pal program, and includes interviews with several of our members.

Gretchen Keefer had a question for the sixth-graders at Gaston Elementary School: What are you thankful for?

She wrote to them as part of the pen-pal relationship between Gaston Elementary and her Forest Grove writing group, hoping the question would give the students something to write back about.

Turns out the students had never thought much about thankfulness, said their teacher, Thea Hiersche.

But after taking the time to list all the things they love in life, they were “amazed,” said Hiersche. From there, the class “started the conversation about how we, as a thankful community, could help others who don’t have as much.”

Keefer’s writing prompt ended up inspiring a donation drive for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland.

That’s how words can turn into ideas that turn into actions. It’s also how old-fashioned letters can provide inspiration and writing help to young students — and joy to their grown-up writing partners.

“Just seeing these older people gathered around the table — none of them can wait to open the letters as soon as we get our stacks,” said Mary Jane Nordgren, a member of the writing group. “It really warms the hearts of everyone.”

This wonderful project could not have happened without the dedication of Sheila Harter. She has worked overtime to volunteer her services as “pony express courier” to collect letters from both groups and exchange them every week.

You may read the full article on the Forest Grove Times News site, and check out our pictures of the articles below.

News - Writers in the Grove - News Time Article on Local Pen Pals April 2017 Forest Grove Oregon (2) News - Writers in the Grove - News Time Article on Local Pen Pals April 2017 Forest Grove Oregon (3)

Prompt: Humor in the Yarns

The mystery of knitting … remains a mystery” was published in April 2017 on The Christian Science Monitor by Murr Brewster. Her essay went viral and became our prompt this week.

That’s just freaky. Because knitting makes no sense at all. A knitter, by definition, creates holes by surrounding them with string, using sticks, a clickety-clickety noise, locally sourced air, and goodness.

Those of us who suspect we are not innately good can barely aspire to the art. And yet, I so aspired. I wanted a hat.

I bought a ball of string and some sticks and I found a tutorial online. After stopping the video four or five hundred times, I cast on 50 stitches. Then, staring hard, and trying to make my sticks and string match up to the video, I succeeded in making an entire knit stitch.

Then I made another one. And somehow, with great care and deliberation, I soldiered my way to the end of the row, 50 knits in a line. It was a triumph of historic proportions.

Slow, yes; challenging, sure; and yet majestic and powerful. I felt like Hannibal marching his elephants across the Alps into Italy.

I consulted the tutorial. They don’t warn you about this when you’re learning how to knit, so I’ll tell you now: You can’t just learn to knit. You have to learn to purl, also.

“Hit the boats!” I heard Hannibal shout. “We’re headed to Sardinia!”

Nuts! I studied the video again, and I manufactured a single purl stitch, and then another, and eventually rowed my way back to the beginning. According to the calm and cheerful woman in the video, that’s all there is to it. If you can make a knit stitch, and you can make a purl stitch, you’re on the road to glory. You can make cable-knit trousers for an octopus. I was beginning to be suspicious of her, but I carried on.

Our prompt, based upon this article, was first to study it and discover what made it work, and not work. We explored:

  • Storytelling structure: Does it have the right storytelling structure? What is the structure?
  • Audience: Who is the writer talking to? What does it tell us about the audience?
  • Purpose: What is the purpose of the article? What does it tell us about the author?
  • What tools were used: How were metaphor, simile, humor, drama, and other writing and storytelling tools used?

The next part of the prompt was to write something based upon this example and use humor.

Writing Tips for Organizing and Planning Your Writing

There are two aspects to the concept of organization for writers. There is the organization of your writing environment, be it your working space or virtual space you write in such as the type of computer, software, even the way your writing is backed up. Then there is the organization of the actual writing, keeping track of characters, plots, story lines, names, places, etc., and structuring the end result into something readable as well as publishable.

Discussing this with a few Writers in the Grove members, we realized that while the two concepts were separate, they were actually inseparable. As one pointed out, the spark of an idea can happen anywhere and you must have a system in place to jot it down and ensure it isn’t lost between the grocery store moment of inspiration and the moment you can finally lean into your computer and start writing. Throughout the writing process of a project, the project is with you, wherever you are, whenever your imagination catches fire. A well-structured habit system combined with well-maintained tools and access points for preserving those thoughts help you through the entire process, right through to the point of publishing.

So we decided to offer this short collection of writing tips by others for organizing and planning your writing to embrace both aspects, helping you be organized within your writing environment, physical and virtual, and in the writing process.

Writing Organization Tools and Environments

One tool that our group embraced that changed more than a few writing lives is Scrivener by Literature and Latte. Available for both Windows and Mac, Scrivener is what you use to write your story before you move it to publishing programs and tools, though Scrivener will publish directly to various ebook and print formats. Scrivener is your idea holder, notebook, character development tool, and story line planner. It helps you write your book or whatever is on your writing list. We highly recommend it and have an ongoing series to help you learn Scrivener better.

Some helpful articles on using Scrivener to organize your writing include:

How To Organize Your Non-fiction Book – The Future of Ink: This article offers six core tools and methods for organizing your book: piles, folders, cards, Evernote, and binders. The author also mentions Scrivener as it is highly capable of embracing piles, folders, cards, etc. The article offers tips for organizing your writing in general, time and space for writing, and more tips to help you keep on track of the writing. These apply to fiction as well as non-fiction. (more…)