The Electronic Write Stuff
Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System

The Electronic Write Stuff
Writing News for the Sunshine State & the Solar System
North Florida Writers * August 2005
In this issue:
Robert Fulton to Speak to NFW Saturday
The (He)Art of Critiquing -- Kathy Marsh
Writers Born in August
Calendar of Events

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ROBERT FULTON TO SPEAK TO NFW SATURDAY
Award-winning writer and editor Robert Fulton will speak at
2 p.m. Saturday at the monthly meeting of the North Florida
Writers. The meeting, which is open to the public, will be in
Room F128-B, the auditorium conference room of Kent Campus.
For directions to Kent, go to MapQuest on the internet and
look up 3939 Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.
Dr. Fulton for many has taught English and writing courses
to students from middle school through the university level while
also being a writer, editor, and public speaker. His popularity
as an editor has been validated by the industry's P & E Reader's
Poll, where he is ranked in the top two, nationwide, among book
editors.
His articles, columns, and stories have appeared in
literary, conservation, and education publications as varied as
Reader's Digest and Florida Outdoors. Receiving the Florida
Outdoor Writers "Excellence in Craft Award" and the Florida
Writers Association's "Royal Palm Literary Award" endorses the
quality of Robert's writing.
Dr. Fulton has written But You Know What I Mean: An Editor's
Point of View to supplement his classes. This insightful
reference is filled with helpful information on topics such as:
the editing process, grammar and punctuation, writing a query
letter, finding the appropriate medium, and the importance of
networking. His book explains how he became a better writer by
turning his personal experiences into learning tools.
He draws on these to demonstrate that there are really no
blind alleys on the road to being published, just detours that
should be used to hone one's skills.
 

___________________________________________________
 

THE (HE)ART OF CRITIQUING
By KATHY MARSH
My college creative writing professor, Carol Gray, was the
first to unlock some of the mysteries of writing for me. Even 32
years (eek!) later, I can remember certain days and certain
writing exercises vividly.

Her focus was getting us to see and describe the world
around us using all the literary devices known to man. Whether
it was through metaphors or similes, hyperbole or onomatopoeia,
it was her mission to squeeze the creative juices out of us until
it flowed from our fingers through our pens to paper.

Nature was to be the theme of a poem we were to each write,
and I chose the ocean as my topic. Sitting in my Oklahoma
college classroom, with no windows and the fluorescent lights
droning overhead, was not an atmosphere conducive to creativity,
but I tried to transport myself mentally to the beach. My poem
began "Waves roll in and out, their crests foaming and
frothing," but then I got stuck.

To what could I compare the ocean as the waves crashed? Hum-
m-m. I rubbed my forehead, like a fortuneteller using her
crystal ball, hoping for the answer to come.
I closed my eyes and attempted to meditate the answer.
Then it came to me. I know? "The waves foamed and frothed like a
rabid dog." Oh my goodness, what was I thinking? The
professor's comment, written teeny tiny in pencil by that line,
is burned in my memory, "Such an ugly simile in such a beautiful
poem?"

She could have held me up to ridicule, pointed at me and
said, "Out of my class, you're not worthy," or broken my pen over
my head and said, "Never write again!" But what she did was
masterful. She had critiqued my poem by pointing out a weakness,
while at the same time complimenting the efforts she saw in other
parts of it.

It is important as a writer to have others critique our
work and see, sometimes, what we do not. It is also important to
hear our work read and really listen, as if we're hearing it for
the first time. Feedback is critical to growth as a writer,
especially when there are foaming, rabid dogs out there that need
eliminating.
 

QUOTE FROM A WRITER'S QUILL
One hates an author that's all author.
--Lord Byron
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
WRITERS BORN IN AUGUST
1--Herman Melville (1819) and Jim Carroll (1951); 2--Irving
Babbitt (1865), James Baldwin (1924), and Isabel Allende (1942);
3--Rupert Brooke (1887), P. D. James (1920), Leon Uris (1924),
and Diane Wakoski (1937); 4--Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792), Knut
Hamsun (1859), and Robert Hayden (1913);
5--Michael Banim (1796) and Conrad Aiken (1889); 6--Alfred,
Lord Tennyson (1809), Paul Claudel (1868), and Diane di Prima
(1934); 7--Garrison Keillor (1942); 8--Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
(1896) and Nina Berberova (1901); 9--Philip Larkin (1922);
11--Judah P. Benjamin (1811), Hugh MacDiarmid (C. M. Grieve)
(1892), Louise Bogan (1897), Alex Haley (1921), and André Dubus
(1936); 12--Katherine Lee Bates (1859), Jacinto Benavente y
Martínez (1866), Mary Roberts Rinehart (1876), and Radclyffe Hall
(1880); 14--Sir Walter Besant (1836), Danielle Steele (1947), and
Gary Larson (1950);
15--Sir Walter Scott (1771), E. Nesbit (1858), Sri
Aurobindo (1872), and Edna Ferber (1887); 16--William Maxwell
(1908) and Charles Bukowski (1920); 17--Fredrika Bremer (1801),
Wilfred Scawen Blunt (1840), Evan Connell (1924), John Hawkes
(1925), V. S. Naipaul (1932); 18--Robert Williams Buchanan
(1841), Ahad Haam (1856), and Alaine Robbe-Grillet (1922); 19--
Pierre Jean de Béranger (1780), Maurice BarrPs (1862), Ogden Nash
(1902), and James Gould Cozzens (1903);
20--Shaul Chernikhovski (1875), H. P. Lovecraft (1890) and
Jacqueline Susanne (1921); 21--Robert Stone (1937); 22--John Hill
Burton (1809), Dorothy Parker (1893), Ray Bradbury (1920), E.
Annie Proulx (1935); 23--Edgar Lee Masters (1868) and J. V.
Cunningham (1911); 24--Sir Max Beerbohm (1872), Jean Rhys (1890),
Malcolm Cowley (1898), Jorge Luis Borges (1899), and A.S. Byatt
(1936);
25--Baron Bunsen (1791), Henrik Hertz (1797/98), Brett Harte
(1836), Frederick Forsyth (1938), and Martin Amis (1949); 26--
Guillaume Apollinaire (1880), Christopher Isherwood (1904), Julio
Cortázar (1914); 27--Theodore Dreiser (1871), Norah Lofts (1904),
Desmond O'Grady (1935), Lary Crews (1946), and Jeanette Winterson
(1959); 28--John Betjeman (1906), Roger Tory Peterson (1908),
Robertson Davies (1913), Janet Frame (1924), and Rita Dove
(1952); 29--Giambattista Casti (1724), Edward Carpenter (1844),
and Thom Gunn (1929);
30--Mary Shelley (1797); 31--DuBose Heyward (1885), William
Shawn (1907), and William Saroyan (1908).


CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Meetings of NFW are held on the second Saturday of the month
at 2 p.m. on the Kent Campus of Florida Community College of
Jacksonville. We generally meet in F128B (auditorium conference
room).
You may receive feedback from specific individuals by
mailing the manuscript and return postage to the above address.
Aug. 13: Robert Fulton Jr., But You Know What I Mean!
Sept. 10: Critiques only
Oct. 8: Karen Harvey, Ghosts of St. Augustine
Nov. 12: Critiques only
Dec. 10: Lillian Brown, Banned in Boston
Past speakers have included novelists Jack Hunter, David
Poyer, Page Edwards, Ruth Coe Chambers, William Kerr, Tom
Lashley; poets, William Slaughter, Mary Baron, Mary Sue Koeppel,
Dorothy Fletcher, George Gilpatrick; 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.
"WE ASPIRE TO CREATE
WITH WORDS."
The Write Staff
Carrol Wolverton, President (carrolwolve@hotmail.com)
Richard Levine, Vice President (richie@rocketmail.com)
Joyce Davidson, Secretary (Davent2005@comcast.net)
Howard Denson, Treasurer and newsletter editor
(hdenson@fccj.edu)
Joel Young, Public Relations (joshua7786@aol.com)
Doris Cass, Hospitality (ostie46@aol.com)
Presidents Emeritus:
Frank Green, Dan Murphy, Howard Denson,
Nate Tolar, Joyce Davidson,
Margaret Gloag (haggisgal@juno.com),
Richard Levine, Bob Alexander, JoAnn Harter Murray
Newsletter address
The Write Stuff
FCCJ Kent, Box 109
3939 Roosevelt Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32205
Homepage addresses
http://hometown.aol.com/nfwriters/
http://www.northfloridawriters.org
Submissions to the newsletter should generally be about
writing or publishing. If possible, please submit mss. on IBM
diskette in either WordPerfect, Word, or RTF format.
We pay in copies to the contributors, with modest compensation
for postage and copying.
We pay $5 for pieces of 500-599 words.
MEMBERSHIP IN THE NFW
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.
Membership is $15 for students, $25 for individuals, and $40
for a family. (Make out checks to WRITERS.)
Is your membership current? To find out, check the mailing
label. If it says "0104" next to your last name, your membership
expired in January 2004. You do not have to pay back dues to
activate your members, so, if you last paid in 1992 or 2002,
don't worry about the months you were inactive.
Won't you join today?
The following is an application. Mail your check to WRITERS,
Box 109, FCCJ Kent, 3939 Roosevelt Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32205.
Name___________________________________________
St. address____________________________________
Apt. No. ______________________________________
City ________________State _____ Zip __________
E-mail address(es) ___________________________________
HOW DOES CRITIQUING WORK?
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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