Posts Tagged ‘write brain’

Write Brain

By: Robin Laborde

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A special two-part Write Brain:
The New Zebulon 
Amy Armstrong, Presenter
and
250 Words That Will Make or Break You
Natalie Mae, Presenter

2020 Zebulon

The August Write Brain began with an update about the 2020 Zebulon Contest, including TWO double-sided pages of information about what has changed during the contest’s year-long hiatus. A few of the more notable changes:

  • Contest entries will be accepted through Submittable rather than a custom-built portal.
  • The short story category is back! 
  • No more query round, but a synopsis is still required. (Darn.)
  • The Zebulon will offer monetary prizes only in 2020, rather than discounts on conference registration.

See the Zebulon Rules for the latest information and deadlines.

250 Words to Beef Up

After the break, YA author Natalie Mae shared tips for beefing up your first paragraph. In an unexpected but super helpful twist, she began her presentation by sharing an early version of the first paragraph of her novel Duplicitous and comparing it to the published version. The exercise clearly demonstrated the improvements she made, including that oh-so-important delicious first line. For even more insight into Natalie’s journey to publication, visit her website.


Robin Laborde

Robin Laborde is not sure exactly how long she has been a member of Pikes Peak Writers but she enjoys it very much. She worked as a technical writer for over ten years and has had nonfiction articles published in newspapers and magazines. She is currently writing a speculative fiction novel and working part-time at the East Library in Colorado Springs.

Write Brain

by: Robin Laborde

Writing Real LGBTQ Plus Characters: A Panel Discussion

I belong to a faith tradition, Unitarian Universalism, that affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person. It’s a well-intentioned principle that in practice often keeps us on a comfortable periphery, preaching “tolerance” while staying far away from the bleeding edge of societal debates. I’m coming to believe that fixing the divisions in our society takes more than tolerance, it takes curiosity to learn about those we have been taught to consider as “other.” We must be brave enough not only to ask questions but to stay and listen to the answers, to accept that each person has a truth that may not be the same as our own, and to seek to understand.

The panel of PPW’s last Write Brain provided a variety of perspectives on the LGBTQ experience, including a spirited debate about the acronym itself. And while the myriad and constantly evolving labels can be confusing for those outside this culture, the conversation helped illuminate a central concern: the wish to be SEEN. To be acknowledged and understood.

Kudos to PPW for facilitating this valuable conversation. One of the intentions of the event was to help writers create diverse characters with sensitivity and understanding. The evening certainly helped me illuminate my own approach to writing a gender fluid character.

Write Brain’s Panelists were:

LGBTQ Panelists

David R Slayton grew up in Guthrie, Oklahoma, where finding fantasy novels was pretty challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters was downright impossible. Now he lives in Denver and writes the books he always wanted to read. His debut YA fantasy, GHOST DRAGON, will be published in January 2020 by Harmony Ink Press. He is represented by Lesley Sabga of the Seymour Agency.

Emily Kay Singer/Nonir Amicitia has never really fit into molds or boxes. They claim labels such as queer, nerd, Heathen, and Social Justice Cleric, but none of those completely describe them. They’ve published short stories in anthologies, entirely too much fanfic, and has several novels-in-progress, all featuring queer characters and diverse casts. They also co-write the Aces High, Jokers Wild series under the penname O.E. Tearmann.

Suzanne Anderson is a schoolteacher, writer, and long-standing member of the geek community in Colorado Springs. She brings an intimate voice and open trans perspective to the discussion of authentic characters.

When not fighting our robot overlords or tinkering with Tarot spreads, Vivian Caethe writes weird fiction, science fiction, fantasy, quirky nonfiction and everything in between. She lives in Colorado with a super villain cat. She can be found as a writer at VivianCaethe.com and as an editor at WordsMadeBeautiful.net.


Robin Laborde

This recap from Write Brain is presented by Contributing Editor Robin Laborde. Robin is not sure exactly how long she has been a member of Pikes Peak Writers but she enjoys it very much. While she is currently writing a speculative fiction novel set in the near future, she dreams of flying to the moon in a spaceship made from butterfly wings.

Conference Like a Pro –

Everything You Need to Know

Pikes Peak writer's Conference 2019
REGISTRATION DEADLINE:
April 28, 2019

Most of the time, writing is a solitary act. But if you’re in it for the long haul, it quickly becomes apparent that not only will other people have to be involved at some point, you need other people to stay motivated and succeed. Attending the Pikes Peak Writers Conference is a terrific way to start finding those people – your tribe.

If you’ve never been to a writers’ conference, being around a few hundred or so other aspiring authors can be a little overwhelming, even anxiety-provoking, until you realize the amazingly wonderful fact that these folks are following the same mysterious calling as you. Eating lunch with an agent or an editor is one of the best ways to understand that these inscrutable entities are, in fact, human beings who truly want you to succeed. Because, after all, why would someone get into the publishing industry unless they, you know, LOVED BOOKS?? It’s their business to find good work.

PPWC Conference Director Laura Hayden and Programming Director Bowen Gilling joined conference mavens Patrick Hester, Stacy S. Jensen, and Shannon Lawrence to provide insider tips and insights during Write Brain on Wednesday. They even suggested icebreaking strategies for first-time attendees. (Hint: asking another writer “What are you working on?” is a great way to kick off a long conversation.)

Bowen had some particularly helpful advice for those new to the conference experience. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment with a statement like, “My attendance will be a failure unless X happens,” where X equals a 3-book deal or the like. Instead, stay open to the unexpected networking opportunities and discussions that spring up naturally. Keep looking. You’ll find your tribe.

Deadline to register for PPWC2019 is April 28, 2019. Conference is, May 3 through 5, 2019. Can’t make it for the whole weekend? The conference prequel on May 2nd is a one-day event with eight different workshops to choose from.

Go to https://pikespeakwriters.com/ppwc/ for more information.


Robin Laborde

This recap from Write Brain is presented by Contributing Editor Robin Laborde. Robin is not sure exactly how long she has been a member of Pikes Peak Writers but she enjoys it very much. While she is currently writing a speculative fiction novel set in the near future, she dreams of flying to the moon in a spaceship made from butterfly wings.

Thinking Outside the Publication Box

Write Brain with Debbie Maxwell Allen –

We’re all aware that readers are finding their favorite content in many places besides physical books. With this in mind, Debbie Maxwell Allen’s Write Brain presentation provided a refreshing look at how writers can take advantage of multiple technologies to get themselves and their content in front of readers.

Affordable print-on-demand services make it possible to produce a variety of creative materials such as card decks, board games, and even coloring books. Augmented reality (AR) apps open up the possibility of adding animated artwork and video, viewable by smartphone, to your books and promotional tie-ins.

Of course, no discussion about self-promotion would be complete without mentioning Facebook. Citing the platform’s rising costs for paid advertising, Debbie shared ways to use Facebook in a more organic and conversational way. Rather than boosting posts and buying ads, she suggested leveraging currently free features such as groups and live videos to connect with fans and share content such as story world details, what you’re currently working on, or how you found an idea.

As much as some of us (and by some of us I mean me) would like to imagine it’s not necessary, both traditionally and independently published authors need to find and build their own audience, even before publication. Fortunately, technology makes it easier than ever to get your words and your brand in front of an increasingly global audience.

Debbie Maxwell Allen is an editor, YA author, and Scrivener teacher. She works as a project manager for Good Catch Publishing and writes young adult historical fantasy. Find more of her resources for writers on her blog, Writing While the Rice Boils.


Robin LabordeThis recap from Write Brain is presented by Contributing Editor Robin Laborde. Robin is not sure exactly how long she has been a member of Pikes Peak Writers but she enjoys it very much. She worked as a technical writer for over ten years and has had nonfiction articles published in newspapers and magazines. While she is currently writing a speculative fiction novel set in the near future, she dreams of flying to the moon in a spaceship made from butterfly wings.

The Thriving Writers Toolkit: Insights and Inspiration

January’s Write Brain with Michelle Major and Lana Williams

As a good friend of mine once said, “Sometimes life is one big flea.” Halfway through January, rather than sailing along on a wave of resolute intention, I was struggling to keep my balance. A few weeks before, a loved one’s health crisis combined with the general holiday chaos shattered my plan of finishing the first draft of my current novel by New Year’s Eve. My cherished writing schedule, variables refined over months of trial and error — Earl Grey tea, cool jazz on Pandora, laundry break halfway through — evaporated just like that.

January’s Write Brain helped provide a sorely needed reset for my careworn psyche. Co-presenters Michelle Major and Lana Williams provided a wide variety of strategies to stay focused and in the mindset to produce. More importantly, the two accomplished writers stressed the idea that committing to your dream is an ongoing process. Learning how to enhance your creativity and stay sane along the way is vital to this endeavor.

As Lana and Michelle suggested, try telling yourself that you “get” to write, rather than you “have to write.” Doing so helped me to remember how fortunate I am to have the luxury to indulge in this messy, frustrating, and ultimately joyous creative pursuit at all.

Michelle Major is a best-selling, RITA award-winning author of over twenty sexy and sweet contemporary romances. Visit her website at http://www.michellemajor.com/ for life, love, and happy endings. Lana Williams is a USA Today Bestselling and Amazon All-Star author. Her books are intriguingly described as “Historical romance filled with adventure, mystery and a pinch of paranormal.” Learn more at https://lanawilliams.net/


Robin LabordeThis recap from Write Brain is presented by Robin Laborde, Contributing Editor. Robin is not sure exactly how long she has been a member of Pikes Peak Writers but she enjoys it very much. She worked as a technical writer for over ten years and has had nonfiction articles published in newspapers and magazines. While she is currently writing a speculative fiction novel set in the near future, she dreams of flying to the moon in a spaceship made from butterfly wings.

Web Presence 101

Notes from November’s Write Brain

For all of us non-technical types who have been waffling about how to go about setting up an author website, November’s Write Brain was a real bonus.

Presenter Sharon Manislovich, currently a Web Systems Administrator, has been constructing and supporting website applications and infrastructure for over 25 years. She provided an enjoyable, common-sense look at the nuts and bolts of setting up a website, from finding a good domain name to the best sources for web design and hosting.

Sharon’s presentation stressed the importance of branding for a successful website, starting with that all-important name. She led a lively discussion that helped to demystify the process of registering for a domain name – and more importantly, keeping it registered. (Did you know there are unscrupulous folks out there who will buy up your expired domain name and try to sell it back to you? Yikes!) Since your branding should ideally extend across whatever social media you use, she recommends using the same name on all platforms.

Missed the November Write Brain? You can find the PowerPoint for Sharon’s presentation at brightkitten.com/web101

 

Don’t forget – the next Write Brain, the PPW Holiday Bookie Party, will be held earlier in the month than usual, on Thursday, December 13th. (Yep, it’s on Thursday night instead of Tuesday.) Join us for a fun evening of books and cookies — no note taking required. Hope to see you there!

 


Robin LabordeThis recap from Write Brain is presented by Robin Laborde, Contributing Editor. Robin is not sure exactly how long she has been a member of Pikes Peak Writers but she enjoys it very much. She worked as a technical writer for over ten years and has had nonfiction articles published in newspapers and magazines. While she is currently writing a speculative fiction novel set in the near future, she dreams of flying to the moon in a spaceship made from butterfly wings.

Letter from the Editor – November 2018

Dear PPW Readers,

Welcome to November and the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Are you participating? Last month Writing from the Peak covered many ways to prepare yourself for NaNo, and today is your day to fly. I wish all of you luck and perseverance as you dive head first into what might be one of the most grueling writing months of the year. Some will cross the finish line in twenty days, while others will crash and burn in two. No matter when you cross the line, just remember, success is not finishing first, but starting in the first place.Success is not finishing first, but that you started in the first place.

Writing from the Peak, will spend November helping you keep writing. Deb Buckingham will help you find ways to Generate Ideas. DeAnna Knippling will set the pace for you with Pacing Primer. Lit-Quotes by Gabrielle Brown, are always inspirational and a visit with the Grammar Police by Robin LaBorde will keep your writing free of comma comas. In addition to PPW’s blog, Pikes Peak Writers will also be hosting monthly events that will certainly add to your writing arsenal.

Open Critique
This FREE program provides a critique experience for a small number of PPW members who seek feedback on manuscript pages and who want to learn how to have positive critique group experiences.

Write Brains
Write Brain Sessions are free mini-workshops on the craft of writing, business of writing, and the writer’s life. Watch for them in Colorado Springs on the third Tuesday of most months. Pikes Peak Writers began offering monthly Write Brain workshops in 2004.

Write Drunk, Edit Sober
Come and enjoy some wonderful, guided improv writing prompts and a discussion about what those prompts produce.

Writers’ Night
Writers’ Night is two full hours of discussion, laughter, and fun with other local members of Pikes Peak Writers.

I wish everyone writing success in NaNoWriMo as well as anything you are doing this month. May you find the courage to sit at your writing table each day to conquer whatever writing beast you are facing.


KJ Scrim, Profile ImageManaging Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym.

Why Movies Make Us Cry

Emotion in Screenwriting and How Novelists Can Use It.

What a treat to have Kevin Ikenberry at Write Brain in October. His presentation proposed to answer the question, “How do film techniques translate to the novel?” In a nutshell? Emotion is a product of story structure. As writers, we can double down on the two aspects that the written word excels at – imagery and emotion.

Kevin Ikenberry
Kevin Ikenberry

Kevin distilled the science of building emotionally resonant story into four steps by asking these questions:

  1. Who is your protagonist?
  2. What is your protagonist trying to do?
  3. Who is trying to stop your protagonist?
  4. What happens if your hero fails?

He also went into detail about the tricks and tropes for structuring your story to provoke emotional reactions of your characters. One that stood out was isolating your characters in some way. Such as making them an outsider or a “chosen one”.

Thank you Kevin for a fantastic evening!

If you missed October’s Write Brain then…

Please join Pikes Peak Writers for November’s Write Brain.

Sharon Manislovich will present Web Presence 101.

You’ve got a product and you want to market it. Where do you start? Should you create a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter presence and be done with it?

Find out the answers to these, and many more questions on Nov 20, 2018 — 6:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at Library 21c – 1175 Chapel Hills Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80920

See you there!

 

Write Brain with Stant Litore

Write Worlds Your Readers Won’t Forget

On Tuesday, August 21st, author Stant Litore presented a workshop on world-building at PPW’s monthly Write Brain event. Using material from his new book, Write Worlds Your Readers Won’t Forget, he laid out an approach to world-building that easily builds potential for plot and conflict into the story. Stant Litore, Write Worlds Your Readers Won't ForgetRather than starting from a wide angle, he advises writers to hone in on three elements that yield the best possibilities for pressure on the characters: the physical conditions for survival, a fantastic creature (or several), and an unforgettable fact about the culture or civilization, most likely arising from the first two factors.

Using this framework, Stant launched into a wide-ranging lecture with myriad examples from history, religion, and literature, throwing out imaginative examples of how this approach to world-building can play out. It was sometimes a challenge to keep up, but his infectious enthusiasm for ideas couldn’t help but bring you along.

The book is available on Amazon’s Stant Litore page. You can also find his books and lots of thought-provoking content Stant’s website.

 

Join Write Brain on September 18, 2018, at 6:15pm.
Josh Vogt will present, Foundations of a Freelance Writing Career.

 

In the mean time enjoy these photos from Stant’s presentation taken by Shannon Lawrence.

Stant Litore Stant Litore

Write Brain with Stant Litore


Robin LabordeThis recap from Write Brain is presented by Robin Laborde, Contributing Editor. Robin is not sure exactly how long she has been a member of Pikes Peak Writers but she enjoys it very much. She worked as a technical writer for over ten years and has had nonfiction articles published in newspapers and magazines. She is currently writing a speculative fiction novel set in the near future.

We Want Your Workshops!

by: M.B. Partlow


Pikes Peak Writers just unveiled their brand new workshop proposal portal, and we are open for business, looking for your proposals!

What are we looking for? One-hour workshops for our annual Conference, two-hour proposals for our monthly Write Brains, and half-day workshop proposals for the occasional longer events we do.

PPWC Portal

On what topics?

Anything that will help writers improve their craft, from writing better dialogue to thickening the plot. The business of writing, including (shiver) marketing, the bane of our existance, and info from proven successes in the world of independent publishing. We also welcome genre-specific proposals, and love workshops that take the tenets of one genre to make another genre really pop. We like Reality Track/How To topics, which are real life experiences of interest to writers. (In the past, we’ve had a SWAT team, a food writer, a firefighter, a coroner, numerous law enforcement from local to national, and more.) Then there’s the Writer’s Life, which could include time management, motivation, and inspiration to keep on writing when life throws the inevitable roadblock in your way.

Here’s a tip:

It’s better to propose a few workshops for us to choose from than just one lonely proposal. It gives us a better idea of the range of your mad skills, and makes you a more attractive candidate. Want more insider tips? We’ve got a great FAQ on our website. And if you don’t want to present a workshop, but would like to request that a particular topic be covered? We’ve got you covered! Just click here.

Our new portal is based in Submittable, so you will have to make a Submittable account when you begin, It’s quick, painless and free!

We accept Write Brain proposals all year long. But if you want to be considered for the 2019 Pikes Peak Writers Conference, you must submit your workshop proposals by September 30, 2018.

Propose early and propose often!

 


MB Partlow is a long-time volunteer with Pikes Peak Writers, who has worked extensively on the annual conference and on the board. She writes in the spec fic world, reads voraciously across genres, and is only fully happy when she’s made someone laugh or is laughing herself.