6 NFW meetings go quarterly; naming your characters; AIBF workshops set Feb. 20 (WS 0215)
THE
WRITE
STUFF
 
Writing News for the Sunshine State
& the Solar System
Editor: Howard Denson
February 2015
To Unsubscribe or Change Your Email Address, hit REPLY and send in your request.
In This Issue:
 
North Florida Writers switches to quarterly meetings
What’s in a name? – Scott Nicholson
Amelia Island Book Festival Writers Workshops set Friday, Feb. 20, at FSCJ Yulee Center
For writers, a new informational critique group called  'Writers By The Sea'
Free tax advice for authors and freelancers slated Feb. 7
Prize-winning workshop to start new series of classes
BookMark gets grant and has visits slated by Tim Dorsey and Jonathan Odell
Ash & Bones publishes first issue; Shantyboat Writers participate
FWA and groundhog look for shadows
Stuff from a Writer’s Quill — Ezra Pound
Stuff from hither and yon
The Wrong Stuff – Howard Denson
Writers Born This Month
Keep up with the NFW on our Facebook page
Meetings of NFW and Other Groups
Useful Links
Need someone to critique a manuscript?
The Write Staff
 
 
NORTH FLORIDA WRITERS SWITCHES
TO QUARTERLY MEETINGS
 
The North Florida Writers is experimenting with its format, and the first experiment will involve going to quarterly meetings, ideally with each meeting having a speaker.
 
The meetings are likely to continue being held at the Riverside VyStar from noon until shortly before closing at 3 p.m. on the second Saturdays.
 
The other meetings for 2015:
 
Saturday, Apr. 11 – Speaker: Carrol Wolverton
Saturday, July 11 – Speaker:  TBA
Saturday, Oct. 10 – Speaker:  TBA
 
This newsletter will continue to come out on a monthly basis.
 
 
WHAT’S IN
A NAME?

By SCOTT NICHOLSON
 
Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Gertrude Stein said, “A rose is a rose is a rose. “ John Davidson said, “O which is the last rose? A blossom of no name.” An adolescent Scott Nicholson once wrote a snarky line in a wretched poem that went “A rose is a rose is a risen.”
 
So we could assume we could name every character “Rose” and it would make no difference. Tokyo Rose would be the same as Emily Rose, and Rose Red and Rose Madder could be interchangeable titles in works by
Stephen King. The character of “Rose” in the world’s most popular movie, “Titanic,” could have been “Sue,” and Johnny Cash’s song “A Boy Named Sue” could have been called “A Boy Named Rose” and theoretically the universe would have continued expanding intact. But naming a character “Rose” doesn’t connote blandness or homogeneity. The word comes loaded with a number of associations: a flower notoriously challenging for the home gardener; a pinkish-red color in the box of Crayolas; a food source rich in Vitamin C; Shakespeare’s quote; an oft-used symbol for the fleeting and ephemeral nature of love; and all the Roses you have personally known, as well as all the fictional Roses we encounter, whether the name is first or last.
 
Names do matter, and one of the quickest ways that fiction spoils itself is by having an unbelievable character. You don’t want the name to throw up a speed bump for the reader. The name should fit, go unnoticed and therefore easily accepted, or else be an intentional ploy to draw attention. These last can be tiresome: the big biker named “Tiny,” the pathetic loser called “Romeo,” etc. The name doesn’t have to do all of the work of character building, but it’s an important part of the package deal.
 
Uncommon names are fairly common, as evidenced by a quick thumbing through your local phone book. A thirty-second scan of mine reveals Rollin Weary, Edward Wax, Oletta Waycaster, Webb Weatherman, and Forest Weaver. These real names would probably cause your reader to pause upon initial encounter. This isn’t necessarily bad, but even real names can be loaded. If your fictional Edward Wax is a candle maker or your Webb Weatherman is a meteorologist, you’d better be writing comedy or satire.
 
One of the most common mistakes is making your character name sound too “namey.” In other words, the name sounds like that of a fictional character instead of a real person. For all my admiration of Dean Koontz, I feel his character names sometimes sound artificial, as if churned out by some “random character generator” (Jimmy Tock, Junior Cain, Aelfric Manheim, Martin Stillwater, Harry Lyon, Joanna Rand). However, he is the only writer skilled enough to name a serious character “Odd Thomas” and get away with it.
 
A fanciful name, even if memorable, can turn your readers away. My first encounter with Kurt Vonnegut was through his short story “Harrison Bergeron,” in which the “bad guy” is a woman named Diana Moon Glampers. I was a little too young to grasp the subtleties of Vonnegut’s satire, and the name annoyed me so much that I put off reading his work again for years. Now I understand what he was doing, and I still remember that name though I haven’t read the story since.
 
The sound of the name adds tone to the character. While a stone-faced character might well be called Stony, he’s probably more interesting if he’s a Chuck or Dirk, which are both punchy, “hard” names (Mystery Science Theater fans may remember “Biff McLargehuge”). A Richard is different from a Dick is different from a Richie is different from a Ricardo. Sue is not Suzannah, Suzie, or Susan. We expect an appliance repairman to be named Danny, not Danforth, or Fred instead of Frederick. An attorney or stockbroker will more likely be Charles than Charlie, or Lawrence instead of Larry. We’d probably be more comforted to have a doctor named Eleanor instead of Muffy, or an airline pilot named Virginia rather than Brittany. A character’s name is often the first and most vital clue to a character’s ethnicity, which may or may not be important to the story. Vinnie, Su, Ian, Darshan, Mohammed, Yoruba, Yasmine, and Felicia are probably going to create reader expectations. Names also carry generational weight: we envision Blanche and Vivian as older, more serious people than we do Dakota, Madison, or Mackenzie.
 
On the other hand, just as stereotypes are often full of holes in real life, you can use expectations in a delightful turn of the tables. Instead of a truck driver named Mac, he can be Milton, a sociologist who enjoys traveling. Your New York cabbie doesn’t have to be Armaan, who may or may not be a terrorist; he can be Orlando, studying acting in night school. Just make sure the people, and the motivations that propel them through the plot, are valid.
 
Villains are in their own special nominal class. Dracula is probably the perfect example. It’s practically impossible to pronounce without sinister implications. Freddie Krueger, Darth Vader, and Gollum are fraught with darkness. Stephen King shines at this: Leland Gaunt, Randall Flagg, George Stark (actually a pseudonym for writer Donald Westlake), Percy Wetmore, and probably the best one of all, “It.”
 
Of course, King also gets away with a character having the ubiquitous moniker “John Smith,” but even this name choice serves a purpose, because King’s protagonist in “The Dead Zone” is an everyman Christ figure. You probably don’t want to call your soul-stealing, heart-munching bad guy “Bradley Flowers,” though you might sneak that in as a mild-mannered, Walter Mitty-type serial killer. Real-life killers like Charles Starkweather and Richard Speck sound ominous, while other killers like Albert Fish and Ted Bundy sound like somebody’s kindly uncle, so your character names, like all other elements of your fiction, have to be more real than reality.
 
Female names offer their own opportunities for striking gold or striking out. “Thelma and Louise” are two names that, to me, conjure up images of rough, trailer-trash women (I have an aunt named Louise, so that obviously colors my association). In the movie, they become self-reliant while simultaneously depending on each other. Though they are doomed, they are also strong survivors. I don’t think it would have worked if the characters were “Cissie and Amber.” Save that for the Cameron Diaz and Reese Witherspoon road movie.
 
In the 1950’s James Bond world, you could get away with naming a character “Pussy Galore,” a lesbian who can be “cured” into heterosexuality by the right hired gun. That won’t work today, not even in genre fiction. Aside from the fact that the great majority of book purchasers are female, you don’t want to look stupid. Janet Evanovich’s cute, perky, yet often hapless bounty hunter is named Stephanie Plum, while Kathy Reich’s tougher and darker-edged forensic anthropologist is called Temperance (Tempe) Brennan. You can tell just by the protagonists’ names that the two series will have different tones.
 
A recent trend in genre novels is the name-dropping of other writers. This immediately pulls me out of the story, reminds me I am staring at the fabricated sentences of an actual human being, and I have to fight past the “Nudge, nudge, wink, wink” if I bother continuing at all. A manuscript I recently read had a pair of juvenile delinquents named “Anthony Bates” and “Norman Perkins.” As if this wasn’t painfully obvious enough, after the introduction the characters repeatedly refer to one another as Norm and Tony. I don’t think the association is worth the cost. If it’s plainly an homage or tribute, then it’s fine, but it’s already hard enough to keep the reader in a state of suspended disbelief. Save that kind of thing for the acknowledgements.
 
So where do you get names? You can turn to the phone book, but you’ll want to mix and match first and last names so you don’t inadvertently create a character that’s too close to home for some real person you’ve never met and who might be litigious. I once encountered a real person who had the same two names as one of my fictional characters, and it gave me pause. Using local surnames can add authenticity if your fiction is set in the area where you live. I often scour the obituaries because I use a lot of rural characters with long local lineages. “Baby name” books are great resources, especially if you have multicultural characters, though you won’t always find help with surnames. The Internet is an obvious and easy tool, and don’t forget your own imagination.
 
Once you decide on a name, you can always change it later, though having the name will help you start building the character in your mind. Whichever name you choose, sound it out, and make sure you want it in your story. See if it matches the character and his or her personality and, more importantly, actions. Especially if it’s the protagonist, choose a name that can hold up for an entire story, book, or even a series.
 
While the name you bestow on your character may not be as important as the name you give your child, in some ways your fiction is just as much an offspring of your life as is your genetic contribution. Take it seriously, and make it matter. ©
 
 
Scott Nicholson is the author of “They Hunger,” “The Farm,” “Thank You for the Flowers,” and other novels. He says he is a professional freelance editor, an organic gardener, a semi-professional liar, and a goat breeder. His website www.AuthorScottNicholson.com serves up a blog and more writing advice. Sign up for his newsletter and win prizes: http://eepurl.com/tOE89
 
AMELIA ISLAND BOOK FESTIVAL
WRITERS WORKSHOP S SET FRIDAY,
FEB. 20, AT FSCJ ‘S YULEE CENTER
 
For more than 10 years, the Amelia Island Book Festival (AIBF) has been offering its Writers Workshop, a venue for bringing writers together to learn from their peers.  This year’s stellar cadre of authors and presenters will share their knowledge and skills with both published and would-be authors on Friday, Feb. 20.  Other events will occur during the three-day festival. 
 
Scheduled authors and presenters are John Flynn, Eric Dusenbery, L.A. Kelley, Mary Greenwood, Heather Ashby, Don Landy, Chuck Barrett, Nancy Blanton, Emily Louise Jaques, Gilda Syverson, Gail Oust, Donna Paz Kaufman, Marc Curtis Little, Cheyenee Knopf, Ron Whittington, Emily Hoover, Ron Miller, Lori Myers, Christina Farley, and Amy Christine Parker.
 
This day covers all genres through four different tracks.  Workshop sessions address characterization, plot development, dialogue, editing, getting your work into print, working with agents and publishers, book design, book signing, branding, and tips and tricks to get booksellers to carry your work and on-line shoppers to buy it.
 
The Friday workshops will have registration and coffee from 8:30 a.m. to 9.
 
9:00-9:45 workshops:
 
John Flynn will speak about Plot And Structure In Science Fiction Writing. This session discusses the four basic plots that are found in the field of fantasy/ science fiction.      
 
In another room, Eric Dusenbery will discuss The Power of Curiosity and emphasize that you can use creativity and a shift in focus to create greater writing potential. Multimedia and specific tips and techniques to enhance your writing experience.
 
L.A. Kelley will explore What’s in a Name? The writer needs to know the genre conventions of naming characters, and knowing when and how to bend the rules to lend flair and help craft a more believable story.  
 
Mary Greenwood will focus on Awards, The Gift That Keeps On Giving. Writers need to know how to get the maximum benefit out of an award, using it to effectively promote current and future books.
 
10:00-10:45 workshops
 
Heather Ashby will talk about No Rules, Just Write. She asks, “Do you write by the seat of your pants instead of from an outline or write scenes out of order and puzzle them together later?” She has 12 steps for tailoring your style to maximize your time.            
 
Don Landy will give The Inside Story. He recognizes that everyone has a story inside them which needs to be told. This session will give tips on how to tell it.     
 
Chuck Barrett opens the writers’ toolbox to examine The Nuts and Bolts of Self-Publishing. Participants will be able to explore the nuts and bolts of self-publishing, everything the author needs before considering it. Based on the author’s book Publishing Unchained. Barrett’s work has been compared to Vince Flynn’s international spy thrillers.
 
Nancy Blanton explores Give Yourself a Royal Branding.  Participants will learn how they can use tried and true techniques to build or polish their own powerful brand. Ms. Blanton is the author of historical fiction. 

11:00-11:45 workshops
 
Emily Louise Jaques will discuss Turning Your Passion Into Words. Her session focuses on finding your own unique voice, staying motivated, dealing with roadblocks, criticism, and keeping the passion alive.             
 
Gilda Syverson will focus on Memoir: Writing the Story That Wants To Be Told. Participants will be encouraged to explore a time in life where they find their deepest resources. She encourages participants to come with a journal and fast pen. “See what unfolds inside of you,” she says.         
 
Gail Oust will unveil 50 Shades of Mystery: Knowing Your Target Market. Writers will need to learn the subtle and not so subtle variations within the genre which make a big difference when pitching their manuscript to an agent or editor.    
 
Donna Paz Kaufman recognizes that work doesn’t end with the publishing of a book. Her workshop, Helping Retailers Sell Your Book, will explore what retailers need printed on the book cover, the terms bookstores require, managing consignment sales, strategies for prominent display space, and bookstore approach techniques.
 
12:00-1:15
 
The lunch with Wendy Tyson will feature remarks from lawyer and therapist turned award winning mystery-crime novelist. Her novels have earned extensive accolades.
  
The Writers Workshop will have the check-in at 8:30 a.m. at FSCJ in the Technology Center of the Betty Cook Nassau Campus (76346 William Burgess Blvd., Yulee, FL).  The cost is $65 for AIBF members and $75 for nonmembers.  The registration fee includes a box lunch and refreshments.  For a detailed schedule of topics and presenters, and to register, go to http://www.ameliaislandbookfestival.org.
 
The three-day festival kicks off on Thursday evening, Feb. 19, from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church with Zara Phillips, a dynamic and engaging songwriter, singer and author of Mother Me.  Zara entertains with strong lyrical themes and powerful melodies, creating music that is both thought provoking and entertaining. 
 
AIBF’s proudest offering, is being held on Friday, Feb. 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The Authors in Schools Program brings featured authors to visit thousands of students at all 15 of Nassau County schools. Kids from kindergarten through high school will participate in lively talks, readings and programs all aimed at kindling young people’s  interest in reading and fostering an enjoyment of books.
 
In addition, former college and NFL coach Bill Curry will appear at another venue to discuss Ten You Meet in the Huddle: Lessons from a Football Life. His wife Carolyn Curry is the author of Suffer and Grow Strong, The Life of Ella Gertrude Clanton Thomas 1834-1907. She will be speaking at the VyStar luncheon.
 
For more information , contact Marie Fenn at 904.647.4221 or Debra Craig at 904.624.1665.
 
FOR WRITERS, A NEW INFORMATIONAL
CRITIQUE GROUP CALLED 
‘WRITERS BY THE SEA’

Writers by the Sea serves Amelia Island and all of Nassau County, plus those in Duval and South Georgia within driving distance. On Jan. 15, after gathering for a meet and greet at 6 p.m., the group went upstairs at 6:30, for a brief business meeting, followed by a presentation on forming critique groups offered by an award winning speaker.
 
Nadine Vaughan.Williams, the group’s chairperson, who is also an author and the owner of FireCat! Press, began the first meeting of the year by engaging writers in the creative process. This she did through an exercise called “Find Your Poustou.” She then introduced the planning committee who described the mission of “Writers by the Sea.” After this short business segment, She introduced the award winning speaker for the evening, local author and planning committee member, Nancy Blanton.

Ms. Blanton facilitated a discussion on how a writers’ critique group might be designed to bring about excellence in writing. One way this is done is by focusing on writers’ strengths instead of getting bogged down in negative criticism. Following Blanton’s presentation, attendees got to decide how a critique group might best serve them, including the option of forming smaller pods to address genre-specific issues.

Writers By The Sea meets on the third Thursday of each month, at Cafe Karibo in downtown Amelia Island, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. There is no fee to attend. All serious writers are welcome and encouraged to bring a friend and join with like-minded people. For more information, contact 
nVaughanWilliams@gmail.com; Raffaela Marie Fenn (rmr.marie@gmail.com); or Nancy Blanton (blantonn@msn.com).
 
 
 
FREE TAX ADVICE FOR AUTHORS
AND FREELANCERS SLATED FEB. 7
 
A free informal author-centric tax talk will be held on Saturday, Feb. 7, from noon to 4 p.m. at the H&R Block office in Roosevelt Square (not far from Chamblin’s Book Mine).
 
Topics of discussion will be the Regular and new Simplified Home Office Deductions, what can be deductible, the Schedule C, Schedule SE, estimated tax payments, the Affordable Care Act, and more. The talk will also be of benefit to others in the arts: musicians, composers, photographers, painters, or any type of freelancers.
 
For more information, contact Bradley Hall at bradley.hall2@tax.hrblock.com. The address for the H&R Block office is 4495 Roosevelt Blvd., Ste 300, Jacksonville, FL 32210. The office is between Tom & Betty’s and Starbucks.

 
PRIZE-WINNING WORKSHOP
TO START NEW SERIES OF CLASSES
A writing workshop on a shanty boat docked on the Trout River is beginning a new series of classes on March 4, 2015 - April 8, 2015 according to freelance writer and editor, Lynn Skapyak Harlin, leader of the workshop.
 
Shanty boat Writers Workshop is designed for beginning writers who would like to learn new techniques, or seasoned writers who would like to refresh these skills to improve their writing. Fiction and nonfiction writers are welcome. Topics include: Creating believable characters, Tips for Improving Dialogue, Elements of Plot, How 'Show rather than Tell' works toward clarity in all forms of writing and many other writing and submission tips.

Members of recent classes have won awards in the contests of the Florida First Coast Writers' Festival and other national awards.
 
The evening session meets every Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m., and the cost of the workshop (limited to 8 students, only 5 seats left) will be $150 for six weeks.
 
Before attending a workshop all new workshop writers must write and submit an introductory essay according to workshop guidelines .
 
For more information on all sessions forming or to reserve a space, call Ms. Skapyak Harlin at 778-8000 or e-mail her at lyharlin@aol.com
 
BOOKMARK GETS GRANT AND HAS VISITS SLATED
BY TIM DORSEY AND JONATHAN ODELL
 
The big news from the BookMark in Neptune Beach is that it has received a grant to promote reading and it will host novelists Tim Dorsey and Jonathan Odell during February, according to owner Rona Brinlee.
 
The BookMark received the grant from bestselling author James Patterson as part of his efforts to support independent bookstores. “This will give us the opportunity to expand our partnerships with area schools and libraries, and to increase activities in the store for children.  We'll keep you posted as things develop.  In the meantime, we're beaming with pride and excitement,” Ms. Brinlee said.
 
Tim Dorsey, “Shark Skin Suite” (Harper), Friday, Feb. 6, 7 p.m.
 
When it comes to swimming with the sharks, there is no bigger kahuna than Serge Storms.  In Dorsey's latest, Serge finds his calling in the law.  Never mind law school or a degree.  One of Serge's old flames is a rising star in foreclosure law and is eager to take down the greedy bankers.  The opposition is determined to shut her down at any cost.  Luckily for her, Serge has been hired to do some investigative legwork in the case. The mayhem comes to a hilarious head at the Key West courthouse at the height of the Fantasy Fest street carnival, and no one, including Serge, will ever be the same.  
 
Jonathan Odell, “Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League” (Maiden Lane Press), Friday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m.
 
Set in pre-Civil Rights Mississippi, this novel (by the author of “The Healing”) is the story of two young mothers, Hazel and Vida, one wealthy and white and the other poor and black, who have only two things in common.  They both lost a child, and each of them loathes the other.  After drunkenly crashing her car into a manger scene while gunning for the baby Jesus, Hazel is sedated and bed-ridden.  Hazel's husband hires Vida to keep tabs on his unpredictable wife and to care for his sole surviving son.  Forced to spend time together, the two women find they have more in common than they thought, and together they turn the town on its head.
 
The BookMark is located at 220 First St., Neptune Beach, Florida 32266.
 
For more information: Contact Ms. Brinlee at 904.241.9026 or bkmark@bellsouth.net
 
ASH & BONES PUBLISHES FIRST ISSUE;
SHANTYBOAT WRITERS PARTICIPATE
 
Writers, Rick Jones and Jackie Draper have short stories in the first issue of Ash & Bones, along with poet Johnny Masiulewicz. Editor Andrea Collins did an outstanding job putting this literary journal together. Click on the names and check out the magazine.  The very first edition will include selections by the following:
 
 
Editors of Ash & Bones say the stories, poems, and essays were carefully selected for the purpose of exposing readers to a concentrated variety of art that speaks most clearly to the themes: Life Changing Events, Excerpts From Childhood Diaries, Confessions Before Death, Snapshots of Secret Life.
 
The editors say, “Please enjoy the fictional and non-fictional artwork, as these multi-experienced, multi-talented writers, and the editors of this magazine, intend to reveal memories and imaginations for your entertainment, literary palette, and most importantly, your ever-evolving insight into the human experience.”
 
Special thanks to Gayle Brandeis, Lynn Skapyak Harlin, and Jennifer Wolfe for shining more creative light into my life than I could have ever possibly imagined. – Andrea Collins-Roe, “Tough Girl”
 
Our Next Edition & On-going Submissions:
On-going: Please submit poems, letters, essays, or short stories in response to the following themes:
Letters from War; War Stories; Human Waste; Military Life; Military Afterlife.
 
The next edition (#2) will be published in July 2015. Please submit poems, letters, essays, or short stories in response to the following themes:
My Coming Out Story; From the Closet; Being Gay, Lesbian, Trans, Bi, and/or Cross-dressing Me; Behind Closed Doors.
Submission Deadline – May 15, 2015.
 
FWA AND GROUNDHOG
LOOK FOR SHADOWS
 
Yes, the Florida Writers Association is joining forces with the groundhog to read Weather for Writers. If the groundhog sees his shadow, that means you should hunker down and write like gangbusters until you have finished your first draft. If the furry fortuneteller does not see his shadow, that means you should celebrate…and write like gangbusters until your project is finished.
 
Victor DiGenti, FWA Regional Director, says check out news about writers at http://www.fwapontevedra.blogspot.com.
DiGenti himself is busy as himself or Parker Francis, so check that out at http://www.parkerfrancis.com .
 
STUFF FROM
A WRITER’S
QUILL
 
The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth.
 
-- Ezra Pound
 
 
 
STUFF FROM
HITHER
AND YON
 
Click on each link to go directly to the story.
 
 
21 RESIDENCIES FOR WRITERS
AVAILABLE IN 2015
 
Would you like a month in southeast France to work on your manuscript? Or perhaps an idyllic nature preserve in Kentucky would provide you with the inspiration you need to start a new project? These residencies provide writers with a chance to escape daily life’s distractions and focus on their work. Check out each residency’s terms and conditions at http://www.aerogrammestudio.com/2015/01/08/residencies-for-writers-2015/
SCREENPLAY STRUCTURE
IN FOUR EASY PIECES
 
Jengo Robinson says, “If writing a novel is swimming in the ocean, screenwriting is swimming in the bath.” He explains, “Every story must have a beginning, must have a middle, and must have an end. And don’t think you can write it until you know what that end is. These elements can also be called set-up, conflict and resolution.”
CRITIC SAYS “HUCK FINN” IS NOT ABOUT RACE
AND ARGUES ABOUT THE REAL SUBTEXT OF THE NOVEL
 
Every season demands that some critic explore some key point concerning Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Right on schedule, Laura Miller asks, “What if ‘Huckleberry Finn’ actually arose from a Victorian panic about childhood, instead of being about race?”
http://www.salon.com/2015/01/06/huck_finn_is_not_about_race_the_real_subtext_of_twains_masterpiece/
LAUGH IN: A NEW BOOK ABOUT COMEDY WRITING
IS THE LATEST IN A ‘HOW TO BE FUNNY’ GENRE
 
Saul Austerlitz is keeping up with what makes something funny. Every five years or so, a new book emerges to explore what is funny and how to be funny, often concluding that you really can’t put your finger on what makes humor and comedy work. http://tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/theater-and-dance/188368/laugh-in?utm_source=tabletmagazinelist&utm_campaign=074bfdab05-Thursday_January_22_20151_22_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c308bf8edb-074bfdab05-207183885
YES, WE ARE JUDGED ON OUR ACCENTS
 
Hannah Jane Parkinson in The Guardian says, “I have altered how I speak to suit situations in the past, but I would never go full Eliza Doolittle and get rid of my Liverpool accent.”
 
DO ACCENTS MATTER IN MODERN BRITAIN?
 
Hugh Muir says a report has found evidence of 'accentism' – discrimination against people because of how they speak. But when he auditioned for the BBC, he was told, “Your voice is not my voice, but you’ll do.” http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/14/do-accent-matter-modern-britain
 
IS BRITAIN BECOMING A NATION OF ACCENT SNOBS?
 
Erica Buist says, “As an accent coach I increasingly hear from people sidelined because they sound foreign. Yet few Britons take the trouble to pronounce bruschetta correctly.” http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/02/britain-accent-sound-foreign-snobs
 
FIVE REASONS WHY WEST MIDLANDS ACCENTS ARE GREAT
 
According to Peter Cashmore, Birmingham City Council's automated phone line is having trouble with locals' accents. But, as one proud owner of a Midlands lilt explains, it has a few unexpected benefits. “People automatically assume you are stupid because “the sing-song style of the Brummie has become synonymous with slack-jawed stupidity and a certain slowness of wit.” Cashmore adds, “For those West Midlanders who pride ourselves on our intelligence and speed of humour, the simple application of our native accent gives us an immediate advantage over other people of similar intelligence, because when we say something smart, people look at us in admiring amazement, as if witnessing a chimp that can paint attractive water colours.” The accent is also “useful in flushing out idiocy in others.” A key advantage is that the accent is “attractive to women of a certain age.”
 
ARE THESE THE MOST ENDANGERED ACCENTS OF ENGLISH?
 
David Shariatmadari says, “It's not just languages that die off, but dialects too.” Some of the ones at risk include the Tangier Island, Virginia dialect; the Forest of Dean accent of West England; even Cockney from London and the “Noo Yawk” accent of the U.S.; the Yola accent from Wexford, Ireland (actually extinct); the Cajun; the Lincolnshire; and the Philadelphia accent.
 

Tips on Writing Dialogue That’s Truthful

 
Susan Kouguell gives ten tips for screenwriters to make their dialogue more effective. First, she says, Make every word of dialogue count. Often less is more and the less said can be more poignant.” Next, she says, “Readers should be able to identify who is speaking without needing to read each character heading. Characters’ voices must be distinctive and not interchangeable with other characters”. For other tips, go to http://www.scriptmag.com/features/tips-writing-dialogue-trutful#sthash.LcUtce7A.dpuf
 
WRITERS BORN THIS MONTH
 
To check out the names of writers who were born this month, go to this website:
 
http://howarddenson.webs.com/febwritersbirthdays.htm.
 
The list includes novelists, poets, playwrights, nonfiction authors, writers for the small and silver screen, and others.
.
Looking for your favorite writer? Hit “find” at the website and type in your favorite’s name. Keep scrolling to find writers born in other months.
.
With misgivings, the list generally omits lyricists (to avoid the plethora of garage-band guitarists who knock out a lyric in two minutes to go with a tune). Often lyricists are accomplished in other writing areas and may cause their inclusion (e.g., Bob Dylan, Johnny Mercer, and Cole Porter).
.
Unfortunately, some writers fret about identity theft and will only say they were born in 1972 or whenever. Typically that means they don’t get included on a “born this day” list. Recommendation: Writers may wish to create a “pen birthday”; that way, their names stay on the public’s radar.
.
If you see that we have omitted a writer, give us his or her name (and preferably a way to verify the belly-button day).
 
MEETINGS OF NFW AND OTHER GROUPS
 
For a listing of meetings of the NFW and other groups in Northeast Florida, click here http://howarddenson.webs.com/meetingsofunfothers.htm
 
 
SOME USEFUL LINKS
 
Writers, poets, and playwrights will find useful tools at http://howarddenson.webs.com/usefullinksforwriters.htm.
 
 
KEEP UP WITH THE NFW
ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE
 
You may join us at any time on Facebook. Webmeister Richard Levine has changed the privacy setting of the NFW from Closed to Public. That way, you can check out our group at your leisure.

To begin, click on:
https://www.facebook.com/n/?groups%2FNorthFloridaWriters%2F&aref=94825392&medium=email&mid=af910daG3be2bd82G5a6ebb0G90G8294&bcode=1.1418662828.AbkY6Ei5o1kSfX4_&n_m=hd3nson%40hotmail.com

Later on, if you are in the process of simplifying your e-life and want to leave us, you may do so at any time by clicking on
 
 
NEED SOMEONE TO CRITIQUE A MANUSCRIPT?
 
If you have a finished manuscript that you want critiqued or proofread, then look for someone at http://howarddenson.webs.com/potentialcritiquers.htm. Check out their entries on the website to see if they suit your needs. They include the following: Robert Blade Writing & Editing (rmblade@aol.com); Frank Green of The Bard Society (frankgrn@comcast.net); JJ Grindstaff-Swathwood (jgswathwood@gmail.com); Brad Hall (variablerush@gmail.com); Joseph Kaval (joseph.kaval@gmail.com); and Richard Levine (Richie.ALevine@gmail.com).
 
 
THE WRITE STAFF
 
President: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail. com)
Vice President: Joyce Davidson (davent2010@comcast. net)
Secretary: Kathy Marsh (kathygmarsh@bellsouth. net)
Treasurer: Richard Levine (richiea.levine@gmail.com); 5527 Edenfield Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32277
.
Presidents Emeriti: Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson, Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson, Margaret Gloag, Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, JoAnn Harter Murray, Carrol Wolverton, Margie Sauls, Stewart Neal.