Each of us has our own individual writing process and tempo. We know what works best for us, or do we? Don't be afraid of changing your writing habits. If you're a pantser, try using a broad outline to add some structure to you writing. If you outline religiously, give yourself permission to improvise from time to time. Force yourself to write faster if you're a deliberate writer, and tap the brake once in a while if you're an overly speedy writer. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life, and it may help you become a better writer.
Another way to improve your craft is by attending any of the workshops offered this month by our NE Florida FWA groups. Check them out.
- River City Writers meet on Tuesday, May 10, 7:00 p.m. at the SE Regional Branch Library off Gate Parkway. Group leader Gregg Golson will present "Rewriting the Rules of Dialogue." Real life conversation is nothing like story dialogue, or it shouldn't be. Much of it is fragmented and boring, while story dialogue must move the story along and help define the characters.
- Maureen Jung's Clay County Writers meet on Wednesday, May 18 at 6:16 p.m. at the Orange Park Library. Christa Pitchford is the guest speaker, and she'll talk on "Strategies for Starting, Developing and Ending a Nonfiction Narrative." Crista is a 5th grade language arts teacher in the Clay County School District. Her first book, Letter from Dad, is a YA novel.
- Writers by the Sea will meet on Thursday, May 19 at the Amelia Island Museum of History in Fernandina Beach. The meeting starts at 6:00 p.m. Actor and beginning playwright Doug McDowell will present, "Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard, Writing is Harder: Lessons from a Beginning Playwright." Doug will share what he's learned about writing for the stage, and provide tips about how to approach a playwriting project.
- Award-winning writer Sandra McDonald visits the Ancient City Writers on Saturday, May 21 to talk about book covers. The ACC group meets at St. Augustine's Main Library at 10:00 a.m. Sandra says a valuable gift deserves a memorable wrapping, and a book is a gift of the imagination. The cover must snag the reader's attention, slot the book into a genre category, and set the tone for the reading experience.
- Author and public relations guru Ron Whittington talks about how to get more book sales using social media at the May 28 meeting of the Ponte Vedra Writers, 10:30 a.m. at the Ponte Vedra Library. From Facebook to Instagram, Ron will show you how to put your best social face forward with tips on best practices for social media, how to identify audiences using various social media platforms, and more.
- FWA affiliate First Coast Christian Writers meets each Thursday at 6:45 p.m. at the Webb-Wesconnett Library.
- Florida Sisters in Crime welcomes Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Tim Stull to its meeting this Saturday, May 7, 10:15 a.m. at the SE Regional Library. SAC Stull will discuss the many roles of the Secret Service.
- On the same date as the Florida Sisters in Crime meeting, but on a distant shore, FWA presents its Day at the Bay Mini-Conference at Tampa's Clarion Inn. The full-day conference has a number of outstanding workshops that make the drive worthwhile. They include "The Ingredients of Bestselling Thrillers and Suspense Novels" by award-winning author Dave Edmonds, D.L. Havlin talks about Historical Fiction, while other workshops cover memoir and screenplay writing. Afternoon workshops include "What Will Become of Us? An Exploration of Post-Apocalyptic Fiction" by Michelle Parker Randall, and "The Intuitive Writer" with Vic DiGenti. If you missed my presentation at the St. Augustine mini-conference, this is a good time to catch it.
- Submissions are being accepted for the Royal Palm Literary Awards competition through May 15. Time is running out, so get your entry in soon. All the details can be found here.
- The Florida Heritage Book Festival is still seeking applicants for the Executive Director position starting with the 2017 event. The successful candidate will shadow Jim Wilson, the current executive director, through this year's event in September, and take over immediately after the conclusion of the event. If interested, please contact me for more complete details of the position.
- Speaking of the FHBF, they're conducting a storytelling workshop on Saturday, June 4 with Connie Regan-Blake, one of America's most celebrated storytellers. Connie has entertained audiences in 47 states and 16 countries, and her workshops are always at full capacity. The June 4 workshop, "Finding the Storyteller in You," runs from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Koger-Gamache Theatre at Flagler College's Ringhaver Student Center. The cost is $75 through May 25, and $85 thereafter. The fee includes a boxed lunch. More details and registration here, or contact Debra Rhodes Gibson for more information.