March 1st Writers Forum with Tina Connolly

Podcasting 101

Excited about podcasting anTina Connollyd want to learn more about it? Interested in producing your own audiobook? Maybe you just want to feel more comfortable reading your own stories aloud? Come spend an evening discussing all these things! Tina Connolly has a decade of experience in audio narration, and she also thinks this stuff is super fun. We’ll talk about what recording equipment you need, tips and techniques for a polished, lively reading – as well as what to do if you decide to hire someone to record your book for you. Come prepared to learn, try new things, and have fun.

Tina Connolly is the author of the Ironskin and Seriously Wicked series, and the collection On the Eyeball Floor and Other Stories. Her books have been finalists for the Nebula, Norton, and World Fantasy awards. She co-hosts Escape Pod, runs the Parsec-winning podcast Toasted Cake, and you can find her at tinaconnolly.com.

BUILD THE EMOTIONAL IMPACT IN YOUR WRITING – by Lucy Monroe

**NOTE: Lucy Monroe was kind enough to share this post with WCWF. It’s a recap of her presentation on February 1st AND MORE! Thanks, Lucy, for your generousity!**

Why is emotion so important in writing?  Because when we connect with our reader on an emotional level, we engage them and keep them interested.  Even what should be the most fascinating facts ever revealed will lose reader interest when offered with dry rationality and no attempt to connect to feelings those facts could evoke.

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As an example, I have several books on Viking history, two of which share an almost identical structure and table of contents.  One?  Is written to engage the emotions of the reader, telling the history in such a way that I am allowed to picture it in my mind.  The other is not poorly written by any stretch, but took twice as long to get through because I kept getting bored…despite being truly interested in all the topics covered.

Emotion is key.  Let me say that again.

Emotion. Is. Key.

So, how do we use that key to unlock the door to reader engagement?

First, let’s begin with defining what we mean by emotion.  It is not the potential for feeling.  It is not the tragedy or the celebration, it is the feelings either of those two events evoke.

Feelings as defined in Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions that are at their most basic level: Fear, Anger, Sadness, Joy, Disgust, Surprise, Trust & Anticipation.  But Book 2 of Aristotle’s Rhetoric lists those basic emotions as: Anger, Friendship, Fear, Shame, Kindness, Pity, Indignation, Envy, & Love.  You notice that arguably the most powerful, sought after emotion on the planet isn’t even included in the first list, which goes to show that even the “experts” don’t agree, but we still must find a way to reveal these elusive feelings, however we define them.

It’s too easy to fall into the mistake of believing that we create emotion when we create an emotional situation, but until we fully realize that potential for the reader, via our Wit-is-the-salt-of__quotes-by-William-Hazlitt-43-300x300characters, our language and our narrative we’ve only taken readers on half the journey.  In fact, if left there, the only emotions we are likely to engender are frustration, anger and disgust.

Telling a reader to feel an emotion isn’t going to work, not unless we’ve built up emotional language and character reaction so the reader can have an aha…that’s the emotion I feel moment.

So, how do we do this?  How do we build the emotional arc, not just inform the reader it is there?  How do we allow the other end of our writing journey, the people who read what we write…to feel, to experience the story in a way s/he can fully realize the emotional potential of the plot?

It begins with the language we use.  There is a difference between what we might term emotional words and those that are more intellectual in bent.  Take for example, the word accelerate – if you use the term speed up instead, it is more accessible for the reader…allows a sense of emotion not generally associated with accelerate.

This is not to say that intellectual language has no place in our writing.  Of course it does.  Words are our tools and all are at our disposal, but if we want to make readers feel, we use the language to do so.  Additionally might in a certain spot strategically become there’s more, circular => round, container => bag, or bottle, etc., fidelity => faithfulness, pleased => happy, and so on.  Do you see?  Can you feel the difference in these words?

Beyond word choice, what do we do to ensure emotion is forefront in everything we write?

We draw characters that are three-dimensional and fully developed.  We do not write caricatures, or depend on tropes, reader familiarity, or anything else that makes it easy on us but awfully boring for readers. We motivate the actions of our protagonists, antagonists and secondary characters so their actions not only make sense, but are instinctive to the reader.  A past experienced, steeped in some deep emotion is a good place to start, but it is not the end.  Who of us is influenced by a single event in our past without changing, growing, learning?  So, build on that first event, give a reason it still impacts the character, is still driving them to do x, y, & z.

But let’s not forget that for a plot to drive emotion, it must have emotion and that means at this point, we are searching for both an internal and external conflict as vehicle for feelings we want to evoke.  For example, your protagonist may be on a quest to save the princess, but if there isn’t some internal thing driving him (or her), that quest becomes just another uninspired journey through the universe (or Outback, or small town America).  But give an internal conflict, the hero(ine) must save the princess for the sake of all in his/her kingdom, only doing so will destroy the one s/he holds dear.

Answer the why’s of this in a way that allows the reader to feel emotion, to connect with and care for the character and you’ve written a much stronger story.  An emotional story.

Finally, and possibly, probably, the most important element of all to writing emotion?  Write from your heart.  Let your own emotions get involved. Forget marketing studies, trends, editorial feedback that may, or may not come.  Even, for a while, forget the reader on the other end and write what is in your heart to be written.  I pass a promise on to you that the late Kate Duffy made to me on this, the story will be better for it.

Happy writing!

Lucy

Lucy Monroe Offers Write-Ins Every Thursday

When I began writing (I’m going to date myself here, but that’s okay) over twenty years ago, I didn’t belong to any writing groups, and there were no pages on social me
dia dedicated to writers.  FB wasn’t even a thing then.  A few years later, I joined my first author group and a second one shortly after (my local chapter of Romance Writers of America).  It was wonderful!  Finally, I had a place to get together with others who shared my passion for creating the written word.
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Lucy Monroe

But writing continued to be a singularly solitary endeavor.  Sure, I had online critique partners after a while and even went to a few plotting/writing retreats, but the weekly work
was done on my own and reliant totally on my own self-discipline.
Fast forward twenty-plus years and after publishing 70 books with New York and London, I participated in my first NaNoWriMo, attending Write-Ins for the first time as well.  It was amazing!!!  Getting together with other authors to do what we loved best, to pursue our goals and dreams?  That was the stuff my happiest thoughts were made of.

 

I didn’t want to give up that sense of community and the in person accountability to write.  So, I got together with the director for the Brookwood Library and we hatched a plan.  Weekly Write-Ins hosted by me at the Library.

 

The Write-Ins will be every Thursday at 1 pm and will last until 4 pm.  I’m borrowing a format I like from another writing group and we’ll be writing for 45 minutes and then chatting for 15 before back to writing for 45, and so on.

 

I’m so keen to encourage other writers to write, to spend time in the company of my peers and to do what I love best…write my stories!
If you live in the area, I hope you’ll join me!
Hugs and happy writing,
Lucy

February 1st Writers Forum with Lucy Monroe

It’s All About the Emotion

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Lucy Monroe

Writing emotion is one of the most important elements to telling a story, but particularly in popular genre fiction.  Whatever the genre, they have one thing in common and that is that if we want our readers emotionally invested in our books, they need to *feel* the story.  Emotion is layered into the conflict, reflected in the characterization and key to creating a compelling plot. Lucy Monroe will host an interactive discussion and short writing exercise to hone that all important skill: getting emotion down on paper.

With more than 7 million copies of her books in print worldwide, award winning and USA Today bestseller Lucy Monroe has published over 70 books and had her stories translated for sale all over the world.  While she writes multiple subgenres of romance, all of her books are sexy, deeply emotional and adhere to the concept that love will conquer all.  A passionate devotee of romance, she adores sharing her love for the genre with her readers.

The Washington County Writers Forum is held on the first Thursday of each month except January. Join us at Insomnia Coffee–Downtown Location at 317 E Main Street in Hillsboro from 7-8:30pm. Admission is $5.

Washington County Writer’s Forum follow up + free gifts!

While the WCWF takes a break in January, December’s presenter, Sage Cohen, sent along this message to help us fiercely pursue our goals in 2018!

Hello!

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It was such a pleasure being with you at the Washington County Writer’s Forum on December 7!  Thanks so much for being with us—and for participating so fully!

As promised, I’ve included links to a few, additional free gifts!

I’ve also added you to my sagecohen.com mailing list (if you weren’t on it already), where you’ll get occasional tips and missives from me about the writing life.

Just for joining the list, you’ll be invited to choose one of two digital workbooks (valued at $9.99) for free.

Wishing you a focused and fierce 2018! May you cross the finish line for your #1 goal! (I’d love to know how it’s going along the way!)

Yours in the fierce writing adventure!

Sage

Debby Dodds at The League of Exceptional Writers on December 9th

In “Let Your Fan Flag Fly,” Debby Dodds, author of Amish Guys Don’t Call,  will show you how to use your passions, hobbies, and fandoms as inspiration for creating stories. Hosted by Rosanne Parry, the League of Exceptional Writers is a monthly workshop where authors and illustrators share their knowledge with kids, ages 8 to 18 years old, who are interested in creating books. Join us!

League meetings are held at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powells where the parking is free and there’s lots of room to spread out and get some real writing work done.LEW-bw-schedule-winter-2017

Conversations With Writers – November 27th

Conversations With Writers Presents Joe Wilkins

The Power Of Place – Its Place In Our Lives & Our Writing

Though we live in a world chock full of chain restaurants and department stores, on-

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screen communications, and cross-country airplane travel, we ignore the power of place at our own psychological and, increasingly, physical peril. Truly, place and landscape are active forces in all our lives. They shape and re-shape us; they offer us foundation and refuge; they challenge us to be good citizens of our biotic and built communities. In life and in writing, we ought to be aware of this; we ought to try to understand and harness the power of place. This conversation will offer writers four ways they might begin to do just that.

Joe Wilkins is the author of a memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers, and three collections of poems, most recently When We Were Birds, winner of the 2017 Stafford/Hall Prize in Poetry from the Oregon Book Awards. A winner of the High Plains Book Award, the GLCA New Writers Award, and the Pushcart Prize, Wilkins’s essays, poems, and stories appear in The Georgia ReviewThe Southern ReviewEcotoneThe SunOrion, and Slate. Of his work, the Indiana Review writes, “The most striking component of it is its awareness of ‘the whole world.’ What is ordinary becomes transcendent. In places derelict and seemingly unexceptional, Wilkins compels us to recognize what is worth salvage, worth praise.” Wilkins’s debut novel, Fall Back Down When I Die, will be published by Little, Brown in early 2019. Though born and raised on the Big Dry of eastern Montana, he lives now with his family in western Oregon, where he directs the creative writing program at Linfield College.

The Forest Grove City Library Announces Free Mini Writing Workshop

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Deborah Kennedy

Deborah Kennedy, author of the novel Tornado Weather, will be offering a free mini writing workshop, The Writer’s Craft: Keys to Unlocking the Interconnected Narrative, on Saturday, February 17th at 10:15 – 11:45am at the Forest Grove City Library. The event is free but sign up is required. Please contact the Forest Grove City Library Reference Desk at 503 992-3337.

 

Writers in the Grove Announce Conference for January

2018 Authors’ Conference

Helping You Move from Writer to Published Author

Writers in the Grove, a creative writing group in Forest Grove, will host a 2018 Authors’ Conference. The event is set for Saturday, January 27, 2018, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Forest Grove Senior and Community Center.

2018 Writers in the Grove Authors Conference speakers list flyer

“This writing conference is a fundraiser for the Forest Grove Senior anWIG Conference Flyerd Community Center,” says author and organizer MaryJane Nordgren. “This is

 a win-win event, supporting both the FGSCC and area writers. The seminars advance writers’ skills, helping them move from first draft to published author, while proceeds will aid the FGSCC update their kitchen for meals to seniors.

“We have the esteemed, award-winning poet and former Oregon State Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen presenting an afternoon poetry workshop. In addition, Deborah Reed, Holly Lorincz, Chip MacGregor, Jessica Morrell, Kristin Thiel and I will speak on topics including preparing manuscripts, pitching stories, developing a character arc, pitfalls of common editing errors, and writing hooks.”

Optional private consultations and small group sessions are available. Sign up on a first-come, first-served, paid-at-the-door basis to meet with Jessica Morrell, Holly Lorincz, or Kristin Thiel.

All levels of writers are welcome. Register now at Writers in the Grove website at http://www.writersinthegrove.com or http://bit.ly/2018author. For $60, writers receive lunch and engaging small-group workshops from established authors and literary agents at the FGSCC, 2037 Douglas Street, Forest Grove, OR 97116.