Minutes 201603

With thanks to Jean for these minutes of March’s meeting:

Writers’ Mill Minutes, March 20, 2016

Cedar Mill Library, Beaverton

 Seventeen people attended the meeting, including one newcomer. Ron Davis led the meeting while Sheila Deeth is visiting her son in Colorado Springs and watching snow melt. Jean Harkin took Minutes, and David Lutes provided snacks. 

Ron opened the meeting and announced that our speaker next month will be an old friend, Steve Theme, whose novel Asphalt Asylum is now in print; he will speak about his publishing journey—what has gone right, gone wrong, and lessons learned. Ron then asked for a volunteer as critique leader for next month.

Today’s program was presented by a WM member, Walt Socha. He continued his presentation about blogs, websites, and marketing from last month and provided a new handout sheet with a colorful, well-organized marketing/plan chart attached.(Click here – a marketing plan – and here – marketing planning schedule – for the handouts.)  Walt thanked the group for asking him to make this presentation, as it helped him plan, develop, and organize his own marketing plans. He began with an illustrative story—a man walked into a tavern—about the importance of socializing and making connections in order to market your writing.  But first, some advice about the BOOK itself: Walt recommends content editing and hiring out the formatting (for self-publishing).

Regarding marketing, Walt emphasized the importance of establishing a 3-ring binder with screen shots of all setup pages for websites and blogs (in case you forget later how you did it!) WordPress has two levels of websites; one that has your own URL (name).com is a service for fee, but looks more professional than having WordPress attached to your website name and offers a huge number of plugins and themes. Amelia De Mello mentioned that GoDaddy.com provides good website service and might be cheaper than WordPress.  Walt also mentioned that YouTube is your friend for help in figuring things out. The handout sheet also provides a list of references for help with publishing, covers and templates, formatting, and WordPress training.

Walt discussed what to blog about: Anything related to your book and making connections with other writers and resources. Interact, contact, and build your internet community. Mail Chimp offers an extensive e-mail sendout . You can tempt potential readers with ‘free stuff.’ Request reviews of your book, then re-format your cover with blurbs from these reviews. Set up an author page on Amazon.com.

Publishing: Decide on ISBNs and a publishing name. Walt advises not using your own name as publisher and purchasing ISBNs for your author and publishing name, but these are pricey if not attached to Amazon. (See listed resource Joel Friedlander for information on ISBNs.) Walt also recommends (from the resource list) Jane Friedman’s book Writing Great Fiction.

Judy Beaston, contest co-ordinator referred the March “Windows” contest announcements to Jean, as Sheila had provided her with the prizes for the winners. Jean first announced that Sheila, as contest host, was not eligible to win a prize but that her poem “Soul-Song” had won enough votes to be in the top three, therefore earning an Honorable Mention. Her poem was probably the shortest entry to win a prize in WM contest history, at only five lines! Other awards were as follows: 1st Place—Jean for “A Window at Nye Beach,” 2nd Place—Catherin Violante for her poem “Windows,” 3rd Place—Karen Alexander-Brown for “Yearning.” Other entries were “At Your Peril” by Anne Harris; “Greenskeepers” by Joanne DeHaan; “The Window” by Brandon Swaney; “The Window of a Panhandler’s Eyes” by William Collopy; and “Window on Malibu” by Roseanna Ellis. Sheila submitted a poem “Refined” for comments only. Next month’s contest theme is “Irresistible Temptation,” hosted by Judy. Entry deadline is Sunday, April 3.

Ron led two critiques. The first was a story, “Felicia” by Amelia. Ron praised the story as complete in three acts: beginning, middle, and end. Discussion included the following points: Should the beginning action have come first, followed by what led up to it? Is it a fairy tale or fable? Does it contain the right sort of magic? Is there enough evil or darkness? Does the main character struggle or suffer enough to gain the happy ending? Is the moral a symbol or is it simply about a girl not brushing her hair—and the consequences? Should the girl’s emotions be expressed by an omniscient narrator, or should the story be narrated in an objective manner? Is the language appropriate for an adult to read to a young child? It was agreed the story is ripe for creative illustrations. William compared the story to a Johnny Depp movie or to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or “Alice in Wonderland.”

William’s critique came next for his story “Matilda’s Last Waltz.” Question was raised as to whether it had anything to do with the Australian song “Waltzing Matilda.” Is this story an intriguing outline with interesting characters that needs action and dialog to be fleshed out? A suggestion was made that the story needs more than just the two characters—Matilda and Junkman Carbuncle—and possibly more back story on these two. Perhaps a third man should warn Matilda that she might be found out, as a foreshadowing of the ending. As the story is set in late 19th century, was the term ‘born again Christian’ in popular use then? Minnie Stoumbaugh said the words ‘born again’ can be found in a version of the Bible. There was also a concern about time sequencing of events in the story, and a question of synchronicity about Matilda’s writing of the events in her journal. Details of timing and language were deemed important.

Before adjourning at 3 pm, Ron announced the next meeting will be Sunday, April 17.


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