THE ELECTRONIC WRITE STUFF


· Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

· www.northfloridawriters.org * June 2009

· Editor: Howard Denson


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In This Issue:

NFW to Have Mini-Workshop on Dialogue

How Can You Become a Good Writer? – Frank Green

New Age Astrology for Wordsmiths – Howard Denson
Children's Author Larry Levy to Speak June 11
Sadly, This Isn’t Fiction Either – OverheardinNewYork.Com

Quote from a Writer's Quill – Mickey Spillane

Writers Born This Month – Barbara Pym, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Gwendolyn Brooks, William Butler Yeats, Jean Paul Sartre, and others
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NFW tO HAVE MINI-WORKSHOP ON DIALOGUE

The June 13 meeting of the North Florida Writers will feature a mini-workshop on dialogue, followed by critiques of submissions for the month. The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Webb Wesconnett Branch Library (corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard). Howard Denson will lead the discussion.

After any business, the group will have a “critiques only” session. The critique process has people other than the author of respective works read aloud the submissions (up to 10 double-spaced pages of prose, and reasonable amounts of poetry or lyrics). Authors may not defend their work, but they should listen to the words and rhythms of their creations.

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HOW CAN YOU BECOME A GOOD WRITER?

By FRANK GREEN

Individuals frequently ask me, “How can I become a good writer?” In my answer, I tell about the man who asked Buddha how he could achieve salvation.

Buddha held the man under water till he blew bubbles, then pulled him up out of the water, and asked him how much he wanted air.

The man said, “More than anything in the world.”

Buddha said, “That much.”

Perhaps the desire to write fiction need not be that great, but it is mighty close. If you are having coffee with me and want more than Buddha references, I’d give you these imperatives:

The first requirement is you must love to read.

Second is you must write a million or two well-considered words and get the mistakes out of the way.

Third, you must recognize that your journey is three-fold: apprentice, wherein the goal is to learn “the rules”; journeyman, wherein the goal is to practice the rules, the conventions; master, wherein one has long forgotten the conventions and just works to flesh out the vision. Art is the combination of craft and vision, the vision being slight or great, the craft being at least equal to the vision.

Right now it seems as though the main thing for you as a novice is to learn to really listen. Admittedly, you can’t hear everything and inwardly digest even what you do hear. People tell me that they’d heard me say something for years but only “just now” did they really understand it. Even then I’m not always sure they do.

For instance, last night at the Bard Society workshop, I said that the hardest kind of fiction to try to write was a first-person narrative, yet what’s below is exactly that. I advise not using first-person for at least seven years into the apprenticeship.

As for what I think you should read, I am not sure. People tell me I’m a good prescriber, but it takes me awhile to divine where a person is in his writing and reading. The place to start is to read closely and voraciously both fiction and a few books on the writing of fiction. As for the latter, you must be careful to question everything you read as well as read and inwardly digest all you can.

Everything out there about writing fiction is lacking in at least three major ways: Point-of-View, use of the senses and the ancient elements, and what gives a story unity.

The first takes some people years to understand; the second is much easier to understand and takes only a lot of rewriting to begin to be proficient; the third usually takes at least five years and is something some people never come to terms with and prevents them from ever being called a master. When it comes to using first-person to tell a story, the ONLY thing I’ve ever read that was right on point was in David Morrell’s What I Learned in the Writing Trade. Save it for your seventh year into your apprenticeship.

I think you should re-read and re-mark Self-Editing for Fiction Writers and continue to read it over and over. After you’ve re-read it, get William Sloane’s The Craft of Writing. After you’ve read it closely, we’ll talk, and by then I may have a better idea of where we should go.

As for fiction to read, I have no idea what your proclivities are but if you’ll tell me what you like to read, genre or authors or style, I may be able to suggest something you’d enjoy and get a lot out of. You must be very careful what you read, lest you begin to get the wrong idea about what is really good. Though I do not suggest writing short stories, they are often great to read because they can be talked about in a short space of time. But, again, be careful what you read; there are a few that are great and will show you much about the craft and vision—and there’s a multitude that will ruin you. Speaking of ruination, it is said that being an English major is sure ruination of a writer.

I think that Peter Mathiessen is one of the two greatest stylists working today. I suggest At Play in the Fields of the Lord for starters, but, again, I’ll have a better feel as we work together—if that’s what you want.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Frank Green runs the oldest writers’ workshop in Northeast Florida. If you are interested in joining the workshop, e-mail him at frankgrn@comcast.net<mailto:frankgrn@comcast.net> .

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NEW AGE ASTROLOGY FOR WORDSMITHS

By HOWARD DENSON
This feature aims to help writers, editors, poets, columnists, and freelancers to tell their future. We have made an extensive review of the efficacy of tea leaves, Delphic oracles, numbers, fortune-tellers, swamis, and astrologies from the east or the west, and we find our methodology will work as well as any other system.

GEMINI (May 22 – June 21): When you are going to your favorite bookstore or library branch, be careful at the traffic light closest to where you live. Especially look out for a maroon Ford Expedition running the red light.

CANCER (June 22 – July 23): It’s fine to listen to books on tape, but, when you are approaching a busy intersection near your home, be on the alert for a vehicle in front of you suddenly hitting the brakes while a Ford Expedition is blasting through the intersection.

LEO (July 24 – Aug. 23): Your friends will be talking to you about car accidents and what-not. Notice the excitable tone they use. Wouldn’t that tone help to jazz up that weak character in the chapter you are writing?

VIRGO (Aug. 24 – Sept. 23): In your home office, you have dozens of notebooks or legal pads in which you have sketched out ideas or extracts of possible novels, stories, or poetry. Go to your first notebook and actually type up a story. Print it out.

LIBRA (Sept. 24 – Oct. 23): Quit waiting for inspiration to write. Sit at one spot for an hour for three or four times a week. Do not check out your friends’ Facebook pages (nor yours). Do not e-mail friends or pay bills online. If you have pondered and cogitated but have still struck out, then repeatedly write any sentences: “It was a dark and stormy night,” “Leslie couldn’t think of what to write,” etc. Eventually add a “when-clause” (“…when lightning struck the tower clock,” “…when a black bird flew into the room and settled on his stack of DVDs”).

SCORPIO (Oct. 24 – Nov. 22): In your 400-page manuscript, you’ve given the thoughts of 48 characters. Cut out 95 to 99 percent of those interior sections. You may need to go into the heads of two or three protagonists, but not many more especially since you’re writing a cookbook. Besides, who cares what a rutabaga thinks?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23 – Dec. 21): Learn how to use The Oxford English Dictionary and keep up with when words came into use. For example, your manuscript has a minister in the 1850s referring to someone as a “scumbag.” Since that expression is slang for a condom and its contents, a preacher probably wouldn’t use such words.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22 – Jan. 20): Your lucky numbers are 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9, used in various combinations. Use these in lotteries until your number wins. Hire a secretary to type up your boxes and boxes of hand-written stuff. If your winnings are high enough, buy yourself a publishing house.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 21 – Feb. 19): When you obsess about why you can’t get down to writing, watch the video My Left Foot. Christy Brown was born severely handicapped, and Daniel Day-Lewis shows us how Brown grew up to paint and write successfully even though he could only move (what else?) his left foot. There are NO excuses for not writing.

PISCES (Feb. 20 – March 20): It’s time to quit using your Writer’s Market for 1887. Use later editions or even magazines’ websites to determine the names of the editors who should receive submission. Oh, yes: Throw out your article on “The Comeback of the Bustle.”

ARIES (March 21 – April 20): Write a nostalgic piece on your first Ram pickup. Don’t include everything you did in the back of the truck if you are writing for grocery store mags. The article could also be about any other eight-cylinder pickup you’ve had.

TAURUS (April 12 – May 21): If you are reading the 13th book about Quagmark the Robotic Doofus, you may not have noticed that the creator, Sri Lanka’s eccentric Drawoh Nosned, started repeating himself in the 3rd book. Try expanding your reading.

SPECIAL TO STEPHANIE: When the moon is waxing, revise what you wrote in the days before. Duct-tape the wee one in your household to a banister. If the mischief-maker has put a hamster in your desk drawer, increase the amount of duct-tape.
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Children's Author Larry Levy to Speak June 11
Children’s author Larry Levy will be the speaker at the First Coast Christian Writers meeting at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, June 11, at Christ’s Church, 6045 Greenland Rd. (near the Avenues Mall at the intersection of I-95 and 9A South) in Jacksonville.
The meeting will be in Room 513 and last until 8:45 p.m.
Levy always had a passion for cooking and writing. He has written several short stories and poems most of which were written when he was in college many years ago. Harry the Hungry Frog is Mr. Levy's first published book.
Harry is a frog who knows there is more to taste than flies and bugs. Harry goes on several adventures looking for yummy food and on the journey learns to be polite and develops friendships.

The first book - Harry the Hungry Frog, Harry Ventures Out takes Harry to Slice Happy Pizza where he discovers the wonderful tastes of pizza.
The books are ideal bedtime stories and for children up to eight years old.
The mission of First Coast Christian Writers is to support its members through:
· improving writing skills with education and critiques,
· networking within the publishing industry, and
· holding each other accountable to achieve goals.
Visitors 18 and older are welcome. Dues are $1 per week.
Children's Author Larry Levy to Speak June 11
Children’s author Larry Levy will be the speaker at the First Coast Christian Writers meeting at 6:45 p.m. Thursday, June 11, at Christ’s Church, 6045 Greenland Rd. (near the Avenues Mall at the intersection of I-95 and 9A South) in Jacksonville.
The meeting will be in Room 513 and last until 8:45 p.m.
Levy always had a passion for cooking and writing. He has written several short stories and poems most of which were written when he was in college many years ago. Harry the Hungry Frog is Mr. Levy's first published book.
Harry is a frog who knows there is more to taste than flies and bugs. Harry goes on several adventures looking for yummy food and on the journey learns to be polite and develops friendships.

The first book - Harry the Hungry Frog, Harry Ventures Out takes Harry to Slice Happy Pizza where he discovers the wonderful tastes of pizza.
The books are ideal bedtime stories and for children up to eight years old.
The mission of First Coast Christian Writers is to support its members through:
· improving writing skills with education and critiques,
· networking within the publishing industry, and
· holding each other accountable to achieve goals.
Visitors 18 and older are welcome. Dues are $1 per week.

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SADLY, THIS ISN’T FICTION EITHER

From www.overheardinnewyork.com<http://www.overheardinnewyork.com/>

Woman [at Barnes & Noble in Staten Island]: Do you have a non-fiction section?

Book guy: Well, everything that's not fiction is non-fiction. [Over] there's cooking, and there's history.

Woman: No, that's not what I asked. Do you have a section for non-fiction?

Book guy: Well, there are no non-fiction novels. Everything here that's not a novel is non-fiction.

Woman: But you don't have a non-fiction section?

Book guy: No. Everything that isn't fiction is non-fiction.



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QUOTE FROM A WRITER'S QUILL

If you're a singer, you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. A writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes. -- Mickey Spillane



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WRITERS BORN IN JUNE




1--William Wilfred Campbell (1858?) and John Masefield (1878); 2--Marquis de Sade (1740), Grace Aguilar (1816), Thomas Hardy (1840), Barbara Pym (1913); 3--Konstantin Dmitrievich Balmont (1867), Allen Ginsberg (1926) and Larry McMurty (1926); 4--Robert Fulgrum (1937);

5--Federico García Lorca (1898), Cornelius Ryan (1920), Margaret Drabble (1939), Spalding Gray (1941), and Ken Follett (1949); 6--Thomas Mann (1875), Maxine Kumin (1925), and Harry Crews (1935); 7--Elizabeth Bowen (1899) and Gwendolyn Brooks (1917); 8--Sara Paretsky (1947); 9--Patricia Cornwell (1956);

10--Sir Edwin Arnold (1832), Louis Couperus (1863), Saul Bellow (1915), and Maurice Sendak (1928); 11--Josephine Miles (1911) and William Styron (1925); 12--Djuna Barnes (1892) and Anne Frank (1929); 13--Giuseppe Cerutti (1738), Fanny Burney (Frances d'Arblay) (1752), William Butler Yeats (1865), Dorothy L. Sayers (1893); 14--Jerzy Kosinski (1933) and John Edgar Wideman (1941);

15--Edward Channing (1856) and Amy Clampitt (1920); 16--Joyce Carol Oates (1938) and Erich Segal (1927); 17--Carl Van Vechten (1880), John Hersey (1914), and Ron Padgett (1942); 18--Gabriello Chiabrera (1552), Leonid Nikolaevich Andreev (1871), Philip Barry (1896), and Geoffrey Hill (1932); 19--Annibale Caro (1507), Laura Z. Hobson (1900), Tobias Wolff (1945), and Salman Rushdie (1947);

20--George Hickes (1642), Hans Adolph Brorson (1694), Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743), Lilian Hellman (1905), and Vikram Seth (1952); 21--W. E. Aytoun (1813), Jean Paul Sartre (1905), Mary McCarthy (1912), and Ian McEwan (1948); 22--Erich Maria Remarque (1898), Anne Morrow Lindbergh (1906), and Octavia Butler (1947); 23--Irvin S. Cobb (1876) and Jean Anouilh (1910); 24--Henry Ward Beecher (1813), Ambrose Bierce (1842), and Brooks Adams (1848);

25--Robert Erskine Childers (1870), Josephine Tey/Gordon Daviot (1896), George Orwell (1903), and Nicholas Mosley (1923); 26--Bernard Berenson (1865), Pearl Buck (1892), and Frank O'Hara (1926); 27--Vernon Watkins (1906); 28--Giovanni Della Casa (1503), Luigi Pirandello (1867), Floyd Dell (1887), and Eric Ambler (1909); 29--Willibald Alexis (Georg Wilhelm Heinrich Häring) (1798) and Antoine de St.-Exupéry (1900);

30--Thomas Lovell Beddoes (1803).

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NORTH FLORIDA WRITERS MEETINGS AND CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Every Wednesday: 7 p.m.; BARD SOCIETY; Frank Green 234-8383; Email frankgrn@comcast.net<mailto:frankgrn@comcast.net>

Every Thursday, 6:45 p.m.; FIRST COAST CHRISTIAN WRITERS GROUP; Christ's Church, 6045 Greenland Rd., Room 204, near I-95 & 9A; Email: Dr.Lorraine@comcast.net<mailto:Dr.Lorraine@comcast.net>

Second Saturday: 2 p.m.; NORTH FLORIDA WRITERS; Webb Wesconnett Library; www.northfloridawriters.org<https://owa.fccj.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=https://owa.fccj.edu/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.northfloridawriters.org>

Second and fourth Wednesdays: 6:30 p.m.; MANDARIN WRITERS WORKSHOP; S. Mandarin Library (corner of San Jose and Orange Picker Rd.). Larry Barnes at wordsandpics@bellsouth.net<mailto:wordsandpics@bellsouth.net>.
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THE WRITE STAFF

President: Margie Sauls (margiemoonstar@earthlink.net<mailto:margiemoonstar@earthlink.net>)

Vice President: Richard Levine (RichieL@clearwire.net<mailto:RichieL@clearwire.net> )

Secretary: Kathy Marsh (kathygmarsh@bellsouth.net<mailto:kathygmarsh@bellsouth.net> )

Treasurer: Howard Denson (hd3nson@hotmail.com<mailto:hd3nson@hotmail.com> )

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MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION FOR N. FLORIDA WRITERS

Membership is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40 for a family. (Make out checks to WRITERS.) Mail your check to WRITERS, c/o Howard Denson, 1511 Pershing Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.
Name___________________________________________ _____________
St. address_________________________________ Apt. No. ____________
City ______________________________State _____ Zip ______________
E-mail address: __________________________________ _____________
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