Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Feb 25th Meeting Report

Monday night about 28 of us gathered last night to listen to a great presentation from HWG member Wolf O'Rourc on using Microsoft Word in writing, and then heard and critiqued 3 readers. In lieu of an article in this newsletter, I'll share a few of the useful tips I gained from Wolf's great presentation "Microsoft Word Magic for Authors."
1. Did you know autocorrect can be manipulated to do much more than change "teh" to "the"? Tired of typing the long name of your main character over and over again? Simply tell autocorrect that "Bw" means "Bartholomew" and you can save yourself some key strokes.

2. If you don't use the style feature in your writing (your chapter titles should be formatted as headings!) then you should start doing so now! Using a style allows for quick formatting changes (which could save you weeks of work if you are self publishing), and an automatically updating table of contents.

3. The show formatting feature (or show and hid button, a.k.a. the 'shock you out of your mind' button) can be very useful in solving a "why can't I get this paragraph/chapter break..." to look the right way.

4. And did you know that you can jump from heading to table of contents (naturally, your chapter titles are all formatted as headings, right?), with Ctrl-Click? And using Go To you can jump from heading to heading. No more scrolling slowly down down down down through my two hundred page draft for me!

5. Find and replace can be used for more than words. Are you self publishing with Smashwords, who recently informed you that they don't want any tabs in your document? How long will it take you to manually go through and delete the several hundred tabs that begin each paragraph? Wouldn't you rather tell Word to replace each tab character (^t) with a paragraph mark? Boom! In just a minute you're finished.

Wolf ended his presentation with a reminder that the most powerful magic of all is google. Have a question about how to format something in Word? (or Open Office or whatever writing tool you use.) Someone else has already asked the same question. Forums and "how-to" pages are out there waiting to help you.


Our elections are coming up March 25th. We will vote at that Monday meeting, and any member who would like to vote but can not attend the meeting can vote by absentee ballot.

Would you like to do some acting? Audrey Balzart's film class at Nevada State College is putting together an advanced production cast. They want to get a good list of people willing to be in short films. If you're interested please contact Audrey at audrey101 [at] aol [dot] com.


Congratulations to Donald Riggio on receiving the first paper proof of Beyond Vinyl. Donald and Nancy Sansone will be having a joint book launch at the Coffee Bean, time and date not yet decided.

Congratulations to Gigi Honour on reading this last Monday for the first time!


"Will headings make your table of contents for you?"



The West Side meeting is today, Wednesday Feb 27th, at 6:30 p.m. at Skinny Dugans.
Next Monday, March 4th, we are meeting at 6:30 at the Albertson's in Henderson.

WRITING TIP from Jo Wilkins:

"The companions to drama are conflict, crisis, and tension. Nothing in real life comes without these elements; our work should contain them too? If you write thrillers, show us the torment of a werewolf thinking of the full moon coming tomorrow night. When he wakes in the forest the morning after, show his distress & anguish over never wanting this transformation to happen again & his horror over, seeing the blood on his hands, thinking of what he might have done. Let your readers live this anguish with your character."


Sometimes when struggling with writer's block a good writing book can give you some good direction about how to improve your writing.

We had a short discussion about useful writing books last night. Several of our members had checked out "The Emotion Thesaurus" and recommended it as a good reference. "Tell Don't Show" was also mentioned as a fantastic writing aid, and several other titles were shared such as: "The Ultimate Fiction Thesaurus," "Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View," "Be a Sex Writing Strumpet," and "How to Write Descriptions of Eyes and Faces."


Can be viewed in this post for now. I'll put a new one on the next newsletter. Keep in mind that our Writer's Conference is coming up! April 18th is only 50 days away.


  1. Jenny, I think the nominations for officers made last Monday should have been included in the newsletter and info about absentee ballots.

  2. Knowing who has been nominated so far would be good to know. See you all at Skinny Dugans tonight. I love the Skinny Dugans meeting. We have our own, quiet room, our own waitress in a comfortable atmosphere. You can have a soda or a cocktail, or have something to eat. The Chicago style pizza is great!
    Hope to see you there.


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