Diamond Valley Writers' Guild

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Our Feb Meeting was Fun and Productive

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At our second meeting we learned some great tips for kick-starting your next project.

Author CJ Hernley starts any book by first developing the cover, using the (free) cover creator on CreateSpace.com or KDP.Amazon.com. Once she has an image, she prints it out and hangs it where she can look at it, constantly reminded of the end point (which any coach will tell you is a good visualization technique). Judy Howard handed out descriptions of a mind-mapping process she likes. I spoke about Plotting vs. Pantsing (outlining vs. flying by the seat of your pants when writing), and The Five Versions of Your Novel. The latter is a suggestion, originally developed by Chuck Sambuchino, to create your novel in these five steps, in this order (rather than the reverse, which is what most of us do and is a lot harder):

First, the Logline (also called the One-line or Elevator Pitch)

Second, one or two paragraph synopsis such as you’d use on the back cover of your novel

Third, the two-page synopsis

Fourth, the ten-page synopsis

Fifth, the manuscript itself.

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This was the first meeting where we tried the roundtable format. We three facilitators wanted to hear from the audience too, and after about twenty minutes, they loosened up and began sharing their own strategies and ideas. As the meeting ended, the room remained filled with small groups chatting. This was gratifying for me, because the aim of the Guild is to create a gathering place where writers can visit, learn from, and inspire/motivate each other.

Next month, award-winning author Jim Hitt will talk about how to find your own unique narrative voice. Jim, a former high school English teacher, has helped many a student achieve writing success. I feel lucky to have him as our March 26 speaker.

One benefit of being part of a guild is to show our support when one of us is having a book event. In that vein, I hope you’ll make plans to see George L. Gurney at the Kay Ceniceros Center in Menifee on Wednesday, March 23, at 6:30 p.m. He’ll be talking about his book, A Counterfeit Conspiracy, and he’ll have copies to sign and sell. Let’s show up and make him feel welcome.

Now it’s time for me to get back to my manuscript. I often let other priorities overrule my writing time, but I’m never as happy as when I write. This is a reminder to think about what really matters, folks. Enjoy your writing, and I wish you success.

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