·         Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

· * May 2009

·         Editor: Howard Denson

and use the terms in the subject line.
In This Issue:

NFW Introduces Mini-Talks on Craft on May 9

Your Taped Text Helps You to Revise – Joyce Davidson

Give Booze to Significant Other and Then . . . – CW

But When You Don’t Like the Sound of Your Voice? – RL

Driving While Imagining – d3

Renowned Author, Scholar, and Professor to speak June 23

Cats and papers? Ja! Cats and PC’s? Nein – Christine Watt

Sisters in Crime Chapter to Hear Elizabeth Sinclair May 2;
Diane Barton in June

Quote from a Writer's Quill – W. Somerset Maugham

Writers Born This Month – Heloise, Archibald MacLeish, Daphne Du Maurier, Lorraine Hansberry, Countee Cullen, and others


“Mini-Talks on Craft” will be introduced Saturday, May 9, at the monthly meeting of the North Florida Writers. The session will start at 2 p.m. and be in the meeting room of the Webb Wesconnett Library (corner of 103rd Street and Harlow Boulevard).

Richard Levine will talk about “How Screenplay Writing Can Improve Writing for Print.” A former president of the NFW, he is a small publisher and a scriptwriter.

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.


Taped text helps YOU to revise

 Because of my age, probably, folks have asked me for advice about revising manuscripts, and I usually suggest that they read them aloud and also, make a tape or CD of the story to play. I took my own advice this weekend, recorded most of my latest novel, and heard the tapes on a trip south. Glaring mistakes and dull passages hit me. Later, tapes I heard while following with the manuscript allowed me to mark these offensive lines immediately.

This method takes the frustration out of revision, for it gives a writer a sense of the whole work, tempo, and variety of style. It lets you hear sentences that don't flow. If you can change your voice for different characters, it's more helpful but not necessary.

Tape recorders with a small mic cost about $25 at super stores and can be used with batteries or a plug for an electrical outlet. Newer cars have only CD players, so you can do the same with disks and play your own words on long junkets. A writer can learn to be his own editor by listening to his sentences over and over. Taping them saves trouble and time. Please, try it.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: We asked several members of the NWF circle about their experiences (if any) with tape recorders and their own writing. A few responses follow.}

Give Booze to Significant Other and Then --

Recording prose and listening to it is a great idea.

Reading aloud is also good. Read in five-page segments, so you pay attention and do not lose concentration.

Read segments to a spouse or significant other. Feed him/her a drink or two first. -- CW

But When You Don’t Like the Sound of Your Voice?

I use a recording device now less than in the past.  My conclusion was that it was especially useful to use in recording interviews, and in catching passing thoughts in certain circumstances, like driving.

The downside is that listening and transcribing what could amount to hours of audio can be time consuming and draining. I haven't tried recording my prose after writing it, I’m also afraid that the antipathy I have towards my own voice would be too distracting. For creative writing purposes, I prefer to read aloud to myself. – RL

Driving While Imagining

A few decades ago, I used my cheapie tape-recorder to tape chapters of a science fiction novel I had been writing. For five hours during a trip, I ran the scenes and dialogue through my head, practicing some of the dialogue without recording anything. At Dothan, the halfway point of the trip, I went back to the start of the story and clicked on the recorder. The microphone had an on-off switch, so I clicked it off while I pondered this or that line.

Five hours later, I arrived at the wee village north of Birmingham, and, after kissing and hugging my relatives and resting a day or two, I began typing what I had. I’m a fast typist, but I slowed down because I was revising the text as I typed. Frustration erupted now and then when I couldn’t quite make out what I was saying over the engine hum and road noise. Hitting the rewind button and then the play became very frustrating since the tape would go too far back. (Dictaphones, and maybe other recording devices, have pedals that let stenographers back up just a bit.)

I haven’t been guilty of Driving While Imagining with a tape-recorder since then, but I still read aloud 99 percent of any fiction I write. Erle Stanley Gardner, Steve Allen, and lots of others recorded their texts, but they then handed the reels over to secretaries to transcript the actual words. -- hd3
 Renowned Author, Scholar, and Professor to speak JUNE 23
Cornel West, the author of about 20 books dealing with social issues, civil rights, and philosophy, will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, as part of the centenary celebration of Jacksonville branch of the NAACP. West is professor of religion and African-American studies at Princeton University. The talk will be at the 44th Freedom Fund Dinner at the Prime Osborn Convention Center.

One of America's most provocative public intellectuals, Dr. West has been a champion for racial justice since childhood. His writing, speaking, and teaching weave together the traditions of the black Baptist Church, progressive politics, and jazz.

The New York Times has praised his "ferocious moral vision."  West is the Class of 1943 University Professor at Princeton, and one of this country’s most widely quoted persons on the topics of American society, race, politics and class issues. He is the author of such best-selling books as "Race Matters,” “Democracy Matters,” and most recently "Hope on a Tightrope: Words and Wisdom."

Besides publishing 18 other books, he has edited 13 texts and has received more than 20 honorary degrees. West earned two bachelor's degrees from Harvard in three years, magna cum laude. After earning his Ph.D. at Princeton, he became a professor of religion and director of the Afro-American Studies program there. West has also taught at Union Theological Seminary, Yale, Harvard, and the University of Paris.

Dinner tickets for the event are $60 person. Corporate sponsored tables are available. For further information, and to secure tickets, contact the following:

 *   Jacksonville Branch NAACP President Isaiah Rumlin, at (904) 764-1753;
 *   100th Anniversary Chairman Rodney Hurst, at (904) 699-3897;
 *   Freedom Fund Dinner Tickets Chair Elnora Atkins, at (904) 655-3502; or
 *   the NAACP Office, 5422 Soutel Dr. ( at
      (904) 764-7578.

Cats and papers? Ja! Cats and PC’s? Nein

The April newsletter’s column on newspapers took me back to my book publishing days when you sometimes had to fool with the leading to make the pages come out the same length.  It also reminded me of the demise of Fleet Street.  Though I was never a hack, I worked with a number who'd become so jaundiced after exposing bastards, but then were told to investigate not-such-bad-bastards, that they left and worked for the fin, fur, fang, and feather type of animals.  (Interesting how models, actresses, ex-military, and journalists often end up working for animals.)

One reason I like newspapers (and books for that matter) is my aging eyes!  What do you bet as these youngsters who are no doubt ruining their eyes with TV and video games and computer news will eventually turn to hard copy?

The first time I used a microfiche (in the New York City Library lo these many years), I hated it because I kept involuntarily reaching out to "turn the page."  Twiddling a knob did not translate in my brain to turning a page.

There's something about the smell of paper, the rustle of it, and the attraction of it.

And you can't put a magnifier up to a computer and take your time and have a sip of tea.  By contrast, there's something very urgent about computers.  You don’t dare leave them, maybe because of their way of suddenly deleting stuff for no apparent reason, other than maybe you sneezed in their vicinity. You also can't loll about when you read news on a computer.  With computers, you simply cannot replicate lolling in bed on a Sunday morning with newspapers strewn every which way and cats under and over the sections.  Far too tidy.  Also you can't move about with them, following the sun or to ease a twinge in the back by lounging in a different chair.
So I hope you're right that newspapers will still be here in a hundred years.

Ms. Watt, an expat from the U.K., lives in chilly Oregon, where she fights for the rights of furry creatures.

Sisters in Crime Chapter to Hear Elizabeth Sinclair May 2

Best-selling author Marge (Elizabeth Sinclair) Smith will speak to Florida Sisters in Crime at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, May 2, at the Southeast Regional Library (10599 Deerwood Park Blvd.).

In 1993 the St. Augustine writer sold her first romance, Jenny’s Castle, to Silhouette Intimate Moments®. This perennial favorite reached #2 on the Walden Bestseller List and won a 1995 Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Award of Excellence. Since then, this multi-published, best-selling author’s books have sold in seventeen countries and been translated into seven foreign languages. Her website is<>.

She has been a member of Romance Writers of America since 1988 as well as The Author’s Guild. She has also given seminars and workshops locally and nationally on the craft of writing for over twelve years.

A founding member of the Plot Queens<>, her extraordinary critique group, she strongly advocates finding a group of friends with like dreams and meeting as often as you can to discuss those dreams and work toward realizing them. Without good writing friends (e.g., Heather Waters, a newly published Berkley author; Dolores J. Wilson, a best-selling Medallion Press author; and others), she admits her life would be lacking something very important, both emotionally and creatively.

Aside from writing romances, she is also the author of the widely acclaimed instructional books The Dreaded Synopsis and First Chapters (Book #1 in the Building a Novel Series). She has also written several romances for Silhouette Intimate Moments®, Harlequin American®, Kensington Precious Gems® and Medallion Press®. Her latest releases include two paranormal romances from Medallion Press®: Miracle in the Mist and Eye of the Dream, along with a romantic suspense from Silhouette Intimate Moments®, Baptism in Fire.

After the meetings of Sisters in Crime, the speakers stay to sign their books.  Refreshments are served at these free events.

Sisters to Hear Diane Barton in June

On June 6, the Sisters in Crime chapter will hear award-winning author Diane Barton, whose penname is D. B. Barton. The meeting will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Southeast Regional library.


There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

-- W. Somerset Maugham



1--Joseph Addison (1672), Joseph Heller (1923), Terry Southern (1924), and Bobbie Ann Masons (1940); 3--Niccolb Machiavelli (1469) and William Inge (1913); 4--Lincoln Kirstein (1907), Heloise (1919), and Graham Swift (1949);

5--Karl Marx (1828), Robert Browning (1812), Thomas Edward Brown (1830), Nellie Bly (Elizabeth Cochrane) (1867), and Richard Eberhart (1904); 6--Sigmund Freud (1856), Orson Welles (1915); 7--Dániel Berzsenyi (1776), José Valentim Fialho de Almeida (1857), Archibald MacLeish (1892), Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (1927), Angela Carter (1940), and Peter Carey (1943); 8--Henry Baker (1698), Thomas B. Costain (1885), Gary Snyder (1930), and Thomas Pynchon (1937); 9--James M. Barrie (1860) and Austin Clarke (1896);

10--Ivan Cankar (1876); 11--Henry Cuyler Bunner (1855), Irving Berlin (1888), and Stanley Elkin (1930); 12--Andrei Voznesensky (1933); 13--Daphne DuMaurier (1907), Bruce Chatwin (1940), Armistead Maupin (1944); 14--Sir Hall Caine (1853) and George Lucas (1944);

15--Melchiorre Cesarotti (1730), L. Frank Baum (1856), Edwin Muir (1887), Katherine Anne Porter (1890), and Max Frisch (1911); 16--Randall Jarrell (1914) and Adrienne Rich (1929); 17--Henri Barbusse (1873); 19--Lorraine Hansberry (1930);

20--Honoré de Balzac (1799), Sigrid Undset (1882), Margery Allingham (1904); 21--Alexander Pope (1688) and Robert Creeley (1926); 22--Arthur Conan Doyle (1859) and Peter Mathiessen (1927); 23--John Bartram (1699) and Theodore Roethke (1907); 24--William Trevor (1928) and Bob Dylan (1941);

25--John Stuart Mill (1713), Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803), Jocob Christoph Burckhardt (1818), Jean Richard Bloch (1884), Robert Ludlum (1927), John Gregory Dunne (1932), and Raymond Carver (1938); 27--Arnold Bennett (1867), Max Brod (1884), Dashiell Hammett (1894), John Cheever (1912), Herman Wouk (1915), Tony Hillerman (1925), John Barth (1930), Harlan Ellison (1934); 28--Ian Fleming (1908), Patrick White (1912), and Walker Percy (1916); 29--Patrick Henry (1736), G. K. Chesterton (1874), Max Brand (1892), and André Brink (1935);

30--Alfred Austin (1835), Cornelia Otis Skinner (1901), and Countee Cullen (1903); 31--Georg Herwegh (1817), Walt Whitman (1819) and Norman Vincent Peale (1898).



Every Wednesday: 7 p.m.; BARD SOCIETY; Frank Green 234-8383; Email<>

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

Second Saturday: 2 p.m.; NORTH FLORIDA WRITERS; Webb Wesconnett Library;<>

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<>.


President: Margie Sauls (<>)

Vice President: Richard Levine (

Secretary: Kathy Marsh (

Treasurer: Howard Denson (



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: __________________________________ _____________