Invitation & Contest: The Write-Brained Network & WordWatchers

Last week, I announced the emerging of The Write-Brained Network, my online writing organization (formerly Shenandoah Writers Online).

YOU ARE INVITED

I’d like to extend a formal invitation to anyone out there stumbling upon this blog post who is a writer and who has not yet checked us out.  I’d love to meet you—virtually or otherwise. 🙂

We are doing some cool things, and I’ve love to have you be a part of them:

  • We currently have four satellite chapters starting up throughout the country—soon to be six!
  • Three members have also started subgroups by genre—currently, for YA (YAwesome Writers), horror writers (The Dark Ones), and literary writers (Literary Lovers)
  • As well, we are in talks about putting on an IRL conference possibly as early as next year!

Like I said—cool things happening.  I could not be more of a proud mama bear. 🙂

Click here to check out The Write-Brained Network.

CONTEST

This is our third month doing WordWatchers, and while we’ve had participation every month, I’d like to up the ante a bit for September.

This month, we’re competing for a prize (well, I won’t be, since I’m the one offering the prize, but whatever!).

No, I'm not giving out Grammys, but that would be cool!

One winner will receive a 10-page manuscript critique from moi, and one will receive ONE of a number of SIGNED BOOKS (I finally got my box o’ plunder back from the RWA conference, and there’s a ton of great stuff available in there—details forthcoming)!

To be eligible, all you have to do is:

1) Be a member of the Write-Brained Network.

2) Participate in WordWatchers.  Click here for details on what that is, if you don’t know. The gist: set a weekly word goal and WRITE!
3) Log your progress on the WB group wall and/or in the September WordWatchers discussion in our WB forum.

Don't let this alien beat you!

Here’s how the entries will be handled:
+1 entry for setting a goal and participating (publicly)
+1 entry for every day you log your writing progress
+5 entries for every week you HIT your weekly writing goal
+3 entries for every person you invite to join the WB (who joins!) between now and the end of the month*
+2 entries if you Tweet or blog about the WB*

*You will have to let me know if you invited someone and they joined or if you’ve blogged/Tweeted about the WB—I’m not a mindreader!

At the end of the month, I’ll have you tally your entries, send them to me, and I’ll pick two winners.

Sound good?

In the Blogosphere: 8/9-8/13

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m admittedly behind with my Blogosphere posts—I have about 50 links saved, dating all the way back to May/June-ish (oh noes!)—but they are all still worth a look.  I’ll catch up eventually, right?

CONFERENCE GOODIES

You know how, when you go to some writers’ conferences, they give you a goodie bag?  Well, here are some links that are better than that!  Yes, they all are from kids’ lit conferences, but the skills are not just for kids’ lit writers.

Here, get soundbites from tons of industry professionals at the recent SCBWI L.A. conference—courtesy of the fabulous Michelle Schusterman of YA Highway.

The more I say "goodie bag," the more I want to giggle. #growup

In this post, over at Adventures in Children’s Publishing, the inimitable Martina Boone presents us with literary agent Elana Roth’s two cents about high concept (from the SCBWI ME/DE/WV conference).

Also, if you *weren’t* one of the thousands who attended this week’s free online writing conference, WriteOnCon, get out from under your rock and click here to check it out.  Most (if not all?) of the posts and vlogs are up there.  Such a fab event!

YA YA YA

Here *are* some things specific to YA writers.

This adorable post, by the equally-as-adorable Nathan-Bransford-repped Natalie Whipple teaches you how to Tweet and blog like a YA author.  Yes, I am guilty of all these things.

I’ve posted links on this subject before (mostly by Andrea Brown lit agent Mary Kole), but here is Deborah Halverson—The Editor’s—take on swearing in YA lit.

Also, over at his blogThe Book Deal—editor Alan Rinzler shares tips on writing YA from three Dystel & Goderich Literary Management agents, Stacey Glick, Michael Bourret, and Jim McCarthy.

ON KRAFT*

It’s all about the mission, baby.  The Storyfixer, Larry Brooks, discusses what makes a successful short story.

In this post at See Heather Write, freelancer/editor Heather Trese uses one of my favorite shows (How I Met Your Mother) to discuss character consistency.  Or lack thereof.

Why, yes - I *am* the cheesiest!

And while we’re on the subject of characters, Seth Frederiksen talks about how to make leading characters great at Fuel Your Writing.

As a little precursor to a “Pointers from the Pros” post I will be running soon, here’s The Donald (Donald Maass), over at Writer Unboxed, talking about creating tension.

*In case you missed my D.Maass/RWA10 post earlier this week, here it isPimping out her own blog? Why, yes, she is! (And talking about herself in third person, too—what a freak-a-zoid!)

I don't know what you hearrrrd about me . . . (What ever happened to 50 Cent anyway?)

HEHE

I heart these fellow Clevelanders and YA authors, Lisa and Laura RoeckerHere, they talk about how writing novels is a little like peeing your pants.

Oh—and this is why I love YA author John Green:

*See what I did there? 🙂

SWA Presenter Spotlight: Author & Lit Agent Katharine Sands

As I announced in December, I will be teaching a workshop on journalistic writing* at the 35th annual Southeastern Writers Association conference in June 2010.

To gear up for that, I am featuring interviews and spotlights with this year’s presenters.**

Next up is author and literary agent Katharine Sands.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

Each year, the Southeastern Writers Association conference hosts one agent in residence; this year, Katharine Sands of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency will hold that spot.

Sands

As an agent, Sands represents authors in a variety of areas, including: literary and commercial fiction as well as nonfiction projects dealing with food/lifestyle, self-help, cooking, travel, spirituality, pop culture, film/entertainment, humor and home/design.

In addition to taking on and working with clients, Sands wrote Making the Perfect Pitch: Advice from 45 Top Book Agents (Kalmbach), which compiles pitching advice from several of the industry’s top agents.

At the conference in June, Sands will be teaching a class called “Pitchcraft . . . and Querial Killers: How Not to Get an Agent, Even If You Are a Talented Writer.” As well, she will hear pitches in one-on-one sessions and work with writers in group critique classes during the latter half of the program.

THE INTERVIEW

One of last year’s SWA presenters, editor Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest Books, posted a great interview with Sands on his Guide to Literary Agents blog.

Here is an excerpt:

GLA: Speaking of meeting writers at conferences, what do you think is the most common mistake writers make when they give a short in-person pitch to an agent?

KS: One of the things I believe people do wrong is to speak to agents as they would a tax professional or lawyer – somebody for hire who is there to listen to their process and backstory and get involved with their case in that way. Agents are listening in for a reason to be interested, first and foremost, and they’re not going to be interested in the writer’s (process), the word count, what is impeding, or why the writer doesn’t want to do extra work.

See the full interview here.

THE PLUG

For more information about the Southeastern Writers Association conference in June, please see their registration page as well as my recent post.  Don’t wait to sign up—you only have until April 1 to participate in contests and manuscript evaluations, so reserve your spot today!

*To learn more about the workshop I’m teaching, click here.

**For more SWA Presenter Spotlights, click the appropriately-named category in the right-hand sidebar.

Conference Corner: Southeastern Writers Association

Interested in writing?  Want to come see me?  I’ve got just to conference for you: the Southeastern Writers Association conference.

THE 4-1-1

The 35th annual Southeastern Writers Association conference will be held June 20-24 in scenic St. Simons Island, Ga.

The full conference fee is $395, and it includes:

  • Up to three manuscript evaluations
  • One-on-one critiques with instructors
  • Entry into up to 15 contests (in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, inspiration, humor, romance, juvenile writing—children’s through young adult—science fiction and fantasy)—cash prizes for winners!
  • Access to all workshops, evening speeches, and open mic night
  • A one-year membership to SWA

WHY YOU NEED TO REGISTER NOW

While registration is open until the conference takes place, you’ve got just one more week to take advantage of the manuscript evaluations and contest entries—the deadline is April 1.

WHY SWA?

Held at the beautiful Epworth by the Sea in St. Simons Island, Ga., SWA’s annual conference is the perfect place to soak up some rays along with some writing knowledge from seasoned professionals.

As well, at $395 for a four-day conference, SWA is a steal.  Check around; most other conferences and writers’ retreats charge extra for manuscript critiques and contests.

ADDED BONUS

Did I mention I will be teaching a workshop on journalistic writing?  Come heckle me!**  To learn more about my workshop, click here.

Go easy on me!

I LIKE YOU AND EVERYTHING, BUT WHO ELSE WILL BE THERE?

This year’s presenters include:

To learn more about these presenters, click here or click on the presenters’ names above to see my interview series featuring several of them.

For more information about the Southeastern Writers Association conference, please see their registration page as well as my recent post.

Again, you must be registered by April 1 in order to gain full access to all this conference has to offer, so reserve your spot today!

**Actually, while I would love to see you, I’d rather you didn’t heckle me!

SWA Presenter Spotlight: Emily Sue Harvey

As I announced in December, I will be teaching a workshop on journalistic writing at the 35th annual Southeastern Writers Association conference in June 2010.

To gear up for that, I am featuring some interviews and spotlights with this year’s presenters.

First up is inspirational writer and SWA board member Emily Sue Harvey.

ABOUT THE PRESENTER

A long-term SWA member, Harvey is represented by PMA Literary & Film Mgt, Inc., and her upbeat stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies including: Chicken Soup for the Soul, Chocolate for Women, From Eulogy to Joy, A Father’s Embrace, True Story, Compassionate Friends Magazine, and Woman’s World.  Her first novel, Song of Renewal, was released in 2009 by Story Plant.

She is also currently seeking renewal story submissions for a possible anthology.  For more information, please visit her Web site or contact her at emilysue1@aol.com.

THE INTERVIEW

RS:   How did you get into writing?

ESH: I was an English major in college, so I did lots of writing. The tragic death of my 11-year-old daughter, Angela, catapulted me into writing in earnest.

At that time, it was therapy. Along the way, it developed into a passion that remains until this day.

RS:  What keeps you writing?

ESH: Plain and simple: passion. Writing is in my genes and soul. It gives me a voice that makes a difference.

RS:  What do you do when you’re not writing?

ESH: I’m quite active with family, church and my old high school class.

I do a quarterly newsletter for the old classmates in which several columns appear: Profiles (updates on lives), Rainy Days (relating to deaths, health and other issues that need attention), Let’s Talk (newsy items) and Accolades (celebrating accomplishments, etc.).

I found that this bonds our gang in ways that otherwise wouldn’t happen.

RS:  What are you currently working on?

ESH: Currently, I’m editing and enlarging upon my newly-released mainstream fiction hardback novel: Song of Renewal. I am allowed to enlarge the story for the upcoming paperback release. The hardback release limited me to 160 pages. No such restrictions limit the paperback length.

Since I love editing, I’m enjoying this phase of the project.

The paperback edition of Harvey's novel, available at Amazon.com.

RS:  What’s one genre or type of writing in which you’d like to dabble but haven’t yet—and why?

ESH: Since I’ve dabbled in both fiction and nonfiction, there’s little I’ve not explored. I’m well published in numerous anthologies such as Chicken Soup, Chocolate for Women, and a wide spectrum of outreach magazines and etc. I’ve also done Renewal articles for heavily-trafficked Web sites such as Dr. Laura and Shine.

I’ve written several novels already, which are in the publishing wings. Perhaps I will decide to do a collection of all my short stories and articles in a future project.

RS:   What book(s) currently adorn your nightstand?

ESH: The Greatest Words Ever Spoken: Everything Jesus Said about You, Your Life, and Everything Else by Steven K. Scott, which is a book of the words of Jesus. Powerful.

Also, I just finished a delightful, engaging novel by Jennifer Greene, a new author-find for me. Will be reading more by her.

Harvey, the 2008-2009 SWA president

RS:  Name an author that helped shape who you are as a writer and how he or she had that effect on you.

ESH: Cec Murphey was and is a mentor of the highest caliber. He took me under his wing years ago at SWA and told me (among many valuable things) to address myself  as “a writer.” That began my real odyssey to where I am now.

RS:  Can you give us a quick teaser about the course you’ll be teaching at Southeastern Writers Association?

ESH: My “Get it done!” course consists of a no-nonsense (but fun) approach to writing, gleaned from both my academic and professional experiences, which taught me to sit down and “Just Do it!” (last year’s [workshop] title)—and that writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.

This year’s course continues on to incorporate networking skills offered at SWA workshops. Part of writing success is directly contingent upon the “Just Do It!” mindset, which calls for discipline and the instruction gleaned from SWA workshops.

Wrapping it all up are critical networking opportunities offered at the SWA workshops. Without some form of networking, writing success can be elusive. It’s so simple that folks often overlook its significance.

So come on down to St. Simons and join us for perhaps some of the most crucial lessons of your writing journey. “GET IT DONE!”

THE PLUG

For more information about the Southeastern Writers Association conference in June, please see their registration page as well as my recent post. Don’t wait to sign up—and you must be registered by April 1 in order to participate in contests and manuscript evaluations, so reserve your spot today!

To learn more about the workshop I’m teaching, click here.