Welcome!

About Us

CSWriters is unlike any other writing group in the Springs. We're a serious, yet fun group of writers who approach our craft with expert resources and weekly manuscript critiques.

Relaxing Atmosphere

We meet weekly, working together in a relaxed atmosphere of friends, fellow writers, cozy rooms, and the world's best coffee.

Our Mission

We work together to help everyone one of us perfect our writing craft, with the ultimate goal of successfully publishing our work. After all, we're aspiring authors, too!

We're Professionals

Our team of published writers begin each meeting with a guided discussion on key topics, and end with small group critique sessions designed to hone our writing skills.

Membership

Our modest $12 annual fee covers the cost of this website and hosting the group on Meetup. If you'd like to join us, please use the link in the upper right-hand corner of the page. We hope to see you at a meeting soon!

Services
dinner and a movie

Potluck Dinner and a Movie!

I’m hoping for some snowy cold so we can enjoy hot apple cider beside a nice, roaring fire!  I have new chairs for the table, a much larger TV, and the same stellar surround sound system. Dinner and a Movie Nights are always fun.  🙂 5:30 pm:  Arrive 6:00 pm:  Eat 7:00:  The Movie Begins!  Title TBD, but what would you like to see?  Please let me know at the meetings.  🙂 What would you like for dinner?  Options include Christmas leftovers, Hungarians Goulash, Shepherd’s Pie, Stew, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup, Lemon Chicken on Rice, Stewed Chicken with Andouille, Florentine Meatballs, Winter Minestrone Soup, French Onion Soup with a blanket of Cheese, Beef Paprikash, Four-Cheese Pasta with Ham and Peas… All sorts of options!

Jeff Gerke

Guest Speaker – Jeff Gerke! Topic: Hack Your Reader’s Brain

6:00 – 7:30:  Guest Speaker – Jeff Gerke!   Grab a cup of joe, maybe a plate from Agia Sophia’s enjoyable menu, sit back, and relax. Catch up with old friends. Make some new ones.  Then… Tonight, Jeff Gerke will be gracing our table with a presentation on his newest book, where he tackles the ticklish topic of how to Hack Your Reader’s Brain.  We will soon begin studying this book after we finish his The First 50 Pages, so now would be a good time to buy the book online and have it handy for taking notes while listening to Jeff! Review:  “Hack Your Reader’s Brain is the first book I would suggest novelists read before or during writing. Jeff has broken the power of fiction down to the very basics of how good fiction actually affects the human brain, how it makes us feel if we do it right. Other writing books contain some […]

character relationships

The Craft: Swain’s Creating Characters, Ch 4 – Fleshing Out

6:00 – 7:30:  The Craft:  Swain’s Creating Characters, Chapter 4:  Fleshing Out Grab a cup of Agia Sophia’s world class coffee, maybe a food from their menu, sit back, and relax. Catch up with old friends. Make some new ones. Tonight we’ll be cracking open Chapter 4 of Dwight V. Swain’s Creating Characters:  How to Build Story People, answering the key question all writers want to know (or need to know): How do you make a character real? “Labeling — assigning a story person a dominant impression — is a primary step in character creation.  But a dominant impression alone doesn’t go far enough.  Leave it at that and Character will end up a stick figure at best — a caricature, not a person.  If he’s to be of any real use to you, you need to flesh him out, develop the picture of him in more detail, internally and externally, […]

main character

The Craft:  The First 50 Pages (Gerke) – Ch 5 – Introduce Your Main Character

6:00 – 7:30:  The Craft:  The First 50 Pages (Gerke) – Ch 5 – Introduce Your Main Character Grab a cup of joe, maybe a plate from Agia Sophia’s enjoyable menu, sit back, and relax. Catch up with old friends. Make some new ones.  Then… Last Friday we covered Swain’s Creating Characters, reviewing how important it is to craft our characters’ labels as they’re introduced. Tonight, we’ll be learning how to introduce our main character. Homework:  Print a single page (one side only) of your own main character’s introduction.  We will use this during our discussion. Side Trails:  We will also be reading short excerpts from two others books, but there’s no need for you to purchase them, as we’re only covering about 2% of either of them each week.  However, in case you’re wondering, they are: – The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists:  Insider Secrets from Top Writers by […]

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The Craft: Swain’s Creating Characters, Ch 3 – Labels, Labels

6:00 – 7:30:  The Craft:  Swain’s Creating Characters, Chapter 3:  Labels, Labels Grab a cup of joe, maybe a plate from Agia Sophia’s enjoyable menu, sit back, and relax. Catch up with old friends. Make some new ones.  Then… Last Friday we enjoyed Dinner and a Movie! Tonight we’ll be cracking open Chapter 3 of Dwight V. Swain’s Creating Characters:  How to Build Story People.  We’ll be answering the question as to “Why do you label a character,” and showing how to provide your reader with clues as to how he or she can recognize your story people. Rabid Trails:  I may also be reading short excerpts from two others books, but there’s no need for you to purchase them, as we’re only covering about 2% of either of them each week.  However, in case you’re wondering, they are: The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists:  Insider Secrets from Top Writers by […]

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Potluck Dinner and a Movie – Gabrielle’s

Yeah!  No homework! Dinner and a Movie Nights are always fun.  🙂 5:30 pm:  Begin arriving. 6:00 pm:  Start eating. 7:00:  The Movie Begins! (Title TBD – we’ll select it soon) Gabrielle will be making a scrumptious main dish, but as this is a potluck, please bring some side dishes and perhaps one or two deserts.  Leftovers return home with their owners.

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The Craft:  The First 50 Pages (Gerke) – Ch 4 – Engage Your Reader

6:00 – 7:30:  The Craft:  The First 50 Pages (Gerke) – Ch 4 – Engage Your Reader Grab a cup of joe, maybe a plate from Agia Sophia’s enjoyable menu, sit back, and relax. Catch up with old friends. Make some new ones.  Then… Last Friday we covered Swain’s Creating Characters, discovering how the writer needs to be adept at both casting semblances of him or herself, as well as trying on entirely unfamiliar character molds. Tonight, we’ll be studying how to Engage Your Reader. Side Trails:  We will also be reading short excerpts from two others books, but there’s no need for you to purchase them, as we’re only covering about 2% of either of them each week.  However, in case you’re wondering, they are: – The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists:  Insider Secrets from Top Writers by Andrew McAleer – Writing Down the Bones:  Freeing the Writer Within […]

character

The Craft: Swain’s Creating Characters, Chapter 2

6:00 – 7:30:  The Craft:  Swain’s Creating Characters, Chapter 2:  Searching Out Your Characters Grab a cup of joe, maybe a plate from Agia Sophia’s enjoyable menu, sit back, and relax. Catch up with old friends. Make some new ones.  Then… Last Friday we covered Chapter 3 of Gerke’s First 50 Pages, where once again, we revisited key elements of Mastering the Craft. Tonight we’ll be cracking open Chapter 2 of Dwight V. Swain’s Creating Characters:  How to Build Story People.  “Building a character begins with deciding which character to build.”  One can’t template a character and expect good things.  Although knowing the character archetypes described by Vogler in “The Writer’s Journey” can be very helpful, your character must feel right and sit well with you.  You’re looking for a character “who both fits your story’s requirements and excites you.”  “Finding a character means personifying — that is, giving human form […]

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The Craft: The First 50 Page (Gerke) – Ch 3 – Three Bombs

6:00 – 7:30:  The Craft:  The First 50 Page (Gerke) – Ch 3 – Three Bombs Grab a cup of joe, maybe a plate from Agia Sophia’s enjoyable menu, sit back, and relax. Catch up with old friends. Make some new ones.  Then… Last Friday we covered Motivation Reaction Units, the small-scale structure of a scene.  The motivation is both external objective, something that your character senses, as does the reader through the words of the text.  Both will react, an internal and subjective thing, in a sequence based on what’s physiologically possible, and presented in such a way that your reader experiences it as well, beginning with raw emotion, then instinctual reaction (a reflex), before beginning to react rationally (or irrationally, as sometimes happens).  Only then does the brain kick in.  The key is to keep them in their proper time order, from fastest time-scale to slowest, in order to […]

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Mastering the Craft – Three Perspectives

I often share comments like, “You might think we’ve covered this before, and to a limited extent, you’d be right!  But mastering the craft is all about covering the elements again and again, from different angles, so as to learn new things.”  I do this because no matter how many times we cover a topic, there’s always so much more to learn, not only about that particular topic, but also about how these topics integrate into a cohesive whole. Throughout history, trades such as carpentry, masonry, and plumbing codified various skill levels to ensure that workers would learn all the skills required at the lower levels before being allowed to learn, then be responsible for, the skills required at higher levels. The earliest guilds were associations of artisans or merchants who oversaw the practice of their craft in a particular town.  Guilds began with “frith” or “peace” guilds, groups who […]