Blog Posts

Dinner and a Movie

Potluck Dinner and a Movie Night! At Steve’s, NOT Agia Sophia

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 in group) I’ll be making my famous spaghetti bolognesa, but as this is a potluck, please bring alternative main and side dishes.  Leftovers return home with their owners. We do need someone to commit to bringing a loaf of french bread, another to bring a head of lettuce, and another to bring a couple of tomatoes and a cucumber for the salad.  Please arrive early so we have time to make/bake it.

Save the Cat

The Craft: Save the Cat! Part 3 of 4

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:  Save the Cat!  Part 3 of 4 Tonight we will be discussing Chapters 5 and 6 of Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. Save the Cat! is widely considered the best how-to book on screenplays ever written. Why screenplays?  I thought this group was about writing fiction novels… First, the approach to writing screenplays is considerably different than writing a fiction novel.  However, learning about how to write good screenplays will help you to become a significantly more effective writer.  As with any good novel, good movies must successfully engage the viewer and leave his or her substantially moved, in a good way, so they’ll come back for more. Consider it literary cross-training.  🙂 Second, Blake […]

Save the Cat

The Craft: Save the Cat! Part 2 of 4

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:  Save the Cat!  Part 2 of 4 Tonight we will be discussing Chapters 3 and 4 of Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. Save the Cat! is widely considered the best how-to book on screenplays ever written. Why screenplays?  I thought this group was about writing fiction novels… First, the approach to writing screenplays is considerably different than writing a fiction novel.  However, learning about how to write good screenplays will help you to become a significantly more effective writer.  As with any good novel, good movies must successfully engage the viewer and leave his or her substantially moved, in a good way, so they’ll come back for more. Consider it literary cross-training.  🙂 Second, Blake […]

Save the Cat

The Craft: Save the Cat! Part 1 of 4

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:  Save the Cat!  Part 1 of 4 Tonight we will be discussing Chapters 1 and 2 of Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder. Save the Cat! is widely considered the best how-to book on screenplays ever written. Why screenplays?  I thought this group was about writing fiction novels… First, the approach to writing screenplays is considerably different than writing a fiction novel.  However, learning about how to write good screenplays will help you to become a significantly more effective writer.  As with any good novel, good movies must successfully engage the viewer and leave his or her substantially moved, in a good way, so they’ll come back for more. Consider it literary cross-training.  🙂 Second, Blake […]

business of writing

The Craft: Part 2 of 2: GWW Ch 11 – The Business of Writing: Driving Yourself Nuts for Fun and Profit

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:  Part 2 of 2:  GWW Ch 11 – The Business of Writing:  Driving Yourself Nuts for Fun and Profit Tonight we’re wrapping things up with the last chapter of our text:  Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Writing Fiction. “The writing life.  Why do so many crave it?  Few professions hold the degree of uncertainty that writers endure.  The emotional and financial ups and downs are extreme.  Nevertheless, I’ve yet to go to a party where nine out of ten people — successful, rational people — don’t want to be writers. “If you’re reading this, then I assume you […]

business of writing

The Craft: Part 1 of 2: GWW Ch 11 – The Business of Writing: Driving Yourself Nuts for Fun and Profit

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:  Part 1 of 2:  GWW Ch 11 – The Business of Writing:  Driving Yourself Nuts for Fun and Profit Tonight we’re wrapping things up with the last chapter of our text:  Gotham Writers’ Workshop, Writing Fiction. “The writing life.  Why do so many crave it?  Few professions hold the degree of uncertainty that writers endure.  The emotional and financial ups and downs are extreme.  Nevertheless, I’ve yet to go to a party where nine out of ten people — successful, rational people — don’t want to be writers. “If you’re reading this, then I assume you […]

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 […]