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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 […]

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Our Evolutionary Heritage

Wow.  Where do I start?  Perhaps the monkey movies (Planet of the Apes franchise) have precipitated this ridiculous line of inquiry that I feel I must respond. So many evolutionary-believing folks would like to point out, erringly, that we are so very close to our primate brethren that it’s ridiculous we should exist in any sort of antagonistic relationship with them. Yeah, I’m sorry, but even humans discovered in remote locations engage in cannibalism, as have multiple ape communities, including those where individuals show clear signs that they strongly disapprove. Congratulations.  We humans are primates.  We feel, deeply, even for the fall of our closely related, even distantly related species We are not, however, apes,  for reasons different than their cute monkey-face cuddlisms (anthropomorphisms). Truth be told, some apes attack, kill, and devour other apes, even within their own local groups, the same as some of the more remote societies […]

elevator pitch

The Seven Deadly Elements of a Drop-Dead Gorgeous Elevator Pitch

Last night we learned about The Seven Deadly Elements of a Drop-Dead Gorgeous Elevator Speech (Pitch).  We learned that it doesn’t really matter whether you’re pitching an idea to the boss in big business or pitching your novel to a literary agent.  The key elements remain the same.  When you pitch your work to a literary agent, you’re selling both yourself and your work.  The purpose is generally the same for everyone:  Publish your work.  Your approach should be unique, either counterintuitive or innovative, that sets you apart from others.  You should clearly introduce yourself and your work, along with how you can help the agent’s own success.  Demonstrate to them that you have done your homework by starting a dialogue, rather than chasing them away.  If they ask, “Tell me more,” then reply with a short story that defines your history and accomplishments, phrasing both in the context of the […]

character arc

Character: Casting Shadows

Friday, January 13, 2017, we’re covering Chapter 2 of our text:  Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Writing Fiction. A woman who taught creative writing in a pediatrics ward once asked a thirteen year old girl, “Why do you enjoy reading?”  After a few minutes of continued reading, the girl looked up at the woman and said, “Because I get to meet lots of different people.” “When you read fiction, you are, first and foremost, meeting people.  Characters are the core of a story and interact with or influence every other element of fiction.  Characters are what drive a story, carrying the reader from the first to the last page, making readers care.” Join us this evening as we examine Character:  Casting Shadows, exploring the human nature of our characters in an altogether new light: – The Beat of Desire – Human Complexity, including contrasting traits and consistency – The Ability to Change […]

M. L. Rowland

M. L. Rowland Visits CSWriters!

M. L. Rowland, accomplished author of murder-mystery novels with a search and rescue theme, graced our group this evening.  She discussed a myriad of topics, including the distinguishing features between mystery, thriller, and suspense, as well as how she began writing novels, some of the backstories behind her characters, and where she’s going from here. Join CSWriters on Meetup.com to meet other great novelists and learn more about the writing craft!

CSWriters on Facebook

CSWriters is now on Facebook!

Following a suggestion from one of our members, I decided to create a Facebook group where our members could share our group with their friends.  It’s a “closed group” only in the sense that not everyone on the planet can become a member.  Current members must add their friends to the group.  Here’s what our page looks like:

back to basics

CSWriters Goes Back to Basics…

I’m really looking forward to continuing our group on Meetup.com.  It’s not that I’m a huge fan of Meetup.  It’s that I’m a huge fan of CSWriters. Formerly WritersWrite!, CSWriters has taken shape as the premier small group writing group here in Colorado Springs.  Some groups charge $30 per meeting.  Our membership dues are 100 times lower, just a quarter per meeting, payable in $12 per year.  For that price, you get the same benefits of larger groups, including guest speakers, world-class material, discussion groups, and critique nights.  Moreover, we’re not stingy with critiquing one another’s work.  Our group is for serious writers!  Other groups meet once a month.  Other groups select three members to critique. Here are CSWriters, we offer world-class content, discussion, and critique sessions each and every week to all attendees.  For a quarter. We’re not in it to make money.  We do this because we love […]

typewriter and wine

First CSWriters Meeting Back on Meetup!

CSWriters is back on Meetup!  On Thursday, August 20, CSWriters met at our usual place (Agia Sophia) and time (6:30 pm) to discuss the fine art of writing, critique one another’s work, and have fun.  Naturally, it was a success, with one individual returning who sort of lost us for a month as we transitioned to CSWriters.com and then back to CSWriters on Meetup.com Why did we transition to CSWriters.com, and why are we back up on Meetup? We left Meetup on July 5th because their rates are just too darn high.  It should not cost any company $190 a year to provide a couple of megabytes of storage space and the same automated tools duplicated over tens of thousands of Meetup groups.  So, we moved to CSWriters.com i.e. this website. We moved back because the WordPress plugins for duplicating Meetup’s functions are not mature enough to seamlessly handle the […]