Blog Posts

revision

The Craft: GWW Ch 10 – Revision: Real Writers Revise

Please note the slight time change, arrive at 6 pm, and be ready to roll into our study by 6:15! 6:00 – 6:15: Social 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. 6:15 – 7:30:  The Craft:  GWW Ch 10 – Revision:  Real Writers Revise Tonight we’re covering Chapter 10 of our text:  Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Writing Fiction. Such a grueling, but necessary subject.  It seems like we’ve done this one to death, but we haven’t, and here’s why:  We have yet to produce a novel worthy of an agent’s or a publisher’s eyes.  We’re getting there, but until we do, we need to cover this. Just not “again.” Like most of the GWW’s material, their chapter on revision contains material we have not covered before.  This time, we’re not going to talk […]

arena

Introduction to Motivation-Reaction Units

Please note the new venue. Also, the schedule and venue is tentative at this time.  We’re sorry this particular location is not a coffee shop, but our regular location remains full of coffee.  Feel free to BYO tasty non-alcoholic beverage. 6:00 – 6:15 — Social 6:15 – 6:25 — Introductions and Welcome 6:25 – 7:25 — Intro to Motivation-Reaction Units Dwight V. Swain coined the term “motivation-reaction unit” (MRU) in his book Techniques of the Selling Writer. He wrote that it’s the first of only four things you need to know in order to write a solid story. Randy Ingermanson loves MRUs, but he thinks the name is horrible. And MRUs were one of the inspirations for “Scotty’s rules of ownership” on paragraph construction. But what are MRUs and what are they good for? First, they are a basic small-scale structure of fiction, on the level of sentences or paragraphs. […]

theme

The Craft: GWW Ch 9 – Theme: So What’s Your Story Really All About?

Please note the slight time change, arrive at 6 pm, and be ready to roll into our study by 6:15! 6:00 – 6:15: Social 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. 6:15 – 7:30:  The Craft:  GWW Ch 9 – Theme:  So What’s Your Story Really All About? Tonight we’re covering Chapter 9 of our text:  Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Writing Fiction. Ah, Theme!  Interestingly enough, defining the theme of your novel or short story is perhaps one of the hardest, yet most important things for any writer to do.  If the writer doesn’t fully understand the ins and outs of their theme, their readers won’t “get it,” and potential agents and publishers will just blink. Yes, we’ll cover the definition of “theme,” but we’ll focus most of our effort on “Know Thy […]

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 […]

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

6:00 – 6:15: Social Grab a great cup of coffee and selection from Agia Sophia’s menu, sit back, and relax. Catch up with old friends. Make some new ones. 6:15 – 7:30:  The One (or Two) Liner aka “The Seven Deadly Elements of a Drop-Dead Gorgeous Elevator Speech” Last night (seriously) I was on the phone with an agent, and he asked me to provide a short synopsis of my novels.  I had a couple of canned responses, but I wound up winging it, as would any of us if we were actually caught in an elevator with an agent! Here’s what I told him: Ok, here’s a synopsis of my first book, Dead in a Red Dress:  John Degha, a former OSS commando during World War II, struggles to find his footing six years after the war.  During a late-night gig as a private detective, his world is shattered when […]

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!

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Guest Speaker – M.L. Rowland on the Nature of Suspense

6:30 – 7:00:  Social.  Grab a cup of joe, maybe a plate of Agia Sophia’s scrumptious food, sit back, and relax.  Catch up with old friends.  Make some new ones. 7:00 – 8:00:  Guest Speaker – M.L. Rowland on the Nature of Suspense M. L. Rowland is the successful author of four murder-mysteries: ZeroDegree Murder Murder off the Beaten Path Murder on the Horizon From M.L. Rowland:  “Good morning! “Murder on the Horizon,” the third book in my Search and Rescue mystery series published by Penguin Random House releases August 4, 2015. I spent a dozen years as an active member of a busy Search and Rescue (SAR) team in the mountains of southern California. Much of what I write about in my books is based on my SAR experiences. I live in Colorado and am inquiring about the possibility of being a guest speaker at one of your meetings, […]

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 […]