Diamond Valley Writers' Guild

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Summary of March 25, 2017 Meeting


Two aspects of Saturday’s meeting stick with me today as I reflect. One, it was smaller and somehow more intimate and personal. And perhaps because of that, several people mentioned challenges they’re facing in life. I was moved by their candor, and by the warmth they received from the group. This is the richness of the Guild, to my mind.

Chuck Sims dropped in to share creative inspiration and encourage us to think about writing plays. He mentioned this at our last two meetings, and if you’re interested in submitting your script to him, his email address is chasasi@aol.com.

Courage by HittJim Hitt has compiled a great collection of videos on his YouTube channel. These are his own productions, filmed and edited in his home studio. I enjoyed wandering around on his site, but his series, Looking for Literary America, is especially outstanding. Click here to see what I mean: http://bit.ly/2nCP7rc

Jim also shared that he recently published his new novel, The Courage of Others, on Open Book Publishers. His book is here and the publisher is here. I read Courage and was happy to give it a 5-star review.

At our meeting, I shared a tip for character development, from Writers’ Digest magazine. There’s an aspect of writing called “managing the status of your character,” which means your characters must speak and act in a way that maintains the status you’ve chosen for them. Thus if Jack is a fool and Jill is a queen, they must behave in relation to their status. For example, eye contact (in North America) conveys dominance, while dropping one’s glance conveys the opposite. Powerful Jill would never shriek or squeal, but Jack might. For more on that, check out this article from WD. For a quick at-a-glance chart of same, click here.

Carolyn Straub is now a contributor to The Valley Chronicle. Her latest article, Make-A-Wish Grants Hemet Boy’s Super Bowl Dream, was published in the March 10, 2017 issue. It’s inspiring on many levels (although heartbreaking to this Grammy), but I include it here to inspire you to perhaps check with Carolyn and find out how she approached the Chronicle. You may want to do the same, and see your work in print.

Debby's books in banner

We were grateful to our speaker, Debby Johnson, who spoke with us on the topic of Writing Children’s Books from A-Z. Debby is a writer, speaker, and business woman. She hates bullies (a theme in her writing), and maybe because of that, has earned black-belt status in karate. She is also an instructor.

Debby has published three children’s books (see above), a book on the writing craft, and a book of poetry. Her informative and wide-ranging talk included:

  • Do’s, don’ts, and tips for writing and producing a children’s book that kids will love (see attached “Notes and Ideas” handout.)
  • In addition to the children’s book author organizations listed on the handout, she mentioned a third: Children’s Book Insider.
  • How to market your children’s book (tip: visit libraries, and plan to read at local elementary schools as a way of getting to know the librarians.)
  • You might want to check out the upcoming Writers’ Weekend at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA.
  • Debby also gave us ideas for how to find an illustrator and how to work with him or her.

Two of my grandkids (ages 4 and 6) have been lobbying for a book about themselves, since I’m an “offer,” they are expecting this. After hearing Debby speak, I feel motivated to get those projects going. I’ll bring them to the group when finished (nothing like holding my own feet to the fire, right?)

NEXT MONTH a panel of three expert memoir writers will discuss important aspects of penning a memoir, including character, plot, point of view, dialogue, setting, pacing, theme, and more. Hope to see you at the Hemet downtown library on April 22, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Lynne SpreenThis blog post was prepared by Lynne Spreen, President of the DVWG. Lynne is a pro-aging advocate. She is a blogger, speaker, and author of midlife fiction. You may access her website here and her books here.






  1. I would like to make a suggestion that prior to a scheduled meeting, that an e-mail blast be sent as a reminder about the upcoming meeting. Most people are very busy, and a reminder would be helpful.

    Sincerely Cliff Vail

    On Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 9:31 AM, Diamond Valley Writers’ Guild wrote:

    > Diamond Valley Writers’ Guild posted: ” Two aspects of Saturday’s meeting > stick with me today as I reflect. One, it was smaller and somehow more > intimate and personal. And perhaps because of that, several people > mentioned challenges they’re facing in life. I was moved by their candor, > and by t” >


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