Kendra Elliot to Speak to Writers in the Grove February 13, 2017

Kendra Elliot, author.

On February 13, 2017, author Kendra Elliot will speak at our Monday Writers in the Grove meeting at 9AM at the Forest Grove Community and Senior Center in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Elliot is a prolific author of suspense, thriller, and murder mysteries. After reading a newspaper article about NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month, she decided she could sit down and write 50,000 words in 30 days, and did. She says on her website:

I sat down and wrote a contemporary romance but kept tripping over dead bodies in each chapter. I got the hint and my stories evolved into romantic suspense.

This Pacific Northwest native continues to live in the area and says she is obsessed with forensics, even studying with the FBI, and is involved in many writers associations and groups dedicated to her genre, weaving everything she learns into her fascinating stories.

Elliot has published numerous books including the popular series The Bone Secrets, Callahan and McLane, The Mercy Kilpatrick, and The Rogue River Novella series.

She will be talking about how she writes her books so fast and furious, publishing several a year, and about the publishing industry, dealing with agents and publishers.

Please join us for this fascinating presentation. There is no charge. We thank Kendra Elliot for her generosity in sharing her experiences with us.


NaNoWriMo Tips: Rules for Writing Fiction from the Best

The Guardian newspaper rounded up advice from top authors with rules for writing fiction. This is a must read.

The advice can be harsh but it represents decades of writing, editing, and publishing for many of these authors.

The authors include Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, and AL Kennedy.

You can find more writing tips, NaNoWriMo prompts, and writing tips for NaNoWriMo on our Writers in the Grove site.

Writing Tips: Kill Your Darlings and Make Writing a Habit

Marelisa of Daring to Live Fully brought us “57 Tips For Writers, From Writers,” a fantastic series of tips from some of the most famous writers.

From Stephen King’s book, On Writing, she references this bit of wisdom for writers.

Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. This suggests cutting to speed the pace, and that’s what most of us end up having to do (kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings)…I got a scribbled comment that changed the way I rewrote my fiction once and forever. Jotted below the machine-generated signature of the editor was this mot: “Not bad, but PUFFY. You need to revise for length. Formula: 2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%. Good luck.

From John Grisham, she shares this:

He goes on to say that at first you have to treat writing as a hobby; you write a page a day in your spare time. Grisham explains that he created spare time to write, although he had a full time job. He adds that he always tells young aspiring writers that if they’re not writing a page a day, then nothing is going to happen. But if they make sure to write a page a day it becomes a habit, and before long they have a lot of pages piled up.

For those of us considering writing full time, these are wise words.

Christina Abt Speaking at Writers in the Grove August 10

Christina Abt, author of Crown Hill and contributor to many anthologies and collections including Chicken Soup books, will be speaking at Writer’s in the Grove’s Monday workshop on August 10, 2015, from 9-11AM at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center in Forest Grove, Oregon. She will be speaking about the changes in the publishing industry and how to get your book published. She will also be on a book tour with Barnes and Nobel throughout the Pacific Northwest and the country in general.

Writer’s Groups and Activities in Albany, Salem, and Corvallis, Oregon

A dear friend in our writer’s group is about to leave us to move with her husband to Albany, Oregon. To give her a good send off and encourage her to keep writing (and come back and visit often), we did a little research and found the following writing groups in the Albany, Oregon area, which includes Corvallis, Eugene, and Salem. If you can’t make it to Forest Grove, Oregon, we encourage you to do some research and join a group close to you.

Writing Group

According to Ronald Borst, a journalist and writer, the Albany Writer’s Network has been meeting for over twenty years once a month. The Albany Democrat-herald local newspaper reports they meet the fourth Wednesday of the month at the Fire Station 13 from 7-9pm at 1980 Three Lakes Drive behind Home Depot, and offer a phone number for more information.

Writers on the River in Corvallis, Oregon, are part of the Willamette Writers Association and meets in Corvallis the third Monday of the month from 6:30-8:30pm. They have some great topics coming up with some fun speakers. They also host a variety of annual events and readings.

Magic Barrel, an annual literary fundraiser and authors event in Corvallis brings together authors to read fiction, non-fiction, and poetry among music, food, wine, and a determination to change the world. The event, A Reading to Fight Hunger, raises money for the Linn Benton Food Share program.

In Salem, the Salem Willamette Writers group also has great speakers and events. They meet the second Wednesday of the month except in summer from 6:30-8:30 in the Salem Library. You can keep up with them on Facebook, too.

Eugene Poetry Society is a fairly new group and they are determined to keep the poetry alive.

Writer’s Coffee Talk in Eugene meets every Tuesday Morning at the Valley River Inn to talk about the craft of writing.

Our group has been learning about blogging and held some blogging fundraisers recently, and there is a new Salem WordPress Meetup group that meets monthly to keep the learning going with great speakers, work sessions, and a chance to learn from other WordPress users in the area.

Let’s not forget the fabulous The Graduate Writing Center at Oregon State University. There are a wide range of programs, brown-bag talks, and group workshops on professional writing and writing studies.

We wish our friend great joy and happiness, and much writing time, in her new endeavor, and to be surrounded by the best of friends and writers as she has been here.

Edwidge Danticat: Would There Be Poetry Amidst the Haitian Ruins?

OPB Radio’s Literary Arts: The Archive Project featured award winning Haitian American writer Edwidge Danticat speaking about the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti from a 2010 presentation with the Portland Arts and Lectures.

She mentions Haiti’s nickname, terre glissée or “slippery ground,” and expounds on the metaphoric and literal connotations of that phrase. With the devastation still on everyone’s mind, Danticat tells of both her own and her family’s experiences during and after the earthquake, mentioning that her cousin Maxo was killed. She witnessed bodies in the rubble and an “altered human landscape” of so many people with injuries. After the quake, Haitians would simply call it “the thing,” or “the devil dancing,” or even onomatopoeias like “gudugudu.” Referencing several other Haitian writers throughout her lecture, such as Dany Lafferière, Danticat discusses the role of the artist who comes from a place of loss, including the importance of bearing witness.

We’ve been working on writing with all of our scenes, and most recently writing to describe the land. Her vivid and emotional descriptions of the impact of the earthquake, described with spiritual metaphors, poetic grace, destructive similes, and survivor humor, are examples of the diverse ways a writer can not only describe the land, but the impact of the land on the creatures that walk its surface. She comments on the Haitians description of themselves as “We are ugly, but we are here.”

There is poetry often in Haitian language, through proverbs, through the way that we try to interpret tragedy.

…I kept wondering, would there be poetry amidst the Haitian ruins?

…The Angel of Death is more democratic [than God]; everybody goes.

LISTEN: The original 52 minute recording is available at the bottom of Edwidge Danticat – The Archive Project on the Literary Arts Site.