a writers group in Oshkosh, WI that is so lame WE ARE AWESOME

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Why do we write:

Is it because it is an escape from your reality, you want to show readers a different world, a different possibility in the realm of your mind?

There are many reasons and endless reasons on why we write, the question is do you know why?

We are set for a goal of 500 words for the meeting but what are your knew goals



Where are we on our books:

Discuss (stuck, need help, and more)




Welcome all to the agenda meeting.  Robert can not be with us today to him attending his Auxiliary police meeting.

CampNANOWRIMO  started again and is in full swing for several of the members.   This goal for the end of the month is to reach 50k.   Congrats to all that participate.


We lead off track for a bit with not having goals and I would like to re-instate goals again.  Not only goals, but how will we accomplish them in a 2-week span.  Also goals have to be physical evidence, not just thinking about something.  If you think it, scribble it down.


[(PS Don’t read out loud): It can be in general, like I will write 2 chapters or edit two chapters.]


So to start goals again, I will go first

  1. I will      start, not only will I readjust my schedule due to my new job and such      forth,
    1. Starting       to get up a 08:00 and am putting a block in the day where I shut things       down and just write.  (So far I am       not able to do it just yet)
    2. I       also need to straighten out the office to achieve this goal (getting rid       of some clutter.)
  2. make an      agenda for the next meeting
    1. I       will sit down one night/morning prior to the meetings and create an       agenda.  Agenda will be hopefully       made on Sunday mornings.
  3. Have      my novel up to at 40,000 words.  I      am just under 2 thousand right now.
    1. Just       blocking  things out, and       increasing my productivity for every hour of writing to get up to 2k       words.  I might not make this campNANO, but will start the practice       of writing every day again.


The new and improved so lamed goal is at the agenda meetings to write 500 new words, and the non agenda nights to write 1k news words each.  This may include editing/reading and/or writing.


Topic:   Learn to Write by Pushing Yourself to Write




Writer’s Block is Bullshit

‘Writer’s Block’ is just an excuse coming from us sitting in our comfort zones. It does not exist. All we need to do is pushing ourselves to keep writing.

If you write only when your mood is good, you are sitting in your comfort zone. If you write only after you capture great ideas, that is not challenging enough.

Be a Fierce Editor for Yourself

Set your own commitment on how much or how often you want to write, and then… stick to it!

If you are writing a book, you can set deadlines per chapter. Commit that you will finish, for example, one chapter each week.

Whatever happens, do not–EVER!–miss your own deadlines. Write when you are happy, write when you are sad. Write even when you have no idea what to write.

Quantity is not the point here. Regularity is. But of course, the more you write, the faster your writing improves. It is known.




Beyond the Basics—Push the Story and Push Yourself

on October 9th, 2011 by Fiction Editor Beth Hill and last modified on October 9, 2011

The bookshelves and the Internet are awash with tools for the beginning writer.

But what if you’re not a beginner? What if you know how to format and plot and write dialogue? What if point of view doesn’t give you fits and you know how to work setting and details so they add to the tone of your novels?

What if you don’t need basic advice but do want to delve deeper into the blood and guts of writing? Where do experienced and already competent writers go for advice? What do they do when the doubts about their abilities rise to shake them and the fears of never publishing again disturb their nights?

For starters, if you’re a published and/or successful writer (and no, they’re not always the same thing), don’t think that success means you should know everything about writing and that others expect perfection from your every project and word.

You’re human, with all the frailties that come with the condition. Your next book may not equal the sales of the last one. Your new genre may give you fits. The great idea you pursue through 100,000 words may prove to be less than marketable.

Forever give up the idea that once you’re published, you’ll automatically be published again and again and that your sales will only increase and that you’ll move predictably from tier to tier until you’re ranked with the NY Times best-selling authors who’ve earned both fame and fortune.

To continue to be a successful writer, you have to continue writing successfully.

And that means writing an appealing story, a well-written story that your publisher can sell (or that you can sell if you self-publish). It means having the right story in the right genre about the right topic at the right time.

Successful and experienced authors have to position themselves, just as new authors must. That positioning may require a different emphasis, that’s true. But positioning oneself is necessary just the same.

Yes, if you’re a published author you may have a much easier time selling a manuscript, but there is no guarantee that you will sell. Or if you do sell, that you’ll be promoted. And if you’re published and even promoted, that doesn’t mean that readers will either like or buy your newest novel.

It’s sad but true—past success doesn’t guarantee future success in many fields, and this is all too true for writers.

Your genre may go out of style. Your style might go out of style. Your last success may have been a fluke and the reading world may not want what you’ve got to offer.

Your story or style or genre mix may be behind the times or ahead of its time.

You might err by simply relying on what worked in the past rather than writing with the present and future in mind.

I’m not saying you need to dump everything that’s worked in the past. But do at least examine those factors. See if there’s something you can do to improve, see if there’s something to improve, even if you’ve been writing for years.

Don’t settle for second best.

Experienced writers can look at what’s worked for them and at the condition of the market and the story world to see what might work for future projects. But what else could they consider?

Other Writers
Even experienced writers can seek advice from a critique partner or writing group or from their editors.

Ask about your work. Don’t let your fame or the cachet of being published make you wary of seeking advice. No one person knows everything about any topic—someone somewhere has useful advice for you.

Don’t let embarrassment hold you back. And please, please, please don’t let a sense of superiority keep you from asking questions. Each one of us, no matter how many writing credits to our name, can write better, can pick up tips on our weakest skills. Ask someone you trust how you can improve your writing or how you can better market it.

Favorite Novels
Successful writers can read and reread their favorite novels, both for inspiration and for practical answers to their questions.

How did someone else do it, someone who’s successfully published? How did a writer develop theme in a favorite novel, develop and weave it so intricately that the story stands as a beacon of inspiration?

How did that one writer create such a complex and memorable character? How was that character introduced? How was her personality revealed? What made her a character that readers talk about 10 or 20 years after they’ve read her book? How is her story resolved? How did the author tweak even the resolution so that it added an exclamation point to the lead character’s story?

Study stories and characters and plots that you admire. Determine what it is about them that attracts you. And then work at crafting your own outstanding characters and plots.

Their own Books
Published writers can search their own books for both strengths and weaknesses.

Mentoring Others
Writers who mentor or teach others, who press deep into story issues to help other writers, can’t help but become better writers.

If you’re willing to move beyond the basics with other writers, willing to address issues other than cosmetics and the simplest fixes, you will improve your own craft.

Know that you’ll never reach perfection. That is, you might write the perfect story once, but that doesn’t mean the next story will also be perfect. No matter what formula you follow, you can’t account for the reader. Your typical reader may enjoy hard-boiled detectives for years and then experience a life change and only want to read political suspense.

You have to keep writing in ways that will capture readers. You have to write a high-quality story that entertains. Even as the audience changes, as their needs change, so you must change and grow.

Push yourself to write better.

Push yourself to write fresh.

Push yourself to write differently.

If you settle for less than what you’re capable of, you’ll never produce your best work.

While you’re pushing yourself, remember to push your stories as well.

A new writer might think he has to play it safe to be published (and this could quite well be true). But don’t let writing in safe mode last your entire career.

Give your characters quirks and flaws that make readers wince or applaud or hide their eyes. Write events that keep readers up into the night or arguing for hours at their book clubs.

Go beyond the tried and true and the common and plain and the accepted and acceptable.

Go deep and ugly when the story calls for it. Make the story call for it. Move beyond safe and bland and into edgy or bold.

Or, push for something higher and uplifting. Write a character who overcomes his flaws and proves to be the savior his people have yearned for.

Push emotion and conflict so much that you’re uncomfortable with both. And then read your work with fresh eyes. Might that deep emotion and uncomfortable conflict take your story from so-so to spectacular?

Push a character beyond what he thought he could do, beyond what you thought he could do. Purposely write a scene that you can’t imagine including in any book of yours—and then include it.

Don’t back down. Not from innovation. Not from emotion and tension and the extremes that stellar fiction demands.

Move beyond the basics of a safe story. Step up and go over. Give readers something other stories don’t have. Make your plot and characters unforgettable, remarkable by some measure. Don’t write to fit in but to stand out.

Push yourself. Push your plot and characters. Push your readers.

Stacy, Ann and I made it to Apple Blossom and had a reasonably productive meeting. 🙂

We discussed our respective worlds –

Stacy confessed she has detailed maps of hers (I’m so jealous). Pages and pages of them she puts together like a puzzle and which she would like to eventually put together on a whole wall.

I discussed my difficulties in designing buildings in my new world. I did find a free online program called Floorplanner <http://www.floorplanner.com&gt; which I am playing with right now. It is pretty cool and reasonably user friendly.

Discussed the merits of computer versus notebook and pen/pencil writing.

Goals obtained:

Stacy came close – she only fell half a chapter short, but did do one mammoth chapter so we decided it should count as 1.5.

Ann got Stacy to the meeting, which is her standing goal (since she is not a writer but “writer support” person)

Michele wrote every day and since no one posted the official goals, I’m not sure if I had any others. Didn’t do them if I did!

Goals set:

Same as last time – hey, we’re Solame… what can we say. Our only other goal was to NOT have goals. <BSG>

We ended the night with about half an hour of writing. Woo hoo!!

That is all… not too bad for not having an agenda.


Agenda 04/17/12




  • Goals


  • One of your most powerful tools as a writer is not your vocabulary, your mastery of grammar or even your fancy computer — it’s your voice.  Your unique blend of description, character and style allows you to talk to the reader through the printed word.  Without a voice, a manuscript may have an exciting plot, interesting characters and a surprise ending, but it might not get published.  The voice is what beckons the reader to curl up with a book and whispers, “Pay attention.  I’m going to tell you a story.”


Editors are always searching for new voices.  Yet, when pressed, most editors find it hard to describe exactly what a voice is.  Which is why the writer’s voice isn’t something that can be taught, but it is something you can acquire with practice.  Your voice is already there, inside your writing, but it may be covered up with ideas of what you think writing is all about.  Many beginners work very hard at trying to sound like a writer.  They pore through the thesaurus looking for fancy substitutions for ordinary words; they create complex sentences bursting with flowery descriptions.  They’ve forgotten that their goal is to communicate (…with a child…) and instead are in love with the way their words look on the page.





  • This process of showing, not telling, can be broken down into four essential steps.  They are: Selection of, and adherence to, a single character’s viewpoint Imagining the crucial sense or thought impressions that character is experiencing at any given moment Presenting those impressions as vividly and briefly as possible Giving those impressions to readers in a logical order Getting into the viewpoint of your central story character — and staying there — helps enormously in showing instead of telling.  If you’re solidly in viewpoint, you won’t be tempted to lecture readers because you will be revealing that character’s experiences rather than reviewing some abstract, objectively written data.  If you’re well inside the viewpoint, for example, you can’t dump a lot of author-intrusive information on readers because viewpoint characters, like real people, experience things rather than tell about them.




  • MORNING-ROUTINE CLICHÉ Clichés come in all shapes and sizes.  There are just as many clichéd scenes as phrases and words.  For instance, how many times have you seen a book begin with a main character being “rudely awakened” from a “sound sleep” by a “clanging” alarm clock?  Have you written an opening like this yourself?  Wondering where to start, you opt for first thing in the morning.  Speaking of clichés, been there, done that.  We all have.  Don’t ever do it again.  Compounding that cliché is having the “bleary-eyed” character drag himself from his bed, squinting against the intruding sunlight.  And compounding that is telling the reader everything the character sees in the room.  What comes next?  He’ll pass by or stand before a full-length mirror, and we’ll get the full rundown of what the poor guy looks like.  Are you cringing?  I’ve done the same kind of clichéd scene.  Resolve to leave that whole morning-routine cliché to the millions of writers who’ll follow in your footsteps.  I know you want me to suggest alternatives to those hackneyed constructs, but inventing fresh ways to start a story and describe a character is your job.  If an early morning routine is endemic to your plot — say your character is wound tight and sleepless because of a crucial morning meeting — put him on the commuter train with an unsupervised child darting about.  He doesn’t know what she’s doing amidst all the businesspeople, with their noses stuck in newspapers or laptop screens, but she points at him and says, “Don’t you comb your hair?”  Mortal dread.  Is it possible that, in his hurry to catch the last train that would get him to his job interview on time, our hero actually skipped a step in his personal routine?  Now he has to find his reflection in the train window or the aluminum back of the seat in front of him.  And then what does he do?
  • Routine
    • We all get dressed, walk out to the car, open the door, slide in, turn the key, and back out of the driveway.  If your character backs into the garbage truck, that’s a story.  Just say it: That morning, as Bill backed out of the driveway, his mind was on the tongue-lashing he had endured the day before from his boss.  Only when he heard the ugly crunch and scrape and his head snapped back did he realize he had not bothered to check his rearview mirror.  He had plowed into a garbage truck that looked half as big as his house.


SPELL IT OUT One of the clichés of conversation is feeling the need to explain more than once what’s going on, as if the reader can’t figure it out on his own.  I actually read a novel in which, when a character said something quirky like “promptly, punctually, and prissily” (which was actually funny and fit the personality), the author felt the need to add, “He said alliteratively.”  Other writers have a character respond to a diatribe from another with “Yep,” or “Nope,” or a shrug.  Perfect.  I love to learn about personalities this way.  The character is a man of few words.  Too often, the author intrudes, adding, “He said, eschewing small talk.”  If you create a character who backs into a conversation with tentative phrases like, “Oh, I was just wondering,” or, “I don’t know how to say this, but if I, well, let me say it this way,” we get it.  We understand this is a timid, nervous person, afraid of saying something wrong, sensitive to others’ feelings.  Avoid the temptation to explain.  Don’t follow that with, “she began nervously, unsure how to broach the subject.”  Maybe the responder to that speaker says, “Is there a question in there somewhere?  What are you saying?”  That tells us all we need to know.  You don’t have to explain with, “the insensitive jerk said.”


  • SETTING THE SCENE Because of the proliferation of all sorts of visual media these days, it’s more important than ever that novelists write with the eye in mind.  Fortunately, just as in the days of radio, what can be produced in the theater of the mind (in our case, the reader’s mind) is infinitely more creative than what a filmmaker can put on the screen.  Be visual in your approach.  People buy tickets to the movies or subscribe to cable channels hoping to see something they’ve never seen before.  A good novel can provide the same, only — because of the theater of the mind — millions of readers can see your story a million different ways.  Although I’m encouraging you to be visual, I eschew too much description.  I loved it when great potboiler writer John D. MacDonald de-scribed a character simply as “knuckly.”  A purist might have demanded hair length and color; eye size, shape, and color; height; weight; build; gait.  Not me.  “Knuckly” gave me all I needed to picture the man.  And if I saw him thinner, taller, older than you did, so much the better.  MacDonald offered a suggestion that allowed his readers to populate their own scenes.  I recall an editor asking me to expound on my “oily geek” computer techie in one of my books in the Left Behind series.  I argued: (1) he was an orbital character, and while I didn’t want him to be a cliché from central casting, neither did I feel the need to give him more characteristics than he deserved, and (2) he was there to serve a purpose, not to take over the scene, and certainly not to take over the book.  The editor countered, “But the reader will want to see him, and you haven’t told us enough.  Like, I see him in his twenties, plump, pale, with longish, greasy hair and thick glasses.”


What could I say?  “Eureka!  You just proved my point!  All I wrote was that he was an oily geek, and look what you brought to the table.”  Every reader has his own personal vision of a computer techie, so why not let each mental creation have its fifteen seconds of fame on the theater screen of the mind?




Writer’s Digest Books, Editors of (2012-01-01).  The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need to Know About Creating & Selling Your Work (Kindle Locations 589-590).  F+W Media, Inc…  Kindle Edition.




  • Discuss and then write


Agenda 04/02/12



  1. Nora Robert  (how does she do it)
    1. Start
    2. Typical day
    3. Husband
    4. Writing

                                                              i.      scenes of passion

  1. Does you husband read them

                                                            ii.      General

    1. Readinghabits
    2. World Creations
    3. Classes
    4. Traveling
    5. Challenges

                                                              i.      Everyday life

                                                            ii.      Plagiarism episode

    1. The business of writing
    2. Goals
    3. Preparing to write

                                                              i.      Mentally

  1. inspirations

                                                            ii.      Physically

  1. working environment

                                                          iii.      keeping it fresh

    1. Stress of deadlines
    2. How long does it take to write each book

                                                              i.      Drafts

    1. JD Robb

                                                              i.      Why

    1. Favorites (best)
    2. Romantic evening for Nora



  1. Goals
    1. Robert

                                                              i.      Agenda

                                                            ii.      5k 6 scenes (updated goal with be on my blog soon)

    1. Tammy

                                                              i.      Minutes

                                                            ii.      Calendar

    1. Jaci

                                                              i.      7 page (2100 words)

    1. Michelle

                                                              i.      14 of 14 days

    1. Shawna

                                                              i.      Blend to worlds

                                                            ii.      Learn Latin

    1. SoLamer’s goal

                                                              i.      Write at least 2k of words



  1. Discussion

MEETING 03/20/12



  1. Pitching
    1. Perfect the Pitch
    2. Have an anomaly for your protagonist
    3. Writing Series, Pitch First Book
    4. Don’t be a Secret Keeper
    5. Say Something about Character
    6. Book Goal


  1. Dialogue
    1. Cut the first few words
    2. Avoid telephone dialogue
    3. Write small actions and/or gestures
    4. Body language (Writing exercise)


  1. Characters
    1. Inner conflict in the protagonist
    2. Be more dimensional
    3. Larger than life
    4. Different character (Money, class, color, speech, & ETC)
    5. Sacrifices


  1. Scenes
    1. What is the immediate goal
    2. What gets in the way
    3. Action


  1. DESCRIPTION AND SETTING (Painting a scene)
    1. Use setting to develop atmosphere
    2. Use weather.
    3. Consider the quality of light in a scene.
    4. Use all five senses
    5. Sprinkle description throughout
    6. Vary the way you approach a similar setting.
    7. Words

                                                               i.      Use active verbs

                                                             ii.      Replace words you overuse.

                                                            iii.      Use specific and concrete language


  1. Goals
    1. Robert

                                                               i.      Agenda

                                                             ii.      6 Scenes or (refigured it) 5 k of words

  1. NEW GOAL?


    1. Tammy

                                                               i.      Minutes

                                                             ii.      Calendar

                                                            iii.      Start an outline

  1. NEW GOAL?


    1. Jaci

                                                               i.      7 pages (2100 words)

  1. NEW GOAL?


    1. Michele

                                                               i.      Write 14 days out of the 14 days

  1. (Robert’s take on this goal) 1k of words a day
    1. NEW GOAL?


    1. Shawna

                                                               i.      Making a schedule to attend at least one meeting a week due to volleyball

                                                             ii.      Blend two worlds (create) for her story

  1. NEW GOAL?


    1. Other Members

                                                               i.      For members not physically able to attend, will need to write at least 2K. 

                                                             ii.      Also if you need the lesson plan of what we talked about please comment below or show up at the meeting starting at 06:00 PM and ending at 07:30 at Apple Blossom inOshkosh,WI

  1. Talk about what we wrote about and other important information as long as it is not 12 shades of grey.  Also in this meeting we will try to avoid on which version of D&D we have played.  (Yes that just geeked us out.)

MEETING 03/06/12


            For people that are interested in joining our group, (due to many request) we are a group that specializes in the mindset needed for writing.  All of us writers write fantasy, non-fiction. We prefer fiction writers but we will consider others, no one gets turned down, we just want everybody to love and enjoy writing.  We do ask though that you have an open mind and respect other writers.  This would include when we do our time writing drill which usually 30-45 minutes long or about one thousand words(we average 1k an hour hand writing, lab tops are welcomed). 

 Some have been writing since birth, some just starting.  Some of us have a specific genre we specialize in and some are still trying to find their niche.   We are here to help you what you want to write.  Maybe you just need that push, and that is what we are here for.  We have meetings every other Tuesday at Apple Blossom, this is what are agenda will be for the next meeting on 03/06/12. 



  1. WRITING GOLDsurrounds us
    1. What people did we notice this
    2. What scenery did we want to include in the stories that we saw

                                                              i.      For example, Jaci and I were watching HGTV and this couple was buying aLondonhome.  The house was pristine with interior wood work in every corner.  We both agreed if we lived in this house for five months (cost of only $25,000 for renting the 5 months) we could produce several books. 

  1. We know we can’t afford that, but I have a feeling that our characters might have a home like that. 
  2. This doesn’t mean we will jot it down, (I have good memory on details like this.) but we could.  It is called a mental note.
    1. Not only does scenery have to be in the books, but maybe you saw an office that you thought would inspire you in your officer/ writing space.  (Writing space is a must by the way)
    2. Maybe go to http://www.seventhsanctum.com (a site that can give you names, descriptions and scenes.)  several other sites exist to help writers out.
  1. What things from stories/movies/music did you think was amazing and it isn’t wrong to work with the idea for yourself.
    1. I hear way too often, “the idea has been done; it is like ‘so and so.’”  

                                                              i.      YOU ARE WRONG, it hasn’t been done YOUR WAY.   Write it, maybe it will turn out amazing and unique or maybe it will turn out to be a fanfic.  Who cares though, you wrote something.

  1. My first book that was completed was a version of Hercules mixed with Xena (70K pretty much fan fic), but off of that idea came my original store “Gone Rogue”
  1. Writing time
    1. Did you commit yourself to your writings
    2. Were the goals met (not sure if these are correct, please check the minutes from last meeting) (you can post in comments to correct your goals or when you achieved it, also note how you achieved it if you can)
    3. Robert

                                                              i.      6 scenes

    1. Tammy

                                                              i.      Start on something knew

    1. Jaci

                                                              i.      Finish her notebook (a lot)

    1. Michele

                                                              i.      get back in the habit of writing everyday

  1. she took a break after NanoWrimo and lost track of her routine
    1. other members

                                                              i.      For anyone that didn’t show, make time to write and write at least 2K (remember you can average 1k a hour by hand) 

                                                            ii.      That is less that 1 hr to writing a week, push yourself.

    1. New goals
  1. Talk about what we wrote about, what we will write and in general how the book is going. 
    1. Do you need to talk a chapter, or scene out
    2. Have questions on your book
    3. Does this make sense