Taking a Break

This site has been neglected to the point of abuse. So, here's an update. June 2nd brings the incomparable Jessica Morrell for Plot is a Verb workshop. The Algonquins are taking a break until May 30th at 6:30. You know the spot.


The Hook Contest

No, that's not some kind of urban legend reference, Fangs, Fur and Fey is holding a hook contest. What's a hook? It's sort of a movie trailer for your book. If you're writing in the urban fantasy (YA or adult), sci-fi/fantasy (light), mystery, or paranormal romance genres and can put together the best 300 word hook, it could snag you an agent at Lowenstein-Yost . No guarantees but it's worth a shot.


I'm a judge. Yes, yes, for certain I'm judgmental, but I'm also a judge for the contest, and I vow to be H-O-N-E-S-T. No sugar coating here and I'll give some damn good suggestions. Check out the hook contest here and make it snappy.


March 19th Meeting

Four of us met in the alcove. Seems the fireplace wants privacy. The benefit is that the music was not so loud. An older gentleman approached us about joining. He writes poetry in his head. Sherylle asked him to write it down. We talked about sensory experience on the page, eradicating lovely adverbs, and momentum. We missed Tom and Megan, this week.


Manek's Great News!

I just picked up an e-mail from Manek, who reports that his first fiction sale is up at Abyss & Apex. The story has garnered positive reviews from Tangent Online, so check it out. He's also a contributor to Bookmarks Magazine, with four reviews in this issue.

The Jessica Morrell workshop has a date, June 2nd from 10-4 pm, location: TBD. But probably at Manek's house. If "enough" people attend, Jessica will offer a scholarship.

So cool news all around!

Meeting Update: March 12

Big group tonight, the first with all six of us. For me, the mix of genres is exciting, and will undoubtedly broaden the focus of both future work and taste in literature. So far we have the following covered:

• Horror-Comedy (Urban Fantasy)
• Mystery
• Historical Romance
• Literary Fiction
• Sci-Fi

plus, I bet Sherylle could put out a helluva Western, if she put her mind to it.

As usual, we reviewed current work and critiqued, but also planned to attend the PNWA meeting with Alice Volpe, agent at Northwest Literary.


Workshop Opportunity

Manek is in talks with amazing developmental editor and author, Jessica
Morrell to provide a Washington area workshop. IF we can pull together
enough participants. Let's spread the word.

Here's the info:

Plot is a Verb
Cost: $75
Writing a compelling novel requires creating a world that's so
authentic that the page will disappear and lives amid a difficult
situation will rise into existence in its place. But although
specificity of details, authentic, fascinating characters, and a
gripping situation are required for this, first comes knowing the
underpinnings of fiction—structure, scene structure, opposition,
 desire, character arc, plot points,  set pieces,  outer and inner
conflict, and a setting that adds to tension.   With that in mind, this
workshop is a primer on plot and storyline, but it also illustrates the
more sophisticated and nuanced aspects of fiction writing.
Comprehensive materials and exercises will illustrate the discussion
and topics include:  How to build a world of unease where each aspect
of the story lends credibility to the characters' struggles on the
page. How to build a story that is not a pale imitation of life, but
rather  a rich reenactment that is larger than life. How plot points
push the story forward. How to avoid middles that languish or plod.
What balance and unity mean in fiction.

Jessica Morrell began teaching writers in 1991, creating workshops that
are lively, focused and filled with sensible insights.  Workshop and
writing conference participants have described her as: "a torrent of
information," "lots of practical information with excellent concrete
examples" and, "absolutely everything she says is packed with value."
 She is the author of Between the Lines: the subtler aspects of writing
fiction published by Writer's Digest Books and Writing out the Storm
published by Collectors Press. Also being published in 2007 is The
Writer's I Ching by Running Press and Voices from the Street by Gray
Sunshine and in  February 2008 Bullies, Bastards and Bitches, the Bad
Guys in Fiction by Writer's Digest Books. Morrell works as writing
coach and freelance editor and hosts a web site www.writing-life.com .
She has been writing a monthly column about topics related to writing
since 1998 which currently appears in The Willamette Writer, writes a
monthly newsletter, The Writing Life, a web log, and contributes
articles to online sites, newspapers and public radio.


March 5th Meeting

The Algonquin's are growing. This Monday's meeting welcomed Manek to our group and his great feedback. Monica introduced her new allegorical fantasy to the group. She's searching for a title. Sherylle's horror-mystery set at a seaside retreat is coming along nicely. Manek shared a sci-fi short story with a promisingly flawed lead character. Mark brought the first few pages of his novel sequel and got great feedback that really jumpstarted the chapter (he's freaking out right now about being in the third person). Tom facilitated a discussion about the finer points of fiction writing and what to look for in the editing process.

All in all, a great meeting.


I hope the beaming dries the air out a bit. Hey bring your book to the Monday madness's session. I tried to print the ad of the LOVING THE UNDEAD but it would print for me.
I have read some actors never see the films they work in, perhaps its an artistic type disease. But keep your BABY close.



My copy of Loving the Undead showed up in the mail today! But, reading it brings up an interesting subject (and a little of my lunch): Should a writer read their material after it's published? I'm going to go with a big NO on that one. I found way too many things I'd change, if I were even to submit it again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm beaming. But from now on I'll love my babies from afar.
Have been surfing the net, and finding some interesting publishing outfits out there. Mostly trouble I think. But am doing the old research, why not? Its a freebe to do. It seems as though
there are lots of places just dying to get someone to publish with the, for a price of course. I plan to stay away from those. But one can garner a great deal of info on what is happening in cyber space. Don't you just love the language!!!


Loving the Undead, Available Now!

Loving the Undead, An Anthology of Romance…Sort Of contains Mark's short story, An Acquired Taste. It's available at From the Asylum.

Last February Meeting

Two of us have been editing and brought nothing to read–naughty Monica and Me. But we've committed to three pages of new material a week, even during the editing of our manuscripts. Monica shared the story of her new novel, which sounds like literary fantasy (I think A Garden of Dreams would be a cool title). I'm going to bring in the opening of Road Trip of the Living Dead. Megan is plugging away at Chameleon Red (Yep, she settled on the title), and brought a sexy little piece from the middle of the book. Sherylle is untitled at the moment and focused on the Ann Rule thingy. Both Megan and Sherylle are committed to completion of their novels, prior to starting on other work.


February 12th Meeting

This week we welcomed Tom Wright to the group, he's written a scifi/spiritual Crichtonesque manuscript, called In The Wild. The group discussed fine tuning a manuscript and a number of ideas for making the work "sing". We reviewed PNWA literary contest submission materials and traded our work for editing. Monica moved to meet on Saturday morning to review the edits and to allow time to finish the pieces prior to mailing on Tuesday the 20th (deadline). Megan agreed to email the first 25 pages of her ms, for editing. Reminder to all check out Tom's first chapter at http://www.inthwild.us/

Next meeting: Saturday 17 @ 9:00 am.
Next real meeting: Monday 26 @ 6:30 pm.


Great News!

The following was posted in the Friday morning online issue of Publisher's Marketplace:

8 February, 2007
Fiction: Debut
Mark Henry's THE UNDEAD SOCIALITE'S GUIDE TO NIGHTLIFE, about an ad-exec turned zombie trying to save a missing friend, "Shaun of the Dead" by way of Paris Hilton, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a three-book deal, by Jim McCarthy at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (World).

February 5th Meeting

Sherylle presented a great story for submission to the PNWA literary contest, her goal is to rework it by the deadline. Monica has completed her synopsis and moved for trading our work at the February 12th meeting for deeper editing. Mark reported his great news that he'd just signed with an editor. So here's the plan: next meeting's focus will be on the final submission edit.

See you there.


January 29th Meeting

Tonight's meeting concluded our discussion of synopses and the need to keep them short and have them prepared for the February 20th deadline for the PNWA literary contest. We discussed self publishing pros and cons. The suggestion was to bring the first 25 pages of our novels and take them home to provide a formal critique.


Writing Library

I'd like to put together a list of books on writing that we could access from each other. I'll keep track of them on this blog, over there on the right hand side. Take a look. Feel free to email me with your list.

Assignment for Meeting: 1/29/07

Complete a synopsis for your novel or novel in progress, using the mythic story structure prompts below.

Meeting Notes: Slow on the Updates

Hey y'all! It seems we've been on the same topic for three weeks in a row. That's right, it's our foe, the synopsis. Me and Megan had a tete-a-tete with New York Times Bestselling Author, Bob Dugoni–he's had his name legally changed to include the first five words. Actually, it was just a tete, as neither Megan, nor myself, did any teting, except to make fun of New York Times Bestselling Author, Bob Dugoni. His advice on synopsis? Keep it short (1-2 pages), third person/present tense, and sweet Jesus, make sure to show the editor/agent that you understand story structure. If we follow NYTBA Bob Dugoni's 17 step plan, we'll have a finished synopsis. Just…

Write a single sentence for each question.

1. What is your character’s Ordinary World (comfort zone)?
2. Describe the character’s Call to Adventure (the event that moves the story)?
3. Does your character struggle with a Refusal the Call?
4. Who is your character’s mentor (Supernatural Aid)? Is there someone who provides lessons?
5. Describe your hero Crossing the First Threshhold (new zone of experience)?
a. Is this experience more of a Rebirth?
b. Does your hero undergo an Initiation?
6. Describe the hero’s Road of Trials?
a. Is there a Marriage (the ultimate trial)?
7. Is there a seduction (Woman as Temptress)?
8. Describe the hero’s Atonement with the Father figure (coming to terms with tyrannical/merciful aspects so to understand the father better, and likewise the self)?
9. Describe the hero’s Apotheosis (disintegration of ego/breakthrough).
10. (The Ultimate Boon) Describe the hero’s readiness to obtain that for which he/she has set out, an item or new awareness, that once returned, will benefit the society he/she has left.
11. Describe the hero’s Return.
12. Is there a Refusal of the Return? (Does your hero prefer to stay?)
13. When the boon’s acquisition—or the return—comes against opposition, a chase or pursuit may ensue (The Magic Flight), if so, describe.
14. Does your hero need to be rescued by forces from the ordinary world, either because he/she is blocked or refused to return (Rescue from Without)?
15. Describe the Crossing of the Return Threshold. Is there an acceptance of reality?
16. (Master of Two Worlds) does the hero, instead, perceive both worlds?
17. Describe the bestowal of the boon (Freedom to Live).

It seems he culled the information from Chrisopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey, which itself borrowed from Campbell's The Power of Myth.