The Electronic Write Stuff


Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

North Florida Writers * Dec. 2006 * Editor:  Howard Denson


In this issue:


Essay Manifesto -- Tom Lane

NFW Critiques Set for Saturday, Dec. 9

CNN Book TV Bus to Interview Area Authors

Draft Yourself for Writer's Boot Camp, Jan. 26

Writer's Digest Has Contest Only for Poets

Patricia Foster to Teach Summer Workshops in Florence and Barcelona

Quote from a Writer's Quill – S. S. van Dine

Writers Born This Month: Woody Allen, Joan Dideon, Peter Meinke, Saki, and many others

Calendar of Events


Essay Manifesto

By Tom Lane

Coming up with a good idea for an essay on writing is almost as difficult as coming up with a good idea for a short story. Good is the operative word. What’s good in most cases doesn’t come easily. Topics for essays on writing like plot, conflict, and irony, have been written about extensively. Fresh angles for these topics are forever needed for them to appeal to new writers in search of instruction.

I tend not to write on these topics. I base my essays on writing on the happenings of my writing life. I write about my marketing struggles, and pet peeves, like excessive and bogus literary contests, and the disappearance of free thought from academia as it influences publishing trends. My hope is that there are marketers like me out there, submitting work, who can appreciate and identify with my experiences.

In part, I write little about writing as a craft because I came to it through studying literature. Most of my literature courses downplayed the nuts and bolts of composition. Instead, they stressed the appreciation of a literary work in its entirety. I studied James Joyce, and his epiphany theory re: fiction, especially short fiction. Simply put, the theory holds that fiction succeeds when it believably alters a perception of its hero. For example, a youth who reveres his father leaves home for several years. As he matures on the road, he meets someone he dislikes, and with whom he cannot relate. He returns home, and finds himself identifying the man he dislikes with his father, and can no longer revere him. The epiphany, or manifestation, lies in the story component, or components, that triggered the change in the youth’s perception of his father. According to the theory, that all that’s needed for the story’s success, but most writers know that without vivid detail, and bold action, based on the change, the story will not be compelling enough to lure readers.

Downplaying the earthy elements of composition has resulted in a plethora of flat manuscripts, dealing with subtle changes. I wrote one myself, regarding a perceptional change in Aunt Lucy towards the opera which she underwent after falling asleep during the first act of Tosca.

Working to bring on perceptional changes in one’s fictional characters as well as observing them in oneself, and others, may have merit in an other than manuscript selling sense. William Styron, the author of fine novels like Sophie’s Choice and The Confessions of Nat Turner, said in a lecture that I attended, that he underwent perceptional changes towards music, listening repeatedly to classical selections. They enabled him to substitute listening to music for drinking which helped him fight alcoholism.

The perceptional change is similar to the altered mood often associated with drugs and alcohol. The former, however, tends to be a more permanent experience. An induced altered mood most often dissipates when the drug or alcohol causing it wears off. But new stimuli, and mental activity, are both needed to change a perception.

The perceptional changes that William Styron experienced towards music through repeated listening are not unlike those experienced by readers of classical literature, who reread works at different times in their lives, and change opinions about the work, and/or the author.

The mountain of manuscripts inspired by the epiphany theory has today eroded to a hill as every year fewer literature students are acquainted with writers like Joyce. But let the dinosaurs among us, still taken with the subtle denouement, present it against a backdrop of related detail and action to keep a dearth of acceptances from our doors.



The North Florida Writers will meet at the Webb Westconnett Library at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.  The library is located at the corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard.




Rodee Scheider and crew from the CNN-2 Book TV Bus will be interviewing area authors from POW! (Promoting Outstanding Writers) at noon Sunday, Dec. 17, at Borders Books on Southside Blvd.  Those being interviewed will be 2005 POW! Author of the Year, Joan Hecht of Orange Park, Fla., for her book, "Journey of the Lost Boys,"  Jasa Bowser-Shaw of Fleming Island, Fla., for her book, "The Life of a Navy Wife," and Dr. Robert Beynon, author of "The Pearl Harbor Avenger." 

Other POW! authors present for the event at Borders will be the 2006 - 2007 POW! Author of the Year and multi-award winning author, Jessie Wise, Greg Sampson, Diane Barton and POW! President, Caryn Day-Suarez.  For more information, see their website at, or call (904)-268-6229, or call Borders at (904)-519-6500



Writer's Boot Camp is on the horizon if you want to be drafted for a brief time for you to work on your first drafts and revisions.  Instead of spending an entire week, at a writer's workshop, interested persons may spend the day learning about the craft and business of writing with New York Times bestselling author Bob Mayer and literary agent, Nadia Cornier, as they present a Writer's Boot Camp in conjunction with the Iodine Literary Conference this Jan. 26th in Beaufort, S.C.

Perfect for the writer working towards publication, attendees will spend half of their day in workshops on craft (plotting, creating character, point of view, etc) and the other half on the business of selling and marketing (to agents, editors and the reading public).

Registration includes a copy of the Novel Writer's Toolkit and handouts covering the material presented during the day.  Please visit for more information or to register.

Schedule (Tentative):

8:30 - 9 am  Registration and Coffee Over Introductions
9 am - 9:50  Bob Mayer: The Original Idea - The Heart of Your Story
10 - 10:50   Nadia Cornier: Using the Original Idea to Pitch Your Story (Query & Pitch)
11 - 11:50   Bob Mayer: Plot & Outline - The Events of Your Story
12 - 1pm     Lunch (free time)
1 - 1:50     Nadia Cornier: How to Find, Snare, Keep, Feed, and (sometimes) Fire an Agent
2 - 2:50     Bob Mayer: Characters & View Point  - The Voice & People of Your Story
3 - 3:50     Nadia Cornier: How to Wear Multiple Hats - Self-promotion for Authors
4 - 4:50     Bob Mayer: Setting, Dialogue, Editing
5 - 5:30     Q&A

Proposed Fee Structure:

$125/per person - This will include a copy of the Novel Writer's Toolkit and collection of handouts that covers the material presented.

BOB MAYER:  The New York Times bestselling author has published 33 books ranging from military techno-thriller to political thriller to non-fiction to science fiction to romantic suspense.  He has over two million books in print with four books to be published in 2007.

Born in the
Bronx, he attended the Military Academy at West Point and earned a B.A. in psychology with honors and then served as an Infantry platoon leader, a battalion scout platoon leader, and a brigade reconnaissance platoon leader in the 1st Cavalry Division.  He then joined Special Forces and commanded a Green Beret A Team.  He also served as the operations officer for the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and with Western Command Special Operations in Hawaii. Later he taught at the Special Forces Qualification Course at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, the course designed to train new Green Berets.  He also lived in Korea where he earned a Black Belt in Martial Arts and in Georgia where he earned a Masters Degree in Education from Austin Peay State University.

He draws on all of these experiences to write his novels and his nonfiction books, including WHO DARES WINS:  Special Operations Tactics for Success and The Novel Writer's Toolkit:  A Guide To Writing Great Fiction And Getting It Published.  He speaks on both of these areas at writing conferences, workshops, and colleges.  But his main focus remains his novels, which include the bestselling Area 51 books.  Out now are Bodyguard of Lies (under his pen name Robert Doherty) and Don't Look Down, a romantic adventure written in collaboration with Jennifer Crusie for St. Martin's Press which hit the NY Times, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and numerous other bestseller lists.  Coming soon are Lost Girls for Tor (Feb 2007) and the co-written Agnes and the Hitman (St. Martins, summer 2007).

He lives on a barrier island off the coast of
South Carolina.  For more information see or for the infamous Dueling Blog.

NADIA CORNIER:  She started Firebrand Literary at the age of twenty-four. Prior to forming Firebrand, she was the young adult and speculative fiction agent at Creative Media Agency - selling twenty-one projects in her first year - and the owner of a boutique public relations firm specializing in author publicity (which included amongst its clientele a number of best selling and award winning authors).

She combined her background in publicity and marketing with her love of selling books by creating Firebrand - a marketing and PR-oriented agency that creates full campaigns for their author's projects, from brainstorming titles to creating wacky and fun publicity stunts. Nadia also uses her interests in band promotion to come up with new and exciting ways to promote fiction writers at a grass roots level.

She gives workshops, presentations and interview on writing young adult fiction, author self-promotion, the care and feeding of agents and small business promotion. She's an obsessive blogger and likes to blog crush on other industry professionals - whom she interview to the delight and confusion of her blog readers. 

She attended
Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University where she flipped from a Theater Design Major to finishing at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania where she earned a degree in English. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn amidst a neighborhood so filled with publishing industry people that she can barely walk a block without hearing the word Alas.

When she isn't huddled over the computer reading new projects, she scouts local bands, volunteers as the chairman of the board for the Absynthe Muse organization (a non-profit dedicated to promoting and education young authors), or writes about a current obsession. Her website is or She is also a columnist for Romancing the Blog:

Writer's Digest Has Contest Only for poets


Entries must be submitted by Dec. 20 for Writer's Digest Poetry Awards <>. The contest is open to all styles—rhyming, free verse, haiku and more, but the poems should be limited to 32 lines or fewer.  First place: $500; second place: $250; third, $100; fourth through 10th place, $25; 11th - 25th place: $50 gift certificate to Writer's Digest Books Plus.  The names and poem titles of all First- through   Tenth-Place winners will be printed in the August issue of Writer's Digest, and all winners will receive a copy of the 2007 Poet's Market. For guidelines and to enter online, go to



Patricia Foster to Teach Summer Workshops in Florence and Barcelona


Summer Writing Workshops in Florence and Barcelona will be taught by award-winning author, Patricia Foster.  A fiction writing workshop will be based in Florence, Italy, from July 13 to July 22, while a memoir writing workshop in Barcelona, Spain, will go from July 22 to July 30.

The Fiction Writing Workshop in
Florence will take place within the walls of the old city, home of Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Botticelli. Florence is also the setting of Bruneleschi's Duomo which revolutionized architecture and the Uffizi Gallery which contains masterpieces of Renaissance art. This class will look at how to create characters with compelling desires.

The Memoir Writing Workshop will take place in
Barcelona near Paseo de Gracia, a tree-lined street with some of the finest modernist architecture in this fascinating city, which inspired Gaudi, Picasso, Dali, and Miro. Barcelona also has a beautiful beach/restaurant area in which to walk, sunbathe, or swim. Seaside resorts are only a 30-minute train ride away. Workshop members will try to find the deeper story and engage that secret self.

The writing exercises in both workshops explore developing character, telling your story with emotional depth, and using “dreamstorming” and memory work to discover voice and story. Writing, whether it be fiction or memoir, is a way of expanding consciousness and re-seeing our most private selves.

Class meets 3.5 hours per day. We will work both individually and communally in a supportive environment. Since class size is limited, interested persons should reserve their space in advance.

Pricing: Fiction Writing Workshop in Florence: From $1,750 (including tuition and 9 night accommodations).
Memoir Writing Workshop in Barcelona: From $1,850 (including tuition and 9 night accommodations).
SPECIAL OFFER: Limited time only: $100 off Early Registration (offer good until Jan. 15)

Patricia Foster is the author of All the Lost Girls (memoir), Just Beneath My Skin (personal essays; starred review from Kirkus Reviews), and the editor of Minding the Body and Sister to Sister. She won the PEN/Jerard Fund Award, the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award, the Hoepfner Award, and the Dean's Scholar Award for nonfiction, received a Florida Arts Council Award, the Lake Effect Fiction Award, and a Yaddo Fellowship for fiction as well as four Alabama Arts & Humanities grants.

Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times Book Review, Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Vogue, Chronicle for Higher Education, Glamour, Ploughshares as well as other newspapers and journals. She's published both nonfiction and fiction in the Iowa Review, Gettysburg Review, Antioch Review, Massachusetts Review, Glimmer Train, and other quarterlies. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and her Ph.D. from Florida State University. She is a professor in the MFA Program in Nonfiction at the University of Iowa and has been an exchange professor in France.

For more information, go to or call 1-866-217-1980 (Toll-Free) or 1-212-922-1555.  Information is also available via

To cancel these communications, please send an email to: with "Cancel" in the subject.

Please mail all inquiries to: Vivian Glusman, 245 E 40th St. 25th Floor, New York, NY 10016.




1--Rex Stout (1886) and Woody Allen (1935); 2--Robert Bloomfield (1766), Nikos Kazantzkis (1885), Jon Silkin (1930), and T. Coraghessan Boyle (1948); 3--Joseph Conrad (1857) and Hermann Heijermans (1864); 4--Jean Chapelain (1595), Frances Power Cobbe (1822), Samuel Butler (1835), Rainer Maria Rilke (1875) and Cornell Woodrich (1903);

5--Christina Rossetti (1830), Walt Disney (1901), Joan A. Williams (1925), Joan Dideon (1934), Hanif Kureishi (1954); 6--Elizabeth Carter (1717), Thomas Ingoldsby (Richard Harris Barham) (1788), Joyce Kilmer (1886), and Peter Handke (1942); 7--Paul Adam (1862), Joyce Cary (1888), and Willa Cather (1873); 8--Bjrrnstjerne Bjrrnson (1832), James Thurber (1894), Delmore Schwartz (1913), and James Tate (1943); 9--John Milton (1608);

10--William Plomer (1903); 11--Naguib Mahfouz (1911), Grace Paley (1922), Jim Harrison (1937), Tom McGuane (1939); 12--Gustave Flaubert (1821) and Arthur Brisbane (1864); 13--Heinrich Heine (1797), Drew Pearson (1896), Kenneth Patchen (1911), and James Wright (1927); 14--Nostradamus (1503) and Shirley Jackson (1916);

15--Maxwell Anderson (1888) and Muriel Rukeyser (1913); 16--Jane Austen (1775), Noel Coward (1899), Theodore Weiss (1916), Arthur C. Clarke (1917), and Philip K. Dick (1928); 17--John Almon (1737), Rose Terry Cook (1827), Ford Madox Ford (1873) and Erskine Caldwell (1903); 18--Saki (1870) and Steven Spielberg (1947); 19--Manuel Bretn de los Herreros (1796), Emily Dickinson (1830), Italo Svevo (1861) and Jean Genet (1910);

20--Sandra Cisneros (1954); 21--Benjamin Disraeli (1804), James Lane Allen (1849), Albert Payson Terhune (1872), and Heinrich Bll (1917); 22--Charles Stuart Calverley (1831), Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869) and Kenneth Rexroth (1905); 23--Robert Bly (1926); 24--George Crabbe (1754) and Matthew Arnold (1822);

25--Lady Grizel Baillie (1665), Fernn Caballero (Cecilia Francisca Josefa de Arrom) (1796), Rod Serling (1924); 26--Dion Boucicault (1822?), Ren Bazin (1853), Henry Miller (1891), Jean Toomer (1894), and Steve Allen (1921); 27--Franois Hemsterhuis (1721) and Charles Olson (1910); 28--Manuel Puig (1932), Alasdair Gray (1934), and Theodore Dreiser (1945); 29--William Gaddis (1922) and Peter Meinke (1932);

30--Rudyard Kipling (1865), Paul Bowles (1910), and A. W. Purdy (1918); 31--G. A. Burger (1747), Jos Mari de Heredia y Campuzano (1803), Frances Steloff (1887), and Patti Smith (1946).



The detective himself should never turn out to be the culprit.

-- S. S. van Dine




Meetings of NFW are held at 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month in the meeting room of the Webb Westconnett Library (corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard). Check the website at for other information.


Sat., Dec. 9, 2 p.m.  Critiques.


You may receive feedback from specific individuals by mailing the manuscript and return postage to the above address.

Past speakers have included novelists Jack Hunter, David Poyer, Page Edwards, Ruth Coe Chambers, William Kerr, Tom Lashley, Vic DiGenti, and Nate Tolar; poets, William Slaughter, Mary Baron, Mary Sue Koeppel, Dorothy Fletcher, George Gilpatrick, John Hammond; columnists Vic Smith, Tom Ivines, and Robert Blade; editors Buford Brinlee and Nan Ramey; agent Debbie Fine; magazine editor Sara Summers; medical writers Elizabeth Tate and Michael Pranzatelli; oral historian Robert Gentry; plus many others.




The Write Staff


Richard Levine, President (

Carrol Wolverton, Vice President (

Kathy Marsh, Secretary (

Howard Denson, Treasurer and newsletter editor (

Joel Young, Public Relations (

Doris Cass, Hospitality (

Presidents Emeritus:  Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson (, Margaret Gloag (, Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, Jo Ann Harter, Carrol Wolverton


Newsletter address: The Write Stuff, FCCJ North, Box 21, 4501 Capper Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32218


Homepage address:

Homepage editor: Richard Levine


Submissions to the newsletter should generally be about writing or publishing. We pay in copies to the contributors, with modest compensation for postage and copying.




If you are writing a story or poem, you will need some expert feedback -- the sort that you will receive at a meeting of the North Florida Writers.  You won't profit from automatic praise that a close friend or relative might give or jealous criticism from others who may feel threatened by your writing.


The NFW specializes in CONSTRUCTIVE feedback that will enable your manuscript to stand on its own two feet and demand that it be accepted by an editor or agent. Hence, you need the NFW. The North Florida Writers is a writer's best friend because we help members to rid manuscripts of defects and to identify when a work is exciting and captivating.


If you want to check to see if your dues are current, contact the treasurer at Membership is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40 for a family. (Make out checks to WRITERS.)


Won't you join today?


The following is an application. Mail your check to WRITERS, Box 21, FCCJ North, 4501 Capper Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32218.




St. address___________________________________________


Apt. No. _____________________________________________


City ________________State _____ Zip _________________


E-mail address(es) ___________________________________




When you attend a meeting of the North Florida Writers, you eventually discover that NO ONE has ever died while his or her manuscript was being read and critiqued. You may be ready to face the ordeal yourself. . .or, reading this, you may wonder what exactly takes place during a critiquing.

First, you pitch your manuscript into a stack with others' works-in-progress. Then one of the NFW members hands out each piece to volunteer readers, taking care NOT to give you back your own manuscript to read.


Second, as the reading begins, each author is instructed NOT to identify himself or herself and especially NOT to explain or defend the work. The writer may never have heard the piece read aloud by another's voice, so the writer needs to focus on the sound of his or her sentences.

Third, at the finish of each selection, the NFW members try to offer constructive advice about how to make the story better. If a section was confusing or boring, that information may be helpful to the author.


The NFW will listen to 10 pages (double-spaced) of prose (usually a short story or a chapter).





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