Weekly Writing Prompt — March 8, 2017 Edition

Writers:

Writing one-handed is fun. Actually, not really. But, I’m bringing you your weekly cheerleading and information all the same.
We have about 10 days until our next workshop:  March 18, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at the North Bend Library. I certainly hope that we’ll have good attendance. As our community has grown, meeting space is at a premium and the library readily offers space to us, but we must be active to maintain that space. Also, writing! Right? Give yourself permission to carve out just 90 minutes once a month to be pushed to level up your craft.
Your prompt is to continue to work on the homework from Feb. 18 workshop and keep deconstructing your chosen text.
If you want to zing out a short story (no more than 1500 words about International Women’s Day and a story of a strong woman in your life, I’d love to see that, too.
Don’t forget about the weekly writing cafes — tonight at Little Si Cafe beginning at 6 p.m. and Friday at The Black Dog at 9:30 a.m. Hope to see you.
Now your moment of Writing Zen:
“Your personal life, your professional life, and your creative life are all intertwined. I went through a few very difficult years where I felt like a failure. But it was actually really important for me to go through that. Struggle, for me, is the most inspirational thing in the world at the end of the day – as long as you treat it that way.” ~ Skylar Grey


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Weekly Writing Prompt — February 22, 2017 Edition

Writers:

I can see that the “homework” is making our very robust class kind of peter out. So, I wanted to take a moment and let you all know that there is no wrong answer in the homework and it’s more about exercising your writing muscles. You learn what works for you and what you need to learn through those exercises.

Since 2008 when I began SnoValley Writes! I have always contended that you get out of it what you put into it. I try hard to make sure that there’s not more than about two hours of work outside the workshop each week — and I would guess that’s the high end of it.

You want to level up? You need to put in some time. I’ve tried hard to design this learning track for 2017 in a manner that you can learn; but, you can also juggle all that you need to juggle.

As always I’m open to suggestions if you have ideas on how to make the work and lessons more digestible and equitable.

For those who were blocked for other reasons other than desire, there is a download of the worksheet we went over and the homework to bring for the March 18 worksheet attached to this email and included in the body below my signature. However, the worksheet doesn’t include the warm up prompt or the lecture that I gave. You’ll have to do your own cobweb cleaning, which I highly encourage, and do your own research on what makes dialogue good and bad. Give yourself the :90 you would have spent in the workshop doing that, of course.

There you have it. That’s your prompt. Do the worksheet, catch up, do the exercises. Level Up Your Writing.

Now your moment of Writing Zen:

“The only way to learn and hone your craft is by working hard and writing regularly.” ~ Darren Shan


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

SnoValley Writes!

February 18, 2017

Workshop – Level Up Your Writing (Class 2)

 

Continuing the DeConstruction Process — Reading Like a Writer

 

  1. Time to clear the cobwebs. Writing warm-up (Casz will provide prompt)

 

  1. Discuss last month’s homework. What did you learn? Where did you struggle?
  2. Reading of step 4?
  3. Reading of Step 5?

 

  1. Put your hand on the book you’re working with all year. Think about the story. Just sit there thinking about it for a minute.

 

Now think about the dialogue in the story. Dialogue instantly reveals your skill as a writer. Bad dialogue signals the work of an amateur who has failed to grasp the mechanics of speech. Good dialogue illuminates your characters, moves your plot forward, and develops relationships.

  1. Find some dialogue that really pulls you in, illuminates your characters, moves your plot forward, and develops relationships. The section you find may not do all of these things, but it should do at least one.
  2. Is there anywhere in the book where the dialogue struggled?

e.g. “I can’t go on,” Mary said tearfully

  1. “Mary wiped a tear from her cheek. “I’m not sure I can go on,” she said. (body language…description, as well as words)
  2. Now think about where you struggle with dialogue. How do you become batter at it? Find all the places where it serves no purpose — cut that from your text

e.g. “I saw Mark in the park the other day,” I said.

“How is he,” Mary said.  (Unless your purpose is to show how boring and awkward the conversation is between Mark and Mary — cut this out.)

 

  1. Homework — 30 Minutes in Public/Student of Conversation:. Go to a coffee shop, a busy bus stop, a bar, a hotel lobby, sit anywhere there are people. Bring a notebook and pen. Just write down everything you hear, see, watch body language, expressions. Actually write down conversations. don’t think, don’t worry about punctuation, just write it all down.

 

  1. When you get home or get writing time next, construct a short story from what you wrote down.

 

  1. Read it out loud to yourself. Revise quickly (I don’t want you spending hours and hours on this project; it’s just supposed to be an exercise, not a dissertation.)

 

  1. Bring your notes from your Conversation Observation and your story to the next workshop March 18.

Weekly Writing Prompt — February 15, 2017 Edition

Writers:

Happy Writing Day! Since every rainy day is a good writing day!
Don’t forget our monthly workshop is this Saturday, Feb. 18, at 10:30 a.m. at the North Bend Meeting Room. Be sure to bring the book you’ll be working with to Level Up Your Writing. Be sure you’ve done the Jan. 21st worksheet (can be found on our blog here). Be ready to write. Be ready to share. Be ready to step it up.
Don’t forget there’s a writers cafe tonight at Little Si Cafe at 6 p.m. Also, Friday at The Black Dog at 9:30 a.m.
Hope to see you!
Now your moment of Writing Zen:
“The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky.” ~Jane Goodall


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Weekly Writing Prompt — February 8, 2017

Writers:

I received some feed back from everyone about the latest “homework.” I wanted to clarify that it is not required that you do that before our next workshop on February 18. The first assignment to pick out the book, read it, and do the initial worksheet, however, should be completed. It only takes a short while. I provided the next  assignment bit for those who wanted to work ahead. I encourage you to work ahead, since other parts of our lives sometimes steals from our writing time; but, it’s not necessary.
Do, however, note your calendars and be at our workshop Saturday, Feb. 18 at 10:30 a.m. at the North Bend Library meeting room. Do have the first assignment done:  pick a book to work with all year, read it, complete the first worksheet. Come to the workshop. Be ready to write at the workshop, too.
I would be remiss if I didn’t share my own literary milestone — especially given that I am always excited to announce all of yours (just need to read me in and I can share wider with the group). This Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at The Black Dog in historic downtown Snoqualmie, I’ll be having my book launch for Wilderness Rim. I would love if all of you joined in the celebration. There is a no-host bar and dinner special and I will be providing bigfoot-themed dessert for everyone. Wear your best Sasquatch garb (optional) and I’ll see you there!
And now your moment of Writing Zen:
“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” ~ Misty Copeland


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Writing Prompt — February 1, 2017 Edition

Writers:

Hopefully you’ve picked out your book for your Level Up Your Writing track for 2017, have read it, and done the first work sheet. I understand how January kind of snuck up on folks, many of us sidelined for too long with the flu, including yours truly. So you have one more week to get the book, read it, and do the first exercise.
However, I don’t want to discourage those who are motivated and want to work ahead, so you can do a couple of things in preparation for lessons ahead.
1. Pick out your favorite scene of dialogue
2. Pick out your favorite section that has fantastic description
3. Pick out a moment where something is revealed about the protagonist.
4. Pick out a moment where something is revealed about the antagonist.
Meanwhile, I hope many of you are planning on making the writers cafes — either the one tonight or the one on Friday morning.
And now your moment of Writing Zen:
“A healthy attitude is contagious but don’t wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier.” ~Tom Stoppard

What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Weekly Writing Prompt — January 25, 2017 Edition

Writers:

What a great first workshop to kick off 2017! A great way to Level Up Your Writing!

Lori A. May was a great guest speaker and gave us some new tips and reiterated things we already knew.  Lots of great resources. We also had a few moments to pass out homework, which I’ll include below for those that missed. Next week’s writing prompt will work off of this homework, too. So you have a few more days to get involved. Yes, it’s some serious work and you’ll need to dedicate time to getting it done. Anything worth having is worth working towards, busting out of your comfort level and growing. So come join us as we Level Up!

The Writers Cafes are a great time to do your Level Up Workshop homework, so maybe go out this evening to Little Si Cafe beginning at 6 p.m. or The Black Dog on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.

The homework is below my signature line, so take a look. In the meantime, here’s your moment of Writing Zen:

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
– Ernest Hemingway


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Sno Valley Writes!

January 21, 2017

Workshop – Level Up Your Writing (Class I)

 

Beginning the DeConstruction Process – Reading Like A Writer

 

  1. Pick out a book that is in your “favorites” list. It should be a book by an author whose prose makes you want to Level Up Your Writing. You should own this book because you will be using it for your homework the entire year.

 

  1. Begin with the jacket copy. This is what enticed you to pick up the book in the first place. When you go beyond your emotional reaction to the copy and look at it with your analytical brain, notice what jumps out at you and what excited you about the story and the characters. Take a few moments and answer these questions:
  2. What enticed you to pick up this book?
  3. If the book was recommended, what appeals to you about the cover?
  4. What part of the book’s jacket copy appeals to you. Are there specific words that pull you in? What devices does the author employ to pull you in via the jacket?
  5. Before reading the book, what part of the story piqued your interest the most within what’s included in the text of the book jacket.

 

  1. Now think about your own writing. If you have a particular body of work, say a novel, or a collection of poems, or even writings on one non-fiction subject, how would you do the same?
  2. How would you model the book copy to draw in your audience?
  3. What would your  jacket copy say?
  4. What kind of devices — metaphors, repetition, etc. would you employ to hook your readers?

 

 

  1. Take a few moments and write a short piece as your homework book as the focal point. Two friends arguing over it, or someone just finds the book along a trail, at a bus stop, a book sale, a gift, what have you. What impact does that book have on them.

 

  1. Now take a few moments and write a short piece on how your work (novel, poems, etc.) has impact on someone in another unusual surrounding (the mailman just drops it in a stranger’s mailbox one day, a jilted lover leaves it in her ex’s apartment).

 

  1. Bring both of those short pieces to the next workshop on Feb. 18.

Weekly Writing Prompt — January 18, 2107 Edition

Writers:

Huzzah! We have a name for our special guest speaker on Saturday! Lori A. May. If you haven’t been to one of our workshops in a while, I would highly encourage you to attend this Saturday (Jan. 21) at 10:30 a.m. at the North Bend Library’s meeting room. Ms. May will be talking about pitching, getting an agent, and other writerly questions you scribes have for her. I’m hoping to continue having guest speakers as often as possible, and our reception with Ms. May will determine how often other visiting panelists would like to visit us.
Following Ms. May’s presentation, we’ll have a very short assignment to get us going on our year-long track of Level Up Your Writing. Bring the book that you plan to use throughout the year. Should be an author whose work you admire and writing style you would like to reach for (understanding, of course, that you will not BE that writer, but you can learn from them).
Then every week leading up to the next workshop there will be mini assignments in this weekly email (we will discuss further on Saturday).
Hope to see you all on Saturday and represent what a great organization Sno Valley Writes! is.
And now your moment of Writing Zen:

“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it heard.”
—Allen Ginsberg

Weekly Writing Prompt — January 11, 2017

Writers:

I am afraid I must resort to bullet points this email. My brain has been eaten by pre-book launch stuff. Please forgive me.
* Workshop still scheduled at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 21 at the North Bend Library Meeting Room. We will have guest speaker to present on pitching and obtaining an agent. Please have a fiction book, not written by you, to work with throughout our learning year. This should be a book you enjoy, since you’ll be spending much time with it. Please have a physical copy of it to retain throughout the year. We’ll have a short aftermath instruction on your first “assignment” following our presenter’s time and Q&A. Please RSVP for your attendance. It’s free, as usual.
*Writers Cafe(s) continue on Wednesday evenings at Little Si Cafe (North Bend) and on Friday mornings at The Black Dog Art Cafe (Snoqualmie).
Your moment of Writing Zen:
“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one…just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

Writing Prompt — December 7, 2016 Edition

After years of doing this prompt, it’s amazing to see how many times our little reminder falls on a significant day. This is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. A day that will live in infamy. Having lived in a place where I could look over the harbor, this day has a notable meaning for me. How about you? What significant things in history have been woven into the fabric of your own life? Have you written about that? If not, you should. And that’s today’s prompt:  pick a significant moment of history and write an essay, a scene, something that expresses your emotions and revelations about that special day.

Don’t forget, holiday festivities and celebrating the end of “From Nano to Published” season of learning comes to a close on December 17 at 10:30 a.m. Bring a holiday treat to share, and your own drink (tea, coffee, water, mimosa, whatever). Bring your finished book if you have it to show off and give each other a pat on the back.
In January we’ll have a special speaker. More on that soon (my email fell over recently and the other author and myself have had difficulties communicating). But she’s got a handle on pitching and agents and marketing and you can pick her brain for the whole January 21st session at the North Bend Library beginning at 10:30 a.m.
Writing cafes are going strong throughout the month, so we hope to see you all there.
Now your moment of Writing Zen:  “Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.”  ~ Misty Copeland


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron

Weekly Writing Prompt — November 2, 2016 Edition

Writers:

Feeling a bit overstimulated from Halloween and the National Novel Writing Month kick-off? Be sure that you’re taking care of yourself, physically to not limit your creativity. Be sure you’re staying hydrated. That you’re getting enough sleep (sometimes this can be a bit out of our control, but do your best). Be sure to get up and move around, talk a walk, do some stretches. And eat healthy foods. I ran across this article today regarding using food to help boost our creativity. Since many of us are pushing hard to get a new zero draft in during the month of November, this might not be a bad idea. Take a look yourself:
Also don’t forget lean proteins and complex whole grains. Remember how your mom used to tell you about brain food? Be sure that you’re refilling the reservoir that is your creative brain. Take a moment right now and eat a healthy snack, or plan the next meals in the week with that in mind. You’re not just eating, you’re fueling your creativity.
Hope to see many of you tonight at Little Si Cafe for our weekly Writers Cafe, albeit it will likely be quieter than usual as so many of the regulars will be doing much more heads-down writing than is traditional. All Hail NaNoWriMo and its motivation to get things done.
Now your moment of Writing Zen:
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” ~Virginia Woolf


What did you Write today?
~Casz

Casondra Brewster
Moderator/Founder
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
http://www.snovalleywrites.org
Check us out on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/SnoValleyWrites

“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron