October 19th 2003

It has been one year since we got back into our monthly meeting schedule after a lapse of a few months back in 2002. We had a great meeting today — I think we could have gone on for another hour or two. Sometimes the writers just all seem to be on the same wave length or something and we had such great conversations.
The next meeting will probably be on the third or fourth weekend of November. The date is still up in the air since we may just have a quick early meeting right ahead of our book party on the same day or evening. It totally depends on how quickly Talking Stick 12 arrives and whether we want to have the book party on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or on a Saturday evening. Please feel free to send me your thoughts on this.
We had two new writers today. Welcome, Diane and Bryan. Others present were: Sharon, Tarah, Russ, LuAnne, Sandi and Beth.


The two workshops on September 20 were great. We had wonderful response and we even had to turn people away. The morning one was by Linda Henry on the subject of submitting magazine article proposals to magazines. It was very helpful. The afternoon session was by Florence Witkop on writing what editors want. She had a formula for writing novels and stories that would sell.
We will probably offer these workshops again in the future. We also may do one on poetic forms.
Anne Morgan came to the workshops. She goes to many craft shows with her Secret Garden products (natural soup mixes) and she offered to take our Talking Stick books with her to sell. She now has 10 of each of our books. Thank you, Anne!


Since our last meeting, we got the proof back, reviewed it once more and sent it back. The books should be delivered to us by the end of October or early November. We need to start thinking seriously about that book party date. It is probably too early for a JWB Christmas party — we will probably leave that till early December. The News Releases are all ready to send out to the newspapers as soon as the books arrive.


The New York Mills Cultural Center has been having something they call Second Sundays on the second Sunday of each month. They have a writer read his work, sign his books, etc. Some of our group members should go to promote our books. Lina at New York Mills has asked us about this. It would be especially good to do around the time of the new book release.


We should also get serious about doing poetry readings around the time of the book release.


www.nanowrimo.org has information on novel writing. www.fargo.com has something called Life Options in which they publish poetry. www.realgoodwords.com also publishes poetry and stories. Don’t forget to look at the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc website at www.geocities.com/jpinewb/index.html We do want to start having a featured poet occasionally on our website. There is a neat new magazine that is part of the Brainerd Dispatch. It is called Her Voice, a magazine for women, by women. www.her-voice.com or Her Voice, 506 James St, Brainerd MN 56401. Check out Tarah’s photography at www.tarahlynn.deviantart.com.


Russ told us of a panel discussion in Moorhead on Thursday October 23 called “What Do Editors Want?” He is going to attend it and bring us information on it.


The Talking Stick books are all stored at Sharon’s house now, neatly counted out in boxes of 50 or 100 and taped up and labeled with just the odd ones left out on shelves to be sold first.
We still would like to get in touch with the lady who has all of our Talking Stick #5 in South Dakota. We will continue to try to reach Gail Gardner for the lady’s name and contact information.


We discussed that many writers outline their novel so they know where they are going with the story. They have one index card for each character describing all their physical characteristics so they can make sure not to contradict themselves.
LuAnne sent in an outline for a story and her writing teacher liked it. She had her outline the story but told her that she does not have to stick to it exactly since she will think of more as she writes it.
Russ mentioned some things from his writing class. He brought a list of the differences between literary writing and commercial writing. Literary writing leaves you options at the end of the story. There is more dialogue in commercial.
Russ told us some of the exercises from his class. One exercise is to write an ending sentence and then write a one page story to come down to that final sentence. Another exercise is to write a story that takes place in one spot. There has to be at least one clue to the reader that the main character is due for a major change in his life but he doesn’t know it yet. Another exercise is to describe an act of rebellion either major or minor.

Another exercise:

If you had to empty your pockets (or purse), what in it would characterize you?
What three items in your life would you like to have placed in your coffin?

Another exercise:

Write for three minutes. Describe someone you know in terms of two or three objects that you associate with them.

Another exercise:

Picture yourself going down some steps. When you get to the bottom, what do you see and where do you go next?

Russ told us a couple of nuggets of wisdom:
One theory is that the best writing comes out of a wound.

A happy story starts and ends happy. A story that starts unhappy can have an ending that is interesting and different.
To portray conflict, ask yourself, what does your character desire? What is your character afraid of?
Several writers brought things to read that they were working on. We always enjoy this. Russ wowed us with some things he wrote for his class. Beth brought another humorous essay that had us laughing; it was great!! Thanks to all who attended. We had a great meeting and a fun time.