March 21, 2015 Special Event: Five Keys To Finishing Your Story


NOTE: This extended workshop takes place at the Visount Hotel (4855 East Broadway) from 9am-3pm. Cost is $45 members, $55 nonmembers. (See below.)


Do most of your stories start with a bang and end with a whimper? Do you have drafts with squishy middles and no “The End” in sight? Nancy Ellen Dodd is here to help with her workshop, The Five Keys to Finishing Your Story.

This interactive workshop will explain the basic concepts of story mapping and how to take your work to the next level. It will help you recognize:

  1. Where you are in the story development,
  2. Which voice to write in,
  3. How to punch up your characters,
  4. How to know where your story should begin,
  5. What you need to finish your story.

Nancy will talk to writers in-depth on story writing elements and how to apply them more effectively to their individual work.

What You Will Learn:

Two individuals will be chosen to bring up to three (3) basic story problems they need to solve in order to finish their novel, short story, or screenplay.

Nancy will talk about ways to answer story problems. She will also give the two individuals feedback on their pages in a way that will enable the whole class to learn from the process.

About The Writers Compass:

Ms. Dodd teaches advanced screenwriting at Pepperdine University, and wrote “The Writer’s Compass: From Storymap to Finished Draft in 7 Stages.” This workshop includes material not in her book.

Instructor: Nancy Ellen Dodd

nancy-ellen-doddNancy Ellen Dodd is a writer, a university instructor, and an editor. She received her master’s in Professional Writing from the University of So. California with a concentration in dramatic writing/screenwriting and her MFA in playwriting at USC’s School of Theatre. Having studied writing for more than 25 years, Dodd currently teaches screenwriting at Pepperdine University for undergraduate and graduate students.

She also studied writing with several successful, award-winning writers: Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Paul Zindel; playwrights Velina Hasu-Houston, Oliver Mayer, David Milton, and Lee Wochner; screen and television writer Sy Gomberg; and international poet James Ragan.

Dodd has received numerous awards for her writing, which include screenplays, plays, short stories, short films, and novel-length works, as well as inspirational writing. She has also published more than 130 articles in local and national publications including interviews with celebrities and business leaders.

* * *

Please note that this is a special event and will not take place in our usual venue. This workshop is at the Viscount Hotel (4855 East Broadway) and there is no Chapter meeting this month.

Meeting fee of $45 members, $55 guests and walk-ins includes a sandwich-bar lunch. SPACE MAY BE LIMITED. Walk-ins are welcome, but whenever possible, please guarantee your spot by reserving on our payments page or by emailing reservations@tucsonRWA.org no later than 8am Wednesday before the meeting.

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WHY MOTIVATION MATTERS

WHY MOTIVATION MATTERS
by Laurie Schnebly Campbell
You already know that, no matter what kind of plot you’re building, it’s gotta be motivated by your characters in order to feel plausible. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing an emotional plot or an action plot or both — what makes it work is the characters.

So what IS it that makes your characters do what they do? Or another way of asking that is, what makes anybody do what they do?

There are all kinds of theories of motivation, and they all boil down to the same thing.

We want to be Okay.

L1

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Whatever it takes to be okay, that’s what motivates us.

Maslow talked about that, saying that to be Okay we first need Food and Water…yep, okay…Shelter…got it…then Safety…and in most books, those issues are pretty well taken care of. Sometimes you’ll get characters fleeing the murderer in the North Woods or laid off from the factory job, but food isn’t usually a driving motivation.

So we get into the next level of what people need to be Okay, which is Belonging / Acceptance / Love. Then there’s Respect of Others and Self-Respect, and finally there’s the drive to Be All You Can Be. Everywhere along that continuum, you’ve got some great motivators.

L2

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And that matters, because it’s the motivation that makes a character interesting.

Some writers start with the motivation: “let’s see, a woman who’s motivated by the desire for adventure would be THIS type of person.” Other writers start with the character: “my heroine wants to sail to Jamaica, so that must mean she’s motivated by adventure.”

Either way works fine. And either way leaves you totally free to write any kind of story you want.

 

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Say, given this heroine who wants to sail to Jamaica in search of adventure, could your story be full of soul-deep emotion? Absolutely. Dizzying suspense? Yep. Heartwarming faith? Yep. Quirky humor? Yep. Spine-tingling terror? Yep.

It all depends on how you write it.

So in that case, why does the heroine’s motivation even matter?

Because it’s what makes her credible. Same as we can’t have pink-elephant aliens showing up in some 14th-century castle without sacrificing a bit of credibility, neither can we have this woman sailing off to Jamaica without SOME plausible motivation.

And that’s where it’s easy for us authors to fall down on the job. We love this heroine who’s rigging out her sailboat, we love that she’s going to Jamaica, and we know that on the way she’ll meet this incredibly witty sailor, there’ll be a pirate attack — oh, and the pirate ship will have a yellow parrot named Sidney! — it’s all taking shape. We KNOW it’ll work, because we can SEE this story.

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But it’s that dazzling clarity which can get us into trouble. Because our readers weren’t IN on this first glorious flash of inspiration. They can’t see that wonderful vision. All they see is a heroine rigging out her sailboat for a trip to Jamaica, and they have no idea why she’s doing it.

Unless the readers GET her desire for adventure, they’re gonna feel out of the loop. They might not know why the story isn’t working for them, but they’re missing her motivation.

And motivation is what makes a book memorable.

 

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For some writers, it comes so naturally that they never even question how their characters’ motivation will feed into the plot. (Which sometimes leaves them at loose ends, wondering what on earth can HAPPEN during their plot.)

For others, it’s more of a tack-on because their strength is in plotting. (Which sometimes leaves them wondering how to explain WHY this character did something that seems senseless but is actually integral to the plot.)

Either way, motivation is vital. And yet we’ve all found ourselves in trouble with motivation every now and then. So that’s my question for yoL6u:

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When was the last time you found yourself dealing with a problem character? Who was this person? What did he or she do? How did you resolve the situation?

Everybody here will be able to sympathize with such a situation, because pesky characters strike EVERY writer! And if 25 people post today, one of ‘em will win help for all their future characters,with free registration to my “Plotting Via Motivation” class (at WriterUniv.com) next month.

Meanwhile, I can’t wait to see those pesky characters on parade — because it’s always a lot more fun to read about other people’s problems than to focus on our own. :)

Laurie, hoping today will be slow at work so I can check email sooner than lunchtime…but don’t worry if it takes a while to hear back; I’m definitely checking in!

L7

The Danger of a Single Story

I’ve heard several agents and editors say they are looking for diverse stories, multicultural stories, and always some of the authors around me, who are predominately white, shrink just a little.

I think most of us want to have diverse characters in our books, but we are wary of using offensive stereotypes or of stepping outside our comfort zones.

I hope this TED talk inspires you to expand your cast of characters.

 

http://www.ted.com/playlists/62/how_to_tell_a_story

February 21, 2015 – Synopsis & Brainstorming with Pam McCutcheon

Synopsis & Brainstorming

Writing the Fiction Synopsis:

Most writers hate writing synopses, and no wonder. After you’ve agonized over several hundred pages to make your prose absolutely perfect, how could you possibly distill that down to a measly ten or twenty pages? Or, worse yet, one or two?  By the time you’ve written the book, everything seems important, and it’s difficult to know what to put in and what to leave out.  To help with that problem, Pam came up with a method that she details in her book, Writing the Fiction Synopsis, A Step by Step Approach. She’ll share her process to help you put together a selling synopsis and write a back cover blurb.

Brainstorming Using the Plotting Board:

One of the problems with brainstorming is that it’s difficult to gather your friends together when you need help. And, when plotting alone, it’s difficult to break out of your conventional mode of thinking to come up with fresh new approaches to plotting and characterization. In this workshop, Pam will build on the structure you learned in the synopsis class to help you brainstorm a new book using a combination of tools such as The Writer’s Brainstorming Kit and the visual plotting board. Whether you brainstorm alone or in a group, these techniques will help you find a way to bust your way out of writer’s block.

Pam McCutcheon

Pam McCutcheon

Pam McCutcheon is the author of romance novels and how-to books writers under her own name, and the Demon Underground YA urban fantasy series under the name Parker Blue. Pam’s latest releases are an updated e-book version of her popular Writing the Fiction Synopsis, as well as e-book versions of her
romance backlist. Parker’s sixth Demon Underground book, Catch Me, is coming out in early 2015 from Bell Bridge Books. Pam/Parker recently quit her day job and is now working full-time as a writer, editor, and speaker. She can be found on the ’net at pammc.com or parkerblue.net.

Meeting fee of $25 members, $30 guests and walk-ins includes lunch selected from a menu of three items during Saturday morning check-in. SPACE MAY BE LIMITED. Walk-ins are welcome, but whenever possible, please guarantee your spot by reserving on our payments page or by emailing reservations@tucsonRWA.org no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting  .

LUNCH ORDERS ARE COLLECTED AT 10am. If you plan to be late, contact reservations@tucsonRWA.org so we will be prepared to order on your behalf.  Each month offers a selection of: bacon cheesburger,  rotating salad. and rotating chef’s choice.

January 24, 2015 – Mastering Deep POV with Christie Craig

Mastering Deep POV

Deep Point of View is accomplished through several techniques:

  • Setting & Description
  • Dialogue
  • Internal thoughts
  • Using Emotional Depth
  • The Character’s Past and the POV Connection

Deep POV is going straight to the heart of your characters.  It’s about readers making a deeper connection to your heroes, heroines, secondary characters, and even your villains.  It’s about readers caring more, feeling as if they know and understand your protagonist inside and out.   Deep POV brings a character to life, and makes them as real to the reader as their family and friends.  Christie Craig teaches you how to put yourself in the character’s skin and then how to pull the reader in there with you.

Christie Craig

Christie_Craig-BioPhotoSouthern as sweet tea, Christie Craig’s used her sassy voice to take romance where no one else has dared to go. Author of twenty-three books, she’s fed her heroes banana and mayonnaise sandwiches, as well as Fancy Feast on white  bread. Her heroines have used tampons, toilet plungers, and ol’ fashioned tongue lashings as weapons. In her books, she’s had talking refrigerators, gassy dogs, and even stashed a dead villain in a porta-potty wearing a hat that says, “Shit Happens and then you die.” Under her pseudonym C.C. Hunter, she’s penned vampires who say ‘ain’t’ and ‘ya’ll’ who could charm the blood right out of you. And that charmed her right up to the New York Times list, too. Not that this southern belle hasn’t paid her dues. Her name is practically synonymous with rejection. On top of those thousands of ‘no-thank you’ letters, she’s been orphaned by editors, wrangled with agents, survived two bankrupt publishers, and even gotten sued by her own home state.

Meeting fee of $25 members, $30 guests and walk-ins includes lunch selected from a menu of three items during Saturday morning check-in. SPACE MAY BE LIMITED. Walk-ins are welcome, but whenever possible, please guarantee your spot by reserving on our payments page or by emailing reservations@tucsonRWA.org no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting  .

LUNCH ORDERS ARE COLLECTED AT 10am. If you plan to be late, contact reservations@tucsonRWA.org so we will be prepared to order on your behalf.  Each month offers a selection of: bacon cheesburger,  rotating salad. and rotating chef’s choice.

December 6, 2014: Holiday & Awards Party

December is the month when we all come together to chat, draw prizes, hand out chapter service pins, and socialize.

Join us December 6th to install new officers and  ring out the 2014 writing year SRW style!

Due to the fact we are holding our December party at the DoubleTree and serving lunch, the regular meeting fee applies. Don’t forget to make your reservation and select your meal!

Menu for December 6

Option A: Grilled Bacon Cheeseburger
Angus Burger (cooked medium to medium well) w/smoked bacon and cheddar cheese. French fries. DoubleTree  Cookie Plate. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option B: Grilled Plain Turkey Burger
Grilled Turkey Burger. French fries. DoubleTree  Cookie Plate. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option C: Chef’s Choice: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian
(Item subject to change. Chef will provide a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian meal)  Grilled Vegetables with Pomidoro Sauce and Gluten Free Pasta.  DoubleTree cookie plate (contains gluten). Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option D: Orange poppy-seed and Pecan Salad  *  Walk-in DEFAULT
Grilled chicken served over field greens with bleu cheese, citrus segments, granny smith apples, berries, and spiced pecans with orange poppy-seed dressing (dressing on the side). Fresh rolls and butter. DoubleTree cookie plate. Choice of coffee, decaf, iced tea, lemonade, or soda.

November 15, 2014: Delilah Dawson

Please Note November’s early meeting date.

Morning Session –  How to Write a Novella

What’s longer than a short story and shorter than a novel? It’s a novella, and with the recent growth of e-books, it’s a viable art form in 17,500 to 40,000 words. You need all the world building, all the character growth, and all the action, but in only half the words. Here are some tips on how to write a bite-size book and still hook the reader from start to finish.

Afternoon Session –  How to Throw an Amazing Launch Party (and Keep the Party Going Online)

This is the party you’ve always dreamed of, so aim for the stars. Here’s how to select a venue, approach booksellers, wine and possibly dine your guests, get the word out, and make sure that everyone has a fantastic time. And for your readers who can’t make it to the party, there are plenty of ways to get folks involved online to spread the joy.

Delilah Dawson

Delilah DawsonDelilah S. Dawson writes whimsical and dark Fantasy for adults and teens. Her Blud series for Pocket includes Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, winner of the RT Book Reviews Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for 2013. Her YA debut, Servants of the Storm, is out in August 2014, with another YA from Simon Pulse in April 2015, a pre-dystopian called HIT. Her Geekrotica series under pseudonym Ava Lovelace includes The Lumberfox and The Superfox with The Dapperfox on the way.

She is also an Associate Editor at www.CoolMomPicks.com and www.CoolMomTech.com, where she is given the more eccentric and geeky products to cover. Delilah lives with her husband, two small children, a horse, a dog, and two cats in Atlanta.

Meeting fee of $25 members, $30 guests and walk-ins applies. SPACE MAY BE LIMITED. Please specify your lunch on our PAYMENTS PAGE, or email membership@tucsonrwa.org no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting to make a reservation.

Anyone who does not reserve by 8 am the Wednesday before the meeting will receive this month’s DEFAULT meal.

Menu for November 15, 2014

Option A: Grilled Bacon Cheeseburger
Angus Burger (cooked medium to medium well) w/smoked bacon and cheddar cheese. French fries. DoubleTree  Cookie Plate. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option B: Grilled Plain Turkey Burger
Grilled Turkey Burger. French fries. DoubleTree  Cookie Plate. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option C: Chef’s Choice: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian
(Item subject to change. Chef will provide a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian meal)  Grilled Vegetables with Pomidoro Sauce and Gluten Free Pasta.  DoubleTree cookie plate (contains gluten). Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option D: ITALIAN GRINDER  *  Walk-in DEFAULT
Ham, Salami, Provolone Cheese, Tomato, Red onion, Lettuce on an Italian roll drizzled with herb pesto oil. French fries. DoubleTree  Cookie Plate. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

October 25, 2014: Kristi Jenkins & Jess Michaels

NOTE: We will be meeting in ballrooms ABC (around back) this month.

Morning Session: NaNoWriMo Bootcamp

Bring a notebook and pen, and come prepared to write! Kristi Jenkins, one of our fabulous new members, will walk you through a pre-National Novel Writing Month bootcamp so that you– and your novel– will be whipped into shape before the big event. Kristi has 10 NaNo “wins” under her belt, and served as Tucson’s official NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison for six years. She’ll share her best tips and tricks for not only surviving, but thriving during your most challenging month of writing yet. Whether you’re doing our chapter’s 25,000 word challenge, or the full 50k NaNo, Kristi will help you reach the finish line with a solid first draft and your sanity intact.

Afternoon Session: Book Bub and the Writing Life

Jesse Petersen (writing as Jess Michaels) will cover the infamous Book Bub– what it is, what it does, and what happens when you get the chance to use it. She will open the floor up to questions about the process and share her insights about the experience. Jesse will also tackle a discussion about what the schedule of a full-time writer
looks like, including a schedule of how she balances her time between writing and social media/marketing. You won’t want to miss it!

Jess Michaels began writing full-time in 1999 after being encouraged by her husband to follow her dream. In 2003, she sold her first novella to Red Sage Press, an erotic historical romance about an Egyptian tomb and a very sexy curse. Since then she has published (or has contracted to publish) nearly 50 novels and novellas under three different pen names with several major publishers, small presses and via self-publishing. Her erotic historical romances have been national bestsellers and won awards from booksellers and readers.

She and her awesome husband live in Tucson where she enjoys playing video games, exploring the beautiful desert, spending time with her nephews, reading and spending petting her two old lady cats.

October Fundraising Raffle

Once again it’s time for our special Annual Raffle – the time when we ask members who are able to bring in something special to donate to our chapter fundraiser. In the past we’ve had Alpha Smarts, Gift Certificates, Weekends on Mt. Lemmon,  Manuscript Critiques, and Luxurious Gift Baskets Galore!

So mark your calendars, make a reservation, and get ready to have fun!

Meeting fee of $25 members, $30 guests and walk-ins applies. SPACE MAY BE LIMITED. Please specify your lunch on our PAYMENTS PAGE, or email membership@tucsonrwa.org no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting to make a reservation.

Anyone who does not reserve by 8 am the Wednesday before the meeting will receive this month’s DEFAULT meal.

Menu for October 25, 2014

Option A: Grilled Bacon Cheeseburger
Angus Burger (cooked medium to medium well) w/smoked bacon and cheddar cheese. French fries. DoubleTree  Cookie Plate. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option B: Grilled Plain Turkey Burger
Grilled Turkey Burger. French fries. DoubleTree  Cookie Plate. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option C: Chef’s Choice: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian
(Item subject to change. Chef will provide a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian meal)  Grilled Vegetables with Pomidono Sauce and Gluten Free Pasta.  DoubleTree cookie plate (contains gluten). Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option D: TAMARIND BBQ CHICKEN  *  Walk-in DEFAULT
Tamarind BBQ chicken breast served over field greens, citrus segments, granny smith apples, and blue cheese served with honey mustard dressing. Fresh rolls and butter. DoubleTree cookie plate. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

September 27, 2014: Jenn LeBlanc – Illustrated Romance

Jenn LeBlanc

Jenn will present on all things cover art from design to branding as well as licensing and legal issues to protect yourself. With two degrees in photography as well as many years actively working in the business, Jenn is able to speak about licensing and legal issues covering stock art, custom images, usage rights and what to ask when purchasing images or design for your project whether it’s for your international bestselling novel or your personal website.

We’ll go through the process of design and creation, what to look for in licensing and design, how to brand for yourself, and how to protect your product as well as the rights of everyone involved. We’ll discuss how to plan a cover in a world of ever-changing rules with regards to censorship as well as chat about the actual photo shoot, what happens and how it all comes together seamlessly… or so it seems.

Bring your questions about rights, design, Amazon rules, stock searches, custom photography, legal aspects, and whatever else you want to know about a job wherein I work with half-nekked people, vaseline, and weapons as a profession (I know you have these questions, this is your chance to ask them).

Bio

Jen LeBlanc photo
Jenn LeBlanc

Colorado. Canon. Curls. CJs. Chuck Norris.
Born and raised in this beautiful state —very nearly with a camera in hand— I never left. I started my own family, got used to the curls, went to college, built a CJ, started a business, and totally beat the daylights out of Chuck Norris, all with a camera in hand.

Spending my days in parenting chat rooms I got highly adept with one-handed typing and I can still type just about as fast with one hand as I can with two. It’s a great talent to have when engrossed in a scene and in need of a hit of caffeine. Once I finished my first novel I quickly realized: I was born a photographer.

From the realization that someone ELSE would be shooting the cover of MY book my control-freak took over. What started as an easy cover shoot ballooned into this completely new kind of media, designed specifically for digital book readers. The Illustrated Romance.

I live and thrive off chaos and the constant flow of the creative process. I wear shorts and flip-flops year-round—much to the chagrin of my friends and family.

The images from my book started a ruckus, and from there, #StudioSmexy was born, I’ve since shot over 15,000 images for covers, have over 300 designed romance novel covers from major to self-published, and currently shoot custom images for very special clients.

My second novel ABSOLUTE SURRENDER  did its own Chuck Norris impersonation with the charts on Amazon. You can find me on Twitter and Facebook sharing eye candy (NSFW) and being a total rock star.


Meeting fee of $25 members, $30 guests and walk-ins applies. SPACE MAY BE LIMITED. Please specify your lunch on our  PAYMENTS PAGE, or email membership@tucsonrwa.org no later than 8 am Wednesday before the meeting to make a reservation.

Anyone who does not reserve by 8 am the Wednesday before the meeting will receive this month’s DEFAULT meal.

Menu for September 27, 2014

Option A: Grilled Bacon Cheeseburger
Angus Burger (cooked medium to medium well) w/smoked bacon and cheddar cheese. French fries. Family style brownies, lemon and raspberry bars. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option B: Grilled Plain Turkey Burger
Grilled Turkey Burger. French fries. Family style brownies, lemon and raspberry bars. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

Option C: Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian

Grilled Vegetables with Pomidono Sauce and Gluten Free Pasta. Family style brownies, lemon and raspberry bars. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda.

**Option D: TURKEY SANDWICH **Walk-in Default Meal **
Turkey, bacon, and havarti on wheat berry bread with lettuce, tomato, and cranberry mayonnaise. French fries. Family style brownies, lemon and raspberry bars. Choice of coffee/decaf, iced tea, lemonade or soda

Romance Writers of America® Chapter 58