Group Closed

Sorry, this group no longer exists, as far as I know.

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March Meeting Notes – Improv Session

One Word at a Time March 12, 2015 Meeting

Was it the draw of a raffle prize that beefed up meeting attendance or the lure of an engaging guest speaker? Perhaps it was the shift to the smaller Lillie Room where the walls didn’t absorb voices and there were no tables to act as barriers to the free flow of conversation. We didn’t poll. We simply enjoyed the camaraderie of a large group of returning and new members.

Lynne Ryder, an actress and writer, came in with a mission – to loosen up our creative muscles – and she brought the enthusiasm of a drill instructor. Using improv exercises, she had even the shyest of writers jumping in to participate in her games. A version of “Follow the leader” loosened up the inhibitions that so many of us shelter behind.

A game called “What are you Doing” had everyone laughing and trying to top each other with incongruous visual and verbal cues. Then came the “Home Shopping Network” game and the crux of the improv workshop. Working with an assortment of oddball objects and tasked to present not the object, but something that object inspired, teams of two filled the room with the brilliant and ridiculous.

The game brought to mind the late Robin Williams and his appearance on the Actor’s Studio. He borrowed a shawl from an audience member and proceeded to do five minutes of improv. Exactly what we were doing. Entertaining ideas, exploring options and creating images without rhyme or reason, just letting imagination fly.

While catching our breath, Evergreen and I read the essays that were submitted. Common themes were quite apparent. People expressed a strong desire for community and feedback, and for speakers that have had success in writing to discuss the journey. A winner was selected by blind drawing.  Congratulations to Rick.

After a final wild version of the Party game from Who’s Life is it Anyway, we retired with fewer inhibitions and an arsenal of techniques to hopefully break writer’s block in the future. Thank you Lynne for a hilarious night.

Lisa Iriarte said it best. We are writers because we can’t not write. Traditionally published, self published, unpublished, exorcising daily demons or playing in the lily fields of our minds, we have to write or go mad. A lonely profession, it helps to know that there are like minds out there and we can get together and bounce ideas off one another.

If you’ve missed us, come join us at our April meeting. Hart Library, Downtown Kissimmee, new hours 7 – 8:30 pm.

Written by Pat

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FWA and the RPLA

Not everyone may know, but our group is sponsored by The Florida Writer’s Association, an organization whose motto is “writers helping writers”. I attended their annual conference last weekend and was struck, yet again, by what an amazing and warm group of people they are.

One of the highlights of the conference is the Royal Palm Literary Awards which are given out on Saturday. I was pleased to have my own novel, Birds Of A Feather, place 3rd in the Fantasy category. I had entered the previous year as well, but didn’t even make it as a semi-finalist. That submission was at the beginning of my “I’m going to get serious about writing” decision, before I’d found a critique group, gone to any conferences, and had only touched the surface of what I needed to learn to advance my writing craft. It’s nice to have validation that my skills have improved so much since then. Even the version of my novel as it is now, is, I’m sure, significantly better than what I submitted for the contest, so many months ago.

I think that entering the RPLA competition is a very good way to get honest, useful, feedback about your writing. Last year’s rubrics (I don’t have this year’s yet), pointed out some problems in my story that had never occurred to me. I knew what *I* meant, after all. It’s also one of the cheapest contests I know of that provides feedback on such large amounts of your work (the whole manuscript if you make it past the first two judges).

If you have a finished, or mostly finished story, or if you will have one by spring (Nanowrimo, anyone?), you should consider planning to enter this contest. They have a large array of categories, for both fiction and non-fiction, published and not-yet-published, flash fiction to full-length novels, and screenplays. The contest fee is lowest if you enter early (unfortunately, I always end up entering late).

The guidelines aren’t up for next year yet, but that’s no reason to wait to work on your submission. Nor is there a reason to wait until January 1st to make entering it a goal for next year. So pick up your pens, pencils, or keyboards, and start working on those stories!*

*Unless you write fantasy, because I don’t need any more competition (just kidding).

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January – Meet The Seymour Agency

Our January meeting was fortunate enough to feature The Seymour Agency. Along with their agent, Nicole Resciniti, quite a few authors talked about their writing process and answered our questions.

The list of authors:

Cole Gibsen – YA/NA

Diane O’Key – Historical Romance

Kait Bellenger – Dark Paranormal Romance

Kelly Irvin – Amish Fiction

Jennifer Beckstrand – Amish Fiction

Lynnette Austin – Contemporary Romance

Marisa Cleveland – Contemporary & Paranormal Romance

Nikki Urang – YA Contemporary

Patricia Bradley – Romantic Suspense/Inspirational

Ruth Reid – Amish Fiction with Paranormal elements

Tonya Kuper – YA Sci-Fi & NA

The session was also attended by popular blogger Barbary Vey, who mentioned it in this post.

In addition to the time with the authors, we were also invited to pitch Nicole Resciniti after the meeting. Several of us took advantage of this generous offer and I know at least some of us walked away with requests for more (I didn’t have a chance to ask everyone).

Our next meeting is on February 13th and will feature multi-winner Ann Meier to talk about FWA’s annual RPLA writing contest.

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Test Post

Just needed a post to check the layout.

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