Writers Workshop Blog

December Meet-up

We decided to have an un-meeting this time around, seeing as we've all been working hard on novels and stories and poems for the past year. So Patrick, Casheena, John, Cheryl, Brendan, and more showed up to drink some nog and eat up some cheese and chocolate. Of course we talked shop and Casheena got it started with her questions about publishing with an agent, which John more than capably answered. Cheryl also spoke of her publishing and writing experience, and Patrick offered the well-timed quip (which he is apt to do). We did not have volunteers yet to submit for our January meeting, probably because everyone had the holiday season ahead of them and no matter how bad we want to write at this time, family time seems to take over (in a good way, hopefully). We'll gather up the submissions just after the New Year, tho, in order to give you enough time to do your thing with the work and help our writers learn from your skills. The next meeting, btw, is on Wednesday, January 23rd from 7-8:30 p.m. Happy holidays to all! See you on the flip side.

Dec 18, 2012
Woodward Line Poetry Series

This one happens down at the Scarab Club (behind the DIA) in Detroit. They tend to get more underground and experimental artists, worth the trek if that's your bag. Here is a link to their YouTube page to see a couple of performances. Also, for more information about upcoming readings and poets, check them out on Facebook.

Nov 14, 2012
October Re-cap

I can tell when things are backing up around here because I can't get to the Writers Workshop blog until a week before the next meeting. Ugh, sorry about that, but between Zombie Prom, International Games Day, the start of NaNo, and the re-start of Friday Movies, my plate has been fairly full. I promise to get back in the swing of things shortly.

So in October we covered 3 writers work. This may have been the first time in awhile that we tried critiquing 3 writers' pieces in one meeting but it went fairly successfully. Tom submitted 3 short pieces, including his mythic/poetic trip to the muse (which turned out to be mirrored inside of him). A lot of attendees liked the piece but thought some situational details were lacking. Tighten those up and the piece gains even more thunder.

Brendan brought in a revised version of his superhero story, minus the love interest. The language and story were certaintly tighter, but some of the emotion seemed to be sapped from the story.  We didn't suggest bringing back the love story, but infusing more emotional details into parts of conversation.

Patrick brought in 3 of his poems as well for review. Everyone liked the clever wordplay and offered various suggestions for word  choices and line breaks, which Patrick took into consideration (and sometimes debated :)

Next month's work will be a longer short submitted by John and the next chapter in Jesse's trilogy. This month's attendees: Cortez, Patrick, Brendan, John, Jennifer, Tom, and myself. hope to see you next week on the 14th. 

Nov 10, 2012
New Poetry Titles

Here is an article on recent, Academy of American Poets award-winning poetry titles, as selected by Library Journal. If you find something you'd to read, we are often able to acquire these through the MeLCat service (which you can do on your own or through one of the Reference staff):


Oct 23, 2012
Upcoming Concert

One of our favorite jazz singers, Sheila Landis, is coming to Canton Village Theater on Saturday, November 3rd to perform with guitar virtuoso Rick Matle. They have been booked in the intimate Biltmore Studio Theater there. If you haven'd heard Sheila and Rick perform before (or even if you have), you're in for a jazz-y, scatt-y, pleasurable experience. Tickets are 15 bucks and can be gotten by contacting the Canton Village Theater (link above). Cheers.

Oct 23, 2012
Useful NaNo preparation suggestions

I recently received this reminder list for National Novel Writing Month. They are all good suggestions for story-writing in general. Check it out:

• Chores: Do your laundry, clean your house, and oil that rusty door hinge. When November hits, especially after the first day, that pile of chores you have been putting off are going to feel like the most urgent priorities and it will take everything you can to ignore them and write. 

• Find ways to announce to as many people as you can that you are doing NaNo. These people are going to start asking you how it’s going during the month and will help give you pressure that you cannot quit halfway through. 

• Acquire a thumb drive to back up your work and make sure your anti-virus is up-to-date.

 • If you have a story idea, jot down a list of major events that you want to write about. These can become points you can jump to when you get stuck later. 

• Go to a website like www.flickr.com and browse through pictures randomly to help find characters and settings to visualize for your story. 

• Grab a few dungeons and dragons character sheets and roll some characters up. Even if you aren’t writing fantasy, this is still a convenient way to generate a character. Just don’t get too hung up on swords and armor class if it’s a World War II love story you want to write about. 

• As always, don’t panic. No matter how little preparation you do, I assure you it is well within your grasp to get 50,000 words on paper before December 1 rolls around.

Oct 20, 2012
NaNoWriMo planning and kick-off

If you haven't heard, November is National Novel Writing Month and we celebrate it around here with a kick-off event (10/24 at Biggby Coffee on Ford Rd) and Write-Ins (every Thursday in November except Turkey Day- tho nobody's going to stop you from writing at home while you're in a food coma :) 

In addition, our awesome Detroit Municipal Liasons (Steve and Owen) will be hosting a NaNo planning session at the Sherwood Forest Branch of the Detroit Public Library (7117 W. 7 Mile, Detroit 48221) on from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 13th. If you always wanted to do NaNo but run out of steam or ideas, this is a great place to get your mojo going.  

Oct 4, 2012
man painting the word Fresh in yellow on a purple wall
How to Become a Thriller Writer ...

This article was written back in July during ThrillerFest in NYC. It provides some pretty hard and fast tips on thriller (and any fiction) writing that I think you all would find useful (My favorite: Keep it Fresh). Check it out here:

How to Become a Thriller Writer in 13 Easy Lessons

Oct 4, 2012
Write Michigan

The Kent District Library (Grand Rapids) is hosting the 1st annual Michigan Short Story Contest (called Write Michigan, as you probably guessed). The contest is broken down into two categories: 17 & under, and 18 & up. Entries for adults are $10, for teens it's free. There's a 3,000 word limit and the winning entrant in each category receives 250 bucks. Entries are due by November 30, 2012. For more info, check out the Write Michigan website or look over their brief info page.

Sep 25, 2012
Poetry and Football

For anyone who doesn't think Poetry and Football mix (or for anyone who enjoys good poetry), check out this online list from the Poetry Foundation:


Sep 25, 2012

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