Friday, November 01, 2013

Get ready for NaNoWriMo

Last year 341,375 people decided they'd write 50,000 words during the 30 days of November. They were part of the National Novel Writing Month challenge which kicks off today, Friday, November 1. There's a NaNoWriMo website where you can register and track your progress on a daily basis, if you wish. They also have a forum divided by geographic regions where you may chat with others and/or get together to encourage one another. Believe it or not, there are more than 400 writers already registered from the St. Augustine area. The official kick-off was midnight today, November 1. Jump in and give it a try. Good luck.

When you're not knocking out your 1,666 words a day you might visit one of this month's FWA writers group meetings for even more motivation. Here's what's planned for November:

  •  Chris Berman will be the speaker at the River City Writers group meeting on Tuesday, November 12. The group meets at 7:00 p.m. at the SE Branch Library to hear Chris talk about how he incorporates historical figures in his novels. Gregg Golson has more information.
  • Learn how to build more suspense into your fiction at this month's meeting of the Ancient City Writers, 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 16 at St. Augustine's Main Library. Award-winning mystery author Parker Francis (aka Vic DiGenti) presents, "The Suspense is Killing Me," an interactive workshop providing clues on how to stretch the tension, raise the stakes and layer on the suspense to keep the reader hooked. 
  • The Nassau County Youth Writers meet on Tuesday, November 19 at Books Plus in Fernandina Beach. The youth group meets at 5:00 p.m., followed immediately at 6:15 p.m. by the adult FWA group, the Amelia Island Writers.
  • Maureen Jung, the Clay County Writers group leader will facilitate the Wednesday, November 20 meeting at the Orange Park Library. Meeting at 6:15 p.m., the group will discuss "Goal Setting for Writers," There will be an exercise on mapping your goals, and the group will also discuss the anthology project that's underway. Contact Maureen at
  • FWA affiliate group, First Coast Christian Writers, meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
  • There will be no meeting of the Jax Youth Writers this month due to the holiday. They will return on December 26.
  • Because this month's date of the Ponte Vedra Writers meeting falls on the beginning of both Thanksgiving week and Hanukkah, plus the fact the group leader will be MIA, you are encouraged to join the Ancient City Writers on the 16th to get your writing fix. Or you may attend any of the other meetings if you wish.
In other news:
Chrissy Jackson
  • You missed a good one if you missed this year's FWA Conference several weekends ago. The good news is FWA will have six mini-conferences in 2014 all over the state starting with a two-day Reading Festival January 10-11 in Bradenton. Other mini-conferences will be held in  Lady Lake, Plantation, and two in Altamonte Springs. Two others are in the planning stages set for Tampa and Sarasota. 
  • In other FWA news: Our esteemed leader Ms. Chrissy Jackson serves out the remainder of her second term this year and will be replaced by Chris Coward. Chrissy has done a phenomenal job leading our organization as both VP and President, and she will stay on the board as Director Emeritus assisting with the conferences. Chris Hamilton was elected as Executive Vice President and the treasurer and secretary positions retitled as Vice Presidents.
  • You can stay on top of all  FWA news via the FWA Network. If you haven't registered as a member of the network you're missing out on a great resource.
  • Congratulations to all the RPLA winners, including several from our Northeast Florida region: Dean Lohse, Heather Hamel, Kimberly Smith and Melissa Kosciuszko were among the winners from our area. Also Jeff Swesky and Bridget Callaghan, formerly from St. Augustine and Palm Coast, won for Best Screenplay (Unpublished) and also received the Dahris Clair Memorial Award for the screenplay, Thornetta: The Musical.
  • Florida Sisters in Crime members gather around the crime scene this Saturday, November 2 at the SE Regional Library. They'll hear from Susan Kiernan-Lewis, author of over 15 books. Susan will present "Birth of a Series" in Meeting Room A.
  • First Coast Romance Writers meets Saturday, November 9 at 10:30 a.m. at the Chaffee Road Library to hear cookbook author Belinda Hulin present two workshops: "Cooking Up Spicy Romance Fiction: Enriching Fiction Through Food Imagery," and "Secrets of Print and Digital Media." Belinda was the former editor of SKIRT! Magazine and the former Times-Union Food Editor.
  • The Ponte Vedra Critique group is looking to add a few more writers to the group. They meet twice a month at the Ponte Vedra Library. If you're interested contact Mary Kohnke at 904-285-3452.
  • The Attic Girls, a S. Florida critique group led by Jade Kerrion (she won three RPLA's at the recent conference) is hosting a short story contest deadlined November 15. The contest is open to any genre with a limit of 1,500 words. There's a $5 entry fee. Read the contest guidelines here.
Until next month, keep writing, especially if you're hoping to complete a novel in a month. I'll leave you with this final quote by the late, great Ray Bradbury:

"Write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.

Victor DiGenti
FWA Regional Director