February 16th 2004

Today, Feb. 08 & 16, 2004, we held our January/February meeting of the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc at Beagle Books in Park Rapids. Our next meeting will be March 21, also at Beagle Books from 1:30 to 4 PM.
Present were: Luanne, Russ, Beth, Bryan, Tarah and Sharon.


We discussed our next book. Tarah and Sharon are ready to get started. Cindie says we have enough money to do another book. We looked at the other covers available from Morris Publishing. There is one more cover that we could use. We could also consider a cover from a photograph but there is additional cost.
We all thought that we could do this next book pretty much like TS12. Since we have all the basic decisions made, this one should take less time and be out sooner in the year.
Do we accept previously published work? Our submission guidelines did say “previously unpublished” but we thought we would consider published items and just mention the previous publication.
It would be fun to do another cookbook sometime, since they do seem to sell better.


The Board Members of the JWB will be holding their annual meeting soon, either in February or March. We will further discuss TS13 at that time. Board members are Cindie, Carolyn, and Sharon.


There will be another writers conference in Bemidji in June of 2004. Last year Jerry went to represent us and join in a panel about writing groups.
Second Sundays — Lina Belair from the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center e-mailed us about her Second Sunday. Her next openings are in July. We need to think about this soon if we want to go there in the summer and do a reading, either from TS12 or the new TS13 if it is out in time. Could we even have out book party there, possibly?
Minnesota Literature has sent out its most recent publication with some new contests.


Beth has had success with getting her essays published. She has had two of them accepted by Lake Country Journal and one of them on the Internet by an E-zine. Congrats to Beth!! We will pass on the web site address for the E-zine when we receive it. The Lake Country Journal essays should be out in the near future. Let’s watch for them.
Sharon has a list of Minnesota book stores from the Internet. We are considering sending letters to more bookstores to see if they want to carry a series of our TS books. We don’t have a large amount of TS12 left, but we have many TS10 and TS11. It would be nice to sell more of those volumes.


Russ told us what he has been doing with his novel. He has a whole loose leaf notebook for the outline. He has all the scenes outlined. He has listed what the dramatic purpose of each scene is. He has a list of all the characters, then a description of each character. What to the desire? What are their fears, their beliefs? He also writes a physical description and a brief history of the character. He describes all the locales where the scenes will take place. He writes details about the towns, the farms, the homes, etc. He writes this all in long narrative sentences.
He will probably also write the ending so the whole story can lead up to it. Like an attorney, you write your final argument first. Work toward your goal. These are all great ideas.
Russ was also working on writing a brief poem to begin each chapter.


1. Write for 3 minutes, all in one sentence.
2. write fast paced dialogue, one page. two characters talking, never allowing the other one to say over 10 words before they interrupt. you will notice that the voices will begin to distinguish into two very different people.
3. write 3 sentences, all on the same basic subject. the first sentence is something true about you. the second sentence is partially true and partially untrue. the third sentence is something totally false about you. Then, write 3 sentences again, all on the same basic subject. the first sentence is something totally false about you. the second one is partially true and partially false. the third one is true about you.
Which part of the last exercise was the easiest for you to do? the hardest? generally starting with the truth is the easiest for people. the lesson is to see if you can get away from being biographical.
Many of us brought work to read. We all enjoy the feedback. A good meeting!! See you next time.

Here are the notes from today’s board meeting, Feb. 16, 2004, held at Black Moose Cafe in Park Rapids at 11 AM.
Present: Russ, Cindie, Carolyn, Sharon, Tarah.


We discussed the next book. A motion was made by Cindie and seconded by Carolyn that we will do another book somewhat similar to TS12. We are going to use the same submission guidelines. We are starting earlier, so we can end it earlier, perhaps June 1st. We think we have enough money for another book. Sharon and Tarah are ready to go. For TS12, we ordered 330 books. There are about 120 books left, some of them at various local bookstores. We have them at 8 different book stores at this time. We received over 150 submissions from 50 writers. We chose items from 42 writers, so we did have to give away 84 books, but that probably meant that more were sold. We only had 6 or 7 stories in it and many poems. One comment was that the printing was a bit too dark in the book. We discussed the cover for the next book. We might want to try something different. We will call them and see if they have more covers or more options available. It appears that for a full color photograph, it would cost us another $400. to do the books.
(Since the meeting, Sharon called Morris Publishing. They are sending out another booklet that they have now with more stock covers available. They also have some other options with black and one color also being free. Or we could add one more color for $50.00 per order, if we use their templates for cover design.)
Would Office Max stores do book binding? That might be an option sometime.
When we send out the call for submissions, we should mention photographs in the heading. We should send an invite to Marsha Wolff for her English classes.
Editorial board for TS13. Sharon and Tarah want to be on it again. Beth does also. Russ may agree to be on, depending on his time. Niomi and Bryan were other possibilities. Five is a good number.
We could contact the school or the Enterprise or the White Birch Artists to get more photographs.


Cindie showed us the info on book sales and bank balance. We have sold enough TS12 to cover what it cost us and we have about 120 books left.


In the past, we have gotten grants from the McKnight Foundation through Region II. Carolyn has been contacted by Mary Clemenson from Region II. They want to meet with us. They are contacting various writing groups to find out what their needs are. Sharon will contact them and see if they want to come to our next Sunday meeting, where the writers are.
We need to determine what our needs are. We discussed several things: grant money to put on more writing workshops. grant money to get more well known writers to put on workshops. We have to trouble getting local writers, but to get more well known ones is difficult and costly. We also could use help with marketing. Could they help with flyers, ads in papers? Could there be more contact between the MN writing groups? Helping to sell each others’ books? Combining sales of books at book parties?
We have a good reputation. We do not have trouble getting submissions. Most of the people who buy the books are the ones published in the book.
We should do more readings. Perhaps do them along with the meetings? Offer free wine or coffee? Have a big sign with the name of our group? Perhaps lines from poems on index cards or tent cards on the tables? We mentioned Second Sundays again, at the New York Mills Cultural Center. They are booked into July already.


We discussed various workshops. The ones we put on last year were great. One was by Linda Henry and one by Florence Witkop. We would like to repeat those and Cindie will be checking on it. Should they be the same or on slightly different topics than last time? We would still like to do a poetry forms workshop and Cindie may contact several people about that. We mentioned Faith Sullivan, Anne Lammott, Will Weaver. Susan Hauser, Penny Swan, Mark Vinz, Cindie’s Dad, Roy Booth, Gail Rixen.
We mentioned also memoir writing and biographical. Another topic would be getting a publisher or agent. What an agent could do for you. The business side of writing.
We could e-mail our members and ask what they are interested in.


We do seem to be two groups now. We have the Twigs on Monday evenings, meeting two nights per month. They mail their writings to each other ahead of time and critique it at the meetings. The Sunday meetings are usually where the new people go. These meetings consist of: a brief business meeting regarding the current book in progress, then reading some new things we are working on, then some writing exercises if there is time. We could do assignments of critiquing some longer works if we wished.
We mentioned adding some new board members.
Other possibilities for our Sunday meetings were Blueberry Pines, Emily’s Harvest, Black Moose, MinneSoda Fountain.


There are two kinds of editing: 1. content editing, which is reading the whole thing and looking at the big picture, structural. 2. line editing, looking at each word, is it in the right place, etc.
It is sometimes helpful to write a poem, then re-write it as a short story, then write it in different poetic forms, etc. This really helps you to come up with things you might not think of other wise.
Some good books on writing are: On Writing by Stephen King and Bird by Bird by Anne Lammott.
We had a great meeting!!