June 7th Writers Forum with Margaret Pinard

Making Stories Come Alive

If you’ve been in the author business for any amount of time, you know that readings and signings can be pretty blah. But if we’re going to the trouble of putting together an event, we want to make it worth our time, right? Margaret Pinard has planned her own three launches and attended numerous festivals and events. She will outline important factors and planning decisions to consider as we brainstorm about how to make our book events special, memorable, and profitable. Think color, think unique locations, think party themes!

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Margaret is a soul from the 19th century who finds it easiest to disguise herself by drinking tea, writing historical fiction, and popping off to the British Isles for ‘research.’
Her favorite books transport the reader to a different time and place, while poking at the unconscious assumptions one holds about one’s place in the world.
Margaret has published two standalone historical novels and two novels in her Remnants series. The third book is due out in 2019. Visit her at http://www.margaretpinard.com.

May 3rd Writers Forum with Carolyn O’Doherty

Every story needs a world in which to take place, whether it’s a suburban kitchen or an imaginary kingdom. In this workshop we’ll talk about the difference between world and setting, how to build a compelling, believable world, and how to seamlessly incorporate world building into your narrative without the dreaded info dump. Bring your favorite writing implement so we can try an exercise (or two!). I’ll also send you home with some additional exercises to apply to your own work.

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Carolyn O’Doherty lives in a much prettier and less dangerous version of Portland than the characters in her new novel, REWIND. When, as a kid, she dreamed up the idea of freezing time, she only considered the benefits: always having the perfect snappy come-back, the right answer on the test, untraceable revenge. It was when she turned the idea into a novel that she delved into the dark side of this potential blessing. Carolyn has an MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast. REWIND was released on April 10th.

Washington County Writers hosts a Writers Forum on the first Thursday of each month except January. Join us at Insomnia Coffee’s downtown location at 317 E Main Street in Hillsboro from 7-8:30pm. Admission is $5.

April 5th Writers Forum with CB Bernard

Routine, Ritual, and John Cheever’s Underwear: Unpacking the Habits of a Writing Life

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Like any job, writing takes discipline—which means developing and committing to routines. But it’s also an art, which sometimes calls for less-pragmatic rituals. What can we learn from the practices and prayers of those who embraced the madness of the writing life before us?

C.B. Bernard is the author of Chasing Alaska: A Portrait of the Last Frontier Then and Now, a Publishers Weekly and National Geographic Top 10 Pick and finalist for the Oregon Book Award in nonfiction. His fiction and essays have appeared in Catapult, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Bear Deluxe, and elsewhere, and the Utne Reader has excerpted his work. He’s a frequent lecturer at literary festivals and conferences and a former newspaper and magazine journalist, advertising copywriter, and communications specialist. His new book is a novel set in rural Oregon.

Washington County Writers hosts a Writers Forum on the first Thursday of each month except January. Join us at Insomnia Coffee’s downtown location at 317 E Main Street in Hillsboro from 7-8:30pm. Admission is $5.

 

 

 

Do You Like Write-Ins?

Do you like write-ins? Good news! There are several new write-ins around Washington County now, through 9Bridges. All manner and style of writers welcome. Short form, novel, poetry, comic book, screenplay, fiction (pick your genre, or not), nonfiction, journaling, journalism, essay, term paper, dissertation, etc? This is the write-in for you!

These are structured write-ins, which means, in case you have never attended one of those before, that there is a silent writing period for a set time, then a break where everyone is welcome to talk; about what they’re writing about the writing process, or any other topic that might arise. After the break period, there is another writing period, another break period, etc… until the write-in is over. You don’t have to stay the whole time, you don’t even have to show up on time! Just drop in for as long as you like and enjoy the creative atmosphere.

All of these write-ins are held every week, and are available through meetup.com (a free service), but you do not need to join meet up to attend them. The main advantages of using the meetup.com system are to keep thee write-ups you are attending organized and to let the write-in host know ahead of time who will be attending.

Monday Afternoon Write-In (Hillsboro)
12pm-4pm
Insomnia Coffee Co
5389 E Main St, Hillsboro, OR 97123
Format: 1 Hour Writing / 15 Minute Break / Repeat

Monday Evening Write-In (Hillsboro / Tanasbourne)
5pm-9pm
Starbucks Coffee
22075 NE Imbrie Dr, Hillsboro, OR 97124
Format: 25 Minute Writing / 10 Minute Break / Repeat

Tuesday Afternoon Write-In (Beaverton)
12pm-4pm
Jim & Patty’s Coffee
4130 SW 117th Ave, Beaverton, OR 97005
Format: 1 Hour Writing / 15 Minute Break / Repeat

Wednesday Evening Write-In (Tigard)
5pm-9pm
Symposium Coffee
12345 Southwest Main Street, Tigard, OR 97223
Format: 25 Minute Writing / 10 Minute Break / Repeat

There is currently no Aloha Write-In, though the timeslot of Wed 12pm-4pm is set aside for one as soon as a proper venue can be found.

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

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.

Washington County Writers hosts a Writers Forum on the first Thursday of each month except January. Join us at Insomnia Coffee’s downtown location at 317 E Main Street in Hillsboro from 7-8:30pm. Admission is $5.

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