San Angelo Writers Club

Best Writing in West Texas

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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. 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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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

 

 

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.

SAWC Holiday Party a Success

Stan Denny is first in line.

The SAWC Holiday Party was held December 12 at First Place, 14 Harris Street, San Angelo, Texas. Coffee and “snacks” started at 6:30 pm. Only instead of snacks, there was a holiday spread that was quite impressive (see the picture at right). The picture shows Stan Denny, resplendent in his read coat, leading off the charge on the food. For a while, the members settled down to talking and chewing.

Dana Glossbrenner leads off.

After sufficient attention was paid the scrumptious food, President Mattie McKee opened the floor to readings from the members. The business meeting and reading started late because, well, we couldn’t talk with our mouths full.

Each member was allowed 5-10 minutes to read from his or her recent writing. The evening’s presentations included poetry, selections from novels, excerpts from memoirs, and a poem from a collection of poem-prayers.

Members pose for group photo.

After the individual presentations the members and new members posed for a photo. The evening closed with best wishes for all for the holiday season and the new year. Join us in 2018 for another great year of the San Angelo Writer’s Club.

Also, visit the holiday party gallery.

 

 

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.

 

Lone Star Literary Life

If you love writing and live in Texas, you should know about Lone Star Literary Life. Lone Start Literary Life is the brainchild of Kay Ellington and Barbara Brannon, former speakers for the San Angelo Writers Club.

Here are two excerpts from their web page:

Lone Star Literary Life is dedicated to the idea that Texas readers and writers deserve their own lair—a virtual speakeasy of letters where wordsmiths and bookworms are embraced as part of our state’s reading and writing community. So, howdy and welcome. You seem like our kind of folks.

With Lone Star Literary Life, if you don’t know about Texas books, it’ll be your own fault.

Visit the site. There are reviews, e-newsletters, book blog tours, podcasts, calendars of book event, stories, photos, and interviews.

Matt de la Pena

Matt de la Peña will be the featured guest at a Meet the Author event at 2 pm, Tuesday, July 18, in the Suggs Community Room of the Stephens Central Library, 33 W. Beauregard, San Angelo.

Matt de la Peña is the New York Times bestselling author of young adult novels. His titles include “The Hunted,” “We Were Here” and “Mexican Whiteboy.” He won the 2016 Newberry Medal for his picture book “Last Stop on Market Street”.

Matt is a native of San Diego, California. He received his BA from the University of the Pacific and his MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University.  He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his family and teaches creative writing at New York University

Visit Matt’s website, mattdelapena.com.

Thanks to Laurel Scott for initiating this post.

April – Cynthia Jordan

Cynthia Jordan talked with the San Angelo Writers Club about her new book, Ruby, the third book in her Gem Trilogy, which also includes Pearl and Diamond. Cynthia also talked about sources of inspiration for her literature and her music.

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