Tuesday, November 27, 2012

November 26th Meeting Report

Last night 27 gathered to hear and critique 8 readers. We'll have just two more meetings in 2012 before our December 17th Christmas party. Then there is a two week break before we resume meeting in January.


Judy's daughter is raising money to buy gloves for homeless people in Vegas this winter. If you'd like to donate let Judy know.

Carl Collins (our officer over publicity) is looking for help advertising our upcoming conference. Do you know of an organization that would be willing to mention the conference in their newsletter, put brochures on a bulletin board, or mention it in their newsletter? If so, let Carl know.

Our Holiday party is coming up in three weeks! If you're planning on coming please let Jo know. It's pot luck but the group provides some food as well, and we'd like to have an accurate count for the purchase of food. Guests are welcome! Bring your family and friends (or just yourself if your only friends are fellow HWG members) and come for a great evening. There is a gift exchange. If you bring a gift ($10 or less) then you can take a gift. If you don't want to bring a gift? That's fine. Just don't take one.

Lyn Robinson would like a list of everyone in the group who has published books. She would like to promote our group with some online advertising. You can contact her on facebook.

And lastly, if you would like to read at our Monday meeting, the rule is that you contact Jo no earlier than the Tuesday before the meeting.


A great big congratulations to Kathleen Mosko on her concert this week! Her choir sang with Andrea Bocelli at the MGM and she managed to give him a copy of her book.


The West side meeting is tomorrow, November 28th at 6:30 p.m. in the Skinny Dougan Restaurant near Charleston and Valley View (4127 W. Charleston, zip 89102). Our next weekly meeting will be in room 2C of the Lutheran Church (as usual) on Monday December 3rd at 6:00 p.m.


"I don't know about you, but when I go to the doctor, 
if they start sticking me with stuff I ask questions before I pass out!"

WRITING TIP by Jo Wilkins:

BALANCE. Remember your Narration sets the mood of the story, description sets the place where your scene takes place and your characters attitude, and dialogue delivers the information that moves the story from page to page. If you strive to balance these in each paragraph, scene, and chapter, you will keep the readers interest all the way to the conclusion of your story.  

ARTICLE by Bill Walles:

Better Vs Best 

You're not the best writer. I'm not either. No one is. Ask any critique group.

Best is not a measurable category in writing.

Most working writers I know look for different accolades: "professional," "effective," "powerful," even "better." Such responses often come from trusted, experienced readers who review your work with the clear task of providing information that can improve your writing.

When writers present work to general readers, they make an implied contract to provide entertainment, interesting material, images or ideas the reader will understand in new ways. Strings of words lose their individual separateness on the page and become compelling, flowing content capturing the mind.

Critique sessions run with different dynamics. Critiquers contract to apply common rules of effective, professional prose as the basis of comments to improve the reader's Work In Progress.

Writers accept that critiques from experienced readers won't reflect undifferentiated praise nor opportunities to dig out mistakes or unclear sentences to demonstrate imperfections in prose. Your goal is to assist each colleague to write at a professional level. Your job is to identify fundamentals of writing that do not work in the presentation. You search for elements of structure, setting, characters, dialogue, clarity, theme, and so on which impede the reading experience, unsettling the core contract between every reader and writer.

You know the reader is always "right." The reader makes the final decision about any writer's prose. Whether readers find the writer interesting, provocative, enjoyable, or not quite up to expectation, the writer has words alone, nothing more, to make her case. Readers don't have the writer available to explain breaks in logic, confusing constructions, details differing from previous chapters, unmet expectations, or muddled language clouding intent and the reader's understanding.

Therefore, you limit nitpick comments when they belong to editing rather than to meaning.

At the end of a critique, the writer should “hear" the impact her prose made on the experienced readers of the group. Did these professional readers understand what the writer intended or did they experience something else? Critiques should be heard and digested not debated. Critiques are pre-publication opportunities for thoughtful review.

The toughest comments (and often the most instructive) to hear are: I didn't understand what you were getting at; this didn't connect with previous chapters; this was boring. Ouch.

Even strong, capable writers miss the mark. Your best efforts can leave good readers confused. Critiques build intimate venues where growing writers present WIP to trusted readers who make the work better.

When the work is better, every writer wins. Critique groups are in the process of building writers in this too lonely business. Better writing lifts the world with creativity and ideas. Good content makes a difference in an inarticulate world.

Better is the best we can target.

1 comment:

  1. Hey everybody, I'm too sick to go tonight but maybe there's others of you who might enjoy this. Sid G.

    University Forum Lecture

    Topic: Pitfalls, Perseverance, and Serendipity: What I Learned by Writing a Biography
    Date: Thursday November 29, 2012
    Time: 7:30 p.m. – Barrick Museum Auditorium
    Speaker: Darlene Unrue, Professor, Department of English, UNLV
    Description: Professor Unrue began the research and writing of a biography of the American author Katherine Anne Porter with specific assumptions about the challenges that lay ahead. However, by the time she finished the biography, all of her early assumptions had been abandoned. What she learned during what she called “a great adventure” she could never have imagined.
    All events are free, and no reservation is necessary; simply attend at the time and place shown.


Upcoming Events & Places for Writers & Readers

At the Henderson Writers Group we support education and events around the Las Vegas Valley

Las Vegas Writers Conference

April 18-20, 2013

Annual Student Writing Contest

The Henderson Writers Group is serious about educating writers. We believe that our youth, specifically students, are the place to start. To further these efforts we have established this writing contest to award scholarships to the best of these budding authors.
See Website for details & submission guidelines.

Vegas Valley Book Festival


Clark County Nevada Libraries