Friday, August 12, 2011

End of August's First Week

The first week in August has ended and the air has cooled. Energy returned somewhat. Then that jury summons for the months September and October came and set me back on my heels! What? After a long winter, almost nonexistent spring, a killer tornado season, recording-breaking heat strong enough to feel like cannibals had us in a stew pot over an open fire, and now someone is dampening my autumn! I picked myself up off the floor and began to get organized.

I was already slowly returning to writing, but now I have hit the rewrites this week like Aesop’s ants working around a grasshopper. A chat with an editor gave me new energy and focus plus the jury summons threatened my days enough that I have been getting up at 5:30 am to start work. I have bugged my sister-in-law for proof reading; I took pages to the Writers’ Guild for advice. Finally this morning I sent off my second (did you hear that, second!) western story to contest. Now I must return to rewriting a story the editor asked for rewrites on, and I am half way home with that.

Last night’s Guild meeting had a low attendance, but we seemed to get more done than usual. I found the conversation invigorating, but then I had pages on the table so the talk was more personal. Often some of our members talk too much on off topic subjects. How do you handle that in your writing groups? Last night, I took a timer for our Brag Session section of the meeting! I gave each member two minutes to tell what they had submitted and what had been accepted. At first the members snickered because most there weren’t offenders.

They were good sports about the timer and no one needed the full two minutes.

A writing group is a double edged sword. If you aren’t careful, you spend too much time talking about writing or sponsoring writing programs that you aren’t producing writing. I had planned last night to do some Free Writing, but our critiques were too long. I moved Free Writing to next month’s agenda, hoping to help spur the more non-productive member into action. Do your writing groups use Free Writing programs? What program have you had impressed you as most beneficial? Any ideas for me?

Also how do you draw in new and exciting members? Our guild has dwindled some, and I would like to pump new blood into this group. Any ideas on how to draw a writer to the group who is experienced enough to be an asset to others but still needing support himself from others?

At noon we picked up our friends for lunch to thank them for help when the tree fell on our deck a couple of weeks ago. They chose a new place to us, The Red Barn and Hen House Bakery. It was packed with eaters, a sure sign of good food. The menu was full of wonderful old things like chicken fried steak and homemade potato chips…and pies, pies, pies! Ate too much!

Then we drove around in the little town where we were  and checked out a flea market, found some garage sales, and a junk store. We came home with a $3 apron, a $4 wooden chair, and two Stone Hill wine glasses for $1. It was a bargain day.

Just as we got home, thunder rumbled in and soon a light rain fell. Just right for a snooze. It has been a long day but such a good one. Does writing to start the day make everything go better?

I have had literary fiction in Rosebud and can say it is a nice publication. Below is a writing op for scifi writers.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Prize For Imaginative Fiction -- original works of fantasy, science fiction, mystery, or horror; 4000 words or less. Awards: Grand prize: $1,000, 4 runners-up receive $100. All winning pieces published in Rosebud. Entry fee: $10. Rosebud acquires first rights for the five winning entries.

Deadline: September 1, 2011. Info: Acquisitions: J. Roderick Clark, editor, Guidelines on website at


Linda O'Connell said...

congratulations on getting into Rosebud and on all of your rewrites.
My kind of eatery!

BECKY said...

What a wonderful blog post, Claudia! I'm so sorry I haven't stopped and commented in such a long time. I always think of you, even when you don't see comments from me...I hope you know that! A really weird thing happened yesterday. For some reason, an old e-mail from you popped up as if it was a new one. I don't remember the date but it was from way back when I sent you a little something with a map on it! Isn't that funny? I guess I was meant to make sure and stop here tonight! I loved reading all of this, and the photos....Ahhh, what can I say?! (P.S. I'll e-mail you tomorrow about your writing questions!)

irishoma said...

Hi Claudia,
After reading your post I'm hungry.

At our critique group we use a timer and a bell to enforce our two-minute time limit. We got some snickers at first, and someone grabbed the bell, but now that the dust is settled everyone seems to keep within the two-minute limit and the bell or timer are rarely used.


Cactus Country said...

Made me hungry too...I'm heading upstairs to thaw our some ribs and then I'll get out the red checkered table cloth, and on this nice day we'll eat outside for a change.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Congratulations on Rosebud! I love your posts. They are always so chatty and informative. :)

The writer's group to which I belong is small---only four of us total---and we don't want any more members. We meet every other week for two hours, and although we've become friends and so do chit-chat, we do a good job of staying on topic with our critiques. And because our group is so small, we have time for each critique to be in depth. I love my group!

Martha said...

Thanks for the tip on the Red Barn Cafe and Hen House Bakery -- we may have to stop by next time we're in the area.