Notes from the July Meeting as Rachel Plans to Take Over the Group

With Cheryl and Amy out of town at a book signing it was up to me, Rachel, to run the Saturday Writers meeting. <Insert diabolical laughter here> Bwa-ha-ha. I was thrilled to be in charge — until Dan pointed out that only thing I was in charge of was taking notes. Thanks, Dan.

The group was small but the discussions lively as usual. We had a couple of new members including one published poet. You can check out Dennis Maulsby and his Vietnam War poetry on his webpage.

One of the things we discussed were some of the great masters of psychological suspense, like H. P. Lovecraft and Hitchcock. All of H. P. Lovecraft’s writing is public domain, which means it can be picked up in ebook format for free. They can be read online on the H. P. Lovecraft Archives or or get a copy for the kindle/nook here.

We discussed novel planning for some time. Two of us were huge fans of Scrivener writing software. It allows you to keep everything related to your latest work in progress in one project folder, so nothing gets lost. It has tools for storyboarding and planning, as we as a built in editor, so you can both plan and write your novel in Scrivener. It can even format the end file for print or ebooks. It comes with a generous trial period and they often run Nanowrimo specials. If you do buy, it’s well worth the 49 dollars.

There are many ways to go about planning a novel. Some people like to write by the seat of their pants. Others like to plot and outline their novels. Still others storyboard. Many writers mix and match styles to suit their personality and needs.

Again, there were a couple of us who really like the snowflake method. The snowflake method helps you build the story from the center out, starting with a single sentence and expanding from their until you have enough background to write an entire novel. For Scrivener writers, Caroline Norington has provide an excellent Scrivener template to use with the snowflake method.

Shortly before we broke for the day, we discussed best sellers. Reading is part of learning to write and every writer should read as widely as possible. We might sometimes disparage certain bestselling authors or books, moaning about the state of literature and “how did they succeed?” But it can be worthwhile to suspend our judgement and read these books with a critical eye. Obviously they did something right, otherwise millions of people wouldn’t be buying their books. By identifying those things, we can make ourselves better writers, too.

As fun as the discussion was, we always have room for more writers. Feel free to come down and join us next month. Until then, keep writing.