Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October WordWeaver Meeting Minutes & News

Tuesday, October 19th, WordWeavers held their monthly meeting. Rita Durrett, Denise Jarmole, Barbara Shoff, and Jennifer McMurrain were all in attendance. We have met our quota for being an OWFI affiliate. Yay! It isn’t too late to become a member, we accept memberships all year. WordWeavers’ due is 10 dollars and if you'd like to join OWFI through WordWeavers you can for 15 dollars. Joining OWFI without an affiliated group will cost you 25 dollars.

Most of the meeting we discussed vanity press publishing and whether the cost is worth seeing your book published. General conciseness was it is not, and most of the time you’re left with a ton of unsold books hanging out in the trunk of your car.

Denise and Jennifer discussed their upcoming writer’s workshop with William Bernhardt and what they expect to get out of it.

We also discussed Jennifer McMurrain’s short story Fortress. If you have critiques for her you can send them to

Local author, Victoria Burks, has self-published a book called Legacy of Love. Denise read it and said it was better than the Mary Higgins Clark book she’s reading. If it’s in your budget, try to support Ms. Burks. You can e-mail her at for more information.

Barbara Shoff and Rita Durrett will be spending out their work for critique in November. Barbara will be sending out her short story, The Tat, and Rita will be sending out the first chapter to one of her books. Please take time to read the selections for discussion/critique at our next meeting.

A little food for thought for the next meeting, fund raising. Everybody is watching their pennies right now, so if we could come up with some fund raising to help pay for the hotel at OWFI I think more people would be able to go. Just a thought, would love to hear your ideas at the next meeting.

The next meeting will be Nov. 16th at 7pm at the library. If you are unable to attend the meeting, feel free to send your critiques back to the person via e-mail.

Remember the deadlines for OWFI contest and The Bartlesville Creative Writing Contest are February 1st, ARE YOU WRITING?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September WordWeavers News

Hello everyone,

Last night we had a very interesting meeting and we agreed that we need some more motivation to get writing, a deadline you might say. So we're going to try a little something new.

During the first half of the meeting we will still have a topic that we discuss, whether it be self-publishing or query letters. Then around 8 we will critique 2 member's work. The two members will be chosen at the prior meeting and will send their chapter, short story, article, poem, query, synopsis, whatever they want help with, in advance via e-mail. That way everyone has plenty of time to read the work in advance and make notes.

We're not talking line edits, just how you feel about the overall content. Does it make sense? Does it have nice flow? Stuff like that.

Tawnya York and Jennifer McMurrain will be spending out their work this month. Jennifer will be sending out her new short story, Fortress, and we're not sure if Tawnya is sending out poems or a chapter of her current WIP. Since she is having some computer problems she may just read some of her poems during the meeting.

The next meeting will be Oct. 19th at 7pm at the library. If you are unable to attend the meeting, feel free to send your critiques back to the person via e-mail.

Dues for WordWeavers and OWFI are due during the October meeting. The WordWeavers due is 10 dollars and if you'd like to join OWFI through WordWeavers you can for 15 dollars. Joining OWFI without an affiliated group will cost you 25 dollars.

Speaking of OWFI, the February 1st deadline is just around the corner, ARE YOU WRITING?

Monday, September 20, 2010

September Meeting

WordWeavers Meeting September 21st at 7pm at the Bartlesville Public Library, in Meeting room B.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WordWeavers Tonight!

The title says it all. WordWeavers Meeting tonight at the Bartlesville Public Library, meeting room B (downstairs corner) at 7pm. Everyone welcome, open to new members. Hope to see ya'll there.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

June 2010 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, June 15th, WordWeavers held their monthly meeting. Marilyn Boone, Denise Jarmole, Sylvia Cranmer, Barbara Shoff, Twanya York, Diana Purser, Alyssa Roth and Jennifer McMurrain were all in attendance.

Most of the meeting consisted of discussion on individual work. Followed by how dialogue can help move your story along.

The next meeting will be July 20th at the Bartlesville Public Library in Meeting Room B (usual room, downstairs corner)at 7pm.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz OWFI workshop Notes

Pick a craft and stay with it.

Sell yourself and your words.

Participate in continuing education regarding your craft.

Self promotion - platform development

Define your goals, visulize where you want to be.

Your author name - will Google like it? Is it unique?

The longer you purchase a domain the more Google likes it and will put it on the top of the search list.

What's your personal idenity - your tag line.

On your website you should have:
1. An e-mail address
2. Your name
3. What you're offering
4. Your tag line
5. Contact information
6. Short Bio
7. Your mission - the passion of what you do
8. Head shot - people want to know what you look like
9. Any client, student, and reader testimonials

Keep all your web information in a file.

Make sure to have only 1 idea per page on your blog or website, for example you don't want cooking and woodworking on the same page.

Create buzz around what you do, Facebook, Twitter, Linkin.

Take part in National Novel Writing Month

Everything you do matters, whether it be:
1. Publication, a column, quoted, media expert, TV, hosting a media show
2. Creating an event - Maybe a Youth Writing Group (hmmm... I think someone in WordWeavers has recently done this ;o))
3. Keep track of the traffic on your website or blog
4. Accumilate e-mails regarding your expertise.
5. Become a member of organizations regarding your expertise
6. The awards you've won

Bottom line, no one is going to "find" you sitting at home, you have to be out there to be found.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul (OWFI notes from Jennifer McMurrain)

Workshop by Linda Apple

Creative Nonfiction is telling the truth using fiction techinques.

Keep it under 1000 words.

Always have a lesson.

Don't write the average stuff (your wedding day, graduation, etc.)

You need (your ingrediants):
a defining scene
Ah Ha moment

Think a snapshot, not a movie
Stay in the moment

Write about:
A person
A place
An object
An event
An epiphany
A conversation

Connect to the reader's memories by using the senses.

If your writing doesn't move you, it won't move the reader.

Show don't tell:
Physical reactions
body language
facial expressions

Use dialogue to break the montony of telling.

Internalization - Letting the reader in on your soul

Express emotion without getting sappy.

Use humor.

You have the opportunity to give the reader a gift:
A chuckle, hope, or even encouragement.

Recipe for writing for Chicken Soup for the Soul:
Mix ingredients
Write your story
Edit, edit, edit
1,200 word limit, better if under 1,000 words
SUBMIT (you can't get published if you don't submit) to

Possible topics for the May 31st deadline:
Grieving and Recover
My Cat's Life
My Dog's Life

July 31st deadline:
New Moms

August 31st deadline:

December 31st deadline:
Young at Heart

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bleeding, Scabbed and Scarred by N.R. Masters (OWFI notes by Jennifer McMurrain)

Bleeding, Scabbed, and Scarred: How to Write Ugly Stories that Sell was about writing personal traumatic experiences.

You want to BLEED words onto paper

Basis of what happened
Lot's of it
Everybody is not going to care
Except about the
Drama that happens within it

You can't allow emotions or fear to interfere (what will momma think?)

Make sure your wounds have SCABBED over before you submit.

If the SCAR is still too fresh, trying writing it from another person's viewpoint.

*I missed some of this workshop searching for my bag that I had left in another workshop.

May 2010 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, May 18th, WordWeavers held their monthly meeting. Marilyn Boone, Denise Jarmole, Sylvia Cranmer, Barbara Shoff, and Jennifer McMurrain were all in attendance.

We talked about Point of View and Jennifer McMurrain gave a workshop on the WordWeavers blog (which everyone is invited to write on) and Facebook.

The OWFI workshops were also discussed. Denise Jarmola, Jennifer McMurrain, Diana Purser, and Rita Durrett all attended. You can find some of the notes posted here on the blog, with more to come. Some of the main points taken away from the conference were: know your genre, know your "publishing" word count (250 x # of pages), get your name out there before you're actually published (blogs, facebook, twitter, ect.), submit to both publishers and agents, and WRITE EVERY DAY!

Officer elections were held: President - Jennifer McMurrain, Vice President - Marilyn Boone, Treasure - Diana Purser.

There is a scheduling confict with the meeting room. As of right now we will meet THURSDAY, JUNE 17TH at 7pm in Meeting Room B (same room as usual).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Mystery of Voice by Sandra Bishop (OWFI notes by Jennifer McMurrain)

What is narrative voice?
Personality on paper
Who we’ve been and where we’re going
Being true to who you are

Who uses narrative voice?
Musicians, Authors, Poets, Actors, etc…

Recognizing Voice
Listen to how the words are strung together, the conflicts and repeating themes.

3 Authors with distinct voices
Don McLean (River Runs Through It)
John Steinbeck (East of Eden)
Stephen King (Misery)

Voice is very important to editors
You need to aspire to have voice, it helps you stand out.

A developed voice = long term career

How to Cultivate Voice:
Free Writing – kick your inner editor to the curb
Write letters to people you feel have an authentic voice (you don’t have to send them, just say what you like about that voice)
Journal by hand (harder to fix your “mistakes”)
Listen to the words you use while you speak.
Think intentionally about your personal set of values
Read! Read! Read! – read at least 2 books out of your comfort zone a year
Write! Write! Write!

Staying true to your voice
Voice is passion
Let your work go
Write for the sake of writing
Voice believes yes when skeptics say no


There is no such thing as present tense in writing, the minute it happens it’s the past.

Using a passive voice is a sure fire way to kill your story.

Workshop by Sandra Bishop, Literary Agent, MacGregor Literary

Friday, May 14, 2010

Danger at Alamo

Danger at Alamo

“Hey, Lea, wait up!” Allie bumped and dodged her way through the line getting off of the Alamo school bus.

Lea turned at the sound of her friend’s voice. “Hurry up! I’m starved!”

Allie smiled. Lea was always hungry. “Me, too; let’s get to the cafeteria before all of the little kids get in line.”

The cafeteria was quickly filling as the two best friends slid into line behind a lanky young man.

“Hey, Matt, save some gravy for us.” Allie was only half teasing.

“’morning Allie. I’ll leave you a spoonful.”

True to his word, he left enough for the two girls to fix their food and make their way to a table. Soon both girls were polishing off the last couple of bites.

“Feel better?” Allie teased her friend. “I was afraid you were going to fight Matt for that gravy.”

“I do feel better.” Lea leaned back in her chair and looked around the cafeteria.

“Me too.” Allie’s hand reached out for her chocolate milk.

“Allie!” The exclamation stopped the named teen’s hand in mid grasp.

“What, Lea? What happened?” Concern filled Allie’s voice as she started turning to see what could have prompted such a reaction from her friend.

Lea ducked her head and whispered, “Shhh. Don’t look!

“Don’t look where? At what?” Quizzed Allie.

Lea looked up, pretending nonchalance. “Ok, in a minute I want you to look over in that darkened corner by the back wall. It’s a new guy wearing a Texas Rangers T-shirt and dark black hat.”

Allie immediately twisted around to look in the direction Lea had indicated.

“Not now! Don’t be so obvious!” frustration was evident in Lea’s voice.

“Geez, I just wanted to see what you were so excited about.” Allie turned back to her friend and was searching Lea’s face for a clue of what was wanted from her.

“Ok, turn slowly.” Lea watched her friend to ensure that the instructions were being followed. “Do you see him?” The excitement in her voice could barely be contained. “Count to yourself while you look.”

“What are you talking about?” Allie had turned back to her friend with a look that clearly said ‘Are you out of your mind?’

“I know what you’re thinking and no, I’m not crazy. Do as I say. I will explain in a minute.” Lea gave her instructions in such a matter-of-fact way that Allie felt compelled to comply.

“Ok, I looked and I counted. Explain.”

“He is a vampire.” Lea looked at Allie with a smug smile of satisfaction spreading across her face.

Allie turned once again to spy on the person in question.

“Don’t forget to count” admonished Lea. “Some vampires can read our thoughts; so, if you count or think of something complicated, they don’t know what we’re thinking.”

“Where did you get the idea that he is a ….vampire? You know they don’t really exist, don’t you?”

“Sure they do. There’s too much evidence out there. Those books and movies are too real to be completely made up. A thread of truth has to run through all of the myths.” Lea paused just long enough to glance across the room. “Look at him. He is gorgeous, so pale and white. Real people don’t look that white. He is sitting in the cafeteria but he isn’t eating a bite. Vampires don’t eat. They just drink blood.” Lea paused to glance once again at the new student. “Look at his chest and muscled arms. I bet his body is rock hard. Just like someone that is dead. We’re going to find out.”

“We? Keep me out of this!” Allie sounded so emphatic that Lea hesitated for just a second before going on.

“Yes, we,” stated Lea.

“No.” Allie’s weak protest was quickly over powered by the ringing of the bell and scraping of student’s chairs, as the room vacated.

“Bye Allie, see you later.”

Allie made it to her first hour biology class with plenty of time to spare. Her assigned seat was toward the back of the class and that suited her just fine. Today that location would give her the opportunity to work on her unfinished assignment without being obvious. With her head down in concentration she failed to notice the new student talking to the teacher; but immediately noticed when a pale, white figure walked by her seat on his way to the empty desk on the very back row.
Although Mr. Wade had taken roll and was giving page number instructions Allie just had to slyly remove her cell phone from her pocket and text her friend. “u wont guess whos in here!! vampire.”

In a short time Allie’s phone vibrated in her hand. With a quick look she read, “wow! see if he’s smart, vampires are really smart.”

She had just enough time to text, “OK” and slip her cell back in her pocket before Mr. Wade walked past. Her heart began to beat rapidly when he stopped right by her desk. She just knew he had seen her cell and was going to take it.

He didn’t ask for the phone. Instead he paused and turned to address the room. “Class, we have a new student. This is Brian Watson.” A gesture of the hand indicated the boy sitting on the back row, a couple of chairs behind Allie. “Mr. Watson comes to us from Seattle Washington and has won several awards in science fairs.”

Oh my gosh, thought Allie. As soon as the teacher had moved to the other side of the classroom she texted her friend. “he is very smart +u wont guess what else”
Her phone soon vibrated. “WHAT?”

Allie’s fingers couldn’t move fast enough. “came from seattle washington!”
The answer came almost as soon as the send button had been hit. “omg, smart, rain, no sun-- vampires!! what did I tell u?”

Another close call with Mr. Wade motivated Allie to put her phone away and concentrate on class for the rest of the hour. It didn’t seem like very many minutes had passed before the bell was ringing and her phone was vibrating.

It was a new message from Lea, “follow him!”

So, she did. He walked out of the main building, deliberately keeping close to the walls of the building so that he would be in the shade as he strode to the gym. Allie didn’t need to follow any further. She texted her friend as she threaded her way down the hall and into her next class. “gym with u! plus, he walked n SHADE the whole way!!”

“i told u” came her friend’s answer.

Allie was soon seated in her American Literature class. She knew Lea wouldn’t be able to text her from PE. Students had to dress out and didn’t have any pockets for their cells. The fact that they were spending the hour reading to themselves didn’t help matters. That just gave Allie’s active imagination time to run wild.

One picture kept flashing in Allie’s mind. When Mr. Wade had introduced Brian to the class She had looked straight back into red eyes. Allie’s heart raced. In the book Lea had told her about the newly converted vampires had red eyes and that meant they were really “thirsty” for blood.

Something else suddenly had the palms of Allie’s hands sweating. Lea had mentioned speed. Vampires could move so fast that the eye couldn’t see them. What if this vampire had read Lea’s mind? What if he zipped into the shower and drank Lea’s blood because she had figured him out? The police will find her dead and never have a clue. “And then he will come for me!” The words were unconsciously whispered out loud.

The ringing bell helped to ease the embarrassment Allie felt. She snatched up her books and almost ran to meet her friend in the cafeteria, half-way fearing that Lea might not show up. Relief washed over Allie as she spotted her friend. She waived her hand to signal where she was. “You have no idea how much I worried about you” Allie blurted out as soon as the two of them had bought food and found seats. She related her imagined thoughts to Lea while they ate.

Lea sat listening with a look of real fear on her face. “I never even considered something like that. You could be right. We might really be in danger.”

“That’s why I was so scared! I honestly didn’t know if you would show up or not!” Allie looked pleadingly into her friend’s face. “What are we going to do?”

Lea sat in deep thought for a minute. “I’ve got an idea.” She gave her friend a strange look.

Allie had been leaning in to talk earnestly to her friend but now she pushed back and eyeballed Lea suspiciously. “What?”
That word spoke volumes. Allie knew that Lea’s plans often meant trouble for both of them.

“OK,” Lea motioned for Allie to lean in closer so she could talk in a whisper. “You have fourth hour office aide…”

Lea didn’t even get to finish her sentence before Allie protested, “NO! I’m not getting kicked out of school!”

“No, listen. You won’t get kicked out. You won’t even get caught. I can’t do it or I would. You are the only one that can save us from the vampire.” Lea argued her case as if their lives depended on it and Allie’s silence encouraged Lea to continue. “When counselor Reed goes to lunch you disappear into her office for a minute and look at the files on her desk. The vampire is new so you know that file will probably still be out. Write down as much as you can and then get out of there fast!”

Allie let out a long sigh. “Ok, I’ll do it.”

The ringing bell once again heralded action. Both girls headed to their respective destinations. One was to sit impatiently in anticipation of some news about their enemy, the vampire, and the other was nervously dreading the role of detective.
Allie had to grin, despite her fear. Lea was right, again. The file lay on the desk in full view. It was even opened as if Mrs. Reed had been reading it when she was called away. Lea was often right and that was what frightened Allie.

Grabbing a pencil and sticky notepad, she began to write--Bill and Joann Watson, Seattle Washington, 1410 Willow Drive….

The phone rang and Allie froze. Someone answered it in the main office but the scare had Allie’s heart racing. “What else do I need?” she muttered to herself. Turning the page over, one word jumped out at her. “Oh my gosh!”

Allie replaced the file just as she had found it, walked back into the main office and gave the excuse that she needed to make a trip to the restroom. She had to find Lea!

At the first hint of vibration Lea covertly opened her cell phone. “meet u n bathrm now!”

That was all it said. What had Allie found that was so urgent? It didn’t take Lea long to convince her history teacher that she had to go to the bathroom. She was soon flying down the hall to meet her trusted friend.

“What is it? What did you find out?” Lea exclaimed as soon as she entered the doorway and found her friend wiping tears from her eyes.

“I thought I was going to die!” Allie was crying and laughing and shaking all at the same time.

“What’s wrong? Tell me, now!” Lea’s face was distorted with worry at her friend’s reaction.

Allie took a deep breath. “I read the file. Brian is,” she paused as her mind searched for the right word, “unusual. He has no coloring in his skin, eyes or hair. He has to stay out of the sun as much as possible and even regular light hurts his eyes. Lea, Brian is an albino.”

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Denise's OWFI notes


Josh Getzler – Agent

Make sure an agent is a member of AAR

Someone asked how many authors are really selected by an agent through a query letter? So he complied a list of how he found the 30 authors he now represents.

2 were referred

3 former classmates

1 from an online contest

3 met at conferences

4 he knew already

10 referred by other Editors/Agents

7 came from unsolicited queries

In the first 50 pages of your manuscript – do’s and don’ts


1. show that confident writing/ understanding of grammar and voice

2. be engaged quickly in the story

3. what is the book going to be about – the reader should know – not be guessing

4. Who is the protagonist?


Bad grammar or typos

Some of the agents at OWFI we very rigid about word count. Josh wasn’t. The book should be long enough to tell the story. Any longer and it’s wordy and boring. Any shorter and the reader is left hanging.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

OWFI Picture

Diana Purser, Denise Jarmola, Jennifer McMurrain, Rita Durret

Agent Panel Notes by Jennifer McMurrain

Agent’s Panel
Agents attending: Sandra Bishop (MacGregor Literary), Terry Burns (Hartline Literary), Josh Getzler (Russel and Volkening, Inc), and Cherry Weiner (Cherry Weiner Literary Agency)

• Do your homework
o Publisher’s Marketplace (online)
o Acknowledgements

• Query to agents and editors
o 80% of debut authors do not have an agent, so if you’re only looking for an agent then your only giving yourself a 20% shot ~ Terry Burns

• Stick to small houses
• During a pitch sessions what agents want you to do:
o Greet them, Shake their hand, Say hello, Treat them like a person
o Let them know the genre
o Let them know if you’ve been published before
o Then the pitch and word count

Monday, May 3, 2010

Notes from speakers

Notes from agent panel
1. To find what agent deals with works most like yours go to Publisher’s Market Place web site, book store and look at acknowledgment pages.
2. Query both editors and agents and don’t forget to try the small houses.
Notes form Nancy Robinson Masters on writing about personal experiences
1. If you write when you are still “bleeding” you will allow emotion and fear (what will my momma think) to show through your work.
2. You will have too much of the basics
B= “what happened”
L= lots of it i.e. “I hate him…”
E= everybody isn’t going to care
E=except you
D=drama, too much of it
3. So allow yourself scab and come to terms with the scares before you write about an experience with the idea that you can help someone else get through it.
Notes from Christina Katz
1. Get known before the book deal. Writing is a craft, the cultivating of skills, determination.
2. Sell not only works but self.
3. Participate in continuing education
4. Self promotion: platform. You are 100% responsible for the outcome.
5. Put efforts in promoting to those that would want it.
Notes from Jane Friedman
1. Use Writers Digest .com She blogs on the industry at There Are No Rules (

2. Come up with your own “name”, one you can live with.
3. Use Google and get your own url. Plan to keep it at least 5 years.
4. Have a professional identity ex. “writer Momma”
5. Get a tagline ex. “if I can do it, you can do it” or “make the most of what you have to offer”
6. Have an email signature: Use the above 2 plus email and phone #
7. Have a short bio. Ex. “She escaped form the law but not to worry, she isn’t a fugitive, she’s a writer.”
8. Have a mission statement. Short and sweet. Ex. “Helping writers go from beginner to a book deal.”
9. Have a professional or near professional head shot made. Use it…face book etc.
10. Keep any testimonials in a file for easy access.
11. Build a website Word one idea per page a. bio b. your first book c. your second etc.
12. Create a buzz on the page but keep the best of what you have to offer off of the web…make them pay.
13. Check out other author’s web pages.
Notes from K D Wentworth
1. Listen to FRED (your inner self)
2. Be interested in everything. READ
3. Keep original copy
4. Keep word list for interesting titles
5. Just open dictionary and pick random words ex Stranger Station, Dream Snake
6. Words are not the story. You can use lots of words to tell the same story. Pick the best
7. Good book to have: Creating Short fiction-Damon Knight
8. Write 3 pages a day…next day you can keep or throw away.
9. Write what you love. Listen to your small voice.
10. Write down a question and try to write 20 answers “How will John get out of locked room. 1st will be obvious but then imagination will kick in.
11. Dwight Swain-Techniques of the Selling Writer.
12. Give yourself permission to write badly. Bad writing can be fixed but you can’t fix what you don’t write.
13. If you get stuck go do something repetitive and boring to let FED talk but keeps the “editor” busy. Editor is the side of your brain that wants to fix all the sentences, spelling etc.
14. Take advantages of moments of serendipity. Ex. Was going to title River King but box stopped the typing at River Kin and that gave direction to the whole story.
15. Give your character a lot of trouble
16. Protagonist: person having the most trouble with situation and had the most to lose.
17. Who wants something and why can he have it—main character.
18. Pick the right main character. If you pick the wrong main character they have nothing at stake and you have a hard time ending it.
19. Descriptors: self absorbed, cattiness, queen of hell
20. Have a notebook with 5 sections. A. characters B. Running plot summary C. made up words, places etc. D. FRED notes E. research
21. Characterization isn’t just a description—least important part. Get qualities like self-absorbed, hot tempered, thoughtful etc.
22. Estqablish age but NOT obvious. Too uch description becomes hurdles. Reader wnts own look. Get it in early. Mannerisms, attitudes, speech patterns but don’t repeat yourself a lot.
23. Good dialogue uses rythem, different ways to put words together.
24. Avoid kids as protagonist unless active. Avoid killing off unless really important.
25. Avoid unconscious gender bias (women talking and thinking like the author, a man. Run it by a person of opposite gender.
26. Avoid unsympathetic main character. The reader wants the main character to win.
27. You don’t want the reader or the EDITOR to think “I don’t care what happens to those people”
28. No bad person thinks they are bad
29. Make sure they have reasons for doing what they are doing
30. Do not have passive main character, done to not does it.
31. Who has the power? Who had freedom to act? Main character.
32. Know these about your character Ask yourself about main character. A. what does he most want B. What does he most fear. C. What does he most love D. What does he most hate? Ex. Most wanted to be human and most feared his alien body.
33. You can have up to 10perspectives but make sure your main character is in every other scene at the least.
34. 85,000 to 110,000 words, 250 per page. Format to that formula.
35. Example of making characters different: alien would never use contractions.
Notes from Esther Luttrell
1. If you write at the same time everyday you will train your subconscious to be ready to write.
2. Don’t feel bad when you hear of writers putting out 5-6 books at a time. They write a 50 page draft and give it to promising writers to flesh out and then he takes it back and finishes it.
3. Write ending 1st.
4. Cast characters as they are born—people you can see and hear in your head so your made up character doesn’t sound like you. Ex Oprah, Barbara Walters, John Wayne etc.
5. In names be careful of favorite sound. Ex mmmm Mike, Mark, Mona, from Montgomery, Maine. Too much!! Too similar. Readers get confused. Make them so different that there is no confusion.
6. Good characters are not totally good or bad.
7. People we love to hate had a motivation for what they did. Villain must be shown for what they are—multi-faceted or multi layered.
8. People lie all the time but often don’t think they are lying.
9. Conversation between two people in room don’t need conversation interrupted by “she yawned” “he scratched”
10. Let heart speak. Use lots of active verbs but not a lot of adverbs or adjectives.
Notes from Deborah LeBlanc
1. Must move a fast pace…Rev it up
2. Plot = ticking bomb ex. Speed. Not worried so much about specific character but about the fact that the bus is going to blow. Keep it ticking until it is ready to blow!
3. Character= make me care from VERY beginning
4. Don’t tell too much back story up front! Don’t explain how the watch is made before you tell the time.
5. 1st sentence must make one pay attention and read second. Ex. “Neither one of them Moved” “After soaking a towel with 3 gallons of gasoline he tossed the cigarette” “She walked around the house 3 days with a blood soaked shirt.”
6. Microwave society. Shorten chapters but leave them on cliff hangers! Gives more chapters and psychological feeling of getting more for money. Also gives reader feeling of shorter amount of time needed to invest but cliff hanger won’t let them put it down.
7. Cliff hanger doesn’t have to be huge until you get to climax. DO fill in blanks later.
8. Use shorter sentences, even fragments. Just like people speak.
9. Characters: Give enough info to get imagination going but not exact. Toothless=old, a tie dyed pixie with bangs=young girl,
10. Names: Spark interest or have meaning. Pork chop-“so ugly his mother tied a chop around neck so dog will play with him.”
11. Show, don’t describe: rolling and unrolling paper=nervous
12. Keep notebook of traits. They invest you in story until you get to end.
13. Use a little dialect but just a little and be consistent. Pick recognizable characteristics and just pick a small sample. Don’t confuse or slow down story trying to decipher words or meaning.
14. Rules: 1.Keep it real—how do people really talk. Ease drop in Dr. Office, post office when people are on cell phones etc. Keep notes. 2. Keep it tight—move fast. 3.Make it count—include only important facts. Don’t preach!
15. What is scary? The hidden, the potential for what is in the unknown. It is all in the anticipation!!
16. Make your readers experience your pivotal scenes!! Sights, smells, feelings, sounds and taste if applicable.

Notes from Terri Burns
Publishing is not a selection process. It is a survival process. 80% don’t make the cut. You are competing against only 20% if you make it that far.

1. Pick out a persona and figure out how to project yourself
2. How do I become EXCEPTIONAL? Must happen in 1st 10 pages.
3. If you have a place where the reader can go to bed then that is a dead space and needs to be fixed.
4. First write the book and edit it then DIRECT it. Make it unforgettable.
5. Agents and publishers want to know you have a strong platform. Start building a data base.
6. Sell sheet: Short author bio or credentials, short blurb, platform into
7. 1/3 to ½ page of credentials. Any experience. Ex published in statewide anthology. Any short work, articles etc.
8. Find comparables “I write for the same people that read this writer.
9. Everything can be single spaced except the writing sample.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 2010 Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, April 20th, WordWeavers held their monthly meeting. Marilyn Boone, Denise Jarmole, Rita Durrett and Jennifer McMurrain were all in attendance.

The conversation was based mostly around different approaches to finding editors and literary agents. Marilyn handed out a very effective tool on writing your 25 word blurb for editor and agent meetings:

A character (the who) wants a goal (the what) because he/she is motivated (the why), but he/she faces conflict (the why not).

(Name) wants (goal to be achieved) because (motivation for action), but he/she faces (conflict standing in the way).

Jennifer was unable to do the presentation on Facebook and Blogger due ironically to techinical difficulties.

OWFI was also discussed. Denise, Jennifer, Diana, and Rita will all be attending the OWFI conference next weekend. Jennifer will be representing WordWeavers at this years delegates meeting. We wish all the WordWeavers luck in the OWFI contest. Break a pencil! (Our way of saying "Break a leg".)

The next meeting will be May 18th at 7pm at the Bartlesville Public Library in Meeting room B.

Monday, April 12, 2010

C.D. Jarmola's Going Through the Change

Here is Denise Jarmola's short story that took 1st place in the Friends of the Library Creative Writing Contest fiction category.

I can hear people in the living room saying my name. But I won’t answer. Just don’t feel like it at the time. And now-a-days I only do what I feel like, no more, no less.
I wasn’t always this way. A year ago I had a job. I was a teacher. Never really wanted to be a teacher. Just kind of wandered into the job. That’s how I did most things. Wandered into them. I wandered into college, because that’s what was expected after high school. Then they made me choose a major. I had no ideas, no dreams, no goals. I’d be an elementary teacher. Seemed good enough. The pathway of least resistance. I also wandered into relationships. Scott was a decent guy. Not too cute, but not too ugly. He seemed dependable and we got along well enough. Wasn’t really in love. Didn’t really dislike him. Just seemed like the easiest way to go. So I just inadvertently wandered into marriage. It made my parents and my friends so happy. Marriage gave a purpose to my life. I had an obtainable goal. Might as well. Needless to say, we later wandered into divorce. Scott seemed to think there should be passion not passivity in our relationship. Just coexisting wasn’t enough for him. I didn’t really care. For a while I almost felt bad. But, not for long. No reason to stay together. We parted.
Only one thing have I ever felt passionate about, my cat, Mr. Tibbs. He’s a black, long haired beauty. One day while on playground duty he appeared on the school grounds. He looked lost, scared and in need of a home. He was quickly ambushed by the second graders that I taught. I quickly felt the need to save him from all the groping little hands. He was grateful. From that point on we were bonded.
Perhaps Mr. Tibbs was why my husband finally gave up and left. For the first time ever he saw me actually interested in another being and it wasn’t him. Seems rather childish to be jealous of a cat. But it was the end.
So, Mr. Tibbs and I have spent the last four years together. At the end of a hard day of teaching he was always at the door to greet me and demand his dinner. He only likes canned food, not that nasty hard stuff in a bag. Evenings we watched TV together. He prefers the nature shows.
I used to go out on the weekends with my fellow teachers. They liked to go to museums or plays. I never really cared. I’d just follow along with whatever someone suggested. Then one weekend I had a cold and stayed home with Mr. Tibbs. And it happened; I had an epiphany. I much more enjoyed just lying around the house with my big black cat to walking through overcrowded, old buildings trying to hold up my end of a stimulating conversation over art, which in reality I was totally apathetical about.
That was the weekend of my slow retreat from humanity. Slowly I morphed from a follower to a loner. Once school was over each day, I rushed for my home, my splendid sanctuary away from having to pretend that I cared about others.
My job became more and more difficult. Second graders are needy. They want to interact with you. They want a relationship. I couldn’t just teach them, I had to “bond” with them. They kept telling me the personal parts of their lives no matter how little I responded. Soon my principal was “visiting” my classroom more and more. She was “concerned” with my indifferent responses to the children. I didn’t really tune in to her. I just dreamed of being in my own home, curled up in my window seat with the sun streaming down on me and Mr. Tibbs.
Their voices jolt me back to the present. I hear Jaynie, a friend from back in the day when I cared to interact with others. I pay attention for a little while. “Her mother is frantic about her. No one has talked to her in over a week and a half,” she seems to be telling someone.
“I knew something was wrong,” responds the other voice I don’t quit recognize. “I tried so hard to talk with her at school, but she just withdrew further every time I did.” Oh, it’s my ever so “concerned” principal talking in her superior way.
I’ve heard them coming and going in my house for the past week. At first I thought I should make some effort to talk to them. Let them know that I’m OK. But, it just takes too much effort. I do appreciate that they are keeping Mr. Tibbs and me fed. Sometimes I do go by and look at them, usually not.
As I was saying, it all started the weekend of my epiphany. I knew then that I much preferred spending my time in my own little home with Mr Tibbs. Now Mr. Tibbs is a typical cat. He does only what he wants when he wants. If he wants to sleep, he sleeps. If he wants to eat, he eats. If he wants to flop down in the floor and lick his private parts, that is exactly what he does, and he doesn’t care who is watching. I started to envy him. Not that I ever planned to lick my private parts in front of people, but the other whole cat persona. Why was I staying up past midnight to grade inane papers and fill out ridiculous educational red-tape paper work when what I really wanted to do was curl up in my big four poster bed and go to sleep? Why was I eating salad when I really wanted chocolate? Why had I gotten a teaching degree when I didn’t really like children? Why had I gotten married just to make others happy?
I decided it was time to take some advice from Mr. Tibbs. I’d live my life by what I wanted, not what was expected. So all the SRA’s didn’t get recorded. Too bad. Those students would learn to read in spite of documentation. So maybe I took a few naps with my head on my desk, the children didn’t suffer. They would sit quietly, unsure what to do and I could rest.
My life was changing. I was being freed of all the silliness of other peoples expectations. My clothes didn’t have to match or be in style. They just had to be soft and comfy. No more hairspray or makeup. And definitely no more high heels.
I can hear them talking still. Their voices are annoying, but I won’t complain as they are being nice enough to clean out the litter box. “She didn’t use to be that way,” Jaynie was explaining. “We used to go to the theater together or art museums almost every weekend. Oh, she was never the life of the party, but she joined in. Then all of a sudden she quit going with us.”
“Did someone do something that hurt her feelings? Was it something to do with her divorce?” asks my “concerned” principal.
Jaynie seems to think before responding. “I don’t think the divorce affected her much at all. Strange, huh? She just acted as if it was a minor inconvenience.”
“Did she have anyone she was close to? I never heard her talk of anyone.”
“Not really,” Jaynie answers. It takes all my effort to pay attention to their conversation. The sun is shinning down on me. The warmth and the laziness of the afternoon makes me want to sleep. In spite of it all, I still have a little curiosity left, so I continue to eavesdrop on this analysis of my psyche. “She never talked badly of her parents, but then again she never spoke with any great fondness. The same about her ex.” Then Jaynie began to give a confused laugh. “In fact the only being I ever heard her speak of with any emotion is that spoiled cat, Mr. Tibbs. She absolutely dotes on that boy. Oh speak of the devil and here he comes.”
So Mr. Tibbs has decided to go check out our house guests. He should be happy that they cleaned the litter box. He so hates a dirty litter box.
I guess that’s the only thing I feel bad about, I can’t take care of Mr. Tibbs like before. He needs fed twice a day, but our help only seems to make it by once a day and they don’t always clean the litter box like he likes it. Sadly there is nothing I can do now about that. We must all adapt, I suppose. I’m thinking so seriously about taking a nap, as the conversation in the other room is just not that riveting, but I hear the front door open. It’s Scott. That’s weird, but even after all these years I can tell it’s him from how he walks. Oh, and that’s strange, but now by his smell. Well, I’ve always heard that when one sense is gone the others become more powerful. It appears to be true in this case. Yes, now that I think about it I can smell him and Jaynie too. And Ms. Principal. She doesn’t smell too good.
“Has there been any progress?” he asks as he enters.
“Nothing new,” respond both the ladies.
It’s not that bad, I start to go tell them. Then I rethink it. I never could get Ms. Principal to see things my way, no reason to start now. That’s one of my favorite things about my new life. I just don’t worry about others’ opinions. I used to make myself sick worrying what others would think, or trying to persuade them to see things my way. Now when someone says something asinine I just roll over and go to sleep. Yes, this new life is better.
“I talked with the police this morning. They still have absolutely no leads where she has gone,” Scott told the ladies. He didn’t make much sense to me. I’m right here. Nothing has made sense for more than a week. Not since I had that Chinese food. Actually the food was fine. It was the cookie.
“The detectives keep asking me if anything is missing and I tell them not that I know of. Her closet looks full. Her car is in the garage. Her cell phone is on the charger. It’s like she just instantly vanished. Even her take out Chinese food was still here on the table, half eaten and her fortune cookie broken in two,” Jaynie explained again. A conversation I had overheard over and over this past week. Ever since I opened that cookie and it said make a wish. So I did.
“We’re just trying to take care of the cats,” Jaynie adds.
Ms. Principal chimes in, “And Jaynie is a saint as she doesn’t mind cleaning the cat box. With two it gets extremely disgusting so quickly.”
“Cats?” Scott asks. “She only has one cat. The almighty Mr. Tibbs. When did she get another cat? She worships Mr. Tibbs. I can’t believe either of them would make room for another being in their lives. They sure didn’t when I lived here.”
I think it’s time for a snack. Another thing I love about this new life. Eat when hungry. Sleep when sleepy. Be sociable if I want, but don’t ever feel obligated. Yes, it’s the life I always dreamed of.
As I round the corner Jaynie points at me, “See Scott. She’s a beautiful white Persian. I can’t believe you ex never told any of us about her.”
Yes, it was a great fortune cookie. All it said was make a wish and be what you always wanted to be. Oh, it’s a wonderful life being a cat.

Jennifer McMurrain's The Long Walk

Here is Jennifer McMurrain's personal essay that took 1st place in the Friends of the Library Creative Writing Contest nonfiction category.

I pull into the parking spot, turn the engine off and take a deep breath. I don't want to go inside. She’ll see me worried. I need to be strong.
Just take some more deep breaths. Breathe in… breathe out.
“This Old Man” plays in the distance.
Stop the meditation, Mom's calling.
"Where are you?" she asks.
"I'm in the parking lot."
"Are you coming up? It’s room 826."
"Has the doctor been there?"
"Tell me now,” I say, voice trembling.
"It’s Leukemia."
It can't be. My twenty-four-year old sister can't have leukemia. That’s something little kids and old people get.
My heart starts pounding in my head, and I feel tears spilling over my cheeks.
"Are you ok?" Mom asks.
"I will be. I need to get myself together before I come up."
"They caught it early. She's going to be ok."
"I know." I hang up the phone and brush the tears off my cheeks.
She's going to be fine. They caught it early.
I pull over the rear view mirror to check out the damage my crying had done to my makeup.
My eyes are puffy, cheek’s red, and mascara is running down my face.
How am I going to pull this off? She knows me too well. Doesn't mattet. I have to go up there. I have to be with her. I have to show her that I'm going to be there for her. This isn't about me. I can do this.
I wipe my eyes with a McDonald's napkin and take in some more deep breaths.
I can't cry in front of her. This isn't about me. I have to be strong.
I get out of the car and start walking to the front doors.
The hospital looms above me. I feel so small.
What can I do against cancer? What advice can I offer? I have no experience with this. I rarely catch a cold; never anything as serious as leukemia.
I try to lose myself in thoughts of optimism.
She's going to be fine. They caught it early.
I try to turn my brain around before I reach her room. Thankfully the front doors open for me, avoiding a face plant. The smell of disinfectant and popcorn assault my nose, bringing me out of my internal pep talk.
"Can I help you?" A lady wearing a pink sweater, stands behind the information desk bagging popcorn.
"Just behind the atrium, you'll see some double doors. Go through them, and then turn left," she says with a smile.
"Thanks," I make no attempt to smile back.
I have to be strong, she is my little sister, and I have to be strong for her. I can do this. She’s going to be fine. She's a fighter. Just the other day she threw a can of soup at me because I made a nasty comment about her new boyfriend. Leukemia doesn’t stand a chance.
I see the double doors.
Why do they make these doors silver? You can see every hand print and smudge. How many of these people walked in here with a loved one, only to leave alone and broken hearted? How many fingerprints on this door are souls that no longer live? No, don't go there! She's going to beat it. I'm not leaving here without her. She can't die; she knows that I need her, that we all need her. She's going to make it. They caught it early.
I push the doors open, leaving my own set of fingerprints and turn left. I arrive in front of the elevator and push the up button. I stand there and watch the numbers above the elevator doors descend to my floor; counting down to a situation that I don't want to face.
How do I go into that room? How do I go on without her? Does she even know how much she means to me? The strength she gives me every day?
The ding of the elevator snaps me back to reality.
No, she's going to fine.
I step into the elevator and push the eighth floor button. Just as the doors are about to shut a young man steps in with a bouquet of flowers and a pink teddy bear. He's smiling from ear to ear as he pushes the button for the fourth floor.
"I just had a girl!" He beams.
"Congratulations." I try to smile, but know it can’t be seen in my eyes.
We stand there in awkward silence, two opposites sharing the same elevator, representing two women; one coming into life, the other fighting to keep it. The door opens to the fourth floor and the man leaps out, off to find his new daughter. He looks forward to many years ahead. As I listen to his hurried steps down the hall, I think of my own future family.
I hope my sister's alive to meet her nieces and nephews. I hope she's here to see me get married. Does she know she'll be my maid of honor? She will be there! She'll be there, and she'll look amazing, more amazing than I will. She has such beauty it overwhelms any room she walks in to, the kind of beauty that deserves a long life of happiness.
The elevator opens to the eighth floor. I freeze. Stepping onto the Oncology floor makes it real.
I don't want it to be real. I want to go back to the fourth floor where there is life abundant. I can't do this. I can't fake this optimism. I have to. I have to show her I'm going to be there, through it all. I have to!
Another deep breath and I step out. The elevator doors close behind me as if to say, "There’s no going back."
I walk to the Nurse's station, "Room 826?"
A young nurse looks up from her paper work.
"You must be the sister. They wondered how long you’d sit in your car. I think they have a bet going. I'll take you down."
"Thanks," I say with a smile that almost makes it to my eyes.
To think my mom and sister are betting on how long it will take me to pull myself together. It’s as if they don't have anything else to talk about… to worry about.
I followed the nurse down the gray hallway.
"You'll have to wash your hands when you enter the room, every time you enter the room. She can't have any flowers or plants, so spread the word.”
A hospital room without flowers; talk about gloomy. Here she is fighting for her life and all she has to look at is eggshell-colored walls and gray carpet. Oh let's not forget the numerous machines she'll be attached to, those are festive. What anti-flower Gestapo put that rule into affect?
"Here we are, if you need anything, just buzz. Don't forget to wash your hands."
So this is it. Room 826, where my baby sister lies in a hospital bed awaiting her first chemo treatment. She waits for her hair to fall out, waits for the sores to develop in her mouth, waits for the day the doctors say it's gone. Here is where she waits. I will wait with her. I'm not going anywhere. We will wait together. All I have to do is push this door open and wait. That's not hard. I push doors open all the time. Here we go, push and go in, she is waiting.
I open the door and there she is, my mother sitting by her side. My sister's face lights up watching me walk to the sink to wash my hands. Her beauty radiates the room; no hospital room could take that away from her. She owns her situation. She is not afraid.
She sits in the bed with 100 thread-count sheets and smiles. I can't help but smile back; this time it does reach my eyes.
"Took you long enough," she teased.
"Yeah, I know. I was talking to some hot guy in the elevator. No flowers or plants, huh?"
"No, they carry bacteria. I can sit in the atrium as long as I wear a mask."
"At least you have the penthouse view." I look out the window avoiding eye contact, "There's nothing like watching hospital traffic."
It's time I faced it. I can't joke this away. Knowledge is power and I can't help her fight something I know nothing about. It's time to know, it's time to look her in the eyes.
"So what are we looking at?" I turn towards her.
"Well, the doctor said that I have a good chance of going into remission after the first round of chemo. Apparently if you're going to get leukemia, this is the kind to have."
"The first round, huh? What does that involve?"
"Seven days."
"Seven days. How many rounds?"
"Three, it's not so bad. Many people don't even lose their hair, but I'm not getting my hopes up." "We'll just buy you a hat."
So it begins; she has to spend the next seven days in this flowerless room and every day she gets chemicals injected into her body. She may or may not lose her hair and she may or may not go into remission after the first round. The last two rounds are to keep it that way. Ok, so it all sounds good. We are looking at around 21 days in the hospital, I can do that; I can be here for that. I'll bring cards and puzzles, her laptop so we can watch our chick flicks on DVD, we can do this.
We spend the next two hours talking and watching hospital cable. Dad and my older sister arrive and we all hug. My aunt, uncle and Grandpa show up and we all hug. More relatives and more hugs, we are surrounding my sister in our unconditional love. We want our love to radiate through the room like her beauty does. We want our love to beat her leukemia.
"It's late, I need to go. I am exhausted." I rub my eyes and then kiss my sister on the forehead. "I'll see you tomorrow. Love you."
"Ok, goodnight. I love you, too."
I lean against the wall just outside the door and before it shuts I hear my sister say, "I'm worried about her."
She's worried about me? That is the definition of my sister, here she is fighting leukemia and she's worried about me. Such strength, such grace... talk about unconditional love.
I walk to the elevators and push the down button. As I wait, I know she's going to be okay. She's going to beat it and we will both be better people in the end. I step into the elevator and push the ground floor button. As the elevator slides down, so does my anxiety. It comes to a stop and I walk to the sliver doors; they have been cleaned. No more fingerprints.
It's a good sign. She's going to make it.
The pink sweater-lady and her popcorn are gone, replaced by a janitor sweeping up the day’s dust. I walk to my car alone. My sister will not make her walk alone. Mom, Dad, our older sister and I will be there, not to mention numerous relatives. I walk across the parking lot, the big building still looms over me, but now I don't feel as small. I have a say.
I can help, and I will help her through this.
I make it to my car and sit down. This is where it began. This is where my world changed. I am not helpless and neither is my sister. We will make it through this, she will survive and the world will never be the same.

Bartlesville Creative Writing Contest

Great news everyone, two of our WordWeavers placed in this year's Friends of the Library Bartlesville Creative Writing Contest. Denise (C.D.) Jarmola placed 1st in the fiction category with her short story "Going Through the Change." Jennifer McMurrain placed 1st in the nonfiction category with her nonfiction personal essay "The Long Walk."

Congratulations Denise and Jennifer!

All the winners of this year's FOL Bartlesville Creative Writing Contest and guest speaker, Dr. Reed.

Jennifer McMurrain (left) and Denise Jarmola (right).

Saturday, March 20, 2010

April Meeting

WordWeaver's next meeting will be April 20th at 7pm at the Bartlesville Public Library in Meeting Room B.

Bartlesville WordWeavers Information

Writer's group for Bartlesville, OK and surrounding areas. Open to new members.

Meets every 3rd Tuesday at 7pm in the Bartlesville Library Meeting Room B.

E-mail us for more information at

Look for us on Facebook: WordWeavers Bartlesville

President: Tawnya York
Vice President: Marilyn Boone
Treasurer: Diana Purser