Monday, May 07, 2007

Counting Down to the Conference

Last month's Blog passed along the news that our Lighthouse Book Awards had surpassed critical mass, and we had to shut off entries. Our first one-day conference had a similar problem as we quickly reached our announced limit of 70 people. We even exceeded it, which means we'll be a little crowded, but we did want as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of what has shaped up to be an oustanding event.
The May 19 writers' conference at the Ponte Vedra Branch Library will give area writers eight workshops with noted authors, an agent and an editor. They'll hear from our keynoter, Steve Berry, and learn who the finalists of the Lighthouse Book Awards competition are.
While the hours of the conference are listed as 9:30 to 5:00 p.m. (the library doesn't open its doors until 9:30) we're asking those who have signed up to arrive at 9:00 a.m. since we'll have a table outside to speed-up the registration process. This will help ensure we stay on schedule as we move through the day.
I want to thank our hard-working volunteer committee for helping to organize the conference. Hats off to:
Dianne Ell, Co-chair
Terri Ridgell, Book Contest
Darlene Myers, Book Store
Karen Harvey, Interviews
Alice Collins & Peter Guinta, Refreshments
Hank & Jan Racer, Lunch
Mary Kohnke & Hazel Piermatteo, Registration
Jim Morgan, Rita Malie & Margie Ann Sauls, Workshop Aides
Carol D. O’Dell & Randy Cribbs
We're sorry if you were unable to register, but we're already looking for a larger facility for next year. You can still attend the free Book Fair on Friday, May 18 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Held in the Community Room of the Ponte Vedra Library, the Book Fair features 18 area authors and their books. Three of the authors recently participated in Much Ado About Books. Aside from selling and signing their books, the authors will also participate in panel discussions and answer any questions from the audience. Literary agent Susan Graham, who is part of Saturday's conference, will also be on hand to answer questions.

Writers' Group Meetings

Over the past few months, FWA was represented at both the First Coast Writers Festival and Much Ado About Books. We introduced over 100 people to FWA, and most of them were intrigued by the possibility of attending our monthly Writers' Group meetings and hearing from the array of experts who share their knowledge with us. For example, last Saturday, nearly 40 people crowded into the small meeting room at the PV Library to hear editor Emily Carmain talk about "the ten most common mistakes beginning writers make." If you missed her talk, here's her top ten list:

1. Not knowing when to stop writing. She used examples of writers giving her manuscripts running over 200,000 words.
2. Putting in every step of a character’s action. Too much information
3. Too much, too little, or phoney/ineffective dialogue
4. Overuse of names, particularly in dialogue
5. Over-explaining
6. Padding dialogue with uninteresting side-action
7. Use of same sentence structure over and over
8. Killing the reader with details and description
9. Repeating certain words or expressions
10. Not bothering to try to catch the little things

Coming up at our WG meetings this month:

Tuesday, May 8 at 6PM – The Central Jax WG meets at the SE Branch Library, and the guest speaker tomorrow evening is Lynn Coleman. Lynn has had 20 novels and novellas published and will be speaking on "Writing for the Christian Fiction Market." This is a hot market and a hot topic.

BTW, if any of you were preliminary judges for the book contest and you have not returned your manuscripts, I'll be at this meeting to pick them up. If you miss it, you'll have to mail them back to Terri Ridgell ASAP. Like the next day.

The Ancient City WG typically meets on the 3rd Saturday of the month at 10:00 a.m. at St. Augustine's main library, but since this is the same day as our conference they've elected to skip a month in order to attend the event.

Saturday, May 26 at 10AM – Back to the PV WG at the library for what promises to be a very tasty presentation with Belinda Hulin, the former food editor for the Florida Times-Union. Belinda is a freelancer now and she'll give us a presentation she's calling, "A Matter of Taste." In it, she'll talk about food writing, food trends and about how food references can be used to define character and add sensuality to both fiction and non-fiction. She told me she might even sweeten the pot, so to speak, with a few goodies. Put it on your calendar.

If you're in north Jacksonville or Nassau County, then you'll want to attend Jim Morgan's WG meetings, the Amelia Island WG, on the first Saturday of the month at 10AM at the Fernandina Beach Poilice Department.

That's all the time for now. Have to run and find a missing cat.

Until next time, keep writing,


Vic DiGenti FWA Regional Director