Tuesday, October 30, 2012

First Defrost the Turkey

It might seem like an old sit-com plot, but how many young marrieds have found themselves in the embarrassing position of not allowing enough time for the frozen bird to fully defrost. I know it happened to us. With Thanksgiving around the corner (and how did that happen?) the defrosting anecdote is a good way to remind us to plan ahead.

If you're planning to write a novel, it helps to think it through before you start writing. Create the most compelling characters. List the plot points that will keep the readers hooked. And write an outline. At the other end of the process you'll want to revise and rewrite until it's the best you can do, then turn it over to a professional editor.

And because writing is such a solitary process, take time to recharge the batteries by attending workshops and conferences. Which takes us to this month's update of FWA group meetings and other key events taking place this month.
  • River City Writers meets Tuesday, November 13 at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library. Contact Gregg Golson for information.
  • Ancient City Writers gather on Saturday, November 17 at St. Augustine's Main Library. Time is 10:15 a.m. and the guest speaker is historical novelist Arliss Ryan speaking on "Researching and Writing the Historical Novel."
  • The Amelia Island Writers are scheduled to meet at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach on Tuesday, November 20 at 6:15 p.m. But since it's Thanksgiving week, it's best to call group leader Maggie deVries first. You may reach her at 904-321-6180.
  • And the Clay County Writers, which normally meets on the third Wednesday of the month, has cancelled this months meeting. But group leader Maureen Jung reminds everyone of the Meet the Author event on November 14 at Black Horse Winery from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
  • There will be no meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers for either November or December since both fall during holidays weeks. We'll see you back in January with a new season of programs.
  • Remember the First Coast Christian Writers, an affiliate of FWA, meets most Thursdays at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb Wesconnett Library, but most likely not on Thanksgiving Thursday.
  • A reminder that Kimberly Smith is leading the new FWA Youth Writers group for NE Florida. Find out more about this new program here, and contact Kim here for meeting times and details.
More Events for Area Writers
  • I've been asked many times about critique groups in the area and have usually directed the individuals to a few ongoing groups I know about. Now it's time for us to form our own critique group. Newly relocated FWA member Betsy Stoutmorrill has agreed to lead a new group that will probably meet at the Jacksonville Beach Library starting in January. If you're interested in joining the group, contact Betsy here.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime meets Saturday, November 3 at 10:30 a.m. at the SE Regional Library to hear Chief Forensic Consultant Michael Knox. He's written a book on the forensic evidence in the killing of Trayvon Martin. The group will also vote on their new slate of officers.
  • The Other Words Conference of the Florida Arts Coalition takes place November 8 - 10 at Flagler College. The Conference features readings and workshops in poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction.
  • The First Coast Romance Writers meets Saturday, November 10 at 10:15 a.m. at the West Regional Library located at 1425 Chaffee Road. New York Times bestselling author Haywood Smith conducts a full day workshop covering characterization, writing scenes and plotting.
  • Meet the Author at Black Horse Winery, 420 Kingsley Avenue in Orange Park. Four area authors will sign their books from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. I'm guessing there might be a little wine involved, as well.
  • There will be no meeting of the Children's Book Writers due to the election. 
  • Congratulations to area writer and FWA member Will Merrill who took home the Book of the Year award at this year's Royal Palm Literary Awards Banquet for his book, 9/11: Ordinary People-Extraordinary Heroes.
  • Other area winners included Judy Weber, second place Essay (Unpublished); Kimberly Smith, second place Young Adult (Unpublished); and Vic DiGenti, first place Short Story (Unpublished). Will Merrill also took first place in Book-Length Nonfiction (Published) for his 9/11 book. Congratulations to all of the winners.
  • Many area authors also made it into this year's Collections #4 "My Wheels." Its an especially fine anthology, and featured author Julie Compton selected her Top Ten from the 60 stories in the collection. Kudos to Marie Vernon and Vic DiGenti for making it into the Top Ten. Other area writers in the book include Richard Hebert, Diane Mutolo and Judy Weber. Next year's theme is "It's A Crime," and the Person of Renown is none other than Pulitzer Prize-winning crime writer Edna Buchanan.
A Final Word: This year's Florida Writers Association Conference offered something for everyone, but next year's should be an extravaganza of the first magnitude. Which may be why it's being called "The Greatest Show on Earth." I don't know if it will have a high wire act and dancing elephants, but it will have Edna Buchanan. And bestselling romantic suspense author Mary Burton will present the Celebrity Workshop for the Florida Writers Foundation the day before the conference kicks off. We're told the last time Mary gave her workshop at the Romance Writers Conference, there were 2,000 people in attendance. Since the Lake Mary Marriott only holds 550 people, it's probably a good idea to get your reservations in early. 

Check and Like our NE Florida FWA Facebook page. Until next time, don't forget to keep writing ... and defrost the turkey.

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director

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