Monday, January 15, 2007

Life is what happens...

“Life is what happens to us while we’re making other plans.”

I love that quote, supposedly said by Beatle John Lennon. We all know how Life can get in the way of our daily plans, whether our goal is to write 2,000 words a day or faithfully attend the FWA Writers Group meetings. Things happen to divert us from those plans. But this posting isn’t a sermon designed to make you feel guilty, instead it’s a celebration of successes and the many opportunities we should embrace while we have the chance.

Workshops and conferences are excellent ways to learn more about the craft and keep the batteries charged, and there are several listed below. Of course, since this is the FWA Ponte Vedra Blog Spot, I will tell you we have some outstanding programs lined up for the first quarter of the year. You’ll find a listing of those directly below this opening rant, but I’ll alert you to this month’s speaker right now: She’s screenwriter Sharon Cobb, and she’ll be telling us how to adapt our books into movies. Look for more details below, but mark your calendar for Saturday, January 27 at 10AM at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library.

I’m looking for success stories, so be sure to share with me (and I’ll share it with hundreds of others through this blog) your good news. Do you have a new book coming out? Have you won a competition? Heard of a great writer’s workshop or conference that might be of interest to us? Pass it along.

Here’s wishing you the best of success in the New Year.

Ponte Vedra Writers Group Meetings

Our group meets on the fourth Saturday of each month at 10AM at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library located at 100 Library Boulevard.

January 27 at 10AM — How to Adapt Your Book into a Movie
Many authors believe their book or manuscript would make a first-rate movie, but they have no idea how to go about adapting it into a screenplay. Seemingly, there are many more questions than answers for writers trying to break into this highly-competitive field. Screenwriter Sharon Cobb will answer many of those questions at this month’s meeting.
Among the many details of the screenwriting profession Ms. Cobb will share are what type books and manuscripts film producers are more
likely to purchase; which genres are most popular in Hollywood today; the differences between writing a book and a screenplay, and using the three-act structure for films.

Ms. Cobb was named as one of Script Magazine’s Top Ten New Hollywood Screenwriters to Watch and is featured in the documentary film, We, the Screenwriters. In addition, she has sold numerous scripts to independent producers and directors and is a co-producer of many of her projects. Among her screenwriting credits are Lighthouse Hill (2004), British comedy starring Jason Flemyng, On Hostile Ground (2000), action-adventure starring John Corbett, TBS, Just Write (1997), romantic comedy starring Jeremy Piven. She also wrote a novelization of Touched by An Angel for CBS which sold over 170,000 copies in bookstores throughout the country. Her new book False Confessions of a True Hollywood Screenwriter is out to New York book agents.

February 24 at 10AM — Look Who’s Talking
Join multi-published author Eileen Ann Brennan for an entertaining, interactive workshop on Point of View. Learn the types and uses of POV, how to identify and determine whose POV to use, and find out who those first and third persons really are.

March 24 at 10AM — The most common mistakes beginning writers make and how to avoid them
Editor Emily Carmain reviews the lengthy list of missteps she’s seen come across her des
and offers advice on how to fix them.

April 28 at 10AM — Turning your life experiences into poetry
April is Poetry Month and award-winning poet Teri Grimm discusses how to turn those moving moments from our life into effective poetry.

Don’t forget the other FWA Writers Groups in the NE Florida region if you’re unable to attend ours, or just want more involvement in the writing life. The next meeting of Central Jax WG is January 25 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at the Balis Community Center, behind the San Marco Public Library. The featured speaker is Carolyn Herman, the Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Florida Coastal School of Law, Intellectual Property and Entertainment Law, who will discuss signing book contracts with agents and publishers. Note that this is a special time for January only. For more information, check out WG Leader Judy Connolly’s blog at

The Amelia Island WG meets on the first Saturday of the month at 10AM at the Fernandina Beach Police Dept. on Lime Street. Contact Jim Morgan, ( for details.

The Ancient City WG meets on the third Saturday of the month, also at 10AM, at the St. Augustine Library. Randy Cribbs and Peter Guinta lead the group, and Randy may be reached at

More items of interest to writers:
  • Flagler College is presenting a Writers in Residence program this spring with noted authors Janice Daugharty, James Redfield, Connie May Fowler, Les Standiford, and Janis Owens. For details on their appearances, go to
  • Speaking of noted authors, national bestselling author Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid’s Chair, will appears at the UNF Fine Arts Center on Thursday, March 8. This is a special presentation by the Friends of the Library–Ponte Vedra Beach as part of their Major Author Program. A VIP Reception with Ms. Kidd is planned prior to her presentation at 7:30. For details, go to
  • The 21st Annual Florida’s First Coast Writer’s Festival has a new home. It’s moved to the Jacksonville Public Library’s main branch at 303 Laura Street, and is scheduled for March 9 – 11.
  • Mark your calendar for the very first NE Florida One-Day FWA Conference (better known by the catchy acronym, NEFODFWAC) on Saturday, May 19 at the Ponte Vedra Beach Library. Details will soon be hammered out by a crack team of conference planners. Look for more details in the near future.
  • Some bad news for the Orlando mini-conference, however. That February 24 event has been cancelled.
  • Children's mystery author June Weltman will teach a six-week workshop on Writing Children's Mysteries through Mandarin High School's Adult Community Education Program. The class will be held Thursdays from 7-8:30 p.m., starting Jan. 25, 2007.
  • Suspense writer Terri Ridgell and yours truly offer the next Novel in a Day Workshop this Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the downtown library. Spaces are still available. Go to for details.
  • Area author Robyn Gioia (formerly known as Robyn Leslie) announces her nonfiction middle grade book America's Real First Thanksgiving from Pineapple Press is coming out March 15. She’s available for talks.
  • If you’re a big-time thriller reader then you’ll want to sign up for the free ITW (International Thriller Writers) newsletter at One lucky registrant will win 150 thriller novels and three runner-up entrants will each receive a copy of the 2006 Thriller Anthology, edited by James Patterson.
  • Readers and writers of graphic novels might want to attend this year’s New York Comic Con, February 23 – 25 at the Javits Center in NYC. The Graphic Novels Conference will be held on the 23rd at the Comic Con, featuring panels of writers, artists, and publishers. Graphic novels were one of the fastest growing areas of publishing again in 2006, with the top selling manga series hitting new highs.
  • Did you know that according to the 2004, Nielsen Bookscan, which tracked the sales of 1.2 million books in the United States, that of that number only 25,000 books sold more than 5,000 copies? Fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000 copies, and only 10 books sold more than a million copies each. Gives us something to shoot towards.
  • Watch for the new and improved FWA publication, The Florida Writer, to come out next week. Editor Sammy Smith promises it won’t exactly be like landing on the moon, but a giant leap forward nonetheless.

That’s it until next time. Let me hear from you, and be sure to keep writing and making those plans, despite what Life may throw in your path.

I’m proud of myself for resisting the urge (until now) to crow a bit and say,

“How ‘bout them Gators?”


Victor DiGenti FWA Regional Director