From the Keyboard to the Café: Women Who Write Brunch at Café Beethoven
by Michelle Hollander
Although not as “wired” as, say, my teenage daughter or the “millennials” who are supposedly taking over the workplace (I haven’t seen it yet myself, but I’m waiting, with a little trepidation), I proudly admit that I was one of the Women Who Write members who lobbied for an online group. And when the wonderful Melissa Azarian actually set the wheels in motion, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. After all, getting to a library, coffee shop or someone’s home (including my own) on a regular basis had become more than I could commit to, and interacting via email freed me from scheduling constraints.
Much as I’d hoped, the new group quickly gained momentum, as the members started to exchange submissions and critiques. We got to know each other a little through our emails, but for the most part, we focused on what we’d written. Then something wonderful happened: several of us attended the September conference and had the opportunity to put faces and voices with names and stories. Still, busy with the conference and split among the different tracks, our time together was fairly limited.
And then something even more wonderful happened: one member decided to attend the WWW brunch on January 12, emailed the rest of the group, and soon, most of us sent in checks. The result of spending a couple of hours together “offline” at Café Beethoven? A veritable symphony of lively discussion about ourselves, our families, jobs, writing ambitions, blogging, tweeting, and many other topics, further enhanced by the company of other women writers and lots of delicious food.
I remain enthusiastic about the flexibility of the group’s format, but I can also see how, after just two short hours of talking across a real table, the discussion has moved in different and exciting directions. Will we continue to share our writing via email? Sure, but will we also try to meet in person occasionally? Absolutely.
When: Monday, April 29, 2013
Where: The College of St. Elizabeth’s
Address: 2 Convent Road, Morristown, NJ 07960
Driving from Madison towards Morristown (on Madison Ave. Rt 124)
- Turn right onto Convent Road (stoplight) at the intersection of Madison Ave. and Convent Road. (Rod’s/Madison Hotel and Church on corners at light where you turn onto Convent Road)
- Travel on Convent Road, go over the railroad tracks, and you will enter the college campus.
- Continue going straight and come to a stop at the security booth stop sign (you can ask the guard for directions to Annunciation Center).
- Bear left at the security booth and travel down the hill to a stop sign, go through the stop sign, go up the hill, and turn left into the
- Annunciation Center parking lot (you will see a sign with arrow).
- Annunciation Center is the large brick building on the far side of the parking lot.
- When you enter the building, go downstairs, the flex classrooms are on the right.
- View it on Google Maps by clicking here.
Special note: All members may pick up their copy at this event. There will be additional copies available for sale at $10.00 per copy. Any members who are not at this reading will receive their copy in the mail. Order your EXTRA print or electronic copies of Goldfinch by clicking this line.
A Night of Hopes and Dreams
Save the Date: Private Event on 1/17/13
Where: Mendham Books
Mendham Shopping Village
84 E Main St.
Mendham, NJ 07945
Jenny Milchman will be discussing her writing/publishing journey, her debut novel, Cover of Snow, and ”how she clung to her dream for 13 years”. Literary agent and author, Lois Winston, will also be presenting. Members from other writing groups as well as WWW Writers are invited to share their mini dream talk (up to 5 min.) regarding their personal writing progress and goals. There will be Q/A and Jenny will be signing her new book, Cover of Snow.
You will be able to meet the author, agent, guests, and others who might help in nourishing your dream.
(The event is free and some of Jenny’s publishing friends will be there,so there will be networking and socializing as well!) There will be food, drinks, and merriment!
If you are interested in participating or would like more information, contact Jenny at 973-605-2837
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WRITERS GROUP’S SECOND CONFERENCE SELLS OUT
By Deborah Amadei
Women Who Write, Inc., a New Jersey based writers collective, held their second writers conference on Sept. 22nd to a sold out crowd at the Madison Community House.
After opening remarks and instructions by Women Who Write President Marie Ascolese and Pat Weissner, attendees dispersed to one of the three writing tracks: prose, poetry or children’s.
The children’s track session, “Revisions, Revisions” targeted writers of children’s stories as well as adult fiction. Presenters Kendra Levin, an editor at Viking Children’s Books and Becca Stumpf, a literary agent at Prospect Agency distilled the revision process into easy steps, from knowing that a revision is always necessary, to addressing your character’s motivation, and examining plot structure, and starting at the right place
In the afternoon, Emma Ledbetter, editorial assistant at Simon & Schuster discussed “Hooks and Openings: Grabbing an Editor’s Attention from the Start.” Editors and agents are inundated with submissions. It only takes a few paragraphs to know whether they will continue reading or put it aside.
Dr. Susan Osborn, a critic, novelist, and poet led the first prose workshop, “Love Thy Villains as Thy Self: Developing Believable Characters.” All characters need to be three dimentional. Even villians have positive values, and attendees were given exercises to discover the depth of a character to make them come alive.
In her session, “She Said What? Creating a Distinctive Narrator’s Voice,” Dr. Rene Steinke, a novelist and editor, had her students write down three sentences that they would say in conversation in order to discover their true voices. Then they were asked to rewrite a short story by the author Grace Paley using one of their own sentences.
Those who signed up for the Poetry track had several treats in store. Award-winning poet, Adele Kenny, gave poets writing prompts on the theme of memory and meaning. She stated, “Let the poem go where it wants to go, then go back and clean it up.” Her specific revision tips were to eliminate all ing’s, prepositions, excess adjectives, and stay in the present tense. Kenny was a reader at the Dodge Poetry Festival in October.
The second presenter, Jean LeBlanc, gave a good lesson on figures of speech, according to attendee Mary Lee Waldron. One example, anaphora, was new to them. The group learned to enhance poetry and make it more meaningful. The handout for this session on simile, metaphor and alliteration will liven up their poetry. Le Blanc is author of the poetry collections, At Any Moment (Backwaters Press, 2010) and Where We Go (Modern English Tanka Press, 2010). She teaches at Sussex County Community College.
Poet Deborah La Veglia critiqued poems and encouraged the poets to send out their work to local NJ journals and magazines. She is the Poetry Director of PoetsWednesday at the Barron Arts Center.
And if that weren’t enough the afternoon talk by Jennie Milchman gave all attendees an overview on what’s going on in the publishing world today and the trends for the future.
In addition to the talks and the workshops, attendees were also able to get individual one on one critiques in all three tracks. “I think the critique sessions were a great opportunity for writers at various levels of experience to get feedback on their work and discuss elements of craft with agents and editors,” Becca Stumpf said.
Emma Ledbetter found this conference to be “friendly, inviting and intimate.” Writers should “read what you write,” she advised. Kendra Levin told the attendees, “Trust your intuition.” “I really liked the atmosphere of the conference,” she said. “It was friendly, supportive, encouraging and craft-oriented.” Lois Winston, an author and literary agent, advised authors to pay attention to proper manuscript formatting. The author’s voice must be compelling or the reader won’t want to continue reading.