Writer Groups, Meet Ups, Connections, Writer Web Sites (and submission check-in)

Are you a member of a writer's group, meet up or on-line writer support?  If you are not already a member of She Writes (http://www.shewrites.com/), join now! (say The Mother Centurion referred you!) I found SW through the Writer's Digest magazine and joined last summer.  At about the same time, my friend and I began our own writer's club, The Promise of the Pen (http://promisepen.webs.com/) I then transitioned to workshops at our locally operated bookstore, Changing Hands Bookstore and the ASU Virginia Piper's Writers Studio and Conference.  Then...... in January 2011, I started The Mother Centurion. 

Wow... how do we then find the time to write? 

If you have a great "connection story" to share about how you got into the writing community, tell it here!

80th Annual Writers Digest Competition-We have 6 days:  Character(s), main story proposal due April 8!! (share here if you wish or just let us know how it is going)

Are you going to submit hard copy or electronically?


A Warm Up Writing Exercise! Get Ready for Submission!

In preparation for the contest or just an exercise in writing, a fun time-out or a chance to capture some observations; I took it upon myself to pen out a few pages in my journal yesterday.  What a beautiful day and the setting was primed for people watching.

Reflections in a Park

Activity and conversations peppered the downtown city park today and offered rare encounters in "people study".  On my trek to mark my territory, great book in hand, I passed by a photo shoot.  An impressively pretty man in designer sweat pants, flip-flops and a peacock blue tee stood model still, being fondled over by a young female assistant.  The photographer, in some hint of an accent I could not immediately identify, gave directions to two or three others from behind a high class lens longer than my arm.  The bustling staff wrestled with two very large white boards and reflective photo gear designed to cast the most perfect light on his yes, freakishly handsome face.

I found my seat on a shady bench, uncomfortable as it was; hard metal with an unnatural curve but in a perfect location to catch whispers of a breeze and dappled sunlight.  I sat facing an odd couple both in appearance and state of emotion.  A rotund, gray haired man with a very mature beard, sat with legs splayed open, sobbing.  He was clearly recounting some highly emotional, stressful event with brief breaks of face wiping and fist to open hand slapping designed to emphasize certain points in his monologue.  I am a bit distracted even with this by the rather young (I'm talking 15-17 year old young) looking girl seated next to him making small comfort circles with her hand on his broad back.  This activity is a carnival ride of back circles, wiping, sobbing, hand slapping then hugging. Repeat.  I am only able to pick up bits and pieces of conversation and a few words here and there; "mother, Jewish, okay, problem, cigarette". 

Hey I'm trying to read here. 

A guy then walked up to my bench from my left , a stack of pamphlets in hand,

"Read more about the bible today?"

"Uh, no." I said just before he got "bible" out.  I honestly had no idea what he was hawking, I just knew my time in the shade was limited and I was not in the mood to be hit up to read something not selected by me. 

As I watched him walk away I caught a glimpse of the back of his t-shirt:
"The End of the World is Coming Starting, May 21, 2011".
And surprisingly, there was a web-site, designed I assume to give you helpful details of how to prepare.  I could not help but think as most would, "The end of the world is starting on May 21, but the Internet will be up and running!!  Sweet!"  So, you say. 

Well, my preacher friend with a stack of pamphlets in hand, found a listener in the form of a severely toothless woman with an unlit cigarette hanging from her mouth.  Her body language and brief conversation registered curiosity in what "pamphlet guy" had to say and the talk was on.  She was joined by another rather unsightly fellow, clearly not coming from a recent photo shoot, to discuss this end of the world and now that it has an actual start date, what to do next and where can I sign? 

What a beautiful day. 

I surely hope the beautiful boy model had a great shoot.  That his pictures render high sales for the Nike, Adidas or Hurley garb gracing his frame.  To my odd couple across from me, who still are registering much shoulder slouching with face in hands and hugging, I hope it works out.  And to my "pamphlet guy", how about some good news for a change?  How about:

"Read about how you're positive spirit and good deeds are saving the world!  And because of all you do, Armageddon is not upon us!"

Enjoy the day - and you in it


All in fun my friends.  I figure any writing is a good exercise.  Be it a journal entry with no point other than to plot observations of real life in your own words, a dream recounted in rhythmic prose or a memory of a wonderful time or place plotted on paper. 

Just think, the "odd couple" could become a story.  Why is he crying?  Who is this girl?  Is he about to cop a field? Do they know each other or did they just meet? 

Oh you know I stayed to see what would happen.  She finally left.  She was college age but not a day over 19.  He clearly did not want her to leave.  She scribbled something on the inside flap of a book, tucked $30 inside and put it in his backpack.  Then she stood up, pulled her shorts out of her "business" (they had crawled up her whoo-ha rather completely while she sat on the grass), then told him, "And you tell them to mind their fucking business!" 

There is a story.. Fill in the blanks.  Oh yea, she kissed him on the cheek too which kinda weirded me out. 

Our Journey to Writerly Submission; The 80th Annual Writer's Digest Competition

So what to do first?  If you are interested in submitting, let me suggest we begin sharing here.  When I say sharing, I mean sharing of the process, the craft of writing and getting to the final "send".  We have until May 2, 2011 to submit to this competition.  I belive that is enough time to do a few things:

1. Generate some ideas; rough sketches of a short story.  If you are submitting a non-fiction, be sure to read all information of word count as it will be slushed/eliminated if over the maximum amount. 

2. Where do I find story ideas (if submitting fiction)?  I love to look at everyday life.  A 5 minute car ride with my kids where a unique question is asked, stirs the juices and immediately takes me back in time.  Ahhhaaa!  An idea! 
Like today for example when my oldest asked me the following, "Mom, remember when you told us about that mean guy you met in the 1900's?" 
I almost blew McDonald's Iced Coffee through my nose at that one.   

3. Keep paper/journal/notepad with you at ALL times!!  We all probably do this already but it does not hurt to keep just one more somewhere close by.  I think I have about 12 hidden in various places..  

4. Mark some milestone dates on a calendar just for yourself.  Not on the family calendar where the dentist appointments, hockey practice, guitar lessons, shower, do taxes, take the dog to the vet stuff is engraved in your busy future but a calendar just FOR THIS>  Write, read, get to draft #1, review, revise, draft #2, review, revise, draft #3, review, revise...... SUBMIT.

Let us all make this one promise to ourselves to have by April 8, a rough story outline, a character sketch with at least your main character (protagonist) and one antagonist identified (If non fiction, then you are the "I" and what is the particular moment in time you wish to parlay into a riveting submission? The "I" is so intriguing!!!). 

Check back in and I would love (as would the rest of us) to see how we are all progressing.  Share it here.. OR, give us a link to your blog/website and post your sketch there!! 

Word of the day: Arouse

A "sexy" word for motivate!!! 

The Mother Centurion is MINE. Powered by Blogger.

Categories and Lists

Total Pageviews


About Me

My photo
I figured things out late in life, like what I wanted to do, getting married (age 30), having kids, (36 and 38) and changing degrees about 3 times. Now as a cop of 19 years and in my mid 40's, I am finally figuring out some things. My first career or dream of becoming a writer is playing more in my head and daily life than ever. I love it. Thus the blog. It is all mine. I also love being a mother. They are all ours. I love my husband and as a cop, wow.. have I seen some things. Street degree. I got it. Let us learn together. I also am on She Writes.