San Angelo Writers Club

Best Writing in West Texas

Category: Writing (page 1 of 2)

Bruce Partain

Bruce Partain, President and CEO of the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce, spoke on “Writing About San Angelo for Traditional Publications and Other Media” at the April 9 meeting of the San Angelo Writers Club. He discussed writing for traditional media as well as for blogs and social media. According to Partain, his motivation was to get more well-written stories about San Angelo into publications across the state and world.

Partain gave examples of writing assignments from his own experience and that of others. He discussed various types of writing: general features, travel features, profiles, and industrial news and updates. Noting the the Chamber of Commerce was a resource for writing examples and stock photos of San Angelo, he encouraged our membership to work on the on line presence. Finally, he discussed a set of electronic tools that he found useful for interviewing and organizing materials.

Partain provided two handouts, which are available below.

Bruce Partain – Presentation Outline

Ripped Jeans and Bifocals example.

Dr. John Osterhout

Dr. John Osterhout, recently retired from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Angelo State University, spoke on “Writing the Schnoz of the Rings” at the March 12 meeting of the San Angelo Writers Club. Osterhout discussed various aspects of writing parody including checking out the competition, length considerations, funny names, and pop cultural references.

Osterhout began by talking about his reasons for writing “The Schnoz of the Rings” which were more personal than related to monetary gain. “Desire for fame and fortune are not good reasons to undertake writing a book.”

Osterhout read several passages from his book to illustrate various aspect of humor in parody. He gave examples of pop cultural references from Start Trek, The Wizard of Oz, and the Beverly Hillbillies.

After his presentation, Osterhout signed copies of his book, which is available in paperback on Amazon and from Barnes and Noble. It is available for the Kindle and through Kindle Unlimited. The Schnoz can also be checked out at the Angelo State University Porter Henderson Library and the Tom Green County Library.

Osterhout is also a photographer. For photographs and more on books visit his website, Photography, Books, and Flipping Chemistry.

Dr. Terry Dalrymple

by Laurel Scott

Dr. Terry Dalrymple of Angelo State University’s English department, spoke on “The Long and Short of Short Story Writing” at the Feb. 12 meeting of the San Angelo Writers Club. He discussed the wide variety of writing that can fall within the description “short story,” from “flash fiction,” stories as no longer than 1,000 words, to the novella, which can be as long as 50,000 words. The standard short story is defined as 1,500 to 30,000 words in length by Writers Digest. But Dalrymple said not to focus on length.
“I don’t think it makes much difference. If it’s a good story, it’s a good story.” He said flash fiction is very popular currently in literary magazines and journals but said, “It’s so much harder to write an 800-word story.”

Rapt Audience

He also talked about inspiration and what fiction is and is not. He and two other authors, Jerry Craven and Andrew Geyer, did what is known as a short story cycle of four stories by each writer, for a total of 12, that had to connect in some way. Titled “Dancing on Barbed Wire.”
“It was an interesting thing to do and it inspired me.” He said he “hears voices,” pieces of dialogue or description that can turn into a short story. One example he gave was writing a story just from the word on a car license plate. He emphasized, though, that ideas don’t make a story, characters do. And he said fiction is not about creating, it’s about re-creating.
“We don’t create out of nothing, like God created light. We re-create. Fiction is like counterfeit money, it is supposed to look like the real thing even though it’s not.” He emphasized that the elements of fiction — character, plot, point of view and setting — also includes believe-ability.
He concluded with one piece of “major advice”: at least one character has to be a complex human being and quoted the phrase “friction equals fiction.”

Laurence Musgrove

Laurence Musgrove

At the January 8th meeting, Dr. Laurence Musgrove, author of books of poetry and chair of the Angelo State University Department of English, presented “The Five Sources of Beauty in Poetry.”

Musgrove began by listing the five sources: shape, line, voice, repetition, and analogy. It is usually easy to spot poetry on the page: it is not a solid block of text like prose. Poetry on the page takes different shapes: long lines that extend almost across the page or skinny lines snaking down the page or lining the edges. The shape of the poem often hints at its style. Long lines implying perhaps description or observation, short lines providing contrast or emotion.

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Preston Lewis

Preston Lewis Speaking at SAWC

On November 13, Preston Lewis, the Spur Award-winning author of more than 30 western, juvenile and historical novels on the Old West, spoke to the San Angelo Writers Club about historical research and how he uses his findings to incorporate humor into his novels of the Old West.

 

 

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Manning Wolf

On October 9, 2018, Manning Wolf, attorney and author, spoke to the San Angelo Writers Club about plotting and writing the thriller. Manning told the group about writing in three acts, each composed of a series of beats that define the progress of the work. She advised allotting a quarter of the pages to Act I, which introduces the characters, the locale, and sets the tone of the novel. Another quarter of the pages are assigned to the slam-bam finish in Act III, leaving fully half of the book for the middle, Act II, where the plot thickens and character development occurs.

Manning Wolf at the Podium

Manning Wolf

Manning Wolf is an author, blogger, and attorney based in Austin. Manning writes fast-paced legal thrillers (she’s an attorney, remember) starring Austin attorney Merit Bridges. Enthusiastic readers note that the detailed use of Austin sights and restaurants make the city a character in its own right.  Her Lady Lawyer novels include Dollar Signs, Music Notes, and Green Fees. All are available on Amazon in paperback and as Kindle books.

Manning’s Books

Dollar Signs.  Merit Bridges represents a client accused of arson and murder after taking matters into his own hands. When Merit steps in, her ruthless opponents unleash a merciless hired gun, Boots King, to head her off at the pass. The ensuing legal shenanigans, a wild chase across Texas, and the looming presence of Boots King make for a wild ride!

Manning Sells Some Books

Music Notes. Liam Nolan was getting his life back together, cataloging his music. Things are looking up until someone murders him with his own guitar. Then a heir shows up claiming to be Liam’s illegitimate son. Meanwhile, Nolan’s former manager, L. A. Baron, makes a play for the estate and starts making shady deals for the estate. The maneuvering in and out of court has Merit Bridges looking over her shoulder.

Green Fees. Golf pro Mark Green has a problem. To keep his PGA tour dream alive he borrowed money from Russian loan shark Browno Zars (not a good life choice). This is a problem because when Bruno doesn’t get his money he gets testy and when Bruno gets testy, his henchman, the Enforcer, gets busy. Mark asks his lover, the smart and feisty attorney Merit Bridges, for help. Merit goes to work with her legal magic. This makes her a target for the Enforcer. Merit wakes up hanging from a meat hook and staring death in the face. Can Merit save herself from torture and certain death?

Manning and Her SAWC Fans

 

 

Linda Bond

Linda Bond Speaks at the SAWC

Linda Thorsen Bond entertained the San Angelo Writers Club on Tuesday, September 11, with her take on writing historical novels, “History Couldn’t Be Hotter”. Linda discussed the different kinds of historical novels and gave examples. She provided a list of novels and read excerpts from several of them. For an exercise she had the audience write down the name of a famous historical person of interest. Then challenged the group to choose a less famous person and then a relative. These exercises were intended to give the audience a head start in thinking about historical fiction.

Bond Talking with Fan

Bond has written for magazines in Colorado and for Texas Monthly, Texas Highways, Women’s Wear Daily, and many more. This year, a television show she wrote and produced won a national silver people’s choice Telly Award and a bronze award for best historical production. She has also written and produced 20 interactive historical plays. Bond’s latest book, Saving the Oldest Town in Texas, will be published November 15.

Saving the Oldest Town in Texas

When Col. Benjamin Wettermark emptied the bank and skipped town in 1903, he left his wife, his children and his mansion behind. Wettermark was the banker everyone trusted, the mayor of Nacogdoches and one of the most important men in East Texas. On the night he emptied the safe and took the night train out of town, he lost that trust. Then he became the face on the front page of hundreds of newspapers as the scoundrel who broke the bank in the Oldest Town in Texas.

Over a hundred years later, Peggy Jensen wonders if she is brave enough to renovate a home that seems too far-gone. She could almost say the same thing about herself. She is alone, stiffening up in all her joints, at loose ends after seven years watching her husband’s brilliant mind deteriorate. It is just her luck to fall in love with a deteriorating scandal-ridden mansion.

The book tells the true story of Col. Wettermark, the most famous embezzler in 1903, his house designed by the best architect in Nacogdoches and the impact Col. Wettermark’s betrayal had on the woman who loved him and the town that trusted him.

The book is available for pre-sale on Amazon.com – click here.

See also the previous post, Linda Bond. For more information on Bond, go to her website, www.lindathorsenbond.com.

Linda Bond – September 2018

San Angelo Writers Club returns from the summer break with “History Couldn’t Be Hotter” presented by Linda T. Bond on Tuesday, Sept. 11. Bond’s book, “Saving the Oldest Town in Texas,” will be published Nov. 15 by Stephen F. Austin Press. Her historic novel combines the true story of Col. Benjamin Wettermark, the most famous embezzler of 1903, with a contemporary woman taking on the task of restoring his Nacogdoches mansion 100 years later.

Bond has written for magazines in Colorado and for Texas Monthly, Texas Highways, Women’s Wear Daily, and many more. This year, a television show she wrote and produced won a national silver people’s choice Telly Award and a bronze award for best historical production. She has also written and produced 20 interactive historical plays. Bond will discuss doing historic research for her novel and other projects. For more information on Bond, go to her website, www.lindathorsenbond.com. The book is available for pre-sale on Amazon.com – click here.

Saving the Oldest Town in Texas

When Col. Benjamin Wettermark emptied the bank and skipped town in 1903, he left his wife, his children and his mansion behind. Wettermark was the banker everyone trusted, the mayor of Nacogdoches and one of the most important men in East Texas. On the night he emptied the safe and took the night train out of town, he lost that trust. Then he became the face on the front page of hundreds of newspapers as the scoundrel who broke the bank in the Oldest Town in Texas.

Over a hundred years later, Peggy Jensen wonders if she is brave enough to renovate a home that seems too far-gone. She could almost say the same thing about herself. She is alone, stiffening up in all her joints, at loose ends after seven years watching her husband’s brilliant mind deteriorate. It is just her luck to fall in love with a deteriorating scandal-ridden mansion.

The book tells the true story of Col. Wettermark, the most famous embezzler in 1903, his house designed by the best architect in Nacogdoches and the impact Col. Wettermark’s betrayal had on the woman who loved him and the town that trusted him.

 

Kathy Keaton – Writing Humor

Kathy Keaton

Kathy Keaton, aka Piccolo the Clown, gave the May San Angelo Writers Club (SAWC) program on writing humor. The occasion for her talk was the recent publication of her new book Prescription Humor: The Compassionate Application of Medicinal Humor. For the last 15 years, Kathy has been employed at the San Angelo Community Medical Center as a Therapeutic Hospital Clown.

Kathy as Piccolo

Kathy Keaton is a motivational and keynote speaker. Her message is timeless: laughter can help us lead a happier and healthier life. In her book and speaking appearances she gives examples of the positive effcts of laugher on our well-being. Her alter ego, Piccolo, is an award-winning clown. Kathy is a board member of the Texas Clown Association and a member of the World Clown Association. After three-years of study at the Humor Academy of the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor, she was one of the first to be awarded a designation as a Certified Humor Proessional (CHP).

In her talk, Kathy admonished us to better understand our own sense of humor in order to blend it into the characters in our books. From Kathy’s handout: “A sense of humor is a powerful tool/trait that can be used to add depth to your writing as well as help you connect with others in the real world plus add health benefits for you life.” She suggested that we keep a humor notebook to help us define our sense of humor and to construct humorous situations for our characters.

Kathy’s book Prescription Humor: The Compassionate Application of Medicinal Humor was published in January 2018 and available on Amazon. The book is a collection of life stories collected from over forty years of experience. Her message is that humor and personel connection can improve even the most difficult situations. It is about using humor to provide moments of laughter and bring relief to the stress of difficult situations.

Kathy Signing Her Book

During her presentation Kathy had the club members stand and led us in exercises to limber up our funny bones and to improve our health and attitudes. Kathy lingered after the meeting to sign books and chat with the members. Connect with Kathy Keaton/Piccolo the Clown on her website.

Brian Turner to be Featured at Writer’s Conference

Brian Turner will be the featured writer at the 22nd Annual ASU Writers Conference in Honor of Elmer Kelton. See the Writer’s Conference home page here.

Mr. Turner is a poet and memoirist who served seven years in the US Army. He is the author of two poetry collections, Phantom Noise and Here, Bullet, which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor’s Choice” selection, the 2006 PEN Center USA “Best in the West” award, the 2007 Poets Prize, and others. Turner’s work has been published in National Geographic, The New York Times, Poetry Daily, Harper’s Magazine, and other fine journals. Turner has been awarded a United States Artists Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and more. His recent memoir, My Life as a Foreign Country, has been called, “achingly, disturbingly, shockingly beautiful.”

Visit Brian Turner’s author page at Blue Flower Arts.

 

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