Minutes 201605

Writers Mill Minutes May 15th 2016

21 members attended May’s meeting and listened to an excellent discussion on all things writing, led by poet, short story writer and novelist Jim Stewart. Jim has generously agreed to a return engagement to lead a poetry workshop for us soon. We really appreciated meeting with him, and notes from his talk will be included in a separate post. 

Awards for June’s “Switching Places” contest were handed out by Nellie to:

  1. First place Jean: Faces of change
  2. Second place Judy: Me or You?
  3. Third place Karen: The Ruse

The stories can all be found on the website at http://portlandwritersmill.org/contests/past-contests/2016contests/current-contest-may-2016/. If you missed reading them, follow the link then wander around the site to see what else you’ve missed. Don’t forget, if asked for a password you simply type it in the box. There are no user names, and there is no need to sign in to enjoy our site, though you will have to give a name and email address when you leave comments. (The first time you leave a comment, it remains invisible until a site administrator accepts it—this way we avoid subjecting the rest of you to oceans of virus-laden spam. Also, if you leave a comment from a different machine, or if your browser has deleted—eaten?—cookies, you will have to type your name and email again next time you try to leave comments.)

Upcoming contests include:

  • Home, selected by Karin, max wordcount 1,200. Entries to JudyB@portlandwritersmill.org, due by June 5th. Anything connected with the theme is welcome—coming home, leaving home, defining home, creating home, stories, poems, essays, snippets and more!
  • Postcards from the Edge (750 words) for July 3rd, and
  • Photo Inspiration (find the photo on the website: http://portlandwritersmill.org/contests/upcoming-contests/) due by August 7th

After delicious snacks from Minnie (thank you Minnie!) Norm led a critique of Karen’s creative non-fiction essay, covering topics such as:

  • How does the intended audience affect how you write or read a piece—do we need to know our audience before we write, or can we learn it as we write?
  • What’s the difference between story and memoir? Do they open differently? Should both set up a desire for backward and forward reflection?
  • To what extent should chapters, even opening chapters, have a beginning, middle and end?
  • How quickly do stories and memoirs have to pull the reader in?
  • What makes scenes believable and/or memorable?
    • How important are authentic details?
    • To what extent should names of streets and places be used for authenticity, sounded out for readability, or described for relatability?
    • Do all the senses have to be engaged, or will some be more engaged in one place than in others?
  • How important is the written voice?
  • How important is humor?
  • How important are the things the author leaves out—perhaps to describe later, or to indicate that someone doesn’t notice everything on a first visit?
  • What creates a sense of time and place, besides simply names and dates? How does dialog help?

The meeting ended with a discussion of plans for the journal. We hope to publish Volume 5 of our Writers’ Mill Journal this year, with orders for printed copies taken at October’s meeting, and printed copies delivered in November. Volumes 3 and 4 are available on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Mill-Journal-Winter-2014/dp/1502743493/  http://www.amazon.com/Writers-Mill-Journal-2015-Journals/dp/1517594472/ Feel free to use the look inside feature on Amazon to, well, look inside.

We hope to include at least six sections in this year’s volume. Current favorites (from Sunday’s show of hands) are:

  1. Just For Kids
  2. Irresistible Temptation
  3. Home and Away
  4. Switching Places
  5. Windows
  6. White

with One Year, Postcards from the Edge, Murder and Scare Me receiving fewer than 3 votes. However, vote by email is highly encouraged. Email SheilaD if there’s a section you feel we really must include, or if you just want to add your vote to one of those already included. Entries include pictures, photographs, essays, stories, poems, snippets, chapters and more.

Joe hopes to produce an inspirational journal, including inspirational essays (true personal stories of problems overcome and how faith and spirituality helped us overcome them). If you’re submitting an essay to Joe, you can still submit the same piece to the journal.

In previous years, we have accepted all submissions and provided minimal editing. Members present on Sunday agreed that it’s time we change this; this year we will accept all well-edited submissions and provide minimal editing. What does this mean to YOU?

  1. Submissions:
    1. Deadline is the end of July. (It was the end of August last year.)
    2. Submissions will open as soon as we finalize the list of sections and rules about how many submissions per person. You will receive an email with that information soon.
    3. Submissions should be sent to RonD@portlandwritersmill.org.
    4. Submissions should include your name, the title of your story, poem, essay, snippet or image, and the name of the section where it should be included.
    5. Don’t forget to ask for confirmation that your submission has been received. Emails do sometimes go astray.
  2. Editing:
    1. Entries will be vetted for readability and minimal edits made for clarity, accuracy and consistency. Edits should never change the author’s stylistic choices, but should fix accidents. A team of editors will work on:
      1. Removal of double-spaces at ends of sentences.
      2. Removal of hard tabs, leading and trailing spaces, hard end of lines, etc.
      3. Removal of blank lines at ends of paragraphs.
      4. Replacing period ellipses with formatted ellipses.
      5. Fixing the use of hyphens and dashes.
      6. Fixing punctuation in and around quotes.
      7. Making sure quote marks and apostrophes agree in usage and format (except where this invalidates the author’s style)
      8. Making sure italics are used consistently (for internal dialog, emphasis and air quotes, except where this would invalidate an author’s style)
      9. Making sure paragraphs are used correctly in dialog (except where … you get the picture)
      10. Fixing run-on sentences (except …)
      11. Fixing typos.
    2. Entries requiring more than minimal edits will be returned to the author with suggestions for resubmission. The deadline for the author to fix these entries will be the end of August.
  3. Formatting:
    1. Entries will be combined into a master document with headers, footers, page numbers, contents list, black and white (printable) images, etc.
    2. Editors will confirm the formatting, page numbers, use of headers and footers, etc, as well as rechecking the edits (above).
    3. A pdf of the final document will be sent to all members before September’s meeting for final agreement on the edits.
    4. Meanwhile a separate version will be created for kindle.
    5. And the cover will be created.
  4. Publishing:
    1. Everything will be uploaded to the library’s Createspace account.
    2. We will use Createspace’s online proofing (saving time and money by not purchasing print proofs).
    3. The files will be emailed to members before October’s meeting, ready for orders to be taken. We will give you an estimated price at that point. For reference, Volume 3 was $3.50 to members, and Volume 4 was $4.50, including postage.
    4. The e-version will be uploaded to the library’s kindle account
    5. Anyone wanting a nook version will have to arrange with the library for me to use a smashwords account.
    6. Print copies will be delivered at November’s meeting.

Norm will talk with Pati about the cover. Sheila will talk to Robin about editing. Sheila will talk to Ron about submissions. If you are willing to help with minimal edits (see above), please reply to this email and let Sheila know! We need volunteers!

Our next meeting is on June 19th, when Ken Baysinger will speak about weaving history into fiction. Jean is bringing snacks. We need a volunteer to lead Matthew’s critique. Please let Sheila know if you’re willing!

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